Government of the Principality of Caledon

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Principality of Caledon (Polity) Synopsis[edit]

The Principality of Caledon is an interstellar government that rules a multi-system polity.

Principality of Caledon (Polity) Goals[edit]

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Principality of Caledon (Polity) History & Background[edit]

Principality of Caledon Seat of Government[edit]

The seat of Principality government is in the Capitol in Selkirk, on Caledon, in a complex of buildings arranged around the "Prince's Heath". The Heath is a square field, 1.5km long on each side, dotted with monuments and memorials, and lined with floral arrangements decorating a decorative wrought-iron fence.

  • On the north side of the Heath is the "John's Keep", a castle-like structure that serves as the political seat of the monarchy (although the Sovereign Prince, his family and retainers actually live at other palaces in the area), Cabinet offices and support staff and guarded by the Prince's Own Corps of Guards. The guard, in modern times, has been largely ceremonial.
  • At the south side of the Heath are the three, symbolically equal-sized buildings housing the three chambers of Parliament. The buildings are connected by a richly-decorated sidewalk on the south side of the buildings, "The Byway of Acts", on which the "Stewards of the Floor" ceremonially carry the leather bags containing paper drafts of legislation between chambers for consideration after one or another chamber has passed them (although in fact the transit of the paper documents is purely ancient ceremony; all actual revision is carried out via the secure data networks that have connected the chambers for centuries).
  • The Crown Bench resides in a building atop a 50-foot-high plinth in the middle of the east border of the Heath. All five structures are, symbolically, of equal overall height.
  • The west side of the Heath is dominated by the Museum of Caledon, a massive public museum and library of Caledonian history, art and achievement.

The Heath and main structures are surrounded by a myriad of government office buildings.

Principality of Caledon (Polity) Government & Politics[edit]

The Principality of Caledon government is characterized as having a high degree of centralization, which set uniform policies that directed the single-system state and disregarded local/planetary differences. The Principality of Caledon government is usually classified as a Constitutional Monarchy, a form of a Unitary State.

Principality of Caledon Constitution[edit]

The principality is governed by a constitutional monarchy. The Constitution establishes:

  • The Sovereign Prince (and his chief of staff, the Regent) as the head of the executive branch, in charge of enforcing laws and carrying out policies
  • A three-chamber Parliament responsble for drafting and passing legislation
  • A highly decentralized judiciary
  • A detailed enumeration of powers
  • Certain essential individual rights

The Constitution is known as the "Second Constitution". It was drafted by the Conclave of New Glasgow in 685, and ratified as the Principality's Constitution in 686. Unlike the "First Constitution", it is a written document, with a body of written law to expand on it.

The Constitution details and limits the powers of government (and its stakeholders, including the nobility). It says little about individual rights, other than explicitly leaving these to the constituent worlds; the Constitution specifies the right to a jury trial and the right to vote, and a few others; the Rights of Man are left to the bully pulpit at the Principality level - generally with success.

Please see Caledon Royal Mail for more information.

Principality of Caledon (Executive) Monarchy[edit]

The Monarchy - led by the Sovereign Prince, the ruler of the Principality - is in effect the executive branch of the Caledonian government.

The Monarch is both the titular head of the executive branch and, via his Cabinet, the head in fact as well.

Principality of Caledon (Executive) Cabinet[edit]

The Prince's Cabinet is the group of Delegates - appointed by the Prime Minister - who serve along with their staffs as the branches' parliamentary overseers rather than the day-to-day managers of the departments. Each Department has a "Minister" (an appointed legislative overseer) and a "Secretary" (the department's ranking civil servant); for example, the Ministry of Trade will have an appointed "Trade Minister" and a civil service "Trade Secretary".

Principality of Caledon (Executive) Voting Members[edit]

The Cabinet includes the following departments, with their ministers:

  • The Lord Regent - The Cabinet's convener. Traditionally the Lord Regent only votes to break ties.
  • The First Lord - The First Lord is elected by the House of Lords to provide a single vote in the Cabinet; the First Lord (or, occasionally, First Lady) represents the Nobility.
  • Ministry of War - This is the civilian management body for the Caledonian military. The War Minister and the Secretary of War manage the Ministry.
  • Ministry of Trade - This ministry mainly oversees trade treaties, as well as the Customs Department (and its operations at all of Caledon's starports).
  • Foreign Ministry - The Principality's diplomatic corps, and support services, including a small fleet of diplomatic transports and diplomatic security personnel.
  • The Exchequer - the Principality's civil treasury, as well as its tax-collection body.
  • The Crown Prosecutor - the monarchy's civil and criminal prosecution arm. The appointed minister is called the "Bar Minister"; the civil service leader is called the "Bar Secretary".
  • Civil Ministry - This ministry handles all of the crown's social service efforts - although most of these efforts are undertaken at the system or local level; the Civil Ministry largely concerns itself with funding local efforts.

The the Lord Regent is, in effect, the executive assisting the Sovereign Prince in the management of the executive branch departments; the Regent is effectively the Prince's chief of staff for government operations.

Principality of Caledon (Executive) Advisory Members[edit]

The Cabinet also includes several members who don't vote, but who brief the Cabinet (directly or via delegated subordinates) about their particular areas of responsibility.

These members include:

Principality of Caledon (Legislature) Parliament[edit]

The Caledonian Parliament has three chambers:

  1. The House of Delegates
  2. The House of Lords
  3. The Grand Senate.

Each has different powers and roles in the legislative process. Parliament meets annually in two 16-week sessions, followed by breaks where the members return to their home worlds and constituencies.

Principality of Caledon (Legislature) House of Delegates[edit]

The House of Delegates is composed of the elected representatives from the Principality's 957"Shires". Delegates are elected to three year terms; there are no term limits. Elections - and the campaigning for the elections - is done during the two-month inter-session breaks, subject to every constituent system's election laws. There is no uniform principality-wide "election day"; roughly a sixth of the chamber is up for election between each session, so the chamber is in a constant state of churn, although generally the advantage of incumbency makes the churn fairly slow.

The Delegates are responsible for all appropriations and tax legislation.

The House of Delegates meets in the "Chamber of Delegates" at the Parliament Castle in Caledon.

The leader of the House of Delegates is the "Prime Minister", elected by the majority party (or, if there is no majority, by the ruling coalition of parties). The Prime Minister appoints the "Ministers" who serve on the Sovereign Prince's "Cabinet".

Principality of Caledon Political Parties[edit]

As in most parliamentary systems, politics in the Principality involves a dizzying array of parties, reflecting a wide variety of local interests.

There are no principality-wide political parties; all actual parties and organization are done at a system, and even local, level. Parties organize to get members elected to the House of Deputies and, subject to the laws of the individual systems, influence the selection of Grand Senators (as well as elect members to any applicable system parliaments).

As a result, dozens of parties - in some sessions, nearly 90 - are represented in the House of Delegates.

Although there are no principality-wide parties, there are several organizations of parties and delegates - broadly reflecting sympathies of the individual system parties and delegates - that form voting blocs in the House, and often group and regroup to form coalition majorities.

The blocs often shift, gain and lose members, and shift allegiances. As of 1116, the list includes:

  • The Caledon Union: ( 153 delegates) - An alliance of center-right, Free-market Constitutionalist parties. Pragmatic and cautious on foreign policy, but favor expanded defense spending. Led by Laird Duncan Campbell, second-cousin of sitting Prince Stuart VIII. The CU has held steady, losing a few seats to the Borderer Bloc in recent elections.
  • The Guild Assembly: (126 delegates) - Centrists who support a strong business, trade and research environment. Led by Baron Gordon MacGarraigh.
  • The Borderer Bloc: (108 delegates) - This party has doubled its delegation in the past 3 years, due largely to concerns about the decay in the Imperium. Favors large defense spending hikes, increases in system defenses. Led by retired General Iain Burton, former chief of the General Command Staff
  • The Labour Congress (98 delegates) - With a large base on Rob Roy and urban Cuillin, the Labour Front is an alliance of center-left populist system parties that campaign for higher social spending and curtailed immigration. Labour has lost 15 seats in the past two years. Led by Sarah Ross, longtime Cuillinese labor activist.
  • The Conservative League: (91 delegates) - As the name implies, this is a union of cultural conservative, monarchist party especially strong on Caledon, Stirling, Rutherglen, and rural Cuillin. Led in the Parliament by Baroness Eileen Thompson, a 35 year old firebrand speaker and infostream regular from Stirling, the CL supports strong defense spending, federation of powers to the systems, and a strong monarchy.
  • The Trade Alliance: (68 delegates) - This center-right, pro-business party represents free-trade interests on the TL11-12 systems that make up the trading core of the Principality. The TA favors looser immigration and steady to lower defense spending.
  • The Federation of Miners: (56 delegates) - Dedicated mainly to mining interests (especially the expansion of mining charters in the systems to Coreward), fairly neutral on social and defense issues.
  • Porrough Dunleaneagh: (48 delegates) - The Porrough is a union of cultural nationalist parties. Led by Geoffrey Craig, a charismatic former Marine officer, the PD favors restricted immigration, higher tariffs, a very strong defense including a massive expansion of the Navy, and the return to Gheldaght as the official language. Tangentially, their party meetings - which are often held in conjunction with various Clan Games - are among the most popular social events of the Caledonian political season.
  • The Progressive Front : (38 delegates) - A small, largely Cuillinese union of parties favoring aggressive government intervention in the economy. Led by Sir Jack Kerr, the PF favors a massive hike in social spending and government social and economic intervention. Led by Euan Johns, a former university professor.
  • Agrarian Convocation: (25 delegates) - This small bloc of parties from largely agrarian worlds favors public subsidy of the agricultural sector.
  • The Duncineans: (14 delegates) - This movement, found most prominently on the driftward and spin-coreward worlds, aggressively campaigns for greater liberty and diminished government intervention, a la the Confederacy of Duncinae.
  • Clan Douglass: (12 delegates) - The ruling party on Douglass. Supports enhanced autonomy for the Grand Duchy of Douglass.
  • Sindh: (6 delegates) - A Cuillinese ethnic minority party.

About 114 delegates are currently unaligned, and are aggressively courted by the various blocs for their votes on individual issues.

With the expansion of the Border Bloc and the the Conservative League (which sprang from 9 to 91 delegates in the past five years) in recent elections, a coalition of center-right and conservative groups currently controls the House.

Principality of Caledon House of Lords[edit]

The House of Lords is the chamber of the nobility. In the past, the chamber was open to all members of the Caledonian Nobility; depending on the interest in current legislation, the "chamber" would either be (usually) nearly empty or crammed with thousands of nobles.

Today, the House of Lords comprises 203 nobles, elected by other nobles to two year terms. The elections are held every two years; the entire nobility votes for the entire House of Lords at the same time. The seats are allocated every ten years via a complex formula designed to ensure all the various branches of the nobility are represented; this business usually takes up an entire special "allocation session" every decade. While the terms of elected office are two years, if no noble challenges a given seat, the incumbent will pass into the next term without a vote (which means in a given election year about 60% of the seats are uncontested).

The House of Lords elects a "First Lord", who sits on the Cabinet, and a "Chieftain", who chairs the chamber's proceedings.

While the nobles can not originate legislation (other than non-binding resolutions, of which they produce many), the Lords must approve (by 50% plus one vote) any bills coming from the other two chambers, meaning that the Lords is essentially a vetoing body. The Lords use this power judiciously; they rarely stop legislation from the other chambers, but when they do it's frequently a matter of great contention. This ensures that the Parliament is fairly conservative in terms of intervention in civil matters; the Lords serve as a moderating force.

Principality of Caledon Politics[edit]

While the House of Delegates is very much a battleground of party politics, and the Grand Senate is given to lofty deliberation, the House of Lords is, perhaps teleologically, pretty much the chamber of the Nobility.

Which doesn't mean there aren't factions, although the Lords go to great lengths to distance themselves from the scrum of the Delegates' parties. The Lords break down among several informal factions, listed here in descending order of influence:

  • The Conservatives - Firm believers in Caledonian tradition, including the monarchy. Focused largely on maintaining Caledonian business interests against challenges from both market forces and foreign aggression, their foreign policy is less "aggressive" than "decisive".
  • The Reformers - Interested in continuing the Constitutionalist reforms, and reducing the Monarchy's power still further.
  • The Imperials - Focused on expanding Caledonian control via direct action; the Imperials believe that the best defense for Caledon is a strong offense and a wider buffer between the Home Systems and the "hostiles". "Imperial" in this case means "favors a Caledonian Empire" more than "siding with the Imperium", whom the Imperials view as competitors.
  • The Caledon Firsters - Cultural insularists.
  • The Accomodationists - A group that favors closer relations with the Imperium.

A coalition of Conservatives and Reformers has fairly firm control of the House.

Principality of Caledon (Legislature) Grand Senate[edit]

The Grand Senate is composed of three Senators from each world. The Senators are elected according to individual world election laws; some are elected by popular vote, others appointed by planetary governments or rulers, others by vote of representative bodies, and some by a combination of several of the above.

The Grand Senate is where all treaties with other states originate.

The Grand Senate elects a "President", who serves as the body's convenor.

Principality of Caledon Parties[edit]

The Grand Senate is much less stratified on party lines, being largely either appointed or elected by thin majorities on constituent worlds. This is as the Constitution's framers intended.

Principality of Caledon (Legislature) Legislative Process[edit]

A piece of legislation - a "bill" - may start in either the Grand Senate or the House of Delegates (exceptions: bills pertaining to appropriations or taxes started in the House of Delegates, and those relating to treaties with other states start in the Grand Senate; non-binding resolutions can start in any of the bodies).

To pass into law, all bills must be passed by all three chambers of the Parliament. The Prince has no "veto" power per se - his closest approximation is to go to one of the chambers, usually the House of Lords, to get them to vote a bill down.

If a bill is voted down by one of the chambers (frequently but by no means always the House of Lords) the vote can be "Recommitted"; a majority in the other two chambers can move to hold an override vote; if the override garners a supermajority (2/3) vote of the other two chambers, the bill passes into law. This is a very difficult standard to overcome, and Recommittals rarely succeed; when they do, they usually bespeak a great rift between the Monarchy (acting with majority support in the House of Lords) and the rest of Parliament.

Bills that pass from Parliament are always signed into law by the Sovereign Prince; failure to sign a bill is considered an incredibly aggressive act on the part of the Prince, which always provokes a constitutional crisis. It has not happened in recent memory - the parliamentary process serves to balance power fairly effectively.

Principality of Caledon (Judiciary) Crown Courts[edit]

The Crown Courts are the state's justice system.

Most criminal and civil jurisprudence is handled at the local, Shire, or system level - although all laws must pass Constitutional scrutiny. Contracts are litigated in the district in which they were executed.

The crown appoints (and the Grand Senate confirms) a "Crown High Court" for each system - a group of three judges whose jurisdiction is limited to crown affairs, meaning matters related to the principality's bureaucracy and Constitution, as well as Constitutional issues and, in special annual session, Peerage cases (related to matters dealing with squabbles between members of the gentry over matters pertaining purely to peerage and its entitlements).

The crown also appoints a "Crown Bench" of 11 judges that meet annually to resolve constitutional issues.

Principality of Caledon (Polity) Technology & Trade[edit]

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Principality of Caledon (Polity) Military & Intelligence[edit]

Please see Army of the Principality of Caledon, Caledonian Army Equipment, and Caledonian Army Order of Battle for more information.

Principality of Caledon (Polity) Sectors[edit]

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Principality of Caledon (Polity) References & Contributors[edit]

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.