Fellow members of the South Pacific,
In a few moments I will be submitting my resignation from the Assembly. Many of you will not have realised I was here in the first place. I have not been the most active of participants in my time here - almost four years. Nonetheless I wanted to put on record a few words about my reasons, in case they are of help to anyone thinking about the future of the region.
TSP is rightly proud of its heritage as NationStates’ oldest democracy. In NS, as in the real world, democracy is the best system of government. I make no apology for saying this. It is much of the reason I chose to join this region in the first place. But democracy isn’t just a thing you say - it’s a thing you do. A strong democracy empowers as many people as possible, in the knowledge that the collective wisdom of its members is greater than the sum of its parts.
Since I joined TSP, however, the trend has generally been in the opposite direction. Many constitutional and legislative changes that I have seen during my time here have had the effect of concentrating power in the hands of an ever-decreasing number of players. From restricting the pool of players who are eligible to stand for election as Delegate, to abolishing the Local Council, the cultural instinct of the region has been to hoard power, not to share it. To be sure, each of these changes had their own rationale, and might even have seemed sensible in isolation, but viewed as a whole the pattern is clear.
The most recent change in the law, raising the bar to participation in the Assembly, is another unwelcome step in this direction. The debate on these proposals even came close to suggesting that certain ways of playing the game are somehow less legitimate than others.
Those that would respond that the new requirements for Assembly membership are not especially onerous, or that the reforms will open up executive voting rights to a new group of players, are missing the point. In TSP’s constitution it is the Assembly that holds the executive to account, and these additional barriers will reduce its ability to do so. Taken together with other centralising reforms over the last few years, the erosion of democracy in this region is a clear and present danger.
It is unlikely I will meet the new enhanced requirements for participation in the Assembly, and I would rather leave now than be pushed, or play a disinterested part in executive elections purely for the sake of maintaining legislator status.
As such, I will be submitting my resignation in a moment. I hope those legislators that remain will consider the implications of my words, and think about how TSP can move forward in a way that strengthens democracy, rather than weakening it. If not, then no hard feelings - it’s only a game, after all.
I will continue to maintain a WA nation in the South Pacific, to make whatever small contribution I can to regional security. I wish you all well.