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 7086 times)

Tar-Palantir

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2015, 11:15:36 PM »
MACHO feel that leaving all tax assessment up to local officials would leave the system too open to corruption and co-option by local elites, hence the need for some degree of regional/central oversight. We also feel that, seeing as we started the hustings bandwagon, we can hardly be accused of jumping on it. We understood the opening papers were to be a very short précis of our central aim, which, as stated, was to improve representation for marginalised groups. We did not wish to overcomplicate things at such an early stage.

As regards our proposed currency system, as stated, we would initially maintain the existing physical currency system before moving to encourage the development of a banking sector and the consequent introduction of paper money and credit facilities to enhance trade. We would, as part of this, also aim to move the whole of Middle-earth to a single currency. We propose that this currency would be managed by a central bank and be based on some sort of physical standard, which would be decided in advance by a commission of experts. Not knowing the exact rarity of different resources in different parts of Middle-earth, it is too difficult to determine this at this stage. We feel this system would provide greater long-term stability and economic growth than the fragmented patchwork of local arrangements advocated by MEAD.
Definitely not Ar-Pharazôn.

Jubal

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2015, 12:48:49 AM »
On the contrary; local systems mean full and easy accountability as corrupt officials can easily be identified and democratically removed. We would of course make it a federal priority to ensure full support would be given to whistleblowers and that corruption of any sort could be dealt with efficiently and effectively. We think it is, however, plain that a system of non-local assessment would be far more open to corruption as assessors would have no stake in the wellbeing of the communities that they were assessing - and given the huge size of Middle-earth would be very difficult to effectively control centrally.

As to money, we are deeply concerned about the high potential for fraud if we move to a paper money system - whilst we accept that we may need to move away from currency with a full intrinsic value, we believe that great care is needed to maintain public trust in the economy and that no ways have been advanced to avoid paper money being grossly susceptible to mass counterfeiting in a way that would not be possible with coins.

OOC Again: TP, could you poke Hannah? I feel like were just waddling down a path of ever smaller minutiae at this stage. Also we badly need more voters still...
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Tar-Palantir

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2015, 09:42:39 AM »
OOC: Quite. I've relayed our concerns to her. Don't think I can help on the voters front - can't think of anyone I know who you haven't already advertised this to who would be interested. Also, I feel we're being more graceful than "waddling". At the very least, we're boldly striding  :P

Back to the topic at hand:
We disagree with MEAD on this issue. We feel that tax assessors and collectors should be loyal to an independent central body, rather than reporting to local bodies where regulatory capture by local bigwigs would be greatly facilitated. This central body would then, of course, deal rapidly with any suggestions of impropriety, using the rapid reaction elite police force MACHO are proposing to set up. This would consist of Orc Warg riders, putting the valuable cultural skills of the Orcs to beneficial national use.

We would like to contend that coins are just as susceptible to forgery and abuse as paper money - it is far more difficult to clip a note, for example, and you only need a mould and some metal of vaguely the right colour and weight to start mass-producing your own forgeries.... For notes, you need sophisticated printing equipment, which we feel would be harder to acquire in Middle-earth.
Definitely not Ar-Pharazôn.

Glaurung

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2015, 04:50:28 PM »
I'd like to divert the party representatives from matters fiscal to ecological. I'd be grateful if they could each tell me what they propose to do regarding that misunderstood and endangered species, the dragon.

Tar-Meneldur

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2015, 05:34:44 PM »
In response to MACHO's criticism of monarchy, the WTA firmly believes that monarchy is the best system of governance for Middle-Earth at this time. We acknowledge that "centuries of slow and steady decline" are both undesirable and the likely outcome of continual monarchy. Our reason for desiring a monarchy for Middle-Earth is that the generations of stability that a monarchy provide will be the ideal base for a more cautious investigation of the alternatives. We see MACHO's and MEAD's proposals of the immediate introduction of democracy as grossly irresponsible, ignoring the great risk of widespread catastrophic upheaval because of the untested hope of something better. A monarchy under Prince Imrahil will allow us to recover from the devastating War and rebuild our society and our economy without putting us at risk of further upheaval. Once we have recovered, we may start to cautiously investigate options for Middle-Earth's long-term future.

While we acknowledge that expertise certainly does exist outside the hands of the nobility in many areas, including commerce, the WTA maintains that overlooking the experience of nobility and royalty would be a tremendous waste of the resources at hand. Statesmanship is not the same as running a business, and while the accomplished merchants will be an important voice in our Parliament, we believe that the experience of ruling held by the existing ruling classes is of utmost importance for a stable transitionary period. Only in the Shire, the one democratic region currently in existence, and a region with very different requirements of a government to Middle-Earth as a whole, is there any knowledge of statesmanship among the commoners. Obviously this is a deplorable and deeply unfortunate and classist situation, however the way to fight inequality is not to knock down the fortunate, it is to raise up the unfortunate.  By forsaking the nobility, MACHO and MEAD will harm Middle-Earth while benefitting no-one, unlike the WTA, who will help the underpriveliged while maintaining Middle-Earth's expertise.

Our ennoblement and honours system will move power in the nobility gradually, over many generations, away from the hereditary upper classes towards meritocratic experts, allowing us not to waste Middle-Earth's accumulated knowledge and wisdom.

In response to allegations that centralised power will result in corruption, I must disagree. As we have stated above, there is strong historical evidence that over the scale of a few centuries, monarchy is stable. In other words, hereditary monarchs remain righteous for many generations. Since we can, in the medium term, be sure of the moral integrity of our King and his advisers, this group can ensure that the middle management of the nation do not fall to corruption. Additionally, we hope that openness of government and freedom of press and reporting will lead to the discrediting of politicians who become corrupt. We agree with MACHO that leaving the control of taxation and of tax-collecting to local authorities presents a far greater risk of corruption than a centralised system, where the watchers and the watched may be in close proximity. We emphatically disagree that local systems make it easier to remove corrupt officials, as in small localities, the very small size of government makes it all too easy for corruption to reach the core, whereas in a larger central body, hundreds of politicians will be watching each other, all will be watched from above by the King and his councillors, and the public will be watching all. We feel that the danger posed by corruption at a small scale is too serious to risk. Local bodies will be better regulated by independent central bodies, who will be non-partisan in local issues so better able to make balanced decisions. Again, the greater size of the central government makes redundancies and safety precautions far more feasible.

On currencies, the WTA too hopes to introduce a universal paper- and credit-based currency, backed by a central bank, and made feasible by our unified fiscal policy. Together with our improvements in infrastructure, this should increase the trading power of local communities and facilitate our program for redistribuing wealth. We agree that paper money will be far more difficult to forge than coinage is.

And to Glaurung, the WTA takes the welfare of all sentient inhabitants of Middle-Earth most seriously. Due to the heterogeneity of the needs and desires of the different races of Middle-Earth, the system of elections to Parliament shall be organised such that Middle-Earth is split up into many overlapping sets of constituencies, one set for each race, to ensure adequate representation of races in minority areas. This way, the dragons, who, as a small minority in all of Middle-Earth except perhaps the Grey Mountains, will have the power to elect a couple of members of Parliament, while otherwise their needs could be sadly overloooked. As another example, as well as the several constituencies for the Men in Rohan, there will be one for the Dwarves, so that the inhabitants of the Glittering Caves may have a vote. This system will also encourage the mainstream political parties to appoint officials of differing races to positions of power.

Additionally, the WTA must highlight our opponent's use of the deeply offensive term "dragon-sickness" in reference to government corruption. The WTA considers stereotyping utterly unacceptable, and deplore the use of such racially-charged language.

Our paper- and credit-based currency will allow those dragons with a love of collection gold and jewellery to do so in a way that is not detrimental to local communities or the economy. The free market and our equality legislation will allow dragons to obtain jobs (for example in academia, in politics, in business), or to hire out their unique services (for example, for high-speed transportation in competition with the eagles, or the production of high-temperature environments for research and industry). Our education system will end the fear of dragons that is widespread among the other races, allowing dragons to take their place among the free people of Middle-Earth.

Jubal

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2015, 06:21:24 PM »
Even with Warg riders, a centrally maintained "rapid reaction" force won't really deserve the term in Middle-earth given the size of the landmass. We also deplore the extent to which the elitists of MACHO seem to not trust local communities, and feel confident that the ordinary folks across Middle-Earth will agree with us that they are more than capable of managing these systems in a sensible, locally sensitive, and democratic fashion without having marauding orc-packs bearing down on them on a regular basis.



I'm very glad to move on and discuss the environment - and I can hope we all agree that the subject of live dragons is not a matter that should be merely laughed off. MEAD firstly, though, wishes to strongly condemn the WTA's statements regarding race. We believe that parliamentary representation cannot and must not be separated on entrenched racial or species divides, and throwing around allegations of racism whilst pursuing policies of racial segregation must surely be considered hypocrisy of the first order. Regardless of their supposedly progressive front, it is increasingly clear what the WTA stands for: the politics of the past and the politics of division, between species and between classes. We urge all right-minded voters to reject this fascist mindset.

As regards dragons, we of course wish for the dragons to have the same ability to contribute to their communities as anyone else - they are a proud and ancient race, and should be entitled to the same rights as everyone else. We will, furthermore, create federal provision for isolated parts of the Grey Mountains to become settlement-free zones such that the dragons there can remain secure and in peace. This is the heart of MEAD's policy portfolio: to ensure that all races have the opportunity to live and work side by side, on an equal footing and in harmony, whilst ensuring that the basic, fair rules of play are adhered to by all and that nobody is able to oppress or assert their dominion over others.
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Tar-Meneldur

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2015, 10:01:30 PM »
The WTA rejects most emphatically allegations of racism in our policies of separation of constituencies on the basis of race. We must draw the important distinction that "races" of humans are not only equal as sentient beings, they are also the same in all regards except appearance. The "races" within humanity have the same human needs, and the same human flaws. Any human may trust another to understand their needs. However, the races of Middle-Earth are a different situation. All sentient species are equal in rights, must be equal in the eyes of the law, however they are, at least at the moment, undeniably different. It is an unfortunate fact that the races of Middle-Earth, with only a few exceptions, live in segregation.

Consider the Iron Hills. The very small population of dragons relative to that of dwarves and goblins, and the present lack of knowledge, even distrust, of the groups for each other, means that it is likely that constituencies would elect dwarf and goblin members of parliament. There are not dwarves who have lived among the dragons, who now their wishes and desires, who feel their pain. The enormous amount of work that needs to be done in Middle-Earth for racial equality and harmony must proceed quickly. The needs of the minority races, the dragons, the Ents, the trolls, the eagles, cannot be adequately represented to Parliament by the humans, dwarves, and orcs of today's world. In such a government, their voices would be suppressed by those of the majority. A dwarf representative would likely have trouble adequately arguing in Parliament for the concerns of the dragons in his constituency. An Ent may dislike his representation in Parliament being a human, who would face great difficulty understanding the concerns of Ents. Unfortunately we live in a world with great racial divisions that need to be torn down. This can only be accomplished by forcing representation for the races with sparse populations.

Our policies are in place to ensure that the voices of the minority races of Middle-Earth are heard. Perhaps in three generations Middle-Earth will progress harmonious villages where trolls live with elves, where humans live with Eagles. Where racial relations no longer need to be discussed, will be viewed as an unfortunate feature of the unenlightened past. Where an Ent would be pleased his orc representative. This is the world the WTA wants to build. But we must be practical. To achieve this ideal, we must allow the voices of all races to be heard. Otherwise we will find ourselves in a world that has developed relations between the dwarves and elves and humans and orcs, while the minority races' needs are sadly neglected. Racism exists. It is a sad and serious fact. And we need to allow representation to all.

Tar-Palantir

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2015, 09:45:28 AM »
In response to the WTA's defence of monarchy: it is true that the nobility have greater experience in statesmanship, but this has been exclusively in times of war, which they perpetuated for their own ends. We do not feel that they have any significantly-better experience of peacetime administration and governing than anyone else, chiefly because there has been very little peace for over 6 millennia of noble rule. We therefore reject their monarchic vision and propose that a transition to demoncracy can hardly be worse than the strife the nobility has imposed on the world for so long.

MACHO would also like to take issue with MEAD's grossly-unfair stereotyping of the Orcish citizens of Middle-earth. Whilst in the past, it is true that Warg-riders have generally been marauding heralds of woe, this is not an intrinsic facet of Orcish nature, but the result of domination by a being that represented evil incarnate. MACHO feels that MEAD should immediately issue an apology to all Orcs and retract its statement if it truly wishes to be considered a party representing the interests of all, as it so stridently claims.

Orcs employed by the state as a police force would, of course, be trained in citizen relations and their presence would soon become reassuring rather than worrying. The RRF would also include an airborne division (a perfect employment opportunity for the that other historically-vilified race, the Dragons) and a scout element, with Rhosgobel-Rabbit sleighs, which, as has been demonstrated, appear able to travel vast distances in no time at all. The RRF would become a highly-visible harbinger of integration and would prove invaluable in keeping all our citizens safe. We feel MEAD are being unnecessarily small-minded, blinkered by their localist agenda.

As regards Dragons and other minority races, as set out in our opening statement, MACHO's bicameral legislature would include an upper chamber where all races had equal representation, to ensure the many do not marginalise the few. Dragons would, of course, be included in this. We also feel that Dragons would be central to the banking system we aim to set up, with their expert knowledge of the value of assets and their propensity to hoard and guard it. We feel they would be excellent guarantors of the currency standard we would create, allowing their natural talents to be turned to less-destructive uses.
We agree with MEAD that the WTA's policies could lead to an unintentional balkanisation of Middle-earth, but also recognise the wisdom of the WTA in that not all citizens may immediately respond well to integration. We believe our bicameral central legislature with its mix of porportional and non-proportional representation will help greatly in fostering integration whilst avoiding segregation. On a more practical note, elected representatives will be made to swear a binding oath to faithfully represent all consitutents and to obey all laws, calling Eru, Manwë, Varda and Taniquetil in witness and calling down the Everlasting Darkness on them should they break it, for the length of their terms of office. We feel this would rapidly create trust among all races in their representatives, regardless of their specific species, given the bad things that happen to those who break such oaths.
However, we do not believe setting aside specific homelands for different races will work, as this will simply encourage isolation. We shall pass legislation respecting all races' equality and traditions and aim to raise cultural awareness, so that different races no longer fear each other. Needless to say, racially-motivated crimes will be viewed very dimly by the judicial system.
Definitely not Ar-Pharazôn.

Jubal

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2015, 12:03:34 PM »
Our suggestion was by no means intended as a racial slight upon orcs, and of course we apologise if it was taken that way - what we were making was merely a common-sense statement that many in Middle-Earth will not welcome the sight of armed troops from a central authority bearing down on them. We believe that assuming that Orcs should be continually in military and enforcement roles, and that having segregated military units in this fashion is a poor way of breeding racial harmony.

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HanSolo

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2015, 02:05:41 PM »
WHAT A SNORE-FEST!!!

After being blocked by despicable powers from participating in this debate, the SSS begins by pointing out that the people of Middle Earth DO NOT WANT endless arguments about tax and trade - the SSS believes that the past methods of trade were effective so don't fix what isn't broke! But more on that later...

So now that you have skipped passed these pointless arguments, hear now the truth that our glorious leader, Shagrat, has discovered and that will revolutionise Middle Earth:

IT'S ALL THE ELVES' FAULT!

Now Shagrat is not being racist: as an Orc, he is distantly related to Elves. But it is still their fault. They made the Silmarils which, as everyone knows, should have been shared not hidden away in a vault. It is because the Elves didn't believe in sharing that the Great War of the First Age occured, and all the mess in that. In the Second Age, the Elves made the Rings of Power and again didn't like sharing: they started a War with the Dark Lord because they thought He wanted to steal their Rings. When they did think of the solution of "destroy the One Ring to make Peace" they didn't do anything about it! Thousands of lives of Orcs and Men and Dwarves and even Elves were lost in the Third Age 'cos the Elves just watched Isildur trot off with the most dangerous Jewelry the world had ever seen - if Shagrat had been there, he would have knocked Isildur out and chucked the man and the Ring into that volcno, no questions asked!

But even though Shagrat was not there then, HE IS HERE NOW! To solve all of Middle-Earth's problems he will encourage the Elves to migrate out of the land. They've already started; they all say they want to; they're just a bit slow and lazy. They also like meddling too much. So Shagrat proposes get the Elves to leave quicker, and then repopulate their lands and redistribute their wealth and everyone will be happy.

People say that Orcs are the common enemy of all: NOT TRUE! Dwarfs don't like Elves and haven't for centuries (apart from the odd one or two exceptions). Ents feel let down by Elves who no longer bother to talk to them. Hobbits are in awe of them due to propaganda, but the majority want them as far away as possible from their nice ordered homes. Men talk of past alliances with Elves but have secret fears of Elvish bewitchment and greed - just ask the Rohirrim!

Aside from the Elves, the SSS has many excellent and well thought out plans. Any extra funding needed for the land will come from Mithril Mining seeing as how there's no Balrog in Moria anymore - Shiny Shirts for EVERYONE! Shagrat even has plans for dual ownership of the mine between Orcs and Dwarves. IMPOSSIBLE! You say? NO! Shgrat shouts! He will force the two to see eye-to-eye and stop their pointless feuding fights - any who don't will be severely re-educated!

As for Dragons, Shagrat welcomes a greater electorate as - as thinking beings even if not regularly shaped - dragons would be welcome to vote for Shagrat alongside the rest of Middle-Earth!

so...VOTE SSS - VOTE SHAGRAT! :orc:
« Last Edit: April 05, 2015, 02:17:15 PM by HanSolo »

Jubal

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2015, 02:26:13 PM »
Hey Rob, we found the non-socialist.  :P
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Tar-Palantir

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2015, 04:28:53 PM »
MACHO do not believe the Rapid Reaction Force should be exclusively Orcish Warg-riders. We welcome representatives of other species as riders; we merely anticipate that most will be Orcs due to their long-term association with the Wargs. We would also anticipate that other mounts will be used, leaving the field open for human or Elvish cavalry or Dwarvish pig/goat-riders.

Whilst of course the sight of hostile military units bearing down on you is a frightening event, we would like to think that the presence of a friendly military force will be seen as reassuring by the citizens of Middle-earth and give them comfort that the problem the RRF is responding to is being effectively and rapidly dealt with.

As the only Elvish-led party, MACHO would also like to emphatically condemn the claims of the SSS. Whilst Fëanor showed a disturbing lack of wisdom, the arrival of the Noldor in the First Age prevented far worse events befalling Middle-earth. Without the Elves, Morgoth would never have been vanquished; neither would Sauron. We would also like to point out that Sauron (Shagrat's former master, need it be said) attacked the Elves to gain the Rings of Power, not the other way round. We also suspect that had Shagrat been on hand when Isildur took the One Ring despite the urging of Elrond, he would have taken it for himself; at least, recorded instances of his character suggest this.

We also believe Shagrat's allegations about the Elves could equally be applied to the Orcs. MACHO do not propose to do this, as we are a progressive organisation seeking to heal the rifts of the past, not re-open them again and we feel this inflammatory rhetoric is in no way helpful and, worse, is downright dangerous. Middle-earth will never escape from its cycle of violence if people such as Shagrat and his adherents are in power.
Definitely not Ar-Pharazôn.

Jubal

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2015, 10:51:27 PM »
EXTERNAL NEWS: POLLSTERS MODEL ELECTION RESULTS

Quote
Two major pollsters have begun modelling the results of the election - both have come out with initial seat predictions, and both point to a hung parliament.

The model from Rhosgobel College predicts a very strong showing for the White Tree Alliance with them dominating the delegation from Gondor, and also for Green Arda, suggesting they may have a very wide base of support that sees them pick up seats across Middle-Earth. MACHO is predicted to also have a wide support base, with MEAD predominantly hanging on in Rhovanion and the SS similarly in very borderland regions.

PartySeats
Green Arda22
MACHO20
MEAD6
SSS4
WTA26

The rival model, from the University of Rivendell, takes much harsher assumptions about the divisiveness of contests in marginal seats, and comes out with a different answer that suggests more favourable results for the more marginal-centred parties and worse ones for those with a broad support base. The WTA, with their concentrated predicted base of support in Gondor, still come first, with MACHO a somewhat stronger second: MEAD still lags far behind, but is predicted to take more seats in left-leaning and liberal urban areas, with Green Arda's far weaker prediction showing it mostly doing well in central Eriador and parts of Rhovanion.

PartySeats
Green Arda9
MACHO23
MEAD11
SSS9
WTA26

Both pollsters will take more or less inaccurate potshots at the result as the campaign continues.
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HanSolo

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2015, 12:51:49 PM »
The SSS and Shagrat deny the claims that he would have failed the challenge of Isildur - if Elrond didn't take it and later Gandalf, Aragorn, Galadrial (the witch) and Faramir all didn't take it then neither would Shagrat have! It is a cruel Evish attack on the character of Shagrat and other Orcs just because we pointed out THEIR FAILNGS and OPENED PEOPLE'S EYES to Elvish propaganda!

This includes the comments made about Shagrat's previous occupation and employer. Shagrat doesn't deny that he worked for the Dark Lord - when He returned to residence in Mordor He pressed into service every Orc living there, torturing and killing those who did not. Here Shagrat showed his strength of character in that he didn't fall when his home was occupied: he rose like a Numenorean from the ashes of that land to a position of authority not mere slavery. If you read the account of the Red Book the Hobbits have been s good as to compile, Shagrat always obeyed orders, even to his own endangerment amongst fellow servants of the Dark Lord. Shagrat was not selfish - he surrendered the precious Shiny Shirt to the Dark Lord and was promised its return. (Here the grievance given by the Mouth of Sauron occurred where he took the Shiny Shirt for reasons of torture and didn't keep hold of it, failing to return it to Shagrat as a reward as promised). Order is needed and following orders of whoever is in command is of first priority.

Here the SSS do begrudgingly agree with Macho that a Police Force with scary initials instead of a name is a brilliant idea. Middle Earth is a vast lad and control needs to be kept. Everyone loves military might though - Men of Rohan and Gondor delight in swordmanship as much as Dwarves delight in making weapons or Orcs in sniffing blood. Shagrat promises to continue fulfilling people's delights in this industry and to improve everyone's lives in making a stronger National Identity through a Unified Army and Police Force. Volunteers will be warmly welcomed by Shagrat even before the Election to show their Support and to Encourage other voters to also support the mighty Shagrat.

VOTE SSS, VOTE SHAGRAT!  :orc:

Glaurung

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Re: Middle-earth General Election: Hustings Round!
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2015, 01:12:30 PM »
A question for the Shiny Shirt Society: your organisation seems to be very much about one issue. What will you do if you are not successful at this election?