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Valedictory Speech to the 54th Cosă

Started by Miestră Schivă, UrN, June 22, 2020, 04:11:29 AM

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Miestră Schivă, UrN

Esteemed Mençéi and Túischac'h and all the Senators and Members of the Cosă:

Votes on the last Clark have now been tallied, and soon the 54th Cosâ will be dissolved. I stand before you today to give what I hope to be as balanced an account of the outgoing Government – a coalition between the Free Democrats, "Awakening and Magnifiying Passion", and the Peculiar Nationalists - which I have led in this term.

While the last Clark results have not yet been formally announced by the Secretary of State, the good news is that the Non-Hereditary Monarchy Amendment has achieved the necessary 3/4 of the Cosă, and absolute majority of the Senäts, to override the Royal veto, and will thus go before the people in referendum at the upcoming general election. With this, the outgoing Government have achieved a milestone in the ongoing project of a Talossa which belongs to the people; notwithstanding, of course, that (with the brief and embarrassing "reign" of the Boy King Louis) Talossa's monarchy has always been elective. Thus, this amendment should be seen as enshrining the status quo rather than bringing in a dangerous novelty – which should surely make it appeal to Talossan conservatives.

Alongside this, the Talossan people will also vote in referendum on two other major reforms: the Seneschál to be nominated by a majority of the Cosă, and the King to be given specific cultural rather than political duties. In this, the outgoing Government has achieved 3 out of 3 of the goals it set itself in its Coalition Agreement – and here are some of the other successes that we are proud of.

  • Most importantly, the successful move to New Wittenberg.
  • The end of 13 years of bickering about the shape of the Talossan language with the adoption of unified rules of spelling by SIGN, the new language authority, and the consequent updating of our online dictionary, l'Överstéir.
These are things that – to reuse the expression I used in my valedictory address to the last Cosă, about the nationalisation of the national webspace - "other governments talked about it endlessly, but our government did it". In the words of our party slogan, Free Democrats in power get things done.

Other more minor successes include the amendment allowing for a fee for succesful Senäts candidates; and the convocation of the Council of Governors. But, as I said in my last valedictory speech, I prize intellectual honesty as among the highest of virtues. So I would like to briefly discuss things that we agreed to do, but failed to.

  • Most upsettingly for myself personally, we failed to "promote competitions, games and other cultural events for citizens".
  • We failed to "use social media creatively to get Talossa "noticed". Market coins and stamps as outreach; investigate stylish presentation frames for them."
  • We have not yet released a New Citizens' Information Packet or found "other ways to get new citizens quickly involved in Talossan society and state."
  • We failed to enact a drive for "voluntary taxation" (donations from citizens, perhaps a Patreon).
  • In contrast, our suggestion of creating a voter's roll to replace the Three Strikes law was developed and introduced; but rejected by the Ziu.
  • Finally, we failed to examine taking Wisconsin law out of Talossan law; while absolutely nothing happened in the Foreign Affairs and Defence portfolios.
The only real excuse I can make for these failures is that the members of the Government only have a certain amount of time and space to "do Talossa"; thus, some things got prioritised and others fell by the wayside. In many cases, some preliminary steps were taken to enact these promises, behind the scenes – even some things that the incoming government might be able to build on - but nothing the general public ever got to see.

But "the buck stops here". In some cases, Cabinet Ministers just did not do what they should have done – what their parties promised to do in the Coalition Agreement - and deserve to be held accountable for that. One issue is simply the one of "manpower" - the ongoing crisis of activity in Talossa, which I will return to below – meant that an ill-performing minister could simply not be replaced, and "nothing" was the best available option. In other cases, manpower decisions were influenced by considerations of keeping political balance in a three-party governing Coalition.

For example, in my own portfolio, certain very valuable cultural events did take place – such as the Mixtape Project or the Chess Championship – but without any Government help. As Culture Minister, I take personal responsibility for this. I prioritised setting up SIGN and making the new spelling effective, and hived off responsibilities for competitions and games to a Permanent Secretary, who in turn was unable to do anything.

In this regard, I realise that those critics who have accused me of "squatting" in the Culture Ministry for several terms, on and off, have a point. I have been interested in the language above all, and let other things slide. Therefore, I foreshadow that – assuming Free Democrats are returned to government – I will leave the office of Minister of Culture, although (assuming my successor approves) I would like to retain the office of Ladintsch Naziunal, as chief State promoter of the use of Talossan language, and head of a renewed project of translation of important State documents into ár glheþ naziunal.

I also foreshadow that – assuming that I lead the next Government – I will lead a zero-tolerance regime for "slacking" in the Cabinet. If a Minister fails to do what they've promised, I will require them to explain themselves to the Ziu, or request their resignation, even if there's no obvious replacement. An "empty" chair at the Cabinet is more honest than someone squatting on a portfolio.

But of course, inactivity in Government is only a special case of citizen inactivity in general. Looking back on my valedictory speech to the 53rd Cosă, I realise that I pretty much said everything I needed to so on that subject back then. So here are just some edited highlights:
QuoteTalossa can only have those things which Talossans are happy to put time and effort in to working on. I don't spend stupid amounts of time on Talossa – maybe 30 minutes to an hour a day, on average, and I'm the head of the Government...

What is in my opinion even more shameful – even unpatriotic – is to simultaneously do nothing, and to complain that nothing is being done or, even worse, attempt to obstruct and derail attempts at doing something...

If you want a buzzing, vibrant Talossa which attracts new citizens so that old ones can have a rest, and yet continues to build upon its political and cultural achievement, you all have to work for it – not to just elect a Government which promises to do everything for you.... Nothing will happen, nothing will fundamentally change in Talossa, unless existing Talossans get of their ciúls and make it happen. I don't know what I can do to make that happen except for making vaguely threatening speeches.
On this subject, I would like to briefly address issues raised by Sir Alexandreu Davinescù in his recent criticism of the Government's record, which (in both what we have done, and what we have failed to do) he holds responsible for the current crisis of activity.

The first thing to say about Sir Alexandreu's analysis of our current decline in activity and participation, that the democratic reforms enacted post-Reunision have made Talossa less quirky and fun, is perhaps a shocking one: he may be correct. Perhaps he is right that an essential part of Talossa's appeal of was the pomp and grandeur of a jocular but politically active monarchy, and republicanism (or even constitutional monarchy, as understood in many European countries today) is poison. I don't believe so, but other strong contributors to Talossa do, as is their right.

Some respondents to the first National Survey specifically said that things were much better before Reunision, in the era when Lord Hooligan was the primary figure in Talossa's politics and culture. Certainly Manus Hand has done a lot for Talossa, but this is the same gentleman who said last year – in rejecting the Fiova-Florencia provincial merger, even though he and most other Florencian citizens were not active in their province - "Is inactivity bad? I think not!" (A position that Sir Alexandreu, with his consistent lamentations about the decline in activity, has never to my knowledge seen fit to respond to.)

I must put it plainly: when Lord Hooligan and Sir Cresti Sierviciul decided they were less interested in a Talossa leaning away from the RUMP brand of jocular conservative monarchism, they let not only our language organisation, the CÚG, but the national website wind down and stop functioning. This led to the last two Governments to have to not only rebuild our national website, but our national language community, from the ground up. If Talossan patriotism means ensuring Talossa continues – either through activity, or through "handing off" to those who are still interested, allowing the CÚG and to grind to a halt was an act of mammoth unpatriotism, even a kind of vandalism-by-inaction.

Which leads me to the second point: it is reasonable, I believe, to see the decline in activity and voter turnout as a kind of political strike, or boycott, on behalf of Talossans who preferred the 2005-2011 Kingdom. Such citizens don't like how Talossa has changed in the years of coalition government between centrist and progressive parties, so they don't participate. Their only interest in Talossa as it is is to occasionally check into see if this has happened yet. I name this the Atlas Shrugged approach to Talossa. See you in Hool's Gulch, I suppose.

Of course, no-one owes Talossa their activity if they don't like how it is. But let us also be clear that inactivity for any Talossan, of whatever political persuasion, is a personal decision. Conversely, if some people decide not to "do Talossa" for whatever reason, it is our right to try to continue to do Talossa without their active input.

I say to Talossan conservatives: I am happy to accept that my personal style, and the constant pressure for reforms of the monarchy, alienates you, even that it makes you feel like you have nothing to contribute to contemporary Talossa, that it's no fun anymore. I will even humbly accept that – this term – this Government has failed in our objectives of increasing cultural activity and the integration of new citizens into Talossan activity. We have at least tried, and failed – hence my renunciation of the Culture portfolio.

But even admitting all that, the future of Talossa belongs to its active citizens. If Talossa's conservatives would prefer Talossa to shrink rather than thrive with its current institutions, that's their decision. To such people, we say: we encourage you to come back to activity; to try to win political victories against the current majority, and failing that, to work within the system for the good of the whole ImagiNation.

When Reunision happened, we citizens of the Talossan Republic didn't much like how things were in the Kingdom. But – given that the continued existence of the Kingdom meant the eclipse of immigration to the Republic – we had no choice but to swallow that, and to prepare ourselves for what Senator Ian Plätschisch has called "the ideological long game". We swallowed what we didn't like about the Kingdom, because we were granted the political liberty to fight to change it – if we could. And guess what? Turns out, we could.  If you are truly Talossan patriots – not just fair-weather citizens, who only love Talossa when it's Talossa the way they want it – I urge you to follow our example and get back into the political and cultural game.

I can only add, to be fair, that I sometimes get disgruntled about the inactivity of many of my political co-thinkers, especially former citizens of the Republic. I can only wonder, when I think of Sir Tamorán dal Navă, Ián Anglatzară or Ceváglh Scurzniol: what would it take to get those guys interested again?

This is why it will be one of the top priorities of Free Democrats, if we participate in the next Government, to find and enact ways of getting new citizens involved, and reactivating old citizens. Our top three priorities in that regard will be:

  • A new National Survey, following up from that of June last year, which will offer another chance for Talossans both active and inactive to anonymously let the Government know what we can do for them.
  • A Talossan Labour Exchange to match citizens to possible jobs. This will combine a list of all Government and/or private sector jobs which are unfilled, with a place for citizens to register their interests so that those responsible for filling jobs can get leads on people who might be keen to fill themselves.
  • Improving communication between government and citizenry looking at things like the National Website; the in-development "Immigration Mini-site", including information for new citzens; the La C'hronică newsletter; social media; and the existing mail-out lists held by the Chancery.
When I first applied for Talossan citizenship in 1997, there were two things that appealed to me above all: ár glhe‏‏tg naziunál, and the promise of "a freewheeling multi-party democracy". The latter turned out, at the time, to be a smokescreen for arbitrary royal power. But I've worked for 23 years to make it true. And we're 90% of the way there.

The question arises then: why isn't 90% of our programme enough? Why can't we be satisfied with what we have accomplished, politically speaking? If stopping the constitutional reform process – or even rolling it back - would make Talossan conservatives feel safe, more welcomed, and thus encourage them to give up their boycott, wouldn't it help us all?

The first answer is that a Talossan political party is like a bicycle. If it doesn't keep going forward, it falls over. What would be the point of the Free Democrats of Talossa if we didn't keep pushing towards the final goal – that of a non-political monarchy or an elected Head of State, whichever gets more popular support? We could of course go to the voters and say "So... we're the party in power. Do you like it? Well, vote for us and get more of the same." But that's squatting in power. That's what the RUMP – and before them, King Robert's PC and MN parties – used to do, which we condemned.

The second answer, in fact, relates to something that Sir Alexandreu Davinescù mentioned – that there has been a collapse in political diversity in the current Cosă. But as many responses have pointed out, that's not the fault of the governing parties.

Last election, former Senator Ieremiac'h Ventrútx cheated the people of Talossa – and the monarchist/conservative section of it, in particular – by running his ZPT party and then never claiming his seats. If he'd announced he was going to do so – running on an abstentionist platform like Sinn Féin used to in Ireland and still do for the UK Parliament – then no-one would complain. But 10 Talossans gave the former Senator their votes, and he flushed them down the toilet. He couldn't even be bothered voting for himself. This is only an extreme example of how tactics of weaponized apathy (the "political strike" mentioned above) are not only self-defeating, but corrosive to Talossa's institutions.

When the RUMP were in power, we oppositionists used to preach that alternance (regular changes in the composition of the government) was a good thing. And so it is. But to get that you need an opposition which offers a political alternative. And by setting out the Free Democrats clearly as the party of more fundamental reforms – as opposed to the status quo – we leave plenty of room for parties who defend the status quo to offer an alternative; and to defeat us, if they can.

This is why the Free Democrats are putting at the top of our programme for the upcoming elections the Ranked Choice Constitutional Referendum offering two options for fundamental changes to the monarchy, versus the status quo. If you vote Free Democrat at the upcoming election, you are voting for two things above all: 1) this referendum, as well as examination of other fundamental constitutional reforms; 2) Miestră Schivă as Seneschál for a third term. This clearly leaves space for parties of the constitutional status quo, and "anyone else but Miestră in charge".

I wish to give a tip of the hat to the current Distáin, Senator Plätschisch, who has given up the pleasures of another term of Coalition, making the first move to set up a centre-right party which will offer a clear alternative to both more reforms and more Miestră. There is a truckload of room for more political diversity – assuming that the conservative opposition doesn't want to rally around this new party. Put up, fellow citizens, or stop whining.

I therefore have good reason to hope that centrist and conservative Talossans will have better options to vote for at the coming election, and the 55th Cosa will have both a government with a clear agenda, and a strong opposition holding them to account. Whichever side of the aisle the Free Democrats end up on, I will be happy if that is the result. But of course, I urge the voters to give a majority to both the Free Democrats; and to all the Organic Law amendments which will be put to referendum.

Sa vivadra Talossa! 40 års pü!

¡LADINTSCHIÇETZ-VOI - rogetz-mhe cacsa!


Our esteemed Seneschál rightly thinks of 'Culture' as language-work above all. 

The Royal Archives and its mission to preserve Talossan heritage fall outside the purview of any Government, but it is currently run by a FreeDem with the brilliant name-translation help of Danihel Txechescu without which none of this would have been possible.  Coronatide has given this FreeDem once-in-a-lifetime stretches of unbroken days and weeks in which a literal horde of nagging Talossan projects have been worked on and completed with more to come.

For the first time ever, the Big History is available for download in an online-friendly edition.

For the first time in probably fifteen years, the extant issues of Oraclâ magazine are available for download, and for the first time, they are available in online-friendly presentations.

I have just uploaded to the Secret Archives (not available publicly) a new scan of xerox copies of a bunch of Wittenberg V posts from 1996-1999 Ben Madison gave me in 2002.  Online-friendly presentations of these two documents collecting all those posts will be worked on in time.

For the first time, 'Invasion of the Androids' is available in an online-friendly format as is 'Upward!  Onward!  Forward!'.  The monstrous task of getting Talossan National News in an online-friendly state will be slow, but it has begun.

'Front Page Talossa' and 'Clashing Symbols' are also available in online-friendly presentations.  Wittenberg XI has been roughly archived with most or all of the 13,897 threads having been archived: at least fifty gigs of .html

Other projects have been done as well: my own magazines, müchaps and Sanavar (both short-lived) are also available in online-friendly presentations; 'T-Fest 2003: A Look Back', 'EM200: A Closer Look', the gigantic (and I mean 'gigantic') 2nd Edition of the Water Street Codex; Sentinel Press' 'The History Project'; 'The National Atlas of the Kingdom of Talossa'; and 'Àr Päts' have all been made into online-friendly presentations, protecting the name-privacy of Old-Growth Talossans while making it safe to share Talossan history with the world.

Internally, GV's digital holdings have been reorganized into a state where if he is abducted by aliens, someone can go into his stuff and make sense of it.

Internally, GV is creating a museum-quality catalog of his Talossan physical holdings, which are extensive.

GV is slowly getting his parts of the Wiki up-to-speed on all things Archives.  He has been busy, and this is not intended to be a criticism of the Seneschál whose work this term and always has been exemplary.

Miestrâ can be brash and loud.  But she is honest at all junctures, and at times, she is blunt.

In late 2010 or so, she extended an invite to me to do Republic politics with her.  I believe this was the point when I started doing Talossa again on an active basis after nearly falling off the face of the earth in Talossan terms from 2009-2010.  It continues to be a delight and honor to work with her in building a better Talossa.

Votez FreeDems!
  We are not done, and with our coming programme, the best for Talossa is yet to come.

As for the work the Royal Archives has put in, if is not working, is.

GV, Senator (Fiôvâ) and Royal Archivist

Eiric S. Bornatfiglheu

Estimats Talossans,

It is an interesting situation to find yourself in opposition to a platform you mostly agree with.  Or at least, if not mostly agree with, are willing to settle for if you can't get your own way.  Occasionally yelling "Yes, this.. but more!" doesn't make for a solid alternative to governance, especially when you know you've got la escasençă dal neuaßadeu in gec'hednă of governing should the coalition falter.

Which is to say the New Peculiar Way tried with limited success.

I wanted to take this moment to echo the Seneschal's call to activity for Talossans of all political stripes and alignments.  There is an old adage that 90 percent of politics is showing up.  And, most certainly, the decisions are not made by those who opted to stay home.  The philosophy of "things aren't going my way so I'm going to take my ball and go home" is not only self-fulfilling, it is also downright corrosive.

There's a lot of room for excitement.  There's a lot of room for an energetic opposition as well as a vibrant civil society.  We hope you'll join us.
Eiric S. Bornatfiglheu
Chisleu Bruno of the NPW
Senator from Benito