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Jun. 2021 Cabinet Election #3 - Prime Minister Debate


Year 18 | 10 June 2021

Moderator: James D. Halpert | Participants: Islands of Unity and Witchcraft & Sorcery

Welcome to the June 2021 Prime Minister Debate!

I am James Halpert and I will be the moderator of this debate with Islands of Unity and Witchcraft & Sorcery, candidates for Prime Minister. This debate is sponsored by the South Pacific Independent News Network.

The format of this debate will consist of three sections:

ē The first section will feature questions for all candidates on their qualifications, intended policies and their visions for the coming term.
ē The second section will feature specific questions for each candidate.
ē The third section will allow each candidate to ask one question to their opponent(s), after which a few minutes for discussion will be allowed.

Candidates are asked to clearly mark the end of their answers so that I may know when to invite the other candidate to answer or to move on to the next question and to answer no later than 3 minutes after a question has been asked. If any candidate wishes to respond to their opponent at any time, they should first ask for the floor; the goal of this is to keep an orderly flow of discussion and avoid excessive interruptions.

Opening Remarks

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] Hi everyone! Thanks to Islas for an excellent campaign so far and thanks to SPINN for hosting this debate and dealing with my very tight schedule this week.

Iím running for Prime Minister not because Iím trying to shake things up or because I have some new idea that I think will make TSP better, but because Iím competent, experienced, and a proven leader who tackles issues head-on without much fuss or drama. Iím running on a platform that can best be summarized as ďbringing some reliability to the Cabinet.Ē One of the common threads I see throughout a lot of issues facing TSP both at home and abroad is that we do good work, but people donít know what to expect from us or when. At home, I want to focus on deadline-setting, scheduling, and creating achievable goals for the ministries and their projects. Abroad, that looks like assessing military and FA issues in a consistent manner so that our allies know what to expect from us and we know what to expect from them.

My time as Minister of Defense has shown that Iím a consensus-builder, a battle-tested leader, and someone who can generate excitement and activity in the areas in which Iím involved. Itís those qualities which I will bring to the Executive branch and why I hope Iíll earn your vote to be TSPís next Prime Minister.

[Islands of Unity] See thatís where Iím the opposite, donít you want a PM who rides a motorcycle and has a leather jacket? Maybe a little bit of the wild side is needed occasionally. :P I have ideas for the cabinet but the priorities I hold are like strengthen the defender cause and help with the growth and sustained integration of new players in tsp, these are the demands of the voters. I donít think I have anything to say thatís too wild or radical for Roavin tbh, and tbh Iím just having fun with running for PM, I feel like either of us would do really well.

Glad to be here glad to help out glad to be Islas :sunglasses:

How do you see the region today? That is, are things measurably better than four month ago, simply alright but otherwise stagnated, or are they worse?

[Islands of Unity] The region faces particular issues with staffing, and focus. These problems arenít insurmountable, and tbh the solution seems as easy as crushing the complacency that leads to elections with less candidates and voters than this one, I believe a majority of candidates this election will seek to implement the integration policies or ones similar enough to the integration policies Iíve been calling for since forever, the newsflash is that integration is coming and itíll be here soon.

Focus is an issue that I should self criticize on, I have to acknowledge that this area is one I have room for improvement on, and itís one that Iíll have to keep at my organizational tasks forefront.

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] This is an interesting question. In many ways I think things are better - but there is a long way to go. For one, Iíve seen a noticeable dip in activity as the term has gone on, largely due to various ministersí RL obligations. Thatís okay, but we need to be honest and figure out how things can proceed in our absence. My department, the SPSF, has seen a surge in activity this term and will only get stronger with either of the two candidates, but other areas have seen a bit of stagnation. The MoC had a lot of events planned but not many of them have come to fruition. Some FA issues have stagnated. My goal is to make sure that doesnít happen - that thereís a sense of consistency even when a minister has to take a break.

Overall, Iíd say things are certainly in a better spot than four months ago. Thereís work to be done, but I can definitely say the trend is positive. Islas is correct that staffing is a major issue - recruitment and advertising saw a big drop this term and I hope weíll take some steps to fixing that, as well as setting realistic and achievable goals for ourselves.

[Islands of Unity] I should point out that the effects of not being able to fill out a complete election ballot with candidates is felt in the form of like legislative inactivity until the recent island of activity for a while.

When it gets to the point of the former the latters well underway.

Speaking of (in)activity, the consistent use of the Cabinet Twitter thread is a constant promise that is rarely kept once candidates become ministers. Are there any avenues for accountability and promotion, beyond the Cabinet Twitter, that you consider worth exploring and that would be used consistently?

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] Yeah, that's one thing I noticed last term. :P I was the only serious user of Cabinet Twitter and even I didn't really have much to update with - but that had more to do with a general slowdown in Cabinet Twitter-worthy defender ops than my laziness about using it. Defenders are dominant right now and raiding is barely active.

That said, we need to be developing gameside outreach for this kind of stuff even more than we already do. Ever since my MoD campaign I've been looking at ways to increase the SPSF's reach into the gameside crowd, which culminated in the Tidal Force relaunch, and I'm happy to see both Quebec and HS commit to more gameside outreach beyond what I've done in their respective campaigns.

As PM I want to make sure the same holds true for the other ministries - this is something I'll look forward to working especially with the new Minister of Engagement on but also each individual minister. I truly believe the government has an obligation to be at least somewhat accessible on the gameside level and we should be doing as much as we can to keep them informed about forum and discord goings-on.

[Islands of Unity] I would try to do a VC thing as often as feasible for direct communication with the Public from myself and the ministers, the written sheets of information and updates will be sent over to be a duty of the Llama Drama publication in the media ministry, a creation under my regime that Iím hamfistedly enriching here. :P

I would ensure that Iím held to the schedule of interaction by asking that specific individuals here hold me accountable in addition to a calendar reminder to regularly go out and fireside chat.

Other executives would be expected to do the same, barring the loa stuff some of us dealt with this term.

While you are running for Prime Minister, other candidates are also running for other offices with their own agendas. How do you expect to manage the Cabinet during the term in terms of aligning the various ministerial agendas, producing a common agenda and ensuring that this agenda is met?

[Islands of Unity] So the thing is that I have already seen strong evidence of a general want for integration policy from the candidates, I am sure that whoever wins will have the biggest single hand in shaping the direction and course of TSP bc of the principal that many already support the ideas at the highest levels.

Aside from that, I havenít finished it yet but my campaign will lay out 2-3 specific agenda points for each ministry and maybe a few general ones that would probably serve as my focus for activity during my regime.

For example I would like to propose perhaps an issues committee who could recommend responses to issues that could allow us greater siteside ideological consensus for a general idea or as Iíve mentioned before Iíd like to instruct the ministry of culture to stage vc theatrical performances, Islas the musical coming soon. :P

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] This is one of my great strengths as a leader, both in real life and in NS. I was captain of my schoolís mock trial teams and I had a skill of taking talent that was expected to underperform and producing results with them - Iím very good at identifying peopleís strengths and maximizing their potential.

My standing question to the other ministers is going to be ďwhat do you need from me?Ē - whenever thereís a gap that needs to be filled or a fire that needs to be put out, Iím there. As HS rightly pointed out about me in legislators lounge some time ago, Iím very active in the community on the ground and in chat a lot, so Iím in tune with the lay of the land and I have a good sense for what needs to be done so that we can have a unified front and set agendas for the whole cabinet.

That doesnít mean ministers wonít have broad autonomy to do their own projects - of course they will. As PM my goal will be to reconcile things where they need to be reconciled and ensure the ministers have the tools, resources, and direction they need to be successful.

Broadly speaking, I want to make sure each ministry sets achievable goals for itself and sticks to them - not to over promise and have some form of consistency.

Are there any particular policies that you hope to advance or otherwise prioritise during the term?

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] Yeah, agenda-setting per ministry is one of my big goals, actually. I think it's critically important that a ministry like the MoC, for example, sets up and maintains a consistent culture calendar. That can be extended to all of the home ministries - making sure they set reasonable agendas and stick to them is my number one priority here. I'm also going to dedicate the majority of my card farming operation to providing resources to the card program - we need to make sure that gets out of the gate this term.

On the whole cabinet level, we need more public cabinet meetings, period. That was a huge success of the last term and we'll be doing at least one of those per month in my administration.

Externally, I'm a soldier at heart. You all know that. We're going to maintain our steadfast commitment to the PfS and to sovereignty across the game, and I'm excited to work with the Minister of Defense on increasing the actual gameside presence of the SPSF - finishing the work I started as MoD, so to speak.

[Islands of Unity] I hope to make it legally obligated that any lampshade that passes into the bar is transferred to my account.

During the integration push I hope to do a fair consisting of displays or activities set up by the regional government ministries and offices, people could be informed on what the functions of various areas are while also having fun and doing what makes a community best: hanging out and being one.

In general the strengthening of the defender ideology and the push for integration are the two biggest and most impactful thing to focus on in the coming term.

Desserts are a contentious issue in the region. Do you prefer cake or pie?

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] Pumpkin pie > apple pie > cake > other kinds of pie.

[Islands of Unity] Pie.

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] Like everything else i have a complicated answer to this question. :P

[Islands of Unity] Cake is good as cheesecake.

Pumpkin or sweet potato wands?

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] Pumpkin. Definitely not a fan of sweet potatoes.

Islas, you mentioned earlier that you are working on your campaign. What policies or ideas can voters expect in your campaign that you might not have had an opportunity to share during this debate, and why should voters expect you to be the most qualified choice for Prime Minister?

[Islands of Unity] I am open to exploring a process in which certain laws and privileges are extended to the Prime Minister, ofc only if I win. :P

I will be seeking to exploring new diplomatic relations with other regions, have a proposal for an artistic representation of the drama llama currency, and will be hoping to set up a complex spy ring reporter-journalist system throughout the regional gov to document and report on public ministry and for example court and LC buisness.

Who said anything about qualified Iím here to have fun!

Iíd like to think and have been told that I can do well here as pm, I also recognize that I am still improving, and can do better. The one thing I can guarantee is the fun though. :P

W&S, your most prominent involvement in the region has been in the field of military gameplay. How would you approach the home ministries -Culture, Engagement, and Media- to ensure that they have the appropriate level of support from the top and also that they yield consistent results?

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] I've mentioned this in my campaign as well, but one of my biggest strengths as a leader is my ability to fill in wherever help is needed. I'm a "boots on the ground" type of soldier - my preferred method of involvement is putting my head down and getting the work done wherever it's needed. I'll be in regular contact with all of the ministers and they can expect to hear the words "What do you need from me?" a lot.

I find a lot of successful leadership comes down to just being available. My constant presence in chat makes me a natural fit for that type of position and I've taken part or led many projects over the years that make me not completely inexperienced with the type of work that the home ministries do. I hosted the 2017 Defender Awards that essentially brought them back from the dead, and more recently I provided a lot of the resources for TSP's cards program.

Cross Questioning and Discussion

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] Islas, Iíve always known you as an excellent public servant, and I have great respect for the work youíve done for TSP. Still, with regard to this specific election, you posted your campaign thread an hour before the debate started and it was not complete. I know youíve made it a bit of a meme that you always post your campaigns super late, but how are the voters supposed to make an informed decision as to whether youíre the best candidate for the office if a) you give the people such little time to read and ask questions about your candidacy, and b) if you effectively ambush your opponent with your campaign and policy proposals with an hour of time to prepare before a debate?

[Islands of Unity] Well you see the thing is that I find it funny, and the voting populace detached and ironic they be, will probably enjoy it too! (Serious: I probably held onto this one too long, my apologies everyone).

To settle your concern that you hadnít seen them before an hour ago, imagine how I feel. :P

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] I just had to ask the question - I'm still not sure how the voter is supposed to accurately judge your campaign if the opponent has to initiate a discussion about this as opposed to a real policy discussion.

[Islands of Unity] There is ofc still plenty of time for my ideas to get out there, in order to catch up maybe I could borrow some of the questions they asked you? I should have released it sooner we agree.

My question for wands is: Even if it gets tough when youíre prime minister you know you can call me to get a helping hand right?

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] Definitely.

[Islands of Unity] Where is the region heading with its issues in integration policy in your view? When will issues with it finally cause a major problem if not averted?

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] I think the government has not done a great job making itself known and available on the gameside level. With maybe a couple of exceptions, none of the current cabinet is really active on the RMB or gameside much at all. We've probably regressed in terms of recruitment and outreach this term - that's why I was a little tentative to say outright that the region is headed in a measurably positive direction. While i think the trend is overall that way, we need to do a lot more in terms of putting ourselves out there.

That means gameside platforms for the ministries, that means more telegrams advertising opportunities to get involved, that means unleashing our inner marketing executive, as I know Vietnam likes to call it. :P That's not just the MoE's job, that's the responsibility of the cabinet as a whole, and i think it will go a long way toward solving some of the staffing issues you've talked about.

Closing Remarks

[Witchcraft & Sorcery] I want to close by again thanking Islas for a good debate and SPINN for hosting - it's always a pleasure taking part in these. They're well run and the questions are always very good.

I hope I've shown today why I'm the best candidate for Prime Minister - I've got the experience and skill to lead the Executive to a new era of consistency and accountability. In my administration you'll see a marked increase in transparency, public meetings, and on-the-ground assessment to better meet ministries and the Assembly where they are at. That's my approach to leadership and that will be my approach to agenda-setting in the Cabinet. Thanks to everyone for tuning in and I hope I'll earn your vote for Prime Minister!

[Islands of Unity] I am proud to be here, I never pictured that I would be MoM or running for PM here this term, every step along the way was my desire to try to help out tsp, i can only imagine the places this desire will lead me next. I am here to have fun!, I think that the regional gov is headed towards brighter days and Iím excited to be a part of it. The moment is here and I can just feel that itís right, that not only are we going to grow in a positive way as a region, but also that weíre going to have a lot of fun and not miss chances to make lasting impacts! Happy pride month! Happy elections! The lampshade thing from earlier wasnít a joke (:P)! I hope I earn your vote but I hope more that we all have fun and make a change!

The South Pacific Independent News Network (SPINN) is an independent news organisation established in 2003 with the goal of providing good, insightful and timely commentary on regional events for the citizens of the South Pacific. Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board. Content is published via pseudonyms. The SPINN is not associated with the Government of the South Pacific.