[LMB] Democracy on Barrayar (was: Re: Nicki and Pyms kid)

Michael R N Dolbear m.dolbear at lineone.net
Sat Mar 14 15:10:13 GMT 2009

> From: D. Reed <teluekh at yahoo.com>

> But there are no elections involved whatsoever. The ministries are
basically just the Barrayaran civil service, and the fifteen-odd top
level ministers who have votes in the Council of Ministers are Gregor's
Cabinet as opposed to some Barrayaran House of Commons. The Minister of
War seems roughly equivalent to the US Secretary of Defense, for

> The Prime Minister is possibly the majority leader instead of an
appointment, but presumably he has be either a member of the Counts or
part of the Council of Ministers before he can become PM.

Direct to PM is unlikely but probably perfectly legal, if a prior
membership was required the Emperor could just do it in two steps
"points, you are now Minister for Light Industry. Pause. You are now my
Prime Minister."

The Minister/Ministry of War isn't mentioned after SoH I think. Curiously
D*v*d W*b*r follows the same path with the Minister of War vaishing from

The possible political career paths are expounded by Aral in CH [SoH ch
5] and the legalities havn't changed in the thirty years since.

"How does one set about a political career, on Barrayar?" she asked,
feeling her way. "I presume you're thinking of following in your
grandfather Prince Xav's steps, but without the advantage of being an
Imperial prince, how do you get an office?" 

"Three ways. Imperial appointment, inheritance, and rising through the
ranks. The Council of Ministers gets its best men through the last
method. It's their great strength, but closed to me. The Council of
Counts, by inheritance. That's my surest route, but it waits on my
father's death. It can just go on waiting. It's a moribund body anyway,
afflicted with the narrowest conservatism, and stuffed with old relics
only concerned with protecting their privileges. I'm not sure anything
can be done with the Counts in the long run. Perhaps they should finally
be allowed to dodder over the brink of extinction. Don't quote that," he
added as an afterthought. 
"It's the weirdest design for a government." 
"It wasn't designed. It grew." 

Lord Vorhovis's career followed such a track. [Memory ch 28]

In his early sixties, he was the youngest of the crowd, but with a
formidable career behind him nonetheless; soldier first, then diplomat,
planetary ambassador, and onetime assistant minister of finance.

Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames

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