Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Flat New Year

The Chief Circle and his ministers are getting agitated; as from midnight the Ruritanians and Vulgarians will be completely at liberty to immigrate and take advantage of Flatland's relatively-generous social service benefit system. Various ministers have been charged with finding cop-outs in order to discourage an anticipated influx of benefit-seekers, thimbleriggers and assorted human detritus. Meanwhile, for impenetrable reasons of its own, the nation of Flatvia is to adopt the bizarre currency of the League of Medland Nations (LMN).

Flatland's Supreme Court recently came out with an unwelcome judgement: two Flatologists were permitted to solemnise their union in the Flatland headquarters of this controversial organisation. Those in the know confidently predict an imminent application for charitable status that would allow the Flatologist organisation to reduce its rate bill by 80%.

Economic news has been fairly favourable, and the Flatbit has appreciated somewhat against the FlatUS Dollar. The stock exchanges of FlatUS and Flatland have both enjoyed strong runs during 2013, assisted by their respective central banks. This has not translated into joy amongst High Street retailers, and the leading chain store Flatenhams has issued a profits warning. Its shares now trade at only some 35% of the price at which it was refloated a few years ago, after spending a short but profitable period in the tender, caring arms of public-spirited venture capitalists. Who would have imagined during that IPO process that the public was being offered a pup?

With the turn of the year, the LMN acquires a new presidency - none other than Hellenland, the country that in recent years has had such difficulty in meeting its debt commitments. Some jokes write themselves.

The Chief Circle has commanded me to send fraternal greetings to all readers, and best wishes for 2014.

Senator Chromatistes

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Last Syllable of Recorded Time

Strange things are afoot in our beloved nation: our historical records, including those ancient scrolls rediscovered only last week (see previous posting) have vanished without trace. Official history now starts with the epoch of the Great Coalition Victory over the Powers of Darkness. All Flatland's citizens aged four or above are confused, since their birth records are now missing, and they appear to have been called into existence by some mystic force, possibly parthenogenesis.

However, the Chief Circle is exceedingly pleased with this turn of events, since no vestigial trace remains other than that of the Dear Leader and his beloved retinue of hangers-on, satraps and fellow-travellers.

Dire reports have been received regarding the Flatland cricket team, who are touring a very distant land. They have apparently suffered three consecutive drubbings, and the Dear Leader may have to issue another edict in order to purge this calamity from the national records.

Transport to and from our capital Flat City has been problematical for as long as anybody can remember - three and a half years at least! Our Senate has commissioned a report on extending sliding facilities at Flatrow or Flatwick. Both options are controversial with the locals, and the Mayor of Flat City, a jolly mop-topped buffoon, advocates a fresh facility in the remote marshes in the benighted Eastern regions.

President Input has been busily persuading the Flatkranians not to dally with the League of Medland Nations (LMN). In reality, most of the existing LMN members are heartily sick of expansion, which has resulted in all sorts of questionable characters traipsing around their respective nations, claiming overgenerous benefits and generally upsetting the indigenous voters, who are of a blinkered disposition - many of them being Daily FlatGraph readers. More trouble is brewing within the LMN financial sector; the Great Angela has finally been reconfirmed in her post, and will now proceed to expose more of the moribund banks and credit institutions that litter the LMN. This will be an ugly procedure, resulting in the demise of several supposedly 'Too-Big-To-Fail' banks, and the impoverishment of many innocent depositors. Our Dear Leader will no doubt ensure that the Royal Bank of Flatland is not one of that number.

Senator Chromatistes

Friday, December 13, 2013

Poles Apart

The North* Pole belongs to Flatland - this is an undeniable geographical and historical fact, amply evidenced by the continental shelf that connects it to our great democratic nation. In order to reinforce this, the Chief Circle has declared a No-Slide Zone, whereby any commercial transport from another nation is required to identify itself and request permission to slide across the zone. These permissions are readily granted in return for an appropriate quantity of FlatCoins, electronically transferred to a discreet offshore account.

*So also do the South, East and West poles, according to very ancient scrolls recently rediscovered and now on public view in the Flatland National Museum (Platinum sponsors: Hewlett Flatard). How amazingly advanced our ancestors were to write on parchments of exact A4 size!

Elsewhere, a Great Man has died. A Circle amongst Circles, his extended funeral arrangements have attracted the usual suspects of tired, worn-out and downright dodgy politicos seeking to improve their public standing by association with the Great Man. Some of these attendees attempted to amuse themselves by taking 'selfies', though their efforts clearly backfired. The President of FlatUS took a snap that showed three straight lines of differing colour, representing himself and two lesser dignitaries. His needle-sharp wife was not at all amused. A not-so-great man has also died; the Chief Circle had him executed for clapping only half-heartedly at the last Party Congress. You really cannot be too careful these days. House prices in Flatland have been rising strongly, and the Governor of the Bank of Flatland (an import from Mooseland) has suggested that measures need to be taken to moderate the housing market. This viewpoint does not gel at all with members of the ruling Coalition, who will be seeking re-election within eighteen months. The standard Flatland house design is shown here:

Meanwhile, a scion of our Royal Family has reached the South Pole, 102 years late. Many of Flatland's intelligentsia are wondering whether, in deference to history, he will perish on the return journey.