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James von Puchow reports on Catalan referendum

James von Puchow reports on experiences as an accredited international visitor during the Catalan referendum on self-determination; October 1, 2017.

Following an open invitation by the Government of Catalonia – the Generalitat – for members of the international public to observe the planned self-determination referendum in Catalonia on Sunday 1 October 2017, I attended several polling stations on the day of voting across north-eastern Catalonia.

Based in the coastal town of Vilassar de Mar, I was part of a group of people from Scotland who made use of their accreditation to ensure that the vote taking place was conducted according to transparent principles whereby voters were registered, given free access to the ballot box and were not restricted in voting for one of either options available on the ballot paper.

Whilst I am able to confirm that voting took place in the dozen polling places I visited and consulted, and that there were clear contingency plans in place to prevent individuals from having more than one cast vote assigned to their Spanish ID number, I regret the police violence on the day of voting which not only resulted in several hundred voters being injured, but also prevented many others from attending their polling place to vote for fear of being hurt.

It is of course understandable that many on the day will have not turned out due to their principle opposition to the referendum being held, as the Madrid central government did conclude that this poll went against the Spanish constitution and principles of permanent unity of the autonomous communities which make up the state, I did meet voters who turned out to vote against independence – many of whom had decided to camp outside polling places with fellow residents the night before 1 October to make sure there was peaceful resistance to any attempts to shut down the referendum.

Although my sympathies for Catalan independence and a democratic consultation being held are known, my role in Catalonia during the referendum was to act impartially and allow for a vote to take place – be the final result a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to an independent Catalonia in the form of a republic.

It was upsetting however to witness the consequences and aftermath of police action, for example, in the town of Sant Julia de Ramis, where the national police had smashed open glass doors, ripped the shirts of those forming human chains, bruising and cutting those who peacefully resisted the seizing of ballot boxes and voting materials. I maintain that if the Spanish state was authentically steadfast in not recognising the result of any referendum on independence, it would have let the referendum in Catalonia take place as planned and ignore the declared result.

It should be underlined that I am most of all in favour of an accorded referendum being organised between the administrations of Barcelona and Madrid, and am highly worried that any declaration of independence based on the events of 1 October in the coming days will make any attempts of talks near impossible.

This being said, Madrid and the conservative Spanish government appear unwilling to allow any consultation, and the Generalitat is clear in its demands for questions of Catalan independence to be addressed. A current stalemate is not healthy for what I hope to be a modern European democracy, and it is highly unfortunate that any actions by either administration from now on will prevent all voices in Catalonia being heard – be they for independence, federalist, or, in support of continued unity within Spain.

I urge the Austenasian Government to watch events closely as either the birth of a new European nation or a crackdown on the pro-Catalan independence movement forms the narrative of this chapter in the history of Catalonia. Questions regarding Catalans’ rights to self-determination, their right to vote and right to express themselves are not just questions to be addressed within the confines of the Spanish constitution as these are rights we all have as citizens of the modern world. It is ultimately heartbreaking to have watched scenes of extremist pro-Spanish protestors in Barcelona use fascist salutes in defiance of this referendum – as police stand by doing nothing – yet at the same time witness members of the public be attacked in broad daylight for simply holding a ballot paper.

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MicroWorld Newsbites – February 2017

FLORENIA

  • On 9 February, Florenia expanded for the first time in its nearly six-year history. King Eran I annexed his personal residence – which until now had been in the United States of America – as the Dominion of Lexington. Afula, which prior to this was Florenia’s only land claim, remains the nation’s capital.

LANDASHIR

  • On 10 February, James von Puchow as Chief Minister of Landashir released a declaration ceding Landashir’s final land claim – a residential property now in the UK – and having it assume the status of a non-territorial nation as opposed to a nation-state. From now on, Landashir’s government “shall operate as a general council of all registered Landashir’n nationals.”

MOLOSSIA

  • On 12 February, the Molossian Navy conducted a weapons test, successfully launching two rockets from a newly acquired RC1 Rocket Cannon.

WILDFLOWER MEADOWS

  • Princess Hannah celebrated her 21st birthday on 27 February with a meal and drinks out with her fiancé Emperor Jonathan I and several friends from the University of Chester.

ZEALANDIA/USKOR

  • Zealandia, while well-known for its frequent changes of governmental system, has always retained its actual name; that is, until now. The country has changed its name to Uskor after the results of a referendum were announced on 24 February. Charlotte Lindstrom, founder of the nation and its paramount leader throughout its history, was sworn in as Chairwoman of Uskor on 27 February.

Joint Austenasian-Landashir’n Scotland Office opened

10 January 2015 1 comment

Logo of the Scotland Office.

The Scotland Office has been founded in Edinburgh by Deputy Chief Ambassador Sir James von Puchow.

It will function as a “centre of official communication and diplomatic affairs” and be jointly administered by the Austenasian Foreign Office and the government of von Puchow’s home nation of Landashir, the latter of which will officially host it.

The Scotland Office, which was officially established on Monday 5th after the idea was first raised several months ago, is also the consular office of the Empire in Scotland, with von Puchow yesterday appointed Austenasian Consul-General in Scotland by Chief Ambassador Countess Eritoshi.

It is hoped that the Scotland Office will be used for hosting summits and meetings between national leaders, with several members of the MicroWiki diplomatic community studying at the nearby Edinburgh University or planning to soon do so.

Evren Filgert meets Landashir’ns in Falmouth

Falmouth, Cornwall, UK

Lady Evren Filgert, Representative of Porthbokon, yesterday met with Sir James von Puchow – Deputy Chief Ambassador and de facto leader of Landashir – and members of his family in the Cornish town of Falmouth.

Filgert and von Puchow both met in the Main Street of the coastal town of Falmouth and visited a few antiques and second hand book shops before getting some drinks and discussing topics including the new Landashir website and plans for a new Austenasian Foreign Affairs office in Edinburgh.

They then decided to visit the nearby Prince of Wales Pier to admire the views of the harbour, chancing upon von Puchow’s parents and sister as well. Filgert thereby met with four fifths of the Landashir’n population.

Von Puchow has been on holiday in Cornwall with his family since the start of the week.

James von Puchow returns from trip to Andorra and Catalonia

James von Puchow underneath the Andorran flag flying from the Principality’s old parliament building, La Casa de la Vall.

Sir James von Puchow – Deputy Chief Ambassador – has returned from a two-week long trip to the Principality of Andorra and to the nearby Spanish city of Girona in Catalonia. Earlier this evening, he delivered this report to the Emperor and other members of the government:

It is my intention to report to His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor, his Government and the People of this Empire and associated lands on my experience in the Principality of Andorra and the city of Girona which is politically within the Kingdom of Spain, but at the forefront of the cause for independence of Catalonia – itself, culturally and linguistically, a separate nation. It should be at the pleasure of His Imperial Majesty that I have enjoyed two weeks this month in these territories in order to improve my knowledge of the Catalan language which is spoken there and to gain a deeper understanding of the government and current social attitudes.

Stress, first and foremost, should be placed on the reality of how different the Catalan Countries, or ‘els Països Catalans’ are from the culture of mainstream Spain. Both Andorra and Catalonia have existed before the establishment of the current Spanish state, sharing a unique Romance language spoken from coast to mountain.

My time in Andorra has illustrated the efficacy of the transition the state had taken since establishing itself as a constitutional co-principality in the early 1990s. Through guided visits to the ancient parliament, La Casa de la Vall (The House of the Valley) and the newly constructed building which belongs to Andorra’s unicameral parliament, the ‘Consell General’, it became evident that the focus on government established from the local level and the present system of universal suffrage made this small nation as modern as most European states. Furthermore, the investment of public funds into a wide infrastructure of facilities to provide Andorran citizens and residents with opportunities to divulge into cultural activities and sport, without doubt, highlight this state’s focus on the wellbeing of its people as a means to maintain activity within the country. Naturally, the unemployment rate is extremely low and the rates of salary beat many of those in other nearby countries. The natural beauty of this territory and its upkeep also make this country unique; I can assure His Imperial Majesty that the size of this country does not pose limits on its ability to be like modern European nations. Of course, as a landlocked country, it still purchases electricity and gas from nearby countries, but Andorra is not unique in this aspect. I highly recommend that the Emperor visit this country in the future to expose himself to the detail of structure of this nation.

I ask His Imperial Majesty to divert also his attention to the activity within Catalonia, currently an autonomous region of the Kingdom of Spain, but historically a nation and proud centre of historical activity with in western Europe. Varied conversations and discourse with the workers and residents of Girona have only cemented my own personal view that this territory should be granted the legal means to conduct a referendum on independence, as the central government of the Kingdom of Spain, lead by the conservative one-state ‘Popular Party’, wishes not only to refuse Catalans this right, but also to enforce policies which would reverse popular laws on autonomy and the territory’s ability to run its own services and agencies without the political interference of the rest of Spain. As much as I expect His Imperial Majesty’s Government to officially remain impartial on this issue, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all to research the current political situation in this part of the Iberian Peninsula in order that they may understand the history and potential of Catalonia. I am proud that I have been able to converse with the people who live there and I stand by the fact that in my own personal capacity, having attended lectures at the University of Girona and witnessed spectacles of this vibrant culture, I am an ambassador for these people, their language and their way of life.

Thus, I invite all who read this, and His Imperial Majesty most of all, to meet with me to discuss further my time in these territories, to look at the photos I have taken from my visit and to investigate these two different parts of the world.

With best wishes for our Empire and her People, and greetings to the Monarch,

James von Puchow
Sycamore Booker, Community of Landashir
30th July 2014

Lady Evren Filgert and Sir James von Puchow visit Carshalton

The Emperor, Lady Evren and Sir James pose with the national flag in Parliament Hall, Wrythe.

His Imperial Majesty the Emperor yesterday gave Lady Evren Filgert and Sir James von Puchow a guided tour of the Carshalton Nations.

Emperor Jonathan I met Filgert – currently Acting Representative of the newly annexed Town of Porthbokon – at Mile End in London, where they were then joined by von Puchow of Landashir, who became a non-residential subject of Austenasia last month.

The three travelled by train to Carshalton station, and walked the short distance to Orly, where they were given a tour by the Emperor of its constituent states Copan and the Grove and their respective capitals of Memphis and the Secluded Place. The Emperor spoke at length about the history of Orly, mentioning the recent floods, its liberation from foreign rule, and the strange discovery of a turkey carcass in the Grove one and a half years ago.

After the tour of Orly, the three of them went to Carshalton High Street and had lunch at a café there. The tour then continued, with Filgert and von Puchow being shown the former site of Rushymia and the Midget Empire from the vantage point of the neighbouring recreation ground.

The final point of the tour was the capital itself, Wrythe. The two guests briefly met Crown Princess Caroline and pet bullmastiff Edd, and were then shown Wrythe Pet Cemetery and the ruins of the Orange Pyramid in Wrythe Public Park.

The tour of the Carshalton Nations over, the three went back into London. After von Puchow left for Landashir, the Emperor explored Mile End with Lady Evren until it was time for them to depart.

 

 

 

 

James von Puchow made Austenasian subject at summit in London

The Emperor and von Puchow shake hands in Mile End Park after the latter becomes an Austenasian national.

James von Puchow, founder of Landashir and long-time friend of the Empire, became an Austenasian national earlier today at a summit held in central London.

Emperor Jonathan I met at Mile End with von Puchow and with Richard Cunningham (a former holder of the offices of GUM Chair and Pope of the Proto-Cults), to be joined later by Sebastian Linden of Francisville. Pierre d’Égtavie of Renasia had intended to attend the meeting, as had Evren Filgert of the recently founded Austenasian town of Porthbokon, but both had to cancel.

The Emperor, von Puchow and Cunningham visited the Tower of London and the British Museum before going back to Mile End to meet Sebastian Linden and his significant other. After refreshments, the group went to Mile End Park, where von Puchow was made an Austenasian national by the Emperor under the provisions of an Act of Parliament last week.

Von Puchow now holds the status of a non-residential subject, and will soon be appointed Deputy Chief Ambassador to share the workload of the current Chief Ambassador, the Prime Minister Countess Eritoshi.