Poll

Which two parties would you most like to see in the final round?

Green Arda
5 (25%)
MACHO (Minor Ancillary Character Hagiography Organisation)
4 (20%)
MEAD (Middle Earth Alliance for Democracy)
4 (20%)
SSS - Shiny Shirt Society
3 (15%)
The White Tree Alliance
4 (20%)

Total Members Voted: 12

Voting closed: April 08, 2015, 12:30:24 AM

Author Topic: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!  (Read 6531 times)

Jubal

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Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« on: April 01, 2015, 12:28:37 AM »
Welcome to the hustings round!

Five parties successfully filed their nomination papers, and now their candidates will enter into a primary debate to test their support levels for the great election that lies ahead!

THE RULES
- There will be a poll at the top of this thread which will form a basic straw poll of the candidates.
- You may vote for two candidates who you think most ought to go through to the main election.
- You CAN change your vote at any point within the next week.
- Candidates are permitted to vote in this straw poll (they won't be able to for the main election).
- You can (and should, as that's the point) ask initial questions of the candidates. Candidates, you can also ask questions of one another and argue to your hearts' content! This round, perhaps go for relatively basic and nonspecific questions: in the main campaign you'll want to be honing in much more on what your constituencies need, this round is mostly to pull out people's basic platforms.
- Ballot access is granted as follows: 15%+ gives full ballot access, 5-15% gives partial access (so the party may stand in one region or five selected constituencies), less than that and they're out of the race.

THE CONTESTANTS
Green Arda Party (Eowyn)
Minor Ancillary Character Hagiography Organisation (MACHO) Party (Elladan/Elrohir)
Middle Earth Alliance for Democracy (MEAD) (Alatar & Pallando)
SSS - Shiny Shirt Society (Shagrat)
White Tree Alliance (Imrahil of Dol Amroth)

Without further ado: let the HUSTINGS BEGIN!
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 09:06:12 PM by Jubal »
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Jubal

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Re: Middle Earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 12:31:32 AM »
As a PS: those of us who are Exilian staff can see the poll results, I can't turn that off. I will endeavour to come down like a ton of bricks on anyone who reveals the results prematurely. Please respect the electoral process!
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Tar-Palantir

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Re: MiJuballe Earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 05:29:04 PM »
So, I shall endeavour to kick this off by perhaps expanding on what MACHO will be fighting for:

Given the continual warfare for the last 6500-odd years in Middle-earth under the domination of the monarchical elites, MACHO believe that the hitherto-neglected fringe groups should be given the opportunity to finally form a government and govern in the interest of the common man/orc/Ent/elf/dwarf. As such, we propose to establish an overarching bicameral Middle-earth Parliament, with a lower chamber elected by proportional representation (most likely through STV) and an upper chamber where each race would be equally represented, with half the members directly elected by voters and half appointed by the President, who would fulfil a largely-ceremonial role, with most executive power belonging to the Prime Minister, chosen by the lower chamber. Terms for all members and the President and PM would be 5 years. Powers will be devolved to the regions, as we think they'll be able to provide better governance than a distant elite.

MACHO generally favour a Scandinavian-style social democracy, with a strong and progressive tax regime and an effective redistributive state to ensure those most able to pay do, and that neglected minorities receive some redress for their historical oppression. We would set up a free-at-the-point-of-use universal health service and institute a strong and fair package of benefits.

As a corollary to this and being led by a dynamic Elvish duo, MACHO are also strongly-concerned with the environment. We would re-forest the Brown Lands to create a pan-Middle-earth national remembrance forest to provide a leisure facility open to all and commemorate the dead of all races from the millennia of conflict. Significant environmental improvements would also be completed in Mordor. There would be a presumption against uncontrolled large-scale industrial development, but regions could choose to develop industries if they wished, and there would be central grants to ensure development fitted in with local styles and to minimise its environmental impacts.

We would also seek to reach out to our neighbours, such as Harad and Khand, to initiate peaceful relations and help develop long-distance trade, providing a welcome boost to hitherto-marginalised border populations around the edge of the map.

I think I'll stop at this point, before it gets too long, as I think that's the main policy bases covered. Don't want to get into excessive detail at this stage....
Definitely not Ar-Pharazôn.

Jubal

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Re: Middle Earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2015, 08:16:50 PM »
Right, MEAD opening statement.

We believe that in politics, across Middle-Earth, what people are crying out for is individual freedom and a chance to get the help they need to get their lives prosperous again. It's simply not right that for millennia, most ordinary gentlehobbits, Dwarf miners, Dorwinian winemakers, and many other folks across Middle-Earth have been quaking in fear of the social and economic powers of both the state and large landowners. We pledge to get the state out of your private affairs, to end the needless imposition of social taboos, and to create a fair government system that everyone can take part in.

To that end, a MEAD government would ensure that small producers remain at the heart of our economy, by pledging to not impose sales taxes on direct producers under a certain size, and to end the levying of tolls on the roads that have held back trade (especially into Eriador). We will implement equal marriage legislation, so that any pair of consenting sentient adults, regardless of species or gender, can tie the knot. We will support women in their struggle for equality in Middle-Earth; no more should they be relegated to swooning over heroes, and as such we will legislate to stop anyone discriminating by gender and race either in hiring or service.

Of course, we accept the need for some government activity - but we feel it should be at arm's length where possible and not directly controlled by an overbearing central authority. Our programmes will primarily be funded by wealth taxation on large estates and second homes, by local authorities directly generating revenue via some profitable enterprises, and by our innovative microfinance programmes, where we will both regenerate deprived areas and give the state a more solid tax base via low-interest loans to help kick-start the economy there. We want to provide government support to build community based safety-nets for the worst off, and to help fund local areas in starting networks of community-built healthcare services that are receptive to local need. Most of all, though, we pledge to be the party of education; as Wizards, our leader and deputy leader understand the importance of wisdom, and as such we will address Middle-Earth's terrible lack of basic schools, effective library facilities, and higher education centres.

A MEAD vote will be a vote to keep the government off people's backs and get it supporting them in what they want to do; and giving people and communities the skills, support, and freedom they need to get on in life!
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Tar-Meneldur

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Re: Middle Earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2015, 10:41:29 PM »
Right, an opening from the WTA. Given the necessarily polemic nature of our brief initial statement, I shall here attempt rather to explain the reasoning behind our beliefs on an intellectual level wherever possible rather than simply stating them. Our initial statement was intended to, in a few paragraphs, gain the votes of those we thought were most likely to come to us, a mostly Gondorian loyalist population, as well as those at the right disenchanted by the other parties present, drawing them to our centrist position relative to the other left-wing parties. That statement necessarily gave a one-sided view of our policies. Here, in this longer and more considered piece, I am utterly open. I take the opportunity to appeal not to the anger of the disgruntled, but to the intelligence of the informed reader, in the hope that my belief in the fundamental goodness of all races is not misplaced.

Core beliefs
The Alliance's core item on our manifesto is, of course, in the hereditary monarchichal system's suitability for continuing, at least for now, as the primary system of government for Middle-Earth, at least on a large scale. From a wider viewpoint, our goal is to create a morally sound, fair and prosperous society for the citizens of Middle-Earth, and of this our support for monarchy is simply one aspect.

We are not moral relativists. The WTA, as far as meta-ethics goes, believes in the existence of objective morality, that there is a single correct moral analysis of every scenario, although it is often difficult for we people to see that moral truth. We hold that the primary responsibility of a government is to make the morally right decisions. While many alternative ideas, such as democracy, show great promise, we are unwilling to trust our entire society to utterly untested political systems. We advise caution. We advise that when dealing with something as important as the society in which we live, we should move tentatively, with small-scale trials and with significant research and inquiry, exploring all the options. This is especially true when, as now, the status quo is not entirely awful. There may be a need for swift action, and this would be the case under, say an oppressive dictatorship. But it is not the case now. The tragically brief reign of King Elessar showed us prosperity, fairness and justice to an extent unseen for a millenium, and we believe that it is by building on his work that we can make the most effective progress with the least risk of disaster. Middle-Earth has just begun its recovery from the devastation of the War, and to throw ourselves decisively into immediate drastic action would be gravely irresponsible at such a time.

In short, don't be hasty.

On Democracy and Monarchy (with a bit more Core Beliefs)
We acknowledge the theoretical advantages of a democracy - it fulfils the criterion that the responsibility of government is to make the morally correct decisions, if we assume that the morals of the people are likely to be a good approximation to true morality, and that this will result in a democracy making the correct decisions. Believing as we do in the fundamental redeemability of all peoples of Arda, at least the first assumption seems probable.

However, democracy is an almost entirely untested system. While its use in the Shire has been effective, we do not belive that there is anywhere near sufficient evidence of its efficacy and stability to allow us to endorse its introduction in Middle-Earth at all. Its hasty adoption would go entirely against our doctrine of caution as outlined above.

The WTA would like to investigate democracy, and suggests that we begin a comprehensive program of research, headed by our most distinguished loremasters. We would like to move several local authorities to a representative democratic system, encouraging on a small scale the transfer, in these few test regions, of powers from the monarchy to elected councils. Evaluating the results of democracy across various cultures will enable us to make an informed decision as to whether it could work in Middle-Earth as a whole. We would also welcome suggestions of other possible systems of government, to undergo similar trials.

Giving the people the power to bloodlessly oust poor leaders is a phenomenal advantage of democracy. Its potential for long-term stability, we admit, looks like it could be superior to that of hereditary monarchy. We acknowledge history's example of the countless noble dynasties that fell to desire, greed, pride, and petty squabbling. However, consider history's example of the timescales over which this occurs. Númenor's ruling Kings were exemplary for a thousand years before greed began to sow its seeds. The line of Anárion in Gondor suffered only gradual decline for a similar period. Even among the shorter-lived races, it is clear that it takes at least a few generations for evil to sow its seeds in a noble line of kings and queens. But consider the timescales over which we could cautiously experiment with forms of government, with policies. A comprehensive evaluation of democracy (or something else) could easily be carried out within a century - far within the time we are allowed before the risk of monarchy wavering looms.


In short, in this as in all other matters, we do not advocate mindless conservatism, but rather caution, caution when dealing with the society that is dear to us. To achieve greatness enduring without falling into darkness, we must be open-minded whilst remaining tentative, rational while remaining compassionate. Only then may we progress without losing what is dearest to us.


On more specific policies
Here we step down a level. Here we stop talking about how decisions should be made and start talking about deciding. Everything I say hereon is the WTA's opinion on what we currently think is a good idea to implement in Society. In line with our core beliefs, every recommendation that we cite below should be taken as our current idea of what might be a good plan. Our party would consider every major step, probably conducting small-scale trials of all the alternative, taking advice from cross-social opinion polls, from both Houses of our proposed parliament, from the King's councillors. Getting to the point, our non-core policies are mutable. If they don't seem a good idea, we'll change them. If there's a lot of criticism, we'll take that into consideration, always erring on the side of caution. With that little caveat out of the way, here we go:

The WTA believes in a society where no citizen is in poverty, where everyone has a chance to succeed, where everyone is guaranteed a minimum standard of life, where one's start in life, one's race, one's beliefs, have no effect on what one may achieve; but also a society where talent, intelligence, and hard work are rewarded, where people may make of themselves what they will. A society where sanctions for rulebreaking are given not to personally punish or to chastise, not to morally condemn, but rather to to rehabilitate and to protect society from personal actions that are dangerous to it. A society that is unafraid to use its resources while managing them sustainably and with due consideration. A society where people may back to their ancestors with pride, benefitting from their knowledge and sacrifice without meaninglessly repeating their actions. A society where knowledge informs action. A society that for guidance looks neither upwards nor backwards, but outwards. A society where moderation is our adviser without being our captor.

The more specific policies themselves

Economy, commerce, welfare, and public services
The markets are neither a blessing nor a curse. They are forces and effects. Any view that places "the markets" anywhere on a good-evil axis is undoubtedly making a rushed and uninformed decision. The WTA sees the remarkable power of money to enable an ensemble of people acting selfishly to benefit the prosperity of all. We also see the power of money to grossly neglect some while propelling others. The markets are phenomenally efficient as a tool for assigning resources where they are required: they co-ordinate needs and wants with supplies and resources with far more efficact than could any co-ordinator. Yet their merciless cycles can fling many into the depths of poverty.

The WTA therefore seeks to regulate what must be regulated for the good of the people and for society as a whole, while leaving free what can be left free, and removing restrictions where restrictions are unnecessary. Aspects of this include creating an unconditional monteary allowance for all citizens, large enough to allow an acceptable, while not luxurious, life. We propose universal healthcare free at the point of use, and universal free education to the end of childhood for all, and further for the brightest. The simplicity of these policies will reduce bureaucratic cost compared to the complexity of means-testing &c. A moderate armed force will be maintained as a cautious measure due to the youth of this period of peace, and police and firefighting services will be created where possible. Through these policies, everyone will have access to clean water, to a warm room to live in, to the food they need, to education, to healthcare and to a safe society.

We will not impose any kind of minimum wage, as the personal allowance means that the lowest wage is high enough. However, the allowance's existance will increase wages by forcing employers to pay enough that employees' marginal gain in living standards in getting a job is worth the extra effort, as a job will no longer be a requirement of survival. The need for workers should drive the labour cost high enough to ensure that a large majority choose to work.

Public services will be funded by progressive income taxation. The taxation will be present from zero income, again because of the personal allowance, but will be low enough at low incomes to ensure people have good incentive to work. It will be higher at high incomes to be fair, but remain low enough to encourage increased wealth. The decision on whether the provision of public services is better achieved by awarding contracts to the private sector or by nationalised efforts will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. As always, we intend to in the name of efficiency leave to the free market what we can, while restricting what could be damaging. At the moment, we intend to award contracts for building and maintaining infrastructure to the private sector while maintaining public ownership of the infrastructure itself. We will adopt a mixed approach to healthcare, but we will run education, policing and the military on a nationalised basis.

We will attempt to remove barriers to free trade and improve infrastructure to allow strong commerce to develop in Middle-Earth. We will be removing Middle-Earth from the gold standard and establishing a central bank to control the supply of money, allowing for a more stable economy. We will use the current period of prosperity in the wake of the War's ending to save money in a central wealth fund, to be used to ride out economic slumps in the future without accruing large national debts.

Middle-Earth's economy badly needs modernising. While Mordor and Isengard embraced industry, the rest of the continent has remained a dominantly agricultural economy. Subsidies will be introduced for land reform and for innovation as well as for exploration far afield to open new markets to commerce. We will also invest significant resources in research into more efficient methods of manufacturing, mining, and farming.

Nobility
The WTA recommends the maintenance of the nobility as a historical institution, to be used to honour the most prominent and accomplished members of our society. The hereditary nature of existing noble titles will be maintained, although no special privileges of monetary inheritance will be permitted, meaning that only well-managed estates will survive. New noble titles, however, will be created for life only. The King will bestow such honours on the advice of his councillors, giving them to the great in our society, for great accomplishment within a profession, especially for those in academia, in law, in politics, and in the military. Also considered will be great work for charity, otherwise greatly serving the nation through political, or economic efforts or anything else.

Legislature and Judiciary
A bicameral central parliament will be established in Minas Tirith, our capital, where appointed nobility in the upper house and elected commoners in the lower house may legislate while advising the King on matters of State. The King will appoint ministers to his Cabinet, whom Parliament will have the power to dismiss with a large majority, as well as giving assent to legislation (and withholding it where necessary). A hierarchy of criminal and civil courts will be created, preserving where possible the heterogeneous systems currently in existence. The judiciary will exist in concert with central and local legislatures. While large-scale decisions must be centrally made to ensure fairness across our realms and to ensure the stability of our shared economy, power will be devolved to local government wherever possible. A written legal consititution will be eschewed in favour of a non-binding statement of purpose for society, in order to better prevent its misinterpretation, and to reduce the power of the judiciary to interfere with the legislature.

Equality
Matters of equality will be treated seriously. A combination of regulation and economic incentives will be used to ensure an egalitarian society for all. Examples of our policies in equalities include forcing all new commercial builds to allow sufficient doorway and ceiling heights to admit all races entry, from hobbits to Men and Elves, with an additional requirement to allow sufficient height for Ents and Trolls if the representatives of those races in local government request it. While the personal allowance will cover maternity pay, the State will (as well as requiring employers to grant maternity leave), grant an allowance to employers of mothers to offset the administrative costs of finding replacements. Equalities officers of all races will be recruited to act as inspectors at all levels of society, ensuring fair access to all insititutions regardless of race.

Environment
While our current civilisation has little environmental impact due to our sparse population, the environment has the potential to become a very serious issue. The need to limit barriers to industry and commerce must be balanced by the need to protect our environment and responsibly manage our resources, which, like equality, will be accomplished by an informed combination of regulation and economic incentives.

Culture
Local governments' budgets will include allowance for cultural spending, such as museums, arts funding, cultural centres, protection of minority languages etc.

--

We encourage citizens to vote White Tree for a fair, prosperous, and above all, sensible society. Hopefully I haven't bored anyone with this somewhat-lengthier-than-intended manifesto. Don't be hasty, vote White Tree for moderation and good sense!.

Tar-Palantir

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2015, 06:20:53 PM »
MACHO would like to ask two questions:

Directed at MEAD: Are you proposing to devolve all powers to the regions? What will be kept at the centre? Surely, a united foreign and fiscal policy should be maintained to avoid the raising of private armies and internecine trade wars?

Directed at the WTA: We would disagree with the WTA's fundamental assertion that monarchy has been historically good for Middle-earth. Fëanor, the first High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth, is perhaps the greatest criminal in recorded history, his rash actions being ultimately responsible for the deaths of countless Noldor, Teleri, Men, Orcs, Dwarves, Trolls and other races. Whilst Númenor may have had a thousand years of sensible monarchy, it had at least as long, if not longer, of evil kings who oppressed the peoples of Middle-earth and ultimately turned to worshipping the Darkness. Isildur, one of the founding fathers of Gondor and Arnor, single-handedly created the conditions for the ongoing warfare of the Third Age, culminating in the War of the Ring, by not destroying the Ring when he had a chance. We should know - our Dad (who, despite being able to, never claimed the kingship of the Noldor or any other group or region) was there and told him to do the right thing. An institution responsible for these actions does not deserve preservation or special treatment in our opinion.

MAke a CHOice. Choose MACHO.
Definitely not Ar-Pharazôn.

Jubal

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2015, 07:33:17 PM »
Clearly some things should be maintained at a federal level. We believe that broadly speaking federal powers should be limited as much as possible, however.

  • We would keep a united foreign policy.
  • Trade wars would be avoided via the fact that all of Middle-earth would effectively be a free trade zone.
  • As to fiscal policy, our intention is that local democratically elected councils and bodies would have the majority of control over revenue raising and spending on local medical services, education, and infrastructure. Given we have no effective reserve banking and that money will need to exist primarily in physical form, we think that centralising all taxation would be an extremely inefficient and wasteful system that risks significant levels of corruption and dragon-sickness. Instead, we want to keep money circulating in local economies, ensuring that prosperity is maintained in those areas.
  • A federal government will then ensure balance between the regions, by using some revenue powers to redistribute surplus wealth to areas of greater need, and by ensuring that certain minimum standards are upheld in devolved matters, such as requiring that effective education services must be provided free at the point of use. The federal government's strategic spending will focus on areas that are of importance to the whole system, such as placement of higher education centres or higher levels of investment to create new urban centres, rather than trying to micromanage local affairs.
  • We do not intend to create regional behemoths to replace a federal one, either. We will encourage individual local communities to set up state-subsidised, non-profit local centres for medicine and education, with wider regional councils providing different levels of financial or material support depending on the needs of those communities. All such services will be prevented from having any kind of profit motive.
  • We will maintain a small but well equipped federal armed force, with additional locally based militias, shirriff services, or police equipped and readied depending on the precise needs of those areas.

We of course agree that monarchy has done Middle-Earth little good, and counsel strongly against the centralising tendencies of our opponents. We want a decentralised economy and a decentralised society Only MEAD will put you and your community in charge; supporting you and providing compassionate additional aid where you need it, and letting you stand on your own feet where you do not.
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Tar-Meneldur

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2015, 10:26:39 PM »
In response to the criticisms of monarchy:
The WTA agrees that there have been significant historical cases of monarchical imperfection causing great suffering. We might even be persuaded that monarchy might seem to result in an inevitable slow decline of civilisation. However, we maintain that the number of historical cases of sudden failure of monarchy are few compared to the evidence for its medium-term (a few centuries) stability. Indeed, Isildur, Feanor and others were sudden failures in noble lines, but consider the monarchies of Numenor, Gondor and Arnor, all characterised by slow, stable decline on this timescale. There is irrefutable evidence that monarchy can result in milennia-long stability for a civilisation, and although we admit that monarchy is certainly imperfect, the strength of the evidence of its quality as at least acceptable is far more than there exists for the essentially untested and radical propositions of our opponents. Progress must come, but must be taken with care from a stable platform, rather than in a manner characterised by mad jumps for safety off a failing structure. As the long-term hereditary ruler of a prosperous city-state and region, as well as adviser to the late King, our leader has great knowledge and experience of statesmanship and we believe that he and his descendants shall keep Middle-Earth heading in the right direction for at least a couple of centuries to come, until we are in a more informed position to decide our (very-)long-term system of governance.

To MEAD:
How do you intend for your proposals of locally-determined fiscal policy to function when there is such great inequality of resources between the regions? Gondor and the Dwarven kingdoms will control the great majority of the money supply, and so given your free-trade ideas (which we, of course, agree with) the economic fates of lesser regions will be essentially determined by the choices, good or bad, of the powerful ones. Additionally, given the large fertile swathes of Middle-Earth that have lain uninhabited this past Age due to their so far unsafe nature, will not this modern age of peace, prosperity and policing result in large-scale migration which your decentralised powers will be essentially unable to deal with? The WTA believes that the position of such greatly decentralised power cannot result in a stable state in the current non-equilibrium political and economic climate. The grossly inhomogeneous distribution in Middle-Earth of skills and resources and the shared currency are not compatible with multiple independent legislating bodies in a free trade environment, and is likely to lead to widening inequality and instability without central intervention.

To MACHO:
Our parties seem to agree on most issues outside the constitutional, however I must ask both you and MEAD how you believe that an entirely new elected democratic government is to succeed in the short term, when we live in a world where experience and knowledge in statesmanship, and where, at least for now, education in general, reside almost entirely with the nobility?

Tar-Palantir

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2015, 09:25:25 AM »
In response to the WTA:
If all we can hope for with monarchy is centuries of slow and steady decline, should we not endeavour to try another system that might lead to long-term prosperity for all citizens of Middle-earth, instead of protecting the interests of a narrow elite whilst myriads die in pointless wars?

Whilst we agree that education has certainly been historically limited in Middle-earth, we do not think this means only the nobility are equipped to rule. We do not feel that politics requires an advanced level of formal academic achievement - members of the pan-Endor mercantile class have certainly demonstrated sufficient nous in maintaining viable businesses throughout centuries of conflict. We believe the exploits of Master Samwise, a commoner-par-excellence, demonstrate that not belonging to the nobility is no barrier to political achievement or statesmanlike abilities.

We would agree with the WTA's critique of MEAD's policies, however.

MACHO would forge a middle path between the extreme unstable decentralisation of MEAD and the reactionary nobility-led centralisation of the WTA. We feel both approaches could lead to land grabs by and, resource concentration within, local and trans-local elites. We would have a strong central government to ensure policies such as defence, health, education and tax were harmonised, and to ensure equal rights and treatment for all citizens, regardless of which region they lived in. Concomitant to this, we would not introduce unregulated markets forces immediately, as we feel this would enable exploitation by the educated elite at the expense of the previously-oppressed majority. We would take a phased approach over the next decade or so, with the ultimate end-point of a mixed economy, where vital areas involving public goods, such as health and education, remained state-controlled, but other sectors, such as industry or agriculture became largely market-driven.
At the same time, we would ensure local governments would have a degree of autonomy in allocating their funding and would be able to vary national policies within defined limits; for example, taxes could be varied within a few percentage points of the centrally-defined level.
Definitely not Ar-Pharazôn.

Jubal

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2015, 12:04:30 PM »
We absolutely reject the spurious allegation that our policies will favour elites. Indeed, it is only by our strong and progressive wealth taxation system that we will finally be able to end the hegemonic power of elites in Gondor and elsewhere, and give power back to the ordinary farmer, miner, herdsman or wine merchant. We absolutely seek a better trans-regional distribution of wealth and skills, and we do not believe that the right way to do this is to put all power in the hands of a hyper-centralised bureaucracy. We want a small, efficient central state that will push back firmly against excessive accumulations of wealth and power whilst itself not becoming that which it is there to prevent.

Whilst we advocate tarriff-free trade, we agree with MACHO that the markets are only a tool, good for some things but poor for others. That is why we advocate a local and community basis for so many things; we can thus ensure real local accountability to the people who services are being used by, and provide strong, public spirited public services. Under a MEAD government, larger business enterprises would be required to take some social responsibility too, having the local good as well as profitability amongst their core objectives. As to migration, it is clear that a centralised state would have little ability to really create any sort of effective controls on internal migration; the way to deal with it is to ensure that all areas are economically strong, and by our effective, radical wealth taxation system that is precisely what we would do.

What I believe should terrify the people of Middle-earth, in this debate, is the magnitude of power that the WTA, and to a lesser extent MACHO, are putting in the hands of the few. Whilst we agree with many of MACHO's core aims in terms of service provision, their attempt to centralise all taxation would see money sucked out of the provinces and into paying an expansive central bureaucracy; given Middle-earth's physical monetary system, this would be a grossly inefficient system. Payment would need to be made to a host of additional local and central officials simply to provide regular tax assessments and move money around to provide the same services that we want to put in place within, rather than from without, local economies. We can avoid this by focussing our federal taxation on the largest wealth owners and businesses, and keeping more local revenue raising in the areas it serves. People under the median income, and indeed somewhat above it, should not need to pay federal taxes in a system where in fact most of the wealth is concentrated at the top of society.

The WTA plan, however, is far more insidious. They seek to rebalance almost all wealth and tax from zero income via their basic income system - and they then seek to put those basic incomes in the hands of an unelected tyrant. How much fear will that instil into the hearts of the ordinary voter? The knowledge that their entire basic income exists only at the whim of a despot? The regular checks on whether they have earned any money at all from an army of tax collectors, with total reliance on handouts to keep them loyal. This is not the future I - or any of the rest of us - should want for Middle-earth, and I hope such a future will be solidly rejected by the electorate.
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Clockwork

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2015, 04:02:09 PM »
Is there anyone who doesn't have socialism at the core?
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Tar-Palantir

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2015, 04:32:14 PM »
MACHO emphatically reject MEAD's allegations concerning our tax system. Whilst the central government would set overall tax policies, we did not claim they would be responsible for collecting them. As stated, regional governments would have the power to vary tax rates within certain limits and, as such, would be responsible for collecting them. We would therefore not need a massive centralised apparatus of tax officials and would avoid the consequent economic drain.

We also reject MEAD's implication that the people of Middle-earth would be unable to move away from a physical money system towards a more representative one that would facilitate tax gathering. We feel this is a gross disservice to the collective intellect of Middle-earth's inhabitants. MACHO would advocate the modernisation of the currency system with the eventual aim of setting up an effective banking sector, including a central bank, to assist trade.

MACHO would also like to point out they first proposed left-wing policies and cannot help it if other groups saw the self-evident sense in this and rushed to the same end of the spectrum. Vote MACHO for the authentic centre-left alternative, not the thinly-disguised libertarianism of MEAD or the insidious conservatism of the WTA.
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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2015, 07:13:07 PM »
Is there anyone who doesn't have socialism at the core?
Of the three parties that are actively participating, no - but are you surprised, given Exilian's known political bias?

Looking at the other two parties, Green Arda looks pretty socialist too, though their manifesto sets out a series of very specific policies rather than setting out their principles. I'm less certain about the Shiny Shirt Society - I'm not sure what its political principles are, or indeed whether it has any beyond "what is shiny is best, especially if it belongs to you!". I guess that counts as fairly capitalist...

I would like to hear more from Green Arda and the SSS on the various issues raised in discussion so far, not least because if they don't participate at this stage they are likely to be eliminated from the candidate list.

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2015, 07:23:34 PM »
No not surprised, would have been cool to have a bit more variety.
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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2015, 07:49:42 PM »
I don't think MEAD would be considered socialist by most standards, more liberal radicals. We reject the primacy in the centre in favour of giving everyone the chance to stand on their own feet and contribute productively to their communities.

What sort of currency system do MACHO therefore propose? We of MEAD consider it of crucial importance that people have trust in their money, and we're sure the voters will want to see a detailed plan for how the state would manage such a system. The greater taxation demanded by MACHO will, for all their denials, require more regular assessments and greater bureaucracy at multiple levels than our own plans, which are based on the factually obvious premise that assessing local needs is best done by town and city leadership rather than regional or federal officials. It seems to fall to us also to point out the entirely baseless idea that MACHO was first to propose the political points on which we agree; in the original party submission papers MEAD had already laid down their platform as in favour of regional development and small business, whereas MACHO made an entirely policy-free submission and jumped on the regionalism bandwagon only when this hustings started!


Out of character point to Rob: yeah, had I known, I would have worked something out a bit more different: I'd assumed from the initial platforms that WTA was going to be much much more centre-right, MACHO kind of centrist, and so I worked my platform out to be radical social-liberalism since the last one of these I did I argued on devil's advocate totally and wanted to actually be able to argue for my own politics for once... I've tweaked it a bit to be a bit more liberal radical/devolved so as to not tread on TP's stuff too much, but I guess I didn't want to totally jettison what I'd put together thus far. Sorry about that, I should've worked it out better. :/
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