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For All Nails #253: Paper Trail

by David Mix Barrington and Johnny Pez


From A Life for the Empire: The Memoirs of George Loring (London, 1982)

It was not until the morning of the 10th that I became aware of these developments. I was meeting with Mr. Carmichael of the Milk Marketing Board when Sandy entered with word that the PM wished to see me immediately. When I arrived at No. 10 I was shewn into the PM's office after a brief delay.

One look at Sir Geoffrey was enough to tell me that all was not well. His eyes were bloodshot, and even from the far side of his desk I could smell the whiskey on his breath.

"We just got this in at the Colonial Office," he said, faintly slurring his words, as he clumsily pushed a flimsy sheet of paper across the desk at me. It was a cable from Governor-General Skinner. Though it was couched in appropriately deferential language, it was an unequivocal rejection of Suffield's appointment as Viceroy. Skinner quoted from the Second Britannic Design and stated that as the Second Design required his consultation on the choice of Viceroy, the Colonial Secretary's unilateral appointment was invalid. Skinner proceeded to offer his own nominee for the post, to wit His Grace Arthur Burgoyne, Duke of Albany.

I looked up from the cable to find the PM glaring at me. "Now look what you've got me into," he grunted. "You said they'd jump to attention if we cracked the whip. Instead, they've turned the whip on us! Do you realise what you've done? Now that I've delivered the challenge, I can't back down without looking weak. I'm going to have to pursue this bloody Viceroy business to the bitter end. And it's all your fault!"

When I attempted to inquire further into the matter, the PM cut me off with a savage oath. "Shut up!" he snarled, his eyes those of a brute beast. "Shut up and get out! I've had enough out of you!"

I left the PM's office with what dignity I could muster. It was only after I had returned to the Ministry and made my own inquiries that I began to discover how badly the PM and Cornell had bungled the whole business.


From the Times
12 March 1976

Cabinet Reshuffle

The PM's office announced yesterday that Mr. George Loring will be retiring from his post as Minister of Education at the end of next week. Mr. Loring, who has served in Sir Geoffrey's cabinet since 1971, was one of the founding members of . . . .


From the New York Herald
12 March 1976

G-G DENOUNCES VICEROY APPOINTMENT

In a nationally vitavised address from the Executive Palace yesterday evening, Governor-General Lennart Skinner denounced what he called an illegal attempt by the government of Sir Geoffrey Gold to unilaterally appoint a new Viceroy to replace the late Sir Reginald Styles. Skinner declared, "Sir Geoffrey Gold knows the procedures outlined in the Second Design as well as I do. This is nothing less than an attempt by London to subvert one of the cornerstones of our system of government."

The office of Viceroy is one that goes back to the earliest days of . . . .


From Newstime
22 March 1976

In the Eye of the Storm

by Lloyd Mandeville

By longstanding tradition, the Chancellor of Oxford University is a figurehead, a public figure rather than an academic, who has nothing to do with the day-to-day administration of the university. Dr. John Suffield, the current holder of the position, is unusual in having spent much of his life at Oxford. For twenty years, Dr. Suffield was a Fellow of Pembroke College, and he still makes his home in Oxford. Dr. Suffield is also a bestselling author whose fantastical romances have won him a devoted following in Great Britain, and it is this, more than his longstanding association with Oxford, that gained him election as Chancellor in 1961.

Dr. Suffield looks upon the crisis over his "fiat appointment" to replace Sir Reginald Styles as Viceroy of the CNA with unconcealed amusement. Sitting in a cluttered parlour in a modest slate gray house on Northmoor Road, he chuckles at his sudden infamy. "Naturally," he says, "I should have preferred to elope with a church secretary after absconding with the widows' beneficent fund. That's the traditional way for a university chancellor to achieve notoriety." Mabel Suffield, the Chancellor's wife of 33 years, seems appropriately scandalized by the thought.

Dr. Suffield appears to hold no grudge against Governor-General Skinner for his rejection. "I've read through the relevant articles of the Second Britannic Design," he says, "and it seems to me that Mr. Skinner has got Mr. Cornell dead to rights. He should have been consulted in the matter of my appointment, and acted quite properly in letting Mr. Cornell know that his actions were unacceptable."

Dr. Suffield's equanimity regarding his rejection comes as no surprise to anyone in Britain. As Chancellor of Oxford University, he is in a position to criticize the government without fear of retribution, a freedom he has taken advantage of numerous times since the National Renewal Party first came to power ten years ago. "There is no question in my mind," he says, "that the rationale behind this dubious honor was to give the NRP an opportunity to ship me off to North America in the hope that they'd never have to hear from me again."

If that was the government's plan, then it has backfired spectacularly. Not only has the appointment set off a constitutional crisis in the CNA that may result in a final break with Great Britain, it has given Dr. Suffield an international audience for his criticisms of government policy. That, too, causes him to chuckle. "I've had offers from five North American newspapers and two magazines, including yours, to become a regular columnist." When asked if he was considering accepting any of the offers, his only answer was an enigmatic smile.


MEMO (CONFIDENTIAL)
From: Tucker Marshall, Chief of Staff to the G-G
To: Cabinet and Senior Staff
Date: 24 March 1976
Re: New Head of State

Gentlemen:

At our meeting Friday I believed we reached general agreement on our response to the Masonists' dumb idea about how to replace the position of Viceroy -- we file first with our own plan that breaks the connection with the King but changes as little else as possible. We set up a new office that's as near to the way it is now as we can get away with, chosen by a Council supermajority with the Duke of Albany as our nominee for the first one. What we didn't establish was what the hell this fellow is going to be called. There are a bunch of choices, each of them with its own problems:

"King": We agreed this was no good, as it makes us look like one of the German puppet countries or something. Of course, if the damn Brits win another battle or two King Ferdi will be out of a job and we might want to rethink this. By the way, since we're mostly dunkers except for the odd bead-jiggler like Michael it escaped our notice Friday that the King is also the Head of the Church of North America. I rang up Archbishop Brown and asked him about it (under the seal of the confessional, I hope) -- he said they don't really care, as he reports to the King in theory through the Archbishop of Canterbury now, just like the Anglicans do now in countries where Henry ain't the King, so it would make no difference.

"Viceroy": The most conservative choice, but (a) it just makes no sense because it means "in place of the King" and he ain't any more, and (b) it's just too damn ridiculous - replacing one office with another that has exactly the same name is going to make us look like a bunch of damn fools.

"Lord Protector": Not really serious, but it's what the Brits used the last time they dumped their King. For one thing, he's not going to be "protecting" the country from anything. In fact, if it's Albany, and he shoots his mouth off about stopping any land development FN1, we may need to be protecting him.

"Consul": The G-G really hates this one, and not just because it's the Masonists' idea. He says (a) we can't have just one of them because the Romans had two, and (b) when they became figureheads they were figureheads for the Emperor and he don't want to be Emperor. More seriously, he said, this Consul idea is the Masonists trying to hornswoggle us into a "tribune of the people" -- a guy with his own electoral mandate and thus a license to give the Government and the Council a hard time. We damn sure don't want any part of that.

"Head of State": The simplest solution, I think, because that's really what the damn job is. But since it translates in Spanish to "Jefe de Estado" it sounds a whole lot like Benito Hermión, who's about the last fellow we want to remind anyone of.

"President": This is what the majority of republics in the world use now, and probably what New Zealand is going to wind up with. Some Presidents run the country like in Mexico, and some are ceremonial like in Taiwan. Objections are as follows: (a) we don't want a run-the-country President, (b) we don't want to make a big deal, like the Masonists or N-Zeds are doing, about overthrowing a monarchy for a republic even though that's more or less what we're really doing, and (c) a President ought to "preside" over something. Armin Gregory had an idea for (c), that we could make him President of the Senate, which I guess would mean he'd have to buy the first round at each of their meetings.

Well, that's all the ideas I can remember our kicking around. I'd like some ideas before Wednesday morning as to what other names we might use, or which of these is the least bad.

Tucker


GC 1976-373 "Executive Revision Act"

The office of Viceroy is hereby abolished. The head of state of the Confederation of North America shall be known as the President of the Confederation of North America. The President shall be chosen by a two-thirds majority vote of the Grand Council, and shall serve a term of five years. In the event that the President is unable to fulfill the duties of his office due to death or incapacitation, a successor shall be chosen by a two thirds majority of the Grand Council to serve out the remainder of his term of office. The President must be a citizen of the Confederation of North America, and been resident in the Confederation for no less than twenty years, and be no less than forty-five years of age at the time of his election.

Introduced by Councilman Erasmus Ruffin (L-SC) on 13 April 1976


GC 1976-374 "Independence Act"

The office of Viceroy, being a symbolic token of our nation's subservience to a foreign tyranny, is hereby abolished. The head of state of the Confederation of North America shall be known as the Consul. The Consul shall be chosen by a majority vote of the citizens of the Confederation of North America. Should no one candidate for Consul receive a majority vote, a runoff election shall be held between the candidates with the two highest vote totals. The Consul must be a natural-born citizen of the Confederation of North America, and must be no less than thirty years of age at the time of his election.

The Consul shall serve for a term of three years. In the event that the Consul is unable to fulfill the duties of his office due to death or incapacitation, a new election to choose a successor shall be held no later than fourteen days following the said death or incapacitation, during which interval the Council President shall perform the duties of office as Acting Consul.

Introduced by Councilman Ryan Creighton-Young (M-Manitoba) on 13 April 1976


From the Statist
16 April 1976

A Royal Flush

IN THE course of what is already becoming known among commentators between the rivers as the Tuesday Night Massacre, the Grand Council passed a flurry of legislation in the wake of the Executive Revision Act renaming dozens of institutions, buildings and landmarks across the CNA. The Viceroy's Palace has now become the President's Palace. The word 'Royal' has been dropped from government agencies such as the Royal North American Air Force, the Royal North American Space Agency, and the Royal College of Physicians. And in what may be the most unkindest cut of all, the Union Jack has been removed from the canton of the CNA flag, replaced by a white six-pointed star on a blue field.

The design of the new flag is the result of a compromise between the three factions that have emerged within the Grand Council. On one side is the Masonist Party, who sought to re-create the flag of the Continental Army by replacing the Union Jack with a circle of thirteen five-pointed stars. On the other side are the most traditionalist members of the Liberal Party and the People's Coalition, who sought to retain the Union Jack. In between are the Reform and Justice Party and the more moderate members of the main parties, who wished to remove the Union Jack, but sought a less controversial replacement than the old "Stars and Stripes". The final design was suggested by Councilman Roth Williams (L-NC), and passed by a vote of 96-54. According to Mr. Williams, the six-pointed star is meant to symbolize the six confederations that currently make up the CNA.

There has been no word as yet from Mr. Lee Stanwick of Timely Illos on whether Captain Confederation's uniform will be revised to reflect his nation's new flag.


Camp Cornwallis, Long Island, N.Y., N.C., CNA
20 April 1976

Dearest Fiona,

By the time this finds you I expect I shall not be far behind. Word has come down from Major Duncan that we are to pack our kits and prepare to be transferred back home. Just as well, if you ask me.

The rudeness we have been subjected to since the start of the American War is nothing next to the hostility we have seen since this whole Viceroy business began. I find myself utterly out of sympathy with these people. For three years now we have been assisting them in the unenviable task of trying to transform the ragged, slovenly mob they call an army into a smart, professional force. And do we receive any thanks for our efforts? To the contrary, all we hear are slurs directed against our comrades-in-arms in New Granada, and now against Sir Geoffrey Gold and even His Majesty!

I find myself hoping that the Johnnies are stupid enough to intervene in our little tropical contratemps. I shouldn't at all mind meeting them with a full company at my back to teach these clowns how real soldiers fight. I've no doubt they would learn more from an hour's hot engagement than they have from three years' training.

Yours faithfully,

Barry


Forward to FAN #254: A Farewell to Kings.

Forward to 26 March 1976: No Oil for Blood.

Forward to CNA Politics: Grits, Interrupted.

Forward to Great Britain: Crash of Civilizations.

Forward to the Statist: It's the Real Thing.

Return to For All Nails.

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