This is the first instalment of a new monthly feature for the Austenasian Times: MicroWorld Newsbites, in which a look will be taken at news stories from around the world of small nations, which are unlikely to be covered by major news networks.
- The fence around the Playing Field – part of which formed Copan’s international boundary with the United Kingdom and with the Grove – has been removed by Sutton Parks Service.
- The Flandrensisian Commonwealth, a diplomatic partnership between Flandrensis, Arkel and Campinia, was dissolved earlier today. The three members of the Commonwealth – which was founded in October 2010 – all claim territory in Antarctica but have populations based in Belgium and the Netherlands. Due to its members sharing a diplomatic policy, a treaty signed in January 2013 by the Empire to formalise its by then four year old friendship with Flandrensis resulted in diplomatic relations being formed with Arkel and Campinia as well. The three nations remain on good terms, but according to Grand Duke Niels of Flandrensis, a renewed focus on environmental matters and a more global diplomatic outlook made the Commonwealth redundant.
- George De Feyter, Minister of Antarctic Environment, has announced “an ambitious programme which aims at alerting all the countries in the world about the dangers of pollution and damaging Antarctica”. A letter will be sent each week to another government, starting with the top ten most polluting countries in the world.
- On 5 April, Molossia welcomed its second native-born citizen, raising its population to 31.
- On 16 April, Molossia celebrated Obscura Day, a worldwide celebration of unique places. A group of sixteen visitors was given a tour of the nation by the President, First Lady, and Chief Constable.
- A change of government structure in Vikesland is being discussed, with more power planned to be transferred to King Christopher to enable more efficient governance.
- Between 11 and 13 April, the former Queen Astrid of Zealandia (also known as Anna Lindstrom) launched a self-coup against her own government, replacing the monarchy with a communist state council of which she is now chairwoman as Charlotte Lindstrom. Known for its instability, Zealandia’s latest revolution has been criticised by other governments. Diplomatic negotiations to update the treaty between Austenasia and Zealandia concerning New South Scotland – of which the monarch of Zealandia was made ex officio governing commissioner – are currently underway.
As his final fortnight of exile comes to an end, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor has announced local elections for four of the Empire’s ten towns: Thanasia, Palasia, New Richmond and Harenfall.
The local election will take place on 28 May next month. Those eligible, between the 7th and 14th of May, may stand to be elected their town’s Representative.
Since 8 April, Emperor Jonathan I has been in exile from Austenasia, voluntarily serving out a recommended sentence given after the outcome of a trial he arranged after pledging to have the legality of actions he committed while still Crown Prince against Esmond III examined by a court.
The Emperor was sentenced to three fortnights of exile, the timing of which would be at his discretion. This final fortnight of exile was served primarily at the Austenasian Embassy to the United Kingdom in Roehampton.
In one of the amendments to the Constitution passed last year, local elections can now take place in one or some towns instead of all at once. This is the first time since then that such has taken place.
Although the Emperor’s self-imposed exile is now at an end, he will spend six days with his unmarried partner Princess Consort Hannah at her university accomodation in the British city of Chester before travelling back to Wrythe. He will arrive back at Carshalton station on the evening of Thursday 28th.
Yesterday evening, a quorum was held by the Grand Unified Micronational for the first time since June last year.
For the past ten months, the Grand Unified Micronational (GUM) has functioned as a formal chatroom for heads of state, politicians and diplomats, having been reformed from an increasingly dormant international organisation.
Yesterday, however, Emperor Jonathan I and Lord Kit McCarthy raised the prospect of having the GUM return to being an international organisation for small nations.
With overwhelming support from the chatroom’s members, the Emperor – who is the current Chair of the GUM – called together a quorum, a meeting of delegates which was used to pass motions when the GUM was an organisation.
The members of the chatroom passed a motion agreeing to begin work on drafting a new reformed charter for a restructured GUM, which would learn from the mistakes of the past. Although several microstates and micronations were represented in the quorum, it was agreed that none would be considered member states of a revived GUM organisation until after the new charter was passed.
Although international organisations have recently become increasingly unpopular in the diplomatic community of small nations, there is support for a reformed GUM from a wide range of those in the MicroWiki community, for which the GUM functioned practically as a United Nations equivalent for much of 2009 and 2010.
It is hoped that the restoration of the GUM to an international organisation will help to improve ties between the older and newer members of the MicroWiki community, who are increasingly forming two separate factions according to many observers.
Lord Kit McCarthy is Baron and Governor of the newly annexed Austenasian territory of Amerdansk, and last year founded the RadioMicro media group and the micronation of Mcarthia (his house in Scotland). He is known for his public criticism of Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy – most recently supporting concerns raised over the Prime Minister’s mandate – and is a prominent figure amongst the newer members of the MicroWiki community. The Austenasian Times has conducted an interview with Lord McCarthy:
Tell us a bit about Amerdansk. What’s it like; what interesting features does it have?
Amerdansk is a patch of land next to Mcarthia’s east border, sitting directly north of Government House – indeed, the President’s Office overlooks it. Mcarthia’s two free range chickens are frequently seen there, along with Mcarthia’s two cats.
The land is accessed by a short narrow path through a wooden frame with various plants growing over it.
Much of the territory is actually covered in thick moss, which in summer gets extremely warm. In fact, two years ago, it got so that residents could see a little steam coming off!
Why did you decide to offer Amerdansk to the Empire?
Mcarthia greatly respects the Empire’s position as a community leader, and on our first anniversary we wished to make something of a contribution. Therefore, the Mcarthian Parliament unanimously agreed to cede the land of Amerdansk to the Empire.
We also hoped that after the – ahem – ‘Austenasian Election Affair,’ relations could be improved between the two nations.
There have in the past been tensions between yourself and the Prime Minister, Lord Admiral Kennedy. Can you see this being a problem for your position in the Empire?
I would be lying if I said I approved of all the Prime Minister’s actions, and that is common knowledge. At times, I have found the Prime Minister to be offensive, and believe that some of his actions have been inappropriate for someone of his position.
However, he has been democratically elected, and no matter what issues I may have with him, if the electorate trusts him, I will of course support his position.
I have no desire to fight further, and hope that we can respect each other – accepting, but not dwelling on past events. So long as he is also prepared to accept that, I hope there will not be any further problems between us.
You’ve recently advocated for the Grand Unified Micronational to return to being a full-blown intergovernmental organisation. Could you tell us a bit about your reasons for this, and what you think it would take to be a success?
The GUM was fairly undeniably the most successful of all the micronational organisations, even considering its eventual demise. I have been discussing with a senior member of the community the possibility of the GUM once again becoming active in its previous style.
The community, I have long believed, needs some kind of focal point. Even disasters such as the MNTO brought the community together, and created activity (even if it wasn’t always the activity we wanted…). Despite their bad name, organisations are a good way of encouraging participation in the community, and helping us stay attractive to new and younger members.
I think that with genuine careful planning, and the support of major micronations, the GUM has a hope of becoming a ‘real’ organisation.
It is an unfortunate fact that most, if not all, organised micronational activity does not last forever. I suppose the essential reason for this is that micronationalism is for many a hobby, and is not essential to people’s lives. So what if an organisation collapses? However, this puts many off founding organisations.
We have to accept that there is perfectly good chance that the GUM would not survive again. However, I don’t think this should put us off. If it doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world. It’ll have given us all something to do!
Any efforts however would face a dilemma – the GUM survived while it did primarily because it was full of extremely experienced, respected nations. However, in my discussions with others, it is clear that many would see a new GUM primarily as a project for newer nations. Concerns have been raised that younger micronationalists have no role model, if you will. People see a need, and I think I agree, for an organisation that would mentor MicroWiki’s younger members, and give them valuable political and professional experience.
But then, there is a problem. If an organisation is focused towards younger nations, many of the more experienced nations might not be so interested in joining. And if we don’t have the experienced members, long term success would prove much harder. A very careful balance would need to be struck.
Absolutely meticulous planning would be required, probably months’ worth, and all of the essential technical and legal infrastructure would have to be in place before the organisation began again. One of the major problems the Nollandish Confederacy suffered was a lack of this. All our activities revolved around self-management because the system wasn’t effectively working when the organisation began. Work was divided into two categories – elections (taking 80-90% of our time), and attempting to pass legislation relating to governance and management. We were inflated by unimaginable amounts of bureaucracy.
What should be happening ideally is that the members of an organisation shouldn’t have to bother with this. Administration should, as much as possible, be taken care of behind the scenes.
We couldn’t afford this in a new organisation. Elections would have to take less than no time, and the Constitution should mean that self-governing legislation shouldn’t be necessary. A new organisation would have to hit the ground running.
What happened with the Confederacy was that a complete lack of anything useful being done meant that no one bothered to even vote on all the pointless legislation. No one cared. What others and myself were trying to do later in the Confederacy’s life was introduce some kind of projects – there was a guide for new micronationalists, for instance, or a Confederal games. It was too late.
A new organisation would have to be kept simple. A simple electoral system would be a key example. I have found that organisation designers are somewhat in awe of very complicated electoral systems that might produce a decent result but are absolutely impossible to run. They were the death of the Confederacy, I am fairly sure.
So then, to sum up (and I apologise for a very long answer): a new organisation would have to have confidence, experienced members, a very wide support base, a balance between providing for experienced members and younger members, extremely careful planning, a pre-prepared infrastructure, and a simple governance system. Heaven knows that’s not all, but it’s a start, and if we can get that, I think we’d have a decent chance.
Thank you for your time.
His Imperial Majesty the Emperor, in his capacity as Home Secretary, has published an updated version of the Austenasian criminal code.
The criminal code, which can be read here, is an updated version of one published in July 2013.
The definitions of those actions considered crimes under Austenasian law are spread over many separate Acts of Parliament and Imperial Decrees. The criminal code lists the crimes by category in a single document, together with commentary by the Emperor.
The previous code had become outdated, with new offences having since been created and reform having been made to legal areas such as drug laws.