[LMB] Lois-Bujold Digest, Vol 108, Issue 363

Steve Osgood morfusmax at gmail.com
Thu May 29 18:18:42 BST 2014

On Thu, May 29, 2014 at 12:39 PM, <lois-bujold-request at lists.herald.co.uk>wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
>    1. Re: Gregor and his government (Elizabeth Holden)
>    2. Re: Gregor (Elizabeth Holden)
>    3. Re: OT: Hedgehogs (was Bears 05/26) (Elizabeth Holden)
>    4. Re: OT: Kevin's situation (Aruvqan)
>    5. Re: Gregor and his government (Howard Brazee)
>    6. Re: Gregor (Howard Brazee)
>    7. Re: Power in the Nexus, was Komarr (Baur)
>    8. Re: Gregor (Elizabeth Holden)
>    9. Bears,  On topic (pouncer at aol.com)
>   10. Re: OT: Solar Roadways (Aruvqan)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Thu, 29 May 2014 09:07:46 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Elizabeth Holden <azurite at rogers.com>
> Subject: Re: [LMB] Gregor and his government
> To: "Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold."
>         <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
> Message-ID:
>         <1401379666.52422.YahooMailBasic at web125005.mail.ne1.yahoo.com>
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> Gwynne points out:
> >  There's a whole section of Barrayaran government that we
> > haven't seen. We know there's ministers with various portfolios -
> Minister
> > of the West,
> Make me think of Tolkien.
> > (possibly a few other directions as well), Minister of
> > Finance, Ezar had the
> > Ministry of Political Education, Minister of the Interior.
> [snip some good stuff]
> > When Miles becomes an Auditor: "I take my oath before the
> > last joint session of the Counts and
> > Ministers, before they break for Winterfair."
> >
> > So the Ministers and Counts have regular joint sessions.
> What I have been assuming:
> Each District had its own set-up, which may have been somewhat uniform
> when the colonists first arrived, but which diverged with the different
> needs or inclinations of each District government, as each grew more apart
> (with shifting alliances).
> When the Emperors started amalgamating the Districts (by diplomacy and
> warfare) they needed a central body for legislation of
> federal/planetary/imperial matters. So they established the various
> Ministries to help the Emperor control the whole. Some matters of
> jurisdiction could be left according to local custom, but matters involving
> the whole Imperium or intersecting/overlapping needs, fell to the Ministry.
>  > It's quite possible, even probable, that the Ministers have
> > their own regular meetings, like the Council of Counts.
> Likely.
> > Possibly even in the same chamber,
> >or at least somewhere in Castle Vorhartung.
>  Teleconferences, too.
> > We don't know if the ministers are chosen by Gregor, or
> > elected. I'd guess chosen, but possibly they work their way up through
> some
> > sort of Public Service (Civil Service, government bureaucracy) ranks, and
> > Gregor chooses from a pool of the top men.
> That would make sense, but where would they come from in the first place?
> Obviously not all Vor. Purely the choice of the Emperor - appointees, like
> the Auditors? Too bad we aren't told more about Grishnov's ruthless ride to
> the top.
> > Aral was Prime Minister - that carries a lot of
> > implications. He must have
> > served on the CoC and the Ministerial whatever-it-is.
> Presumably. I would guess the Ministers would function like a sort of
> Cabinet - advisors to the Prime Minister and the Emperor (or Regent, as
> applicable), and they'd be in the position to make sure the Imperial and/or
> P.M.'s wishes were carried out.
> > I've got a vague memory that the Ministers wear purple
> > robes.
> How Roman.
> > Quintillan of the Interior is suggested by Aral.
> Also a very Roman name.  Canada had a Minister of the Interior from 1973
> to 1936. It was, as one might suspect, a Cabinet post. They had mostly
> Scottish names.
>  >  The point of all this rambling is, we don't know if Barrayar
>  > has only a single House, or if like the UK it has a House of
>  > Lords/Counts and a House of Commons/Proles.
> In which case, I suppose, the Council of Counts would be like the Senate
> or House of Lords, and the rest like the Commons - though my first thought
> was that it would be the other way around, with the Districts being more
> like our House of Commons (with the representatives from each
> district/riding/state/whatever).
> My guess: that the government has two basic bodies - the Council of
> Counts, and the Imperial administration.
> Ministers are attached to the Imperium, but interact with the Counts on
> the actual governing of the planet.
> Counts are basically independent of each other, but answerable to the
> Council and the Imperium, via the Ministers.

A lot of all this must depend on where Barrayar came from as a colony to
begin with.  Was it one colony that spread and divided into administrative
areas?  Or a bunch of independent settlements that got merged, either
peacefully or forcefully?

Given the need for terraforming and therefore the need to distribute
resources, I'd expect the former, with factioning happening between the
resource haves and have-nots.  Then a strong enough faction brought them
all back together.

I get this impression from not seeing anything about in-district power
struggles; all the power struggles seem to be (or potentially be) at the
top. "Sure, I think there should be one planetary government.  I just think
it should be under me."

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