hile the reduction of the complexities of Nirathii politics into broad strokes does a great disservice to both the Court and the nobles and aristocrats that constitute it, this broad stroke method does allow outsiders to glimpse at least partially the actions of those who determine at least in part the direction of Nirath. This Herald’s Guide is a politically neutral guide intended for those outside the Court so that they can understand the issues currently under debate in court and the factions that are beginning to form in Nirath’s political sphere
First, let us discuss foreign politics, there are two general divisions regarding foreign affairs at court. These divisions are known as the Hawks and the Doves. It is important to note that the division to which an individual courtier subscribes to can, and for the independents often does depend on the policy being discussed.
The Hawk faction is expansionist, patriotic, and imperialist, placing the Nirathii as more important to Nirath than the citizens of other realms and opposing on principle any policy or diplomatic effort that would weaken our kingdom. Hawks tend to favour polite but wary interactions with other states and favour policies that increase military readiness and border security. The two most well known Hawks are Counts Ross and Barghest.
The Doves are the opposite of the Hawks in almost every way, often proposing compromise and capitulation when dealing with other nations. Many Dove supporters argue that this wins the kingdom friends and allies and stating that the trade deals that such policies have occasionally won are proof of this. Astrid van Mauve speaks for the Doves in preferring peace to pride.
While the politics regarding the kingdom’s dealings with other states can be broadly characterised into two groups the politics surrounding the domestic structure of our fair nation begins to become more complex. There are roughly speaking four factions in regards to how our kingdom’s domestic structure should look the Feudalists, the Centralists, the Federalists, and the Populists.
The Feudalists understand that the feudal system that has served our ancestors for generations is also optimised to serve us as well. Feudalists believe in a delineation of responsibilities to each level of society, they believe that the king should determine foreign policy and direct the nation, while the dukes focus on military affairs and domestic security, and the counts and aristocracy on local matters. Feudalists believe that this creates a society better able to weather change and with an appropriate number of checks and balances to make sure there is little abuse by the powerful of the weak. Feudalists also point out that this decentralised system is also preferable for taxpayers as it gives greater control to local rulers so that they can tax only for the services required in their areas.
The Centralists believe in placing all functions of government under the aegis of the King who would then appoint ministers to run each wing of government. Centralists argue that a centralised system will allow the kingdom to ‘pull together’ and ‘work in concert for a brighter tomorrow.’ Critics look at Centralist policies and decry the lack of checks and balances to prevent abuse, and note with wry amusement that the candidates for proposed ministerial positions always happen to be another Centralist. More generally critics worry about the unnecessary tax burden centralised ministries may have on the peasantry. It hardly seems fair, they argue, for a farmer in Valaris to pay for road improvements in Kessel.
Federalists seek a compromise between Feudalists and Centralists. They agree with the Centralists that some centralisation can help strengthen the kingdom, especially in the realm of military affairs, however, they admire the needs must taxation of feudalism and the checks and balances of multilayered government. To this end, Federalists prefer devolved government functions along the county and ducal lines with central government departments enforcing compliance with the King’s decrees. Both Feudalists and Centralists decry the Federalists of being too much of one and not enough of the other and critics note that Federalist tax saving measures always seem to cost more money than they would save.
Populists are the minority faction of the Court, and most would say rightly so since they believe in the somewhat bizarre idea that every citizen of Nirath regardless of rank and title should have a say in the way the country is governed. Most of the Populists’ policies at this time focus on expanding the membership of the Court though the other three factions tend to quash such measures quickly.
Internal Security and Social Reform
When it comes to internal matters there are three broad groups Traditionalists, Progressives, and Libertists. As with domestic structure, these factions are much less fluid than the factions regarding foreign relations.
Traditionalists believe that the role of the state is to provide a secure environment so that the subjects of the state may work towards their goals without interference from either the state or foreign forces. Traditionalist policies favour laws that protect life and property but don’t govern social interaction or industrial regulation.
Progressives believe that the role of the state is to guide the actions of its subjects and to nanny and baby them. Progressive policies favour laws that govern social interaction and regulate merchants, craftsmen, miners and woodcutters. Progressives tend to want to also provide forms of social welfare for those who refuse to work, often insisting on taxing those who do to pay for it.
Libertists believe in minimal state interference in the lives of its citizens. Libertist policies generally focus on protecting freedoms and on reducing the number of guards in favour of private citizens providing justice.
At this time there are no permanent political alliances but political commentators all agree that such alliances are inevitable. Political alliances are groups of courtiers with shared or similar political views who work together to espouse those views and further their joint political goals. There are 7 potential alliances currently forming in Court, these are the Traditionalist-Feudalist-Hawks, the Traditionalist-Centralists, the Progressive-Centralists, the Traditionalist-Federalists, the Progressive-Federalist-Doves, the Libertist-Populists, and the Progressive-Populists. Which alliances make it through the crucible of their foundation remains to be seen but political discourse in Nirath will certainly change as nobles and aristocrats align themselves with one group or another.