TRINIA

Political Parties

The Trinian political system does not place a great deal of emphais on political parties, but they do exist. The oldest of them were originally factions of aristocrats during the first decades of the Second Reign, around 250 years ago, although the continuity between the historic parties and the modern ones is sometimes somewhat questionable. These early parties represented broad political outlooks rather than cohesive policy platforms, and this remains basically true today — members of any given party can be expected to lean in a certain direction, but this is about as much as can be assumed.

Traditionally, the two major parties of Trinian politics have been the Party of Memory and the Party of Thought. On the whole, they reflect conservative and progressive attitudes, respectively. In recent years, other parties have arisen, most adopting the same naming style as the traditional parties — various leftist movements, for example, have organised themselves as the Party of Hope.


Party logoParty of Memory

The Party of Memory (Tel Memŏra Dal) is the oldest political faction in Trinia, and also the most loosely organised. It has its origins in the Second Reign, although there is no precise date for its formation — rather, it evolved gradually from the various political interests which were dominant at the time. It was not until an opposing faction began to emerge that it acquired its name - the new faction described itself as the party of reason and progress, and the established powers replied by describing themselves as the guardians and preservers of old wisdom.

The Party of Memory today is basically a conservative grouping, at least by Trinian definitions. It supports the traditional political system of Trinia, and favours a strong role for the Houses. It is also supportive of preserving Trinian culture in the face of foreign influence, both in terms of social values and more visible things such as food, music, and dress. Its economic policy is generally protectionist, although there are differences of opinion inside the party as to whether or not to support the left-inspired economic policies currently in place in Trinia. In terms of foreign policy, the Party of Memory is mildly isolationist, and is a supporter of Trinia's neutrality. In recent years, the party has also come to adopt a form of environmentalism, arguing that Trinians have a duty of stewardship over the land and should not despoil it in the name of change and progress.

The Party of Memory is associated with the colour green. It is also frequently represented using images of trees and leaves — it is debated as to whether this is a consequence or a cause of the colour association.


Party logoParty of Thought

The Party of Thought (Tel Şianem Dul) is the second oldest of Trinia's political parties, having been the primary rival of the Party of Memory since the Second Reign. It arose in opposition to the dominant political consensus of its time, accusing the senior figures of the day of being too bound up in tradition and custom. The Party of Thought presented itself as a offering fresh approach which discarded blind obedience to the old ways, instead being based on intellectual and philosophical debate. The defenders of the old way named themselves the Party of Memory in response, and the traditional party dynamics of Trinia were established.

The modern Party of Thought is considered to be progressive in its politics according to the Trinian definitions. Most members of the party argue that Trinian society should be allowed to evolve without the state attempting to enforce traditional norms, and its members support attempts by the state to promote equality in terms of womens' rights and minority rights. The party's economic policy leans more towards free trade than the Party of Memory, and its foreign policy is based on increasing Trinia's economic and cultural engagement with the rest of the world.

For various reasons, the Party of Thought is symbolically associated with wind and rain, both of which traditionally represent change and rejuvenation. (Storms and lightning were once used as a symbol, but today the party tends to use gentler imagery of soft rain and refreshing breezes). At one stage, there were also complicated religious connotations — these were meaningful several centuries ago, but the relevance has faded.


Party logoParty of Hope

The Party of Hope (Tel Seberu Dul) is the third largest party in Trinian politics, being smaller than either the Party of Memory or the Party of Thought but nevertheless significant. It is essentially a coalition of various leftist groups, notably the League of Communists, the Socialist Party of Trinia, the Trinian Social Democratic Alliance, and the Trinian Worker's Party. In the days after Trinia regained its independence, the leftist block overtook the traditional parties as the country's dominant political group, but as the situation stabilised, both the Party of Memory and the Party of Thought reasserted their traditional position. The various leftist organisations, which had previously been rivals, came together in 307 AP with the intent of challenging the resurgence of the two major parties, and to recapture the momentum which the left had possessed during the independence struggle. They chose to adopt a name in the traditional style.

The Party of Hope generally advances similar policies to those of left-wing groups in other countries. It supports public ownership of important infrastructure, trade barriers to protect Trinian industry, a generous social welfare system, and high taxation. Many members of the party describe themselves as communist, although only a subset of these would be given that label in other countries — elsewhere, some might be called social democrats.

The Party of Hope makes extensive use of five-pointed stars and the colour red in its advertising. Both are borrowed from foreign leftist movements, although the colour red is also traditionally associated with the Principle of Compassion of traditional Trinian philosophy. It has also begun to use the sun as a symbol, fitting in with the nature imagery used by the two traditionally dominant parties.


Party logoParty of Action

The Party of Action (Tel Vezalŭra Dal), while not as large as the three parties mentioned previously, nevertheless manages to hold political office of some sort in all parts of the country, distinguishing it from the various other minor factions in Trinia. The modern Party of Action was formed relatively recently, during the period when Trinia was regaining its independence, but it takes its name from a small faction which existed in the Second Reign.

The Party of Action is strongly nationalist, and advocates that Trinia abandon its policy of neutrality and anti-militarism. It also opposes suggestions that ethnic and linguistic minorities should recieve increased autonomy, although does not currently propose to rescind measures already in place. Economically, most members strongly support free market policies, although some factions of the party argue for state assistance to certain industries deemed to be of national significance.

The Party of Action uses the colour purple, although no particular significance is attached to it — it was simply a colour that was considered distinct from those of other parties.


Other Parties

In addition to these four organisations, there are also a number of smaller parties have won political office on occasion. However, none of them are large enough that their presence in the Gathering of Monitors and other elected bodies can be expected as a matter of course. Some of these parties are based around particular ideologies, and others around regional or ethnic identities.

The more noteworthy of the minor parties are the Party of Purity (environmentalist), the Party of Dedication (religious), the Party of Choice (libertarian), the Aigadoro-Moranguese Rights Party (ethno-linguistic), and the Party of Trust (hardline communist).


Commentary

Trinian political parties don't necessarily divide neatly into the left-right categories used in most places. In lots of countries, leftist economics goes together with social liberalism, and rightist economics goes together with social conservatism, but that isn't the case in Trinia. In Trinia, the traditional dichotomy is between change and tradition, regardless of whether you're talking about economics or society, and this is the therefore distinction between the two big parties. The new leftist party is something of a break from this, being foreign-inspired and thus not really conforming to the traditional Trinian political division properly.

So... traditionally, you had the Party of Memory wanting things to stay the same, and the Party of Thought wanting things to change. The rise of the left introduced a camp which was opposed to (and by) both Memory and Thought — the left agreed with Thought in that there should be change, but they wanted the change to be in the opposite direction to the change which Thought wanted (and most of them wanted it to be more radical, too). Memory doesn't like the leftists because they're undermining the old order, while Thought doesn't like them because they're trying to replace the old order with the wrong thing. The three-way split essentially dates back to the Trinian Civil War — Memory, Thought, and Hope roughly correspond to the Houses, the Provisional Government, and the insurgents, respectively, and on the appropriate History page, the factions are even shaded the appropriate colour. The Civil War is the last time there was any real potential for violence between the three, however — it's all politics these days, even though the communists swore they'd never get dragged into the power games of the old elite.

Memory and Thought are currently ahead of the leftists, but this hasn't always been so. A while back, the communists surged into a position of dominance when they led the country's independence movement — the old parties were urging caution and subtlety while the communists were leading angry marches through the streets, and as the public mood swung quite clearly towards action rather than talk, the communists were in a position to gain momentum. (The traditional parties have never really been mass movements — they were, and mostly still are, establishments of the elite, and their politics takes place in quiet rooms rather than in the street. The independence movement really caught them off guard, and this made them look out of date and irrelevant.) However, the traditional order has since reclaimed its position.

The communist explanation for this goes something along the lines of : "We broke the traditional hold of the elite, but became complacent and didn't take advantage of that window of opportunity. We underestimated the deep roots of the traditional powers, and unwisely assumed that the fight had been won when in fact the old parties and the Houses were quietly regrouping. The people were solidly behind us in the beginning, and possibly still would be if they could be bothered to take action — it's just that they've lost interest in politics now that things aren't quite so urgent, and have allowed the old elite to slip quietly back into control."

The old parties and the House leaders would reply with something along the lines of : "The majority of Trinians were never truly communist — they may have voted for the left because it was making the most noise in the independence struggle, but they had no actual interest in its economic radicalism, and have turned away from it now that independence has been won. Even those who really were communist were often driven more by anger and frustration than by anything else, and once the politically charged environment of the independence protests wore off, and things had calmed down enough for them to think about communism would really mean, people came to their senses. The Trinian communist movement may have sounded like a good idea to some people in the beginning, but simply could not stand up to scrutiny once people had time to think about it properly, and it has now shrunk down to just the fanatics again."

Anyway, a majority of the communists are now organised as the Party of Hope (note the traditional-style name — betrayal!, say the hardliners who remain outside party politics). They more-or-less accept that if there had indeed been a chance for real communist revolution, they missed it. The Party of Memory and the Party of Thought, meanwhile, have gone beyond their initial stage of congratulating themselves on averting a communist take-over and are now industriously insisting that the there was never any real chance of a take-over at all.

The Party of Action, the one not mentioned yet, actually talks more loudly about communist take-overs than most of the communists these days — preventing such a take-over was pretty much the Party of Action's reason for existing, although as the prospect of rampant communism receded they've taken on a lot of nationalist planks as well. Neither Memory nor Thought like them very much — too loud, too uncompromising, too hard to work with. Trinia's traditional political elite values a bit of subtlety, and Action has virtually none.