by Max Barry

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by The Most curious observations observed observedly by the observing observers curiously have now observed this nation is now the Modly Curious Observations of Roavin. . 69 reads.

Roavin - Minister for Progress | Prime Minister campaign, Feb 2018

Vote Roavin for Prime Minister in February 2018

"Roavin. The NS enigma, himself. Taking bold action when the rest of the world is content with complacency and inaction. Pushing boundaries without hesitation, and with little thought to political damage to himself."
-- Drugged Monkeys

Ohai, TSP! I'm running again. Having served in this position for two terms now, you already know what qualities to expect:

  • Proven Leadership I've driven the Cabinet to get things done when they are needed. In the past two terms, that includes appointments for the High Court and the Legislator Committee, the Sunshine Act release, the executive order leading to the Border Control Act, and more. As Seraph says, I "had been really easy to work with, whilst always being there to ensure the important stuff gets done when the cabinet has been lost in it's own ministry stuff".

  • Guidance to the Ministers No matter what it was (even if it was beyond the confines of NationStates), I've been there for the Ministers to make sure they can do the best job they can do. As Escade says, I am "a very calm and collected player who offers good advice, direction and support to the cabinet".

  • Liaison for the Cabinet By being very present on the RMB, Discord, and the forums, I make sure that the Cabinet (through me) is always reachable to the public. Similarly, I present the Cabinet to our other institutions as necessary. CRS member Sandaoguo, for example, simply and bluntly states that I have "been good to work with".

  • Bold and Progressive Briefly appointing myself to the Legislator Committee surely cost me a decent chunk of good will, but it was the best way forward to ensure apps are processed. Taking the opportunity while there, I then crafted a guide and some initial processes for the Legislator Committee to ensure that security checks are done properly.

  • Sovereign Vision We don't pay lip service to Independents, Imperialists, Raiders, Defenders, or anybody else. We are the South Pacific, proud and strong, sovereign but not isolated, and I work hard to make sure that remains the case.

  • Dedicated I am not a cosmopolitan. I have one home, and that is the South Pacific.

With a third term, you can expect all of the above, plus:

  • No More CoI My only engagement outside of the South Pacific will end on the 22nd, right when this term starts.

  • Unified Regional Scheduling This past term has been so action-packed with events and dates that we had scheduling conflicts several times. I intend to work with the ministries, particularly Regional Affairs as well as the forum administration to craft a regional schedule/calendar so that this cannot happen anymore.

  • Active Outreach We are not isolated and have a lot friends across NationStates. A Roavin-led Cabinet will make sure you get to meet many of them.

  • Stronger Ties for Us Our enemies claim we are isolating ourselves with our actions. That is empty rhetoric as they try to maneuver us into being their pawns. Screw them! We are not reliant on them, and their conceitedness in claiming so is despicable. The January Accords are just the most recent demonstration of their sophistry, and there is more to come.

  • A Unique Power Our military is already the most skilled GCR military around. The only thing we still lack is numbers, surely a solvable problem.

  • Breaking the Wall We have all the talent and skills necessary to create a World Assembly development program that matches the brutal effectiveness of TNP's while being uniquely South Pacifican. Doing so enhances our security and increases our power over the World Assembly.

To summarize: What you are looking at is a promise of progress, backed up by a record of delivering progress.

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
-- Frank Zappa

And as always, I encourage you to ask me any and all questions!

Answered Questions

Pencil Sharpeners 2 wrote:1. Even the most optimistic CU supporter must now admit that the fight is over. Do you plan on spearheading any change in our region's view on who the rightful government of Lazarus is?

I wouldn't spearhead any change that would see Funkadelia's regime as having come to power legitimately - it simply hasn't.

With regards to recognizing the Funkadelia regime, that depends on a variety of factors. The Celestial Union still exists and we continue to be allied with them, so while that holds true we will of course not recognize the UDoL and instead consider Lazarus as occupied. There isn't really a big rush to change this - the likelihood of Funk being ousted is nil, yes, but we also don't gain anything from recognizing them. If anything, it would aid them.

Still, though, we're keeping a close eye on things. Minister of Foreign Affairs Tim Stark in particular has been keeping communication lines open with the Celestial Union, our ally The Rejected Realms (as principal ally with us in the endeavor last summer), and with representatives from the UDoL. While I can't reveal too much right now, I can say that the situation will likely change in March, so watch this space!

Pencil Sharpeners 2 wrote:2. While they may be unlikely to be implemented, admin silence on the 'venter' idea is a little suspicious. If these were to appear in the next few months, what position do you think TSP should take, and what role do you see yourself taking in influencing our position?

That's a good question. While we certainly have military prowess to spare, we don't necessarily have the kinds of numbers needed to secure one for ourselves (the moniker "special forces" is very apt for us). I can imagine us working together with an ally or two to build up one of the venters. But that's something that needs to be discussed, not just in the Cabinet but also with the wider region as a whole.

I find it quite unlikely that admins will add new GCRs anytime soon, though.

Nakarisaune Linkwrote:
Do you have any regrets from your last term, and if so, how would you resolve a similar situation in this term?

I can't think of anything I did as Prime Minister that I regret and would have done differently. I do think I should have done more Office-updates, but that's a different kind of deal.

Nakarisaune Linkwrote:
What do you think your greatest flaw as Prime Minister is, and how does it compare to other candidates' flaws?

My greatest flaw is that I'm bad at RA stuff. Whilst I can still effectively be there for MoRA, I can't do it in the same capacity as I can in FA or MA, which I am significantly stronger in. Having people like Escade and Seraph with me in the cabinet, who are absolute cultural beasts, has fortunately masked that issue for the most part in the past two terms.

I'll wait for any comparisons until nominations are over and all other candidates have posted campaigns.

Kringalia Linkwrote:
Do you have a lampshade?

United federated states of omega Linkwrote:
Silly question: how do you see the state of Lampshades in the Cabinet?

I'd say it's rather a conglomerate of lampshades than a state or country...

United federated states of omega Linkwrote:
1. So do you mean to imply that you will be leaving TGW? Does this mean you will be WA stable or remain mobile with the SPSF?

I'll keep my WA flinging about for SPSF as I have since June 2016.

United federated states of omega Linkwrote:
2. Who is your favorite Chancellor of Germany (or any other head of government) and why?

I could pick a german chancellor (Helmut Schmidt) but most people here will be able to identify more if I were to name a US President.

Here goes: Bill Clinton. He is a flawed person, yes, as are all of us. But - he principally believes in the betterment of the lives of all people, rich and poor, even if he cuts a shady deal here or there to make it happen. Furthermore, he is an absolute economics nerd, even to this day, and it's no coincidence that the last budget surplus that the United States has had was during his tenure.

United federated states of omega Linkwrote:
3. Do you see the PM role as more of a spokesman or more of a leader of the government? Please explain

Both. See my last two terms :P

United federated states of omega Linkwrote:
4. What do you plan to be should you not be elected?

As always, sh*tpost the assembly.


...actually, I have more. Something like SPN Breaking News is something that has alot of potential but is underutilized. I would probably try to revive the old SPINN and make it a news network that gives quick short stories about current events that are about 1-2 paragraphs each. I think we're really missing something like that, but unfortunately as PM I would be writing too much about myself or things I'm involved in.

Kringalia Linkwrote:
How do you respond to mounting rumours that you run a SPIT-trafficking ring, while using drama llamas as forced labour?

Fake news, believe me, fake news!

North prarie Linkwrote:
How will you increase gameside activity as PM?

It's not strictly my purview to increase gameside activity, but obviously I strive to have the ministries be present on gameside as is reasonable.

North prarie Linkwrote:
And, will you try to become more active on gameside and the RMB yourself?

I think I have been tbh...

I'm not fond of the RMB but I've been keeping on top of the RMB during my PM tenure as I feel it's important to be present there as liaison to the Cabinet as well.

Mostly benevolent tyranny Linkwrote:
Do you have any particular concerns about the fact that you're running for a third consecutive term?

Not really. I still think I'm the right man for the job, and I don't think I've become stagnant.

Still, though, unless there aren't any even remotely viable candidates running in June, this will be my last consecutive term. That means I will have served as Prime Minister for a full year, a good time for somebody else to take the reigns. Personally, I'm vying for a PM that is a bit more RA-affine than me to take over in 4 months.

Erinor Linkwrote:
Both your campaign and Farengeto's have a strong focus on improving cabinet communication and transparency, both internally and externally, and rightly so. There were a number of occasions during the last term where I was unaware of important decisions being made in other ministries, at least one of which I was the *only* cabinet member not to know about and in a couple of cases I only found out about them at the same time as the Assembly/rest of the region. How would you go about ensuring this doesn't happen in the future?

This is an excellent question.

Now, the classical approach here would be for me to sit in my ivory tower, firing volleys of "transparency" and "accountability", while my opponent in response similarly sits in his ivory tower doing the same, and we both try to hit the perfect word-count for the keywords that the electorate likes most. I'm not going to do that. Instead, let me demonstrate how my thought process on this was (past tense) and what I am already doing (present tense) to fix it.

First, we need to identify the root cause, which in this case is simple. Your feeling of being left out came from FA decisions. Escade, Tim, and myself are all on the FA team. Therefore, there were cases where we already inadvertently had some of the discussion that would have swapped into the Cabinet proper if this were not the case, and we didn't follow the proper procedure. Particularly with the January Accords, what happened is that Tim just simply forgot that formal Cabinet approval is needed and submitted it to the Assembly before we did that. I reminded him about that and he immediately and apologetically reached out to you about it, but the damage was done.

Second, is this a one-off problem or something that can happen again? That Tim simply forgot about the Cabinet approval requirement is something that he, or anyone from the FA team, will forget again, plus I'll be likely mentioning it whenever it comes up again. So this particular situation can be considered a one-off. The principle of the matter, however, is systemic. Having three of four ministers in the same team producing work that requires Cabinet sign-off - it should be intuitively clear that this can easily happen again, despite best intentions. We are lazy by nature. So we can't just stop the process here, and have to keep going.

Third, what are the possible strategies to work against this? The obvious one is to not allow Ministers other than the MoFA to be in the FA team. This may hurt more than it helps, though, as all three of us are on the FA team for a reason. Tim is the MoFA, so obviously he must be on there. Escade is the FA team's cultural expert, so she should be on there. As for myself, I am there both ex officio to observe, but also as a regular Legislator, invited into the Team by Escade and explicitly kept by Tim because they want my input on things. A restriction on the FA team would hurt it more than it helps the Cabinet.

But more generally, let's recognize that this is a problem that can occur not just with the FA team, but also with the RA's Advisory Council or SPSF's General Corps. While FA and RA have minister-appointed teams, in SPSF the situation is even more complicated by virtue of the General Corps being Assembly-approved. So, the approach to limit minister involvement in other ministries in this way is too hairy and therefore a non-starter.

Therefore, we need another solution. I'm generally a big fan of eschewing huge decrees to force processes in favor of subtly nudging set pieces into place such that the change happens organically. With regards to Tim simply forgetting the requirement, Nakari is currently working on a law index sorted by topic, so that each Minister can quickly review the relevant laws that applies to them. That will help work against that problem.

To solve the systemic issue, we can consider what would force such an "inadvertent 3/4 Cabinet" to involve the full Cabinet as needed. This actually ties in with another open problem, which is that our documentation requirements are quite limited and incomplete. What we can do is force us to document what we are doing better, not just in the Cabinet proper but also in the ministries (which is fully lacking at this time). By just having documented things, the missing Cabinet minister will get a concise but complete briefing of the matter at hand automatically.

And so, I have written a draft for a new version of the Sunshine Act that introduces these documentation requirements. It's currently under review for my fellow comrades in the SPP, but you have seen it before - it contains an entire article with three substantive sections about documentation requirements, and I hope we can bring it to the assembly for discussion soon.

This is very likely not the answer you expected, but I hope it satisfies much better than the usual ivory tower approach would have. Thank you again for that wonderful question.