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The Freethinker Commonwealth
Our Strength is Our Honour, Our Courage, Our Unity
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v195/The_Freethinkers/flag.png


Official Languages
English (Galstandard)
Capital Navarre
Map Click Here
Head of State King Percival IV
Prime Minister Dame Sarah Farahind
Population
10.12 Billion +
Establishment
  - Independence From Midlonia
 7th April 1885
Government type Unicameral Parliamentary Democracy
Nation type Constitutional Monarchy
National animal Greater Sand Dragon
Currency
 - Exchange rate
1 Mintel
= 2.01 USD
National Charter of Rights Freethinker Charter of Citizenship
International Abbreviations
 - government

TFC
Internet TLD .ftc, .tfc

The Sensible Commonwealth of The Freethinkers, or more commonly The Freethinker Commonwealth, is a multitech, liberal-democratic nationstate, comprised principally of the territories of the continental 'Mainland' located in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean, and three autonomous provinces, made up of Olympia in Haven, Heraklion, an offworld colony, and the Fargon Archipelago in the far North Atlantic. The main inhabitants are humans, but there is also notable minorities of native sapient species, the Vampires and the half-breed Ghouls. The government is formally a centralised democratic constitutional monarchy headed by the sovereign member of the Freethinker Royal Family, ruling over an elected unicameral legislature. The three provinces each has their own assemblies to rule on domestic matters, and the vampire population is also notably autonomous within the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth is a relatively powerful, historically democratic state with a strong tradition of inclusion and tolerance within and beyond its borders. The nation is headed by a economically and politically liberal, progressive government and protected by a military that, though relatively small, is one of the best equipped of its era. A strong maritime tradition, both civilian and naval, runs through the nation and its past and culture, especially in the capital, Navarre, historically linked with the mass immigration of old and the multicutural make-up of Freethinker society today.

The country as a whole is a young one, founded on the 7th April 1885 after a bloody war of independence from the Greater Kingdom of Midlonia. A second great war with the motherland forged the Freestian people into what they are today, but relations now with their former colonial masters is far more peaceful. Internationally, the country is famous for its immense geography and infamous native wildlife, and the nation can claim to be one of, if not the largest (by area) states on Earth.

GeographyEdit

Location: Equatorial Atlantic Ocean (Mainland), Arctic Ocean (Fargon Archipelago), Southern Haven (Olympia), Off world Earth-like colony (Heraklion)

Area:

  • Land: ~182,000,000 sq miles (Including Heraklion, Fargon & Olympia)
  • Water: ~12,030,000 sq miles (Including Heraklion, Fargon & Olympia)
  • Total: ~194,030,000 sq miles

Coastline: ~720,000 miles (Including Heraklion, Fargon & Olympia)

Maritime Claims:

  • Contiguous zone: 120 NM
  • Territorial sea: 36 NM
  • Exclusive economic zone: 240 NM,
  • Continental shelf: 240 NM or to the edge of the continental margin, whichever is greater

Elevation extremes:

  • Lowest Point: Green Valley Reclamation Project (Mainland), -12 Metres
  • Highest Point: Mount Solace (Mainland), 7831 Metres

MainlandEdit

Climate & Terrain: The Mainland is dominated by its vast, untamed deserts and towering mountain ranges. Comprised of a single, supermassive landmass surrounded by many smaller islands, this continent-sized equatorial state has a dry, arid climate except in small isolated spots near the coasts and between the larger mountain ranges. Desert and semi-arid terrain account for about 80% of the total land, with the rest dominated by shrubland, mountains and thick tropical jungles.

Enviromental Hazards: Frequent sandstorms in desert regions, Hurricanes on Western and Northern shores from late spring to autumn, native wildlife.

Enviromental Issues: Increasing desertification, pollution concerns in major rivers and waterways

Fargon ArchipelagoEdit

Climate & Terrain: The Fargon Archipelago is located in the far north Atlantic, with much of the principle territory located near or above the Arctic circle. The northern edge of the islands are locked in permanent ice, and the majority of the province is either Arctic ice or tundra.

Enviromental Hazards: Snow storms and blizzards, large ice flows.

Enviromental Issues: Shrinking of ice flows from regional warming, increasing pollution levels from rapid economic growth.

OlympiaEdit

Climate & Terrain: Olympia enjoys a subtropical southern Haven climate, with generally warm, mild weather all year round. The land is generally rolling plains with several large woodlands and mountain ranges towards the interior. Decent soil, excellent irrigation and excellent river and ocean access are exploitable for large scale agricultural schemes.

Enviromental Hazards: Tropical storms, avalanches in mountain areas.

Enviromental Issues: Minor concern for pollution from neighbouring territories and new colonisation growth.

HeraklionEdit

Climate & Terrain: Freestian holdings cover all climates within this near earth like atmosphere and biosphere, from deserts to tundra along with forests and arid plains. Native fauna is slowly being replaced with imported genotypes, though significant effort has been made to ensure the native bio-diversity is maintained.

Enviromental Hazards: Similar to Earth for respective climate areas.

Enviromental Issues: Minor concern for pollution from new colonisation growth. Effects of species introduction has had severe negative impact for local fauna and flora in colonised areas.

PeopleEdit

CultureEdit

The people of the Commonwealth are an interesting breed, a mix of literally dozens of different ethnic backgrounds, ideologies, outlooks and beliefs that produces an incredibly diverse populace and a true multicultural society. The integretion of several domestic sentient species along with the repeated tides of immigrants from across the world have created a unique national identity that is both diverse in its composition and yet strongly united around a core of notable ideals. Indeed, the landscape alone forces the Freestian population into two broad groups, urbanes and outbackers, based in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the land.

The fact that the Mainland has sat at the crossroads of trans-Atlantic trade for several centuries has led to a huge conglomeration of different ethnic backgrounds from across the globe, as well boasting several domestic and foreign non-human races. The addition of pan-galatic trade and travel has seen an even bigger rise in the diversity of the current inhabitants. Lax (relatively) immigration standards and a historically diverse population generally see a good level of assimilation of new arrivals, though there have been a few observable exceptions. The largest species is human, as expected, with the core of the population descended from Midlonian and Knootian colonists. Non-human Midlonian races are also sometimes seen, though are now fairly rare. Other human ethnic groups complete the human dominance of the population, mostly descendents of later immigrants and merchants. The non-human population is dominated by ghouls, (human/vampire crossbreeds) along with a number of fully fledged Freestian Vampires with their own autonomous government.

The actual cultural stereotypes can be broadly defined into two major categories, Urbanes and Outbackers. Urbanes are the inhabitants of the huge metroplices and other secured and incorporated areas of the Commonwealth who are generally similar to the inhabitants of other Western nations. In the Commonwealth, the average Urbane is generally a true liberal, employed in a tertiary sector job, holds values which are generally very libertarian, and though shaped somehwat by the Outback generally sees it as something foreign and dangerous, a place to safari and fly over rather than part of the same nation.

Outbackers in turn are far harder men, and most ghouls flock to relative isolation of the incorporated areas. Here, life is difficult, lawless, and abjectly brutal. Between the harsh desert and tropical climate, the monstrous local fauna and flora, and the arrayed bands of fugitives, bandits, rebellious insurgents and the occasional invading army, most Outbackers have had to adopt a spartan, basic and uncomprimising attitude to life. Though they may not be socially conservative, trivial and unnecessary pursuits are long forgotten, and the ghouls in particular come out as roughened men, almost feral in outlook and demeanour. The military draws it main strength from their ranks, giving the Commonwealth's army a pool of recruits already fantstically fit and hardened.

In terms of aesthetics, Freestians go for spartan but well made designs, in architecture these leads to plain but massive structures, in clothing to the simple but useful elegant patterns of desert robes, and many other examples abound. Superengineering projects are common, especially for infrastructure, and Freestian civil engineering (and its Midlonian forebearers) is amongst the finest and impressive in the world.

ReligonEdit

Religion within the Commonwealth is generally a matter of personal faith and worship, and there is an extremely strict seperation of religion and state. Freedom to practise and worship free of government control is a core tenet of the Freethinker constitution, and many different faiths are practised by varying numbers of people throughout the Commonwealth, and, although often small in number in terms of congregation, the Commonwealth has a vast array of represented faiths from almost all walks of humanity.

The actual numbers of confirmed theists is relatively low, and even the second largest faith (the vampiric Reverence) is actually an agnostic belief set rather than a fully fledged religion. Most secular residents tend to class themselves as agnostic rather than outright atheist, though both these groups take a strong humanist bent regardless. Christianity still dominates those who have a confirmed religion, with the largest single community being the Anglican church, a position it has maintained from the early colonisation by Midlonia. The Commonwealth itself does not maintain records of personal religious belief.

One interesting side note in religious matters and discussion is the rules rgearding tax exempt status for religions in the Commonwealth. For a religious organisation to exist, it must prove objectively thats its central diety, whatever or whoever that may be, actually exists in reality. This criteria has led to a large number of supposed adherents to various new faiths centred around various persona and objects, including several foreign leaders, the sun and other astronomical bodies, and in a couple of odd cases a Midlonian snack foods company and several twigs found scattered in a Navarrian park.

GovernmentEdit

The Government system of the Freethinker Commonwealth is a liberal, secular, democratic constitutional monarchy, headed by a Soveriegn Monarch as the ceremonial Head of State, with many of the executive powers entrusted to the current Prime Minister. The legislature is comprised of a unicameral, fully elected assembly collectively known as Parliament, with the party or coalition holding the most seats forming the actual government within the assembly. The smaller Freestian Vampire community has its own governing body ruling on matters of internal affairs, whilst the two autonomous provinces can boast their own assemblies (and heads of Government) which deal with all matters excluding foreign relations and defence seperately from the Mainland Parliament.

The Mainland itself is divided into areas known as the incorporated counties and the unicorporated territories, and the division is generally more than political. Counties are generally well-settled, secured areas, often urban or agriculturally active rural areas, well policed and serviced by the national government. Meanwhile the unincorporated territories are much larger, occupying far larger, unsecured and indeed often disputed tracts of land, collectively known as the Outback, generally but not exclusively dominated by the vast desert and semi-arid plains in most of the continent. Olympia and Fargon are completely incorporated in comparison, and Heraklion given its recent colonisation is currently a federal mandate governed by the central government itself.

See Main Article: Freethinker Government

Suffrage

The ability to vote is granted to all those who have taken the Oath of Representation and completed their obligations to acquire full Citizenship. The Oath may be taken from the age of sixteen onwards. The vote is denied, even with citizenship, to incarcerated criminals and the clinically insane, as well as being removed for citizens who fail to complete their national service and other civic duties.

Head of State

The official Head of State in the Freethinker Commonwealth is His Majesty King Percival IV of the House of Hapsburg, the current Freethinker Royal Family. Though constitutionally the Monarch has significant powers at his or her discretion, including the right to seize land in the name of the state in an emergency, the right to propose or veto a proposed or existing Edict or Act, and the right to over-rule the judgement of the High Court, these powers are very, very seldom used and such an act would be generally unthinkable unless being used a last ditch measure for the defence of the realm or to keep in check an unbalanced Parliament. The Monarch and his heirs are expected to remain strictly apolitical and must remain silent in their political views, although individual charitable work is encouraged (and certainly expected) to a significant extent.

Parliament

Meeting in the Navarre House of Government (commonly referred to as Government House), a large, Gothic-style palace reminiscent of Midlonian practise, the legislature of the Freethinker Mainland consists of a unicameral (single) house, refered to as His Majesty's Parliament, of 800 elected members. Half of these are voted in on constituency, first-past-the-post ballots and the other half voted in through porportionate representation from the nationwide results. The idea behind this system is to ensure that all parties with a meaningful vote can be represented (a party only has to acquire 0.25% of the national ballot to earn a representative seat) whilst also ensuring that the main parties have sufficient strength to not get bogged down indecisively by coalition building and, unofficially, to ensure 'extreme' parties do not gain decisive decision-making power.

All elections for the legislature are conducted every four years (on April 1st), and held across the Commonwealth by secret ballot.

The actual Prime Minister (the head of the legislature) him/herself is ceremoniously selected by the Monarch from the party with the greatest number of seats within Parliament. Unlike in many countries, the ruling party can take power even if its total number of seats is outbeaten by an opposing coalition of opposition parties, so long as it retains more seats than any other party alone. However, this is rarely seen, as a qualified majority is required in Parliament to pass most legislation and so even political parties with significant power and even a numerical seat advantage will still often form coalitions in power to ensure the passage of legislation.

The Prime Minister is infact the most powerful figure politically in the Freethinker Commonwealth, having similar abilities and responsibilities of the British or Australian PMs in RL. He selects the cabinet, represents the legislature as a whole in public, writes and approves (some) party legislation and can use the 'Party Whips' to ensure the loyalty of his fellow party members when a ballot is held. The former Prime Minister is Sir Theodore Barham, recently replaced by Dame Sarah Farahind. The Prime Minister's ruling cabinet includes all five major Ministry and fifteen minor Department heads, along with a selected number of Junior Ministers and Ministers-without-Portfolio, with each member of the cabinet drawn from the ruling coalition.

See also: Freethinker Political Parties

Provincial Assemblies

The three dependent territories (Heraklion, Fargon and Olympia) each have their own elected Assembly which oversee all internal matters but do send advisors to the respective Foreign and Defence Ministries to ensure their views are accounted for. These advisors do not, however, have voting power within the Maindland legislature itself, something which still causes some controversy, in particular with nationalist movements.

Plebiscite

The Plebiscite is a fundamental part of the Freethinker democratic process, a nationwide referendum with universal suffrage for citizens, based upon a privately submitted petition. A plebiscite can be started by any Citizen of the Commonwealth by collecting a sufficient number of signatures (usually around 100,000 depending on the issue) on a petition to introduce or repeal certain legislation. The result of this referendum has perogative over Parliamentary legislation, and once enacted can only be vetoed by the reigning Monarch. All satisfactory petitions are put to public vote on Indepedence Day (7th April), and can be voted on at designated polling stations, by secure mail and more recently on the internet.

A plebiscite can also be called by the Government when an act to change the constitution is proposed. There are limits imposed to prevent repeat petitions every session, and a outright majority of voters have to provide a returned ballot in order for the plebiscite to become legally binding.

The Judiciary

The Royal Judiciary controls the court and prison systems, and is independent entirely of the legislative branches of the Freethinker government, save that the prisons and courts are funded through federal government taxation. Because of the centralised nature of the court system except at its lowest levels, all prisons are operated solely at the national rather than the local level.

Theoretically the reigning Monarch heads the Court System, though the actual powers this position provides are limited by historical precedent and royal discretion. The de facto head of the Judiciary is the Lord High Justice, currently Sir Micheal Campbelton, who presides over the seven-strong High Court, the highest official court in the Commonwealth. Further down the court heriarchy comes the High Court of Appeal, County & Province High Courts, District Courts, and Magistrates Courts, each with decreasing powers and with a lower grade of criminal sentencing limits.

Although capital punishment has been abolished, punishments of life without parole and incorporating heavy labour remain popular with judges, providing what many consider an even worse punishment for them to impose. Both rehabilitation and punishment are regarded as aims of the justice system, and prison life as such tends to be more isolated and work-orientated than most Western countries. The Freestian vampire justice system is seperate from the human/ghoul one.

HistoryEdit

See Main Article: History of The Freethinker Commonwealth

EconomyEdit

See Main Article: Economy of the Freethinker Commonwealth

The economy of the Freethinker Commonwealth is dominated by private sector, free market consumption and spending characteristic of an Anglo-Saxon economy, with the Government regulating and in certain circumstances supplying certain public goods (such as health and education services) where it feels the private sector alone fails to provide the necessary coverage in the relevant policy area. Low regulation, a skilled workforce, large amounts of cheap land and capital and an incredibly extensive trade-based infrastructure make the Commonwealth a popular location for foreign businesses.

Capitalistic free-market systems are the dominant and prefered economic form, and free enterprise and entrepreneurship are encouraged to a significant extent in both public and private institutions and forums, but in turn private and public companies and corporations are also expected to act with social responsibility (respect for personal property rights and the provision of accurate information to clients) as a guiding principle with regards to their employees, resource consumption and production.

Basic StatisticsEdit

GDP: purchasing power parity - US$312,877,001,500,000.00 (Mt156,252,350,000,000)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - US$44,005.00 (Mt22,133)

GDP by Sector Composition: Agriculture: 1.3%, Industry: 21.3%, Services: 77.4%

Population Below (Relative) Poverty Line: 8.2%

Unemployment Rate (Complete Measure): 4.7%

Unemployment Rate (Benefits Measure): 3.9%

Inflation Rate (Consumer Price Index): 2.5%

Labour Force: 5,200,000,000 (includes unemployed)

Labour Force by Occupation: Agriculture: 2.0%, Industry: 22.4%, Services: 75.6%

Currency: Mintel

Currency Code: FMT

Fiscal Year: 7th April - 6th April

CurrencyEdit

See Main Article: Mintel

The official currency of The Freethinkers is the Mintel (FMT), created to replace the Midlonian Pound when the Freethinker Commonwealth became independent of the Midlonian Empire in 1885. The subunit of this currency is the 'Copper' and there are 100 Coppers (Cp) to the Mintel. The currency is represented in both metal coinage and paper banknotes. The Freethinker Central Reserve maintains a floating exchange rate with other currencies and currently maintains a foreign exchange price of around US$2 with most other economies.

Health, Education and InfrastructureEdit

National HealthcareEdit

"Universal coverage with private sector efficiency, the best of both worlds" - Health Secretary Brian Depimer.

As per the Freethinker Constitution, access to free, high quality healthcare is a basic right for all Freethinker citizens. The actual application of this right through Government policy is managed through a comprehensive (and compulsary) National Insurance scheme, which provides funds for both public and private medical institutions. Put simply, the system operates by granting hospitals and healthcare facilities a certain sum of money for a particular operation, procedure or prescription that covers all basic costs. Public hospitals charge no more and as such are "free" at point of access. Private institutions can do likewise or provide an improved service for a nominal fee.

The system itself is designed to ensure both free and affordable healthcare with the added incentive of market competition. Most people invest in 'supplementary' insurance schemes which can cover the small additional fees of most private institutions, and such schemes are also offered as part of many bonus packages by different employers. By most standards, the public healthcare system is both resource- and cost-efficient, creating a reasonably effective mix of public and private sector cooperation. However, the scheme has provoked outrage in certain left wing circles because it does in effect create a multi-tier public health service which it is claimed does not effectively provide the best treatment for all participants, and on the opposite side of the political spectrum as a significant government intervention into what should be an entirely or mostly privatised sector.

The average life expectancy within the Commonwealth varies considerably, especially when one takes into account the dispersal of vampire genes within the population which produces a significant increase in the life expectancy of these individuals in both human and ghoul populations. The current estimated life expectancies are:

  • Human - Male: 85.6 Years, Female: 94.2 Years
  • Ghoul - Male: 232.1 Years, Female: 256.3 Years
  • Vampire - Male: ~1,600 Years, Female: ~1,800 Years

Note: It should be important to state that it is nearly impossible to accurately guage the average lifespan of a Freestian vampire, given that before human settlement there was only a very rough awareness of chronological timekeeping beyond the changing of the seasons. Another factor that heavily influenced these statistics is that up until the nominal present age very few vampires died of natural causes compared to those lost in combat or hunting activities. Ghoul ages, in turn, vary enourmously depending upon where they lie on the Herne Scale.

Education SystemEdit

Eduction is free and compulsary from the ages of 5 to 18. There are three main levels of education, Primary (5-11), Secondary (11-16) and Specialisation (16-18). Universities can be found as both public and private institutions, with most private and some highly esteemed public universities charging for tuition at varying rates. Study for a Bachelor and a Masters degree takes roughly 3 and 5 years full time study respectively.

Private institutions at all levels of educations are present, and due to the spread of Freethinker geography there is a relatively large number of boarding schools, both public and private, generally Outback children will be homeschooled at a primary level and attend a boarding facility for higher levels of education, though there notable exceptions.

Interestingly enough, because of the vast distances involved with travelling in the outback, the Commonwealth has one of the most well-funded and developed home-schooling programs in the world.

In addition to standard school classes and even for homeschooled children, all able-bodied students from 11-16 are required to become members of the Freethinker Scouting and Cadet Movement, arranged through their local Armed Forces Reserve Board, which provides a service roughly equivelant to Cadet Force membership in other countries and is specifically geared to Outback survival skills and training as well as preparation for National Service.

  • National Literacy Rate: 99%+ (Male: 99%+, Female 99%+)

See also: Freethinker Universities

InfrastructureEdit

See also: Freethinker Super-Engineering

International RelationsEdit

ImmigrationEdit

Immigration into The Freethinker Commonwealth is actively encouraged, especially of foreign academics and entrepreneurs (and special bodies have been set up to encourage this specifically), although all who are willing to work are generally welcomed and accepted. There are no set limits to the number of immigrants allowed to enter the country, however, certain health and security checks have been recently introduced to ensure that this liberal policy does not allow a freeflow of contagious disease or permit major security threats into the nation.

Typically, economic migrants are granted a one year probationary visa, which when expired a migrant can apply for a residency permit should the terms of the visa be met. Once residency has been established, a migrant is free to work and move within the Commonwealth and undertake private employment, although government positions, military posts and political voting rights are not granted. Freethinker Citizenship can be applied for after six years of residency, barring illegal action or unentitled welfare claims (which can result in deportation). Once citizenship has been achieved, new citizens will face commitments such as National Service under the terms of their new nationality.

The actual demographics of immigrants are typical for a liberal western state, including civilians fleeing foreign wars and persecution, however, economic migrants and imported skilled labour make up the majority of newcomers.

See also: Freethinker Citizenship

Foreign Disputes and Illegal ActivitiesEdit

Organised smuggling operations are a serious problem within the Freethinker Commonwealth. The position of the Commonwealth in the centre of many trade networks has lead to a substantial black market operating within the country, including the transhipment of drugs, weapons and increasingly slaves of various races. Efforts to crack down on this behaviour have been limited in their impact, given the sophisticated nature and deep local roots of such groups and the indifferent attitude of the local population. Suspicion of support from local intelligence services is rife but the government has denied such allegations. Money laundering is also an issue due to the highly developed financial networks built up to support international trade, although recent efforts to combat this through new regulations and government oversight have had some success.

Piracy remains a significant threat away from the established sealanes around the coast. Whereas most routes are well guarded and constantly patrolled, the vast unmonitered coastline and the relative ease of acquiring weaponry on the grey and black markets has meant a number of small time pirate groups have emerged. A recent investment in patrol boats and aircraft have reduced the number of attacks but most merchantmen which run outside of protected corridors still carry heavy armed protection.

The Freethinker Commonwealth has no land territorial disputes with other sovereign states at present. All previous disputes with Midlonia and Knootoss have been settled by treaty. Large maritime claims are disapproved of but not contested by several nations and international organisations.

International Organisation MembershipEdit

MilitaryEdit

See Main Article: Freethinker Royal Armed Forces

The military of the Freethinker Commonwealth is the Freethinker Royal Armed Forces, established in 1885 at the outset of Freethinker independence. Because the country is considered multitech, it's armed forces have to undertake a wider variety of roles than most other nations, and as such tend to rely on smaller numbers of elite units rather than larger, more general-purpose formations.

The Freethinker Royal Armed Forces are generally considered to be mainly a volunteer force, although many minor non-combat roles in some of the services are taken up by citizens completing their National Service. High fitness requirements mean almost all of the frontline infantry and marine units are ghouls rather than humans. Basic Statistics

Military Branches:

  • Army (Freethinker Royal Army, Freethinker Ground Defence Force, Royal Militia Corp, Crown Free Legions)
  • Navy (Freethinker Royal Navy, Freethinker Royal Marines, Freethinker Coastguard)
  • Air Force (Freethinker Royal Air Force, Freethinker Air Defence Militia)
  • Space Command (Freethinker Royal Spaceborne Navy, Freethinker Royal Space Marines, Freethinker Orbital Defence System)
  • Intelligence Agencies (Commonwealth National Intelligence Organisation)

Military Manpower:

  • Age for Service: Humans: 16 years+, Ghouls: 16 Years+
  • Active Military Personnel: ~40,000,000 (male and female, human/ghoul)
  • Available Military Personnel: ~5,200,000,000 (male and female, human/ghoul; able-bodied and of military age)
  • Military Trained Manpower: ~4,800,000,000(male and female, human/ghoul; compulsory National Service in military setting)

OOC NotesEdit

On Geography: The large size of The Freethinkers is a necessity to support both a large population and the supposed wilderness that occupies much of the country.

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