A Statement from the Government of Talossa concerning the Regency

Started by Miestră Schivă, UrN, October 15, 2020, 07:30:16 PM

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Miestră Schivă, UrN

The following statement, issued by the Seneschál, has been endorsed by a majority of the Government of Talossa with no objections. We are grateful to members of the Free Democrats of Talossa for their input into this draft.

It is proper to first issue congratulations to Sir Alexandreu Davinescù for his appointment as Regent, or as I call it, "Temporary Bogus Head of State"; the pinnacle of a long Talossan career full of interest and variety. Some people have monarchy thrust upon them, it appears.

That said, it is now also proper to announce that this is the proverbial last straw. John Woolley has committed an act of irresponsible constitutional vandalism. Clearly upset at the results of the recent referenda, which removed both the hereditary aspect of the  monarchy and his right to choose the Seneschál, King John has decided to effectively "rage-quit".

An honest abdication, however, would not have given him the right to choose his successor; so he has taken the current path, of handing over his power – without any prior consultation and warning - to the person most calculated to irritate the majority in the Ziu. A person who recently committed an act of vandalism on the Organic Law to make a political point. A person who advised the current Seneschal: "It probably would be a bit helpful if you resigned and became inactive". We can only interpret this as a middle finger of truly epic proportions to the Ziu majority.

Historical parallels to this event include:

  • King Robert I's appointment of M. Carbonèl, at that time the least popular person in Talossa, as Seneschál during the Hallowe'en Crisis of late 2003, precisely because he was the candidate whom his opponents wanted the least. (See G. Valcádac'h, A Nation Sundered, pp. 42ff);
  • The infamous "Bob Fights Ticket" of 1988, a party whose goal was to restore Robert I to the Throne at the same time as making his worst enemy, Robert Murphy, Seneschál. The initiators of that party clearly felt that "funny fights" were a good thing to have in Talossa. I disagree and always have. (See R. Ben Madison, Ár Päts, p.47).
We might also remember the lines from the Provincial Anthem of Vuode: "L'Apîntat o fäts'ci qët o volt, / Contrâ bhen és contrâ tradiziuns" (http://wiki.talossa.com/%27N_Regeu_Xhust), and pray to Allà that they do not come true for us.

The Appointee, as the legal Temporary Bogus Head of State, will of course have our full co-operation in the day-to-day business of governing. However, it is with heavy heart we warn the Nation that we are not confident that this co-operation will be reciprocated, in particular in the legislative arena..

The Government has in the past had issues with the King on his wanton and unannounced use of the royal legislative veto. Judging by recent debates on Wittenberg - where the now-Regent has assembled a laundry list of ways he thinks that the current Attorney-General wrote the recent Organic Law reforms wrongly - we fear that this state of affairs may continue, or even get worse, under the Regency.
(Parenthetically: it's not known whether the Appointee knew the appointment was coming while he made this thread. If he did, it would be a masterpiece of trolling, to rile up members of the Government with criticisms of their legal drafting skills, and - after they react with various degrees of irritation or dismissal - to pull an ace out of one's sleeve: "Don't like my suggestions? Well, guess what? I now have veto power over new legislation! LOL AT YOU". A top "own", as they say on social media. Not conducive to civil peace or cordial relationships, however.)

If the worst fears of the Government with regards to the Regency were to come true, the Regent would:

  • build on his work in the recent Wittenberg thread to find ways to use any possible infelicities of legal language, in order to obstruct the Government's platform and to embarrass the Attorney-General in particular.
  • use the legislative veto like a flamethrower, and, following the King's example, without warning. Again, the agenda would be to embarrass and infuriate the Government, rather than to improve the quality of legislation.
When news of the Regency arose, the nightmare scenario which arose in the minds of the Government was a return to the dark days of 2002-2005, where the King waged a form of "cold civil war" against the Ziu majority in an admitted effort to drive his political enemies out. Imagine a Regent leading a full-fledged campaign of sabotage, trolling and provocation against the Ziu majority, with the admitted or covert agenda of upsetting, frustrating and infuriating Government MZs/ministers to the point where they would, actually,"resign and become inactive".

These might seem harsh or even paranoid suspicions. And, let's be fair - the Regent has done nothing to substantiate them in his first 24 hours. He has, in fact, adequately performed the traditional functions of the constitutional monarch - "the rights to be consulted, to encourage, and to warn" - with regard to transfer of the national domain names. He is to be commended for this.

But let's not kid ourselves. Every single Talossan, and the dogs in the street in Vuode Province, know this: the King of Talossa, without consultation or warning, chose a Regent whom he knew was calculated to cause maximum annoyance to the Government.

I consider it unlikely that John Woolley will be coming back soon, if at all, as long as his Regent remains in power. If things go badly, if the Regent does decide on a test of strength with the Ziu majority, the coming year(s?) in Talossa will be as unpleasant as we've ever known. Sensible Talossans will flee from the constant fighting and abuse, or give up in disgust, while the King watches from a distance and smirks at his revenge on his political adversaries. But even in the very best case scenario - if Sir Alexandreu performs his new role with the grace and honesty of which we know he is capable - the way he got it was (though legal) massively disrespectful to the nation.

I, the Seneschál, am a Talossan Republican, while other members of the Cabinet support a constitutional monarchy which abstains from politics. But we are united in the idea that Talossa belongs to all Talossans, that the role of Head of State is in the gift of the people, not of the incumbent. In contrast, the way the Regency was established shows that John Woolley considers Talossa to be his personal property, to be handed off to his trusted friends when he can't be bothered fulfilling his functions. And, under the current constitution, he's right. Let's fix that.

The question is no longer one of 'republic vs monarchy', in the abstract. The question is: should Talossa's government be directed by a majority mandate from the people, albeit with constitutional safeguards to protect minority rights? Or does Talossa "belong" to the most conservative, resentful people in the nation; the people who grabbed power in 2005-2012 and think it's their personal property, rather than a trust given by the nation; the people who would destroy social peace rather than lose their veto power over our future?

The Government pledges:

  • That John Woolley will never resume the powers of the monarchy of Talossa, if we have anything to say about it. He has rage-sulked at the recent Organic Law reforms, and this appointment is his revenge on Talossa, on the majority of Talossan electors who decided to limit his powers. While the Government will bow to the wishes of the majority as to whether to retain the Monarchy, time is up for its incumbent. We intend to continue with our plans to hold a Ranked-Choice Referendum on Talossa's constitutional situation, and - even if the people of Talossa choose to preserve the monarchy - we will find a replacement for John Woolley as our permanent head of state. We should warn the Regent that, should he veto the bill authorising this referendum, the Government will skip directly to introducing our own preferred constitutional reform.
  • That despite all that, as long as Sir Alexandreu Davinescù is legally exercising the powers of the Head of State of Talossa, we will engage with him in good faith, and make a "No First Strike" pledge of a sort. We at least owe him the chance of demonstrating that he is capable of growing into the role, that he can treat his political opponents with respect. Nevertheless, as a warning shot, we will Hopper a bill under Organic Law II.5 to "legislatively decapitate" the Regent. Assuming the Regent uses his veto power (an excellent assumption), to pass this bill would require the co-operation of the minority in the Cosa. That said, the Leader of the Opposition is capable of recognizing vandalism and trolling-as-a-governing-strategy when he sees it, and we trust his judgment if the Regent oversteps his bounds.
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