Most Talossans can be forgiven for thinking that governing our country is easy. The infrequent announcements regarding the appointment of one individual or other and the occasional bill in the Hopper never communicate the challenges of good governance. But what indeed constitutes good governance? In Talossa, it probably has something to do with effective communication, which is something the Coalition Government would have to know a hell of a lot about.
Coalition Government is obviously a very different kind of government to what many Talossans are accustomed to having. It involves negotiation between ideologically very different parties (and individuals) and it requires co-ordination as well as a willingness to compromise in order to maintain the support of the coalition’s component parties. So, how’s this government doing with respect to this?

One of the first things that the MRPT and the ZRT did when it came to forming a government was set up a group on Facebook that would allow for quick and easy-to-access discussion among Cabinet Ministers. The benefits of doing so were quickly apparent; it’s easy to monitor who has seen various posts and easier to draw people’s attention via a mechanism of tagging specific users. It is the first time a government in Talossa has used Facebook as its primary means of communication; it has served the government well, and will continue to do so for as long as we have a coalition government, unless of course the government is required to accommodate Ministers who have a particular aversion to some of Facebook’s more invasive features. Facebook does not monopolise the current government’s communications, however. For a while, messages directly from the Seneschal would be sent to the inboxes of Ministers and their deputies in the event of urgent business. It allowed a dialogue to occur within various ministries (under the watchful eye of the Prime Ministry), but was limited in its success. Frequently it would require prompting from the Seneschal for discussions to pick up and for decisions to be made, thereby reinforcing what academics have termed as the Westminster Model of power within government. There is no doubt that the Prime Ministry is key to determining whether a government is going to be active or not.

After a month or two, the e-mails started drying up, and the Seneschal’s posts on Wittenberg became almost valuable with their scarcity

For parties that were explicitly critical of the previous Seneschal’s government as a consequence of the Prime Ministry’s apparent inactivity, neither the MRPT nor the ZRT have thus far been able to steer the government away from continuing in broadly the same direction. There’s no doubt from within government that Seneschal da Dhi is an incredibly busy man, but for all the effective means of communication, this means nothing if you cannot delegate. After a month or two, the e-mails started drying up, and the Seneschal’s posts on Wittenberg became almost valuable with their scarcity; an inability to delegate would continue to grip the Seneschal until the final weeks of my time in government. Government activity is hamstrung by the pace with which an over-burdened Prime Minister can run this figurative marathon. Only when he shares the burden will the government start picking up the pace. That is, of course, unless some Ministers start acting with greater autonomy. In truth, however, is there really any motivation for such change to occur? If we’ve learnt anything from the past few decades, it’s that incompetent governments rarely lose elections in Talossa, and competent alternatives are elected infrequently. Party alignment is so strong in Talossa that one is often left wondering if our politicians’ actions have any impact on the electorate’s voting intention at all.


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