Expect a different community this time next year.
The end of the year in the micronational community is always an event for reflection. We look back on the past twelve months, smile at the good and cringe at the bad.
Granted, 2013 has been a relatively quiet year in the community, and there’s not much to smile or cringe about. Aside from the constant political fighting and jocular discussions on Skype and in MicroGroup, the community that will enter 2014 is much the same as the one that left 2012. While some have left (notably the departure of our dear friend Jacob Tierney) and others have arrived, 2013 can probably be characterised as the year the community finally settled into some form of peace.
This peace has come at the price of activity, though. As I wrote in Commonwealth Avenue in October, the year has seen a definite downturn in activity all around, with only a handful of nations, such as Austenasia, Sirocco and Zealandia, keeping the engine room running. What does this mean for the year ahead? Will the community get its mojo back with great projects to work on, or will it continue its fall into a casual meeting point for former statesmen? With crystal ball in front of me and the awareness that reading this in December 2014 may result in hysterical laughter, I present my predictions for how we will get to the end of the year 2014 and what shape we’ll be in when we get there.
St.Charlie will disappear
While the resident St.Charlians will be quick to jump in and say “but we’re having elections, we’re active and stuff!”, it’s obvious that St.Charlie is on its way out. A quick look at the St.Charlian Observer shows that life is fast fading from the country’s body – there has been very little of any notable news from outside the bloated Italophone micronation.
The election currently taking place that will determine whether the Socialist Eastwood will have another crack of the whip or if Nationalist Marka Mejakhansk will seize the reins instead. While on the face of it it appears that the country is running smoothly, there has been conspicuously little energy surrounding the election, not like that of 2011 which was full of vitality and excitement.
Also note that both contenders aren’t native St.Charlians. They’ve both come from nations that merged into St.Charlie. It’s a sad sign of national apathy when other nations have to join in to shore the country up. Watch for this to change in 2014. Nations like Landashir and Nemkhavia (especially if Mejakhansk loses the election) may realise that having their lot in with St.Charlie isn’t the way they want to go anymore, and break off. Atlantis too could split away if it feels that it’s better off alone, and if Eastwood loses, this could well happen. If these three nations (more so the latter two than the former) break off, St.Charlie will essentially be left without any driving factor. Since they are facing the same problem as most of us, that is, an aging population, 2014 could be the year a lack of active citizens spells the death of the more than decade-old St.Charlie.
One-man control in Zealandia
Zealandia has famously lurched all over the place in recent years, with chronic government instability becoming one of its most defining characteristics, alongside being a Sweden of the South Seas.
The problem is power-sharing with others. While in macronations it’s essential, in micronations one person is often all a nation comprises of, so sharing power is really quite pointless. Having a sharing of power in the constitution might look nice, but when your parliament loses interest, you’re stuck with a nation going nowhere and no way to fix it.
In the last few weeks, King Håkon has made efforts to gain a more centralised power, and realistically he needs it. Zealandia is too weak to keep handing out power to others left, right and centre, so taking charge is the only logical thing to do.
In 2014, Håkon will quite likely take full charge of his nation, like he really should have done from the outset in 2010. When this happens and the power-sharing ceases, Zealandia will likely find stability and be able to get things done without being hamstrung by temperamental ministers and prime ministers that want their way or the highway.
A good year for business
2014 appears to be a good year for Siroccan businesses, with the national economy in good shape and optimism at an all-time high. Look for more businesses in Sirocco to open this year, following up on a string of new enterprises in 2013, such as Googie Burger and the very recent start-up, the Atomic Donut Company.
All in all, I would suggest that 2014 will be an important year in this community, and one that will define where we go in the future and with whom on board. Nothing is a given as we enter the next year, and while new faces will arrive as old ones leave, I am sure that as a community we will be entering 2015 with good memories of an industrious 2014.