[LMB] New Counts?

D. Reed teluekh at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 3 23:28:48 BST 2009

--- On Fri, 4/3/09, Meg Justus <mmegaera at nwlink.com> wrote:

> From: Meg Justus <mmegaera at nwlink.com>
> Subject: [LMB] New Counts?
> To: "Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold." <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
> Date: Friday, April 3, 2009, 5:45 PM
> Scott:
> > Suppose Gregor wanted some bit of legislation passed
> by the Council of 
> > Counts, but didn't have the votes? If he could
> suddenly create a dozen new 
> > counts who were completely loyal to him he could
> create an instant 
> > majority. Apparently, several monarchs of England did
> exactly that in the 
> > House of Lords over the centuries.
> Oh, I don't think Gregor would want to risk his imperial
> person on a gambit 
> like that.  The council of counts would have him
> eviscerated, and they have 
> precedent for such things.  There's so much textev in
> so many places about 
> the unwritten checks and balances in Barrayaran government
> that for an 
> emperor to try to tip them that far would be
> suicidal.  Maybe one count at a 
> time over a period of decades, but even that might be
> risky.

Also, he's better off just delegating his authority and retaining clear title, IMHO. This way, if he sits tight, in a few hundred years the population in Imperial lands ruled by his descendants will outnumber the population under the rest of the Counts combined.

(It seems to be implied that Komarr, Sergyar, and the South Continent are not a huge percentage of the population of the Imperium even taken together -right now-. Maybe not even in the double-digit percentages)

It's not clear the Emperor (who after all is himself merely a jumped-up Count) has the authority to create Counts at all. The system seems to have emerged organically as an association of co-equal warlords, not through Imperial creation. 

> OTOH, one does wonder what's going to happen with all that
> land on Sergyar 
> one of these days.  Will Gregor and future emperors
> just keep appointing 
> viceroy after viceroy, or will its growing population
> eventually force some 
> sort of districting and/or self-government under the
> oversight of the 
> Imperium?  Or will one evolve into the other the way
> it did on Barrayar?

Well, Gregor owns Sergyar outright. It seems a natural laboratory for any government experimentation that would take place. 

> Something else that always bugged me was how Komarr is
> represented in the 
> imperial government back on Barrayar, or if it is at
> all.  So far as 
> taxation and all that sort of thing goes.  Speaking as
> a USAian and 
> remembering the start of my own country.  The only
> time we see anything like 
> that is in Memory when Laisa is part of an economic
> delegation to the 
> emperor.  Almost like a foreign country rather than
> part of the empire.

Since the Komarrans run their own internal affairs through the sector system, they probably have control over some of their local tax money. The Imperium seems to take all the wormhole taxes. In the government, I suppose they could possibly have a dedicated minister in the Council of Ministers. There were geographical Ministers (Minister of the West, Minister of the Interior) back in Ezar's day. 

The Barrayaran government is not terribly representational, period. Although, it likely is fairly geographically representational. One of the things that has been happening with the dismantlement of hereditary peers in the British House of Lords is that more and more of the people in government come from the area around London, as opposed to misc. middle-of-nowhere baronies. 


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