Response to articles concerning the Austenasian Prime Minister

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To my micronational colleagues, and readers of Béal na Tíre,

Articles have been disseminated on the Micronation.org site, the main platform through which the Confederation of Leylandiistan & Gurvata has established its online presence, concerning the Office of the Austenasian Prime Minister. The articles, on “themicronational” and “The Daily Micronational” suggest that the position of said office is untenable given the mandate which elected the Prime Minister is now a fraction of the current population, though the latter article is not relevant to my analysis below. The point being made is somewhat valid, given it was under those pretences that the last election was called. However, I take issue with the way in which this story has been covered by “themicronational”.

Before I share my views on this issue, let me clarify that I feel a micronational media outlet, be it tied to a particular state or not, is perfectly entitled to cover the domestic affairs of another micronation, with or without their authorisation. Indeed, Béal na Tíre did just that this year when it covered the coup in Grémmia. What I take issue with is when the views given in such an article are imbalanced in order to give the reader a certain viewpoint rather than allowing them to weigh out the facts.

The article by “themicronational” is written with a desire to see Prime Minister Kennedy ousted, to be frank. I take issue with the sourcing in this article. It is stated that “many suspect he will not be re-elected”, when it is not made apparent if this is the view of Austenasian citizens, or members of the micronational community, who would most likely not be able to participate in such an election. In addition, the “wide international criticism” mentioned is a highly deceptive phrase. By no means is this criticism wide; it is not criticism made by micronationalists of different ideology or experience, the criticism is mainly if not solely made by newer members of the Micronation.org community. Lastly, it is said “some have questioned if he is a suitable candidate for PM”, a phrase not to be trusted as no example of such opinions are given. The views of a few individuals are expressed in this article as a widely held belief among micronations in the Micronation.org community. A balanced article must contain a selection of views representing both sides of a story, and I’m afraid I’m only hearing one side of the story in this article. If you are in any doubt of this fact, it is clearly stated in the article that the publication endorses Kennedy’s predecessor over him.

The slant in this article is clearly one firmly against Prime Minister Kennedy. Let me state my complete confidence in Mr. Kennedy and his ability to carry out his office, an ability called into question by this article and only softened by passive acknowledgement of his achievements. Mr. Kennedy is a politician of strong views, and does indeed have a habit of saying things as he sees them. However, I feel these are qualities that must be admired in an age of unclear principles and excessive political correctness among politicians. He has a strong record of accomplishments in the micronational sphere and particularly in Austenasia which should not be overshadowed by what are minor incidents of such petty proportions as unsuccessful pranks and strong language. Indeed, all sorts of names have been given to that botched prank, in an effort to make it relevant when it is simply a misfortune of the past which must be moved on from. Mr. Kennedy has been a pleasure to work with in the numerous occasions I have encountered him, when I served as a minister under his premiership in Ashukovo, and when I served as GUM Media Secretary under his Chairmanship. He has always been approachable and good to work with in terms of the Confederation’s strong bilateral ties with Austenasia.

This article is a sign of the divisions that exist between older and newer micronations in the Micronation.org. The labels “Old Guard” and “New Guard” have been used with increasing (and alarming) frequency in the past year. In my view it is regressive and pointless to identify such divisions. Have we not learned countless times in both micronational history and indeed world history that co-operation is the solution, not division? If one has been wronged, one should seek resolution and not hold a grudge. I call for the terms “Old Guard” and “New Guard” to be abandoned, because they identify, and also create, artificial divisions.

Lastly, while I agree completely, as said before, that a micronational media outlet is entitled to report and comment on the domestic affairs of another state, I disagree with using a supposedly impartial media outlet to directly influence the domestic affairs of that state. This article clearly seeks the removal of Kennedy from office and his replacement with a more preferable candidate to the micronationalist concerned. I once again state my complete confidence in my Austenasian colleague, and I call on readers of micronational publications to be aware of when what they are reading is balanced reporting and when it is merely a tool to advance the writer’s views through the veil of news.

I wish you all a Happy New Year, I hope your nations experience much prosperity in 2016!

-Fionnbarra Ó Cathail

Co-President Ó Cathail shares his views on the state of the Confederation

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With the first anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Union, which created a state of union between Gurvata and Leylandiistan, now just one month away, the region of Leylandiistan’s representative in the diarchical executive, Co-President Ó Cathail, gives his opinion on topical subjects which affect the Confederation and the micronational community.

The past year has been a great one for the young nations of Gurvata and Leylandiistan. We have shared our two nations talents and achievements by coming together in a bold political experiment. The Confederation of Leylandiistan & Gurvata rose from political crisis in the then Democratic Republic of Leylandiistan. It was this time last year that Robinscourt withdrew from the Republic, leaving the nation with three citizens. The negotiations that followed between myself and Stephen Keohane of Gurvata  stopped Leylandiistan from being consigned to history. We have shared many successes, but the past 11 months have also taught us where we need to improve.

On the economy

Our budget this year allowed for grants to be given to small businesses. I am delighted to announce that the first small enterprise in our nation has been registered as a private company by our Companies Registrar. “La Belle Vie Ltd.”  is a small furniture restoration business, buying furniture at auctions and charity shops and redecorating them, with its primary address in Orchardstown, Leylandiistan. It has received a grant of €30 to buy equipment from the National Treasury

Of course, we will continue to prioritise agriculture. For our domestic market we will increase cider production. 9 bottles were made as a trial last year, and we will double production this year with new demijohn and hygrometer equipment, funded by another small enterprise. Vegetable production, as reported here last week, is already doing well. For the international market, we must look to seeds and dried herbs and spices. These are the only non-perishable goods we can currently produce. In conclusion, our economic strategy is working, enterprises are forming, and production is increasing on last year.

On internal administration

Taxation has been our greatest success in terms of administration, but it has not come without its problems. We in Leylandiistan & Gurvata have a voluntary taxation system, where citizens can choose to pay taxes if they want to. Residents who choose not to pay taxes cannot apply for grants or benefit from government projects. It usually takes one week to collect taxes from the four citizens who avail of government services, meaning five residents (all Gurvatan) do not see the benefits of our tax system. Since the patterns of taxation are so different between Gurvata and Leylandiistan, I think we should pursue a devolved taxation system, where taxes are paid to local authorities who then spend the money accordingly. On a separate note I am very happy to see the new government building in Orchardstown (pictured above) is now open for business. It has been a project that has been planned since before the Confederation began, and one which has dominated spring here.

I think a dedicated government website would benefit us greatly, as well as informing the wider world about our small country. The Democratic Republic of Leylandiistan had a widely visited but shoddy looking Google Sites website. We could have a very detailed website on a platform like WordPress, and it is not too late to start one either, as demonstrated by Sirocco.

On our relations with the micronational community

Leylandiistan & Gurvata is viewed as a friendly, progressive and respected nation by the rest of the community. The projects we have carried out have been viewed with great interest by other micronationalists, particularly our agricultural projects. However, we have not always conveyed the internal ongoings of our nation very well. Few are aware that our government meets every week at least to discuss affairs of state, and to collect taxes in person from each citizens. We have also published articles on this site and tweets on our Twitter pages very irregularly, leading at some stages, particularly in February, for members of the community to question if we have gone dormant. While we maintain good relations with our fellow nations, we must update the wider community regularly with our nation’s activities, and, as said above, start a government website. With regard to diplomacy, I am glad we have abandoned our “diplomacy for the sake of it” attitude, and that we are cutting down on unnecessary ties, focusing instead on building closer ties with our most important allies

On trade with other nations

I have great pride for our achievements in this field. We have managed to get a discussion going in the micronational community by using our own agricultural projects as an example for other nations to use to develop their own economy. We must advance this cause further, and I feel as a nation we should promote the importance of economic sovereignty as well as political sovereignty.

With regards trade, we are now building on our successes in our domestic market and opening up our first economic relations. We joined the Saint Josephsburg Economic Pact last year as our first step into trading with other nations. Unfortunately, this area has been sidelined by the government, and we have neglected our membership in the SJEP completely. In fact, the membership of this body has fallen from 5 to 2, with Renasia and Ashukovo’s disbanding and the recent departure of Sandus as well. We must attract new members to this organisation and prove it is not a “YAMO”, and to do this we must initiate trading immediately. To do this, seeds have been collected from chives and rocket in our farms, with the intention of exchanging them with other nations. I have begun negotiations to begin a strategic trade arrangement with Siar Fordell, a micronation in North America who can supply us with seeds we need in exchange for our own. I will also endeavour to advance such individual trade ties with nations who are starting their own agrarian sectors, like Uberstadt, Mercia, Adammia and Sandus.

I hope that my opinions have managed to inform the wider community of progress to date here in Leylandiistan & Gurvata. Over the course of the summer I would be glad to contribute further to Béal na Tíre and share my views on current affairs and topical subjects here. I will be meeting with my Gurvata colleague again this week to discuss the changes in taxation I would like to see happen, as well as the trade relations we are opening.

Two years of Leylandiistan: a reflection on Independence Day

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A selection of photos from the past two years:

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Above: Leylandiistan’s first physical flag was commissioned by the government in early 2014. It was produced by Prospect Design in Dublin, Ireland. Above it is seen flying over Orchardstown.

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Above: Brown Bread was baked on the occasion of Lughnasa to mark the start of the harvest season, an event celebrated along with Clyro and West Germania.

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Above: It took a while for Leylandiistan to develop its economy, but today Leylandiistan produces fine foods, drinks and other agricultural products. Above, a bottle of LeylandiiCola is pictured in the orchard at the Cubbyhole, at the official launch of LeylandiiCola

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Above: Dooneen Cove Island is the most recent addition to Leylandiistan. It was annexed in September 2014, amidst much political change in Leylandiistan.

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A message from Fionnbarra Ó Cathail

It is hard to believe that two years have passed already. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Leylandiistan, I shall give a quick summary of our history. On 3 November 2012, Ruairí de Créag and I signed the declaration of independence. The new Democratic Republic of Leylandiistan was to begin with a diarchy, run by us two, having complete authority over the running of the state’s affairs. The following weeks and months were very exciting indeed. To begin with, two territories were claimed, Cubbyhole and Robinscourt, each having a governor called a Pro-Consul. Within three weeks a telecommunications company, LeylandiiCell, was established. In January 2013 Molossia offered limited recognition, while our first treaty was signed with Flandrensis. Leylandiistan began printing its own currency, the Lira, and extended diplomatic relations to more and more countries as the year went on.

On July 31 2013 elections were scheduled for August 7. The elections led to my election as President, and a seven seat legislature taking office. The government news blog at its official site moved to this site, Béal na Tíre, in December, and the National Assembly ratified the GUM charter and two other acts of legislation. A constitutional referendum in March 2014 ratified a new constitution. However, after a brief period of inactivity, Robinscourt withdraw from Leylandiistan in July and later returned to being under Irish control. Ruairí de Créag left with it. All was not lost, however, and after a period of negotiation, Leylandiistan merged with Gurvata to form the Confederation of Leylandiistan & Gurvata, on 31 August 2014. In the past two months, numerous bills have been signed into law by myself, Co-President Fionnbarra Ó Cathail, and my colleague, Co-President Pádraig Ó Ceocháin. For the first time in two years, the government’s activities are funded by taxes collected from our citizens, while a new territory, Dooneen Cove Island, has joined the Confederation, and the people of the Confederation are optimistic about the bright future that lies ahead for the nation.

As you may have guessed, it has been a long road to get to where we are today. I have encountered many interesting people along the way, and I have learned a lot about micronationalism and the people behind it. I have also learned a lot about myself. Since November 2012 I have matured a great deal, and my political and micronational outlook has altered greatly. I now have a much greater understanding of politics, economics and government. I am not the same person as I was two years ago. The same can be said about Leylandiistan. Apart from the obvious differences, such as those changes of governance and territory I have mentioned, Leylandiistan has changed greatly ideologically and professionally. We have gone from being a small wikian state to a nation widely recognised and respected. Today, Leylandiistan & Gurvata is a member of the GUM and the SJEP, whereas last year we were part of a few inactive YAMOs. Our economy in 2013 consisted of a few defunct state utilities, while this year much progress has been made in developing a successful agricultural sector, and the National Contribution Charge allows the government to fund projects nationwide.

We have evidently come a long way, but where next for Leylandiistan & Gurvata, you may ask? The Confederation will continue in its current format for the foreseeable future, as a diarchy headed by two Co-Presidents, although a democratic legislature will be inaugurated as soon as the citizenry increases. Next year, the agricultural sector will at least double in size. For the first time, Leylandiistan & Gurvata will begin grain production, with wheat and spelt crops to be sown in March 2015. Basic milling equipment for the production of flour has been acquired. Our output of fruit and veg will also be increased. The redevelopment of land for agricultural purposes will be financed by taxes paid by our citizens, while agricultural producers will soon receive regular from the government. Economic diversification is vital to our nation’s economic standing, so the enhancement of other sectors will begin next year in order to begin exporting products to SJEP member states. Elsewhere, I will continue to serve as GUM Vice Chair until the elections in December, and Leylandiistan & Gurvata will extend recognition to all GUM and SJEP member states. Once Irish state examinations finish in June, younger citizens like myself will be able to dedicate much more time to serving their nation, and the government will announce a comprehensive programme of development for the coming year. As year between June 2015 and June 2016 will be quiet academically, much more reform and development will occur in the coming year.

Exciting times lie ahead for us. I hope Leylandiistan & Gurvata will live to see more anniversaries in the coming years. Long live Leylandiistan & Gurvata! Praise to you, motherland!

-FÓC