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29 November 2006 @ 11:51 pm
About Wizarding Government!!  
Thank you to Alex, Mun of Pansy and Ron, and also Charlotte, original Mun of Arthur Weasley, for your information and advice as to how Muggle British Government works, and suggestions as to how to blend it with our Wizarding world.

I hope you guys will find this a reasonable blend of real/factual Muggle information and what little we know of Canon. My hope and intent, as always, is to stay as true as possible to Canon as written by JKR for these 'boundaries' and world-situations, even as our characters grow and change beyond canon constraints.

Please understand that I am using Lucius and Arthur as examples, because a) it would make me very happy to see them pitted against one another in a political arena, and b) its an easy example to use when they're the right 'age' and are on opposing sides of so many issues.

This does not, in any way, obligate those Muns to follow this plotline - that is totally up to the players and also how much 'support' you get from your fellow Muns and characters! *grin*

So. Here goes.

The Minister for Magic is appointed by the Wizengamot rather than voted by the general populace, but the Wizengamot itself is an elected body. The wizarding world being relatively small compared to the Muggle one, and the Wizengamot being apparently rather large-ish from what we have seen in canon, I assume that each member of the Wizengamot is a representative for a fairly small segment of the wizarding populace, but still comparatively large percentage of the population in comparison to the Muggle system.

Constituents would then make their desires known to their representatives whenever there is an election process, where the Wizengamot is considering whom to appoint.

Now, in the Muggle/'real' world, my understanding is that the Minister, him/herself gets to choose when elections will occur, and that he/she generally chooses a time when he is relatively 'popular'.

In this case, for our world, I want to fudge this a bit. We know that Fudge was kicked out during the summer holidays between OotP and HBP, so I'd like to assume that in the Wizarding world, the Wizengamot has more 'say' in calling for elections if the Minister is unsatisfactory. At present, Shingelton was merely an emergency appointment upon the death of Scrimegeour, so calling for a special election would not be totally unexpected.

They probably were hoping for things to settle down and 'peace' to be restored before trying to select a new Minister.


Lucius, at present, cannot even be legally considered as a candidate because of his status on the Registry. If she wants him to be considered, that would be the first step for Lucius' Mun to work toward, as far as getting Lucius into political position. Also, Arthur Weasley has been relatively 'quiet' during his years in the Ministry. I could see a lot of potential plot-bunnies related to both men working themselves into positions of eligibility over the next several months.

In game, there are many people who have been gradually expressing their frustration over the situation, mostly privately, but this is getting more and more public. As this continues, the Wizengamot will hear of it, of course. Particularly as some characters have specifically recently called for elections.

I also want to mimic a part of the British system in that the second-closest in votes, after the winner of the Minister for Magic position will then be head of 'The Opposition' - or, in this case, I think it might be appropriate/comparable to put the non-winning person as Head of the Wizengamot, or some other very comparible high-power-ranking position. Something that would give much room for power-struggles and such, long after the actual politics and elections are over.

This whole politicking process will be a slow-build for the game, and much of it, honestly, will depend on how much fun you guys have with it from a player-standpoint, and how much 'mileage' we get out of it for the game as a whole. We have a lot of creative folks who will surely jump on the bandwagon of 'campaigning' for their favourite person and such.

So, this is sort of a player-perspective-plot. As long as their is minimal or sporadic unrest among the populace about Rudiger, the Wizengamot will be relatively complacent about him. He, of course, will do all he can to maintain his 'popularity'. However, when there is enough game interest and some solid candidates, we will 'call' for the election.

At that point, the 'campaigning' would start in-earnest, where the average citizen would start to clamour for his or her favourite 'replacement' candidate. Again, depending on the decisions of the Muns involved, we would love to see Arthur and Lucius be in the running, but there are also many NPC choices, as well as good-choice-canon characters who currently have no Mun, such as Kingsley Shaklebolt or Alastor Moody (if you like your Minister a bit paranoid...)

Also, if any other player characters wish to be 'in the running', there is no reason why you couldn't start 'campaigning' yourself. I do think there would be similar age-requirements as in the Muggle world, so most of our Trio-era characters would be too young to run, or at least there would be a very heavy prejudice against them, though it might be fun to try to be the 'youngest ever Minister for Magic...'. On the other hand, not to single anyone out, but I really, really wouldn't want Harry Potter to be Minister for Magic, because that is just too much for one character. heh. (Or Snape for that matter, as if anyone would 'vote' for him! ;))

Likewise, don't rule yourself out if you play a female! Molly Weasley might make just as good a Minister as Arthur! *wink*

Basically, the timing for the next 'election' is up in the air a good deal - but it is very much in our player's hands. There has been much good-starting lately over the 'tagging' issue, as well as some of the nonsense in the past. When it looks like people are getting bored with the political angle, we'll call for elections and move on. We like to have *some* level of conflict, always, because with no conflict at all, a game stagnates and dies and it is our desire to have this game be more a political and normal-life-driven conflict stuff, rather than a DE and war-driven stuff.

One final thing, to clarify for the folks frustrated about the Order of the Phoenix. The Order of the Phoenix, as per canon, was a wartime organization, almost a group of vigilantes. It is very, very clear, in canon, that it disbanded almost the instant the first war was over, and that it did not involve itself in politics, at all. Albus almost aggressively *avoided* any influence of the political system, even when asked for 'advice' on a regular basis or tried to be pushed into the Minister job, himself. Those of you wanting/waiting for Minerva to 'lead' the Order of the Phoenix in some sort of revolt against the Ministry will have to be disappointed, I'm sorry. Her hands are more tied than the average citizen because of the needs of Hogwarts. She cannot afford to alienate whatever government is in power.

The Order of the Phoenix does still exist, and will rouse again to such things as Death Eater attacks and Greyback activity - if/when more of the Order are not on the Registry, themselves, and can actually *do* something other than draw attention to themselves by meeting to discuss their present state of helplessness.

Does this make sense? Does it seem like a reasonable blend of canon and Muggle world considering we don't know how the heck the Wizarding World appoints these folks? Ideas/suggestions, Please!! :)

Thanks Alex and Charlotte for your explanations and help! :)
safinnigan: bitch pleasesafinnigan on November 30th, 2006 03:04 pm (UTC)
Ok, if the Wizengamot is rather "large" and elected, I'm going to assume that Seamus would probably know not only who his elected official is, but would probably know him/her personally since his Mum would probably have had him over to Finnigans when he was in town to see the Kestrels practice. I'm thinking maybe 3 Irish Wizengamot members for Ireland - 1 for Dublin, 1 for Southern, 1 for Northern and another seperate one for Northern Ireland.

Any objections if I do these 4 as NPC's for Seamus? He's very much a work within the system kind of guy - until he's totally fed up, LOL.

subtle_simmersubtle_simmer on November 30th, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC)
I'm sure the Finnigans would know their officials and such, as you've said. :)

It's fine if you want to make them NPC's, though for something like this with potential 'power influence', we won't be wanting them to exclusively 'belong' to any-one-character. Then again, I doubt anyone else would have reason to know these particular members as well as Seamus' family would, as far as our in-game characters are concerned, so I doubt there would be any reason for conflict of interest.

You have the right idea - this is precisely the sort of close-knowledge of each other that I think representatives/constituents would have. I doubt each member of the Wizengamot 'represents' more than 30-40 Wizarding families, if that.
Pansy Parkinsonfreakedwithjet on November 30th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
I just kinda wanted to point out that Southern Ireland/Eire/the Republic of Ireland is a completely separate country with its own system of government, separate offical language and all that, and therefore would presumably have its own Ministry, completely separate from the UK's.

safinnigan: arms crossedsafinnigan on November 30th, 2006 07:38 pm (UTC)
nod, nod....I was thinking that for purposes of the game though, that for the HPverse it would be a UK wizarding gov't. - Kind of like Hogwarts is a UK school? Is that agreeable?

Also, on the NPC thing, YES, I'm fine with them being totally shared. I'll post descriptions on the NPC thread with an indication that they are totally available to anyone who wants to use them. How's that?
Pansy Parkinsonfreakedwithjet on November 30th, 2006 07:51 pm (UTC)
Well, but like I said, Eire isn't in the UK, it's a completely separate country.

It's the equivalent of saying that Canada should have a representative in the USA Congress, which would, I'm sure you agree, be a bit odd.
safinnigan: arms crossedsafinnigan on November 30th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I should have been more specific. It seems to me that since Hogwarts seems to draw students from the entire area, it makes sense that the wizarding world might not be split down the exact same lines as nations are, especially for purposes of our game. Just as an example, the Quidditch League is combined - the British and Irish League is combined and regulated by the Ministry of Magic (Department of Magical Games and Sports).

It just makes sense to me to consider them combined for the Wizengamot as well.

Perhaps we should discuss Canada another time. The closest part of Canada to me - Windsor, Ontario - is SOUTH of where I am sitting as I type this, btw. Just for another interesting geographical note, lol.
Pansy Parkinsonfreakedwithjet on November 30th, 2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
But it isn't just "the British League" it's "the British and Irish League" which implies separate nations, even if they are combined for ease. The Football Association covers the Crown Dependencies but they aren't part of the UK either.

Hogwarts is a private school. As such, it's going to draw students from across international boundaries. Schooling in the Wizarding World doesn't seem to have much to do with one's nationality. After all, Draco was going to be sent to Durmstrang and the UK has no suggested links with any of the Eastern European states where that school might be placed.

I'm sorry to seem to be making such a big deal out of this, and nagging away about it, but it just seems a bit weird to me, when Lisa has gone to all this trouble to research and work out a system of government which makes sense alongside its Muggle counterpart, to then disregard international boundaries. We've had no sign in canon that the Wizarding World has any different countries than the Muggle one.

And I'm aware that the Michigan-Canada border isn't straight as a di, but Canada is still a separate country from the US.
subtle_simmersubtle_simmer on December 1st, 2006 12:32 am (UTC)
And you are now revealing my total ignorance (thank you public education system in the U.S.) about borders/separate nations/etc. My husband tells me, for example, that it would be considered a HUGE fauxpas to intimate that Ireland/Scotland/Wales/England are all separate parts of the 'same' country. In my brain, I thought those were semi-equivalent to 'states' within one 'country'. I did not realise they had entirely separate governments and such.


So I honestly don't know how to resolve this. It does seem like, in canon, that 'Ministry for Magic' does have jurisdiction over all of the United Kingdom - is that a correct term to sort of 'lump' all those countries? I say this because obviously the Minister of Magic, Fudge, had a great deal of control and influence at Hogwarts with Umbridge, the whole OotP stuff, even though we 'know' (sort of) that Hogwarts is in Scotland and the Ministry is in England.

It seems to me that even though these areas are truly separate and soverign entities in the Muggle/real world, JKR has somehow 'lumped' them together in governance. Otherwise, why would England's Minister Fudge be able to make all these 'edicts' over Hogwarts located in Scotland.

What do you think, Alex? You are far more knowledgable on how such things are done than I am!! I do not consider you 'nagging' at all and I appreciate you helping make it as accurate as possible. I do wish JKR would be more explicit on this stuff. heh
Pansy Parkinsonfreakedwithjet on December 1st, 2006 01:08 am (UTC)
It can be a faux pas to intimate that Cornwall is part of England, for that matter. Some of the Cornish have wanted independence for centuries. So you can see, it gets complicated.

I think what's important here is the terminology. At the moment, people are thinking of the archipelago of islands as "the UK" which isn't strictly true. The main countries (disregarding entirely the Crown Dependencies and other complications) in this archipelago are England; Wales; Scotland; Northern Ireland; the Republic of Ireland (or Eire, to use the Irish name). The United Kingdom is made up of England; Wales; Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is run out of the central government in London (regardless of the fact that each country has its own houses of Parliament); it is one country. Therefore, it makes sense that the Minister for Magic that we see should have control over Hogwarts in Scotland. In this instance it is probably easiest to view them as "states" within a larger country, though none of the populations would thank you for it.

The island made up of Wales, England and Scotland is called Great Britain, and Great Britain together with Ireland (the name of the island made up of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland/Eire) make up the British Isles.

My point is this. London-based government has control of the UK, not the British Isles. The Republic of Ireland has been a completely separate country, governed out of Dublin by its own completely separate government (with completely unpronounceable names like Dail Eireann), since the 1920s. Not only that, but there has been considerable violence on the issue of Eire as a separate state since the sixteenth century and paramilitary operations and bombings (including where I grew up) right through my lifetime. A ceasefire was only declared in the last couple of years, and it's still a very touchy subject.

To summarise. Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England are separate countries but also combine to make one centrally governed country, the UK. The Republic of Ireland is an entirely separate country. As such, I suspect it should have an entirely different Ministry for Magic. As I said above, we've seen no evidence of magical society disregarding modern national boundaries (the Bulgarian Minster for Magic, for instance, rather than one representing the old Ottoman Empire).

I guess all those History lectures do come in use for something. :)
subtle_simmersubtle_simmer on December 1st, 2006 02:52 am (UTC)
Replied below to the whole topic so everyone can see the 'decision'. ;)
eleckeltricity on December 1st, 2006 02:19 am (UTC)
*shoves oar in*

Alex has already said everything far better than I could, but yes, calling Ireland part of the UK can be incredibly offensive, and if JKR's lumped the two countries together, I would be truly astounded, and more than a little shocked. National and regional identity is a very, very big deal in the British Isles.

I find pictures helped me understand the divisions properly - I still get confused over things.

Put simply, and thieved largely from Wikipedia:

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Great Britain (see below) plus Northern Ireland. Not including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Very much not including the Republic of Ireland. Often shortened to 'United Kingdom' or 'UK.
Great Britain= England, Wales and Scotland. Often shortened to Britain
Ireland / Republic of Ireland: A sovereign state occupying most of the island of Ireland.
British Isles : A geographical term, relating to the islands northwest of France. (Except the Channel Islands)

Regrding Scotland, and the power of the Ministry in Scottish affairs - Scottish devolution happened in 1998, and it's not total. While the Scottish Parliment has executive and legislative powers, stuff like taxes, the social security system, the military and international relations are all run from London. Scottish MPs still sit in the House of Commons. The two systems (and of course the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies) are very much still interlinked.
subtle_simmersubtle_simmer on December 1st, 2006 02:52 am (UTC)
Replied below to the whole topic so everyone can see the 'decision'. ;)
subtle_simmersubtle_simmer on December 1st, 2006 02:53 am (UTC)
Replied below to the whole topic so everyone can see the 'decision'. ;)
subtle_simmersubtle_simmer on December 1st, 2006 02:51 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh! This picture helps sooooo much!!!

Okay, then. For purposes of our game, the elected members of our Wizengamot and the over-all Minstry of Magic and Wizengamot-selected Minister for Magic, will have jurisdiction over Great Britain, defined very nicely by Charlotte, thus:

Great Britain = England, Wales and Scotland. Often shortened to Britain

Because this seems to both make sense and fit in with how the "Muggles" do it, and also with the intention of JKR and cannon stuff. I am leaving Ireland out of it, by not making it the whole 'UK', because I would get very confused over the 'difference' between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Does this clarify enough?

Thank you Fuji for bringing this up so we could all learn something new, and Alex and Charlotte for helping us poor Yankees understand it!!

about_abbottabout_abbott on December 1st, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
Keeping it just Britain makes total sense. Especially since we know the Minister often tells the Prime Minister things that are going on in Wizarding Britain.