President Input of Northland has had a busy couple of months. Firstly he was the smiling host of the Winter Flatlympics, on which a prodigious amount of Northland Rubles was spent, some of it honestly. Then, after a fortnight of sliding around and general jollifications, he sent his trained thugs into Flatkraine, a benighted nation suffering from chronic kleptocracy. In truth, none of the participants in this episode emerge with credit. That nation is a strangely divided territory containing deeply-polarised communities. After Input's men have done their thing, Northland will have re-acquired a bunch of Cossacks, and the League of Medland Nations (LMN) will be invited to pick up a very large bill, since the previous rulers of Flatkraine had thoroughly plundered whatever assets it controlled.
In Flatland itself, there have been problems with flooding - the clue lies in the name. Whoever buying a house or farm in the Flatterset Levels imagined for a moment that a prolonged rainy period might lead to their homes becoming wet? But grandstanding politicos have been keen to pledge millions of Flatbits in order to buy the votes of those chancers who made a bad call, and are now looking to slip the bill to some unsuspecting taxpaying patsy. As usual in such matters, if you haven't worked out the identity of that patsy within ten minutes, it's you!
Much has been written lately about Flatbits. Several Flatbanks have examined their virtual vaults, only to find them totally empty. Their depositors are of course livid, and even Janet Flatten of the FlatUS Reserve Board is unwilling to bail out these deadbeat enterprises. Meanwhile, a media circus has formed around the home of one Satoshi Flatamoto, based on the premise that this harmless citizen might indeed be ... Satoshi Flatamoto. The mind boggles.
A strange report arrived last month from a correspondent in Flathagen, which all Flatlanders have difficulty in comprehending. There are claims that there exist strange life forms, only part of whose bodies are visible within Flatland. One extreme example of such life forms, a beast named Marius was put to death last month, then paraded in front of the local children, and fed to lions. Presumably all this makes sense to the cognoscenti. Your humble correspondent would have preferred to have been given the opportunity to grill choice cuts of Marius, rather than see him making a meal for non-taxpaying members of the Feline family.
Another self-aggrandising politico has been prognosticating at length, as only members of his tribe can. This Celtic firebrand is hight Alex Codfish, and argues for independence for his, and many other clans that infest the northernmost regions of the Democratic People's Republic of Flatland. Naturally Mr Codfish does not intend to pay his bills, but instead aspires to the position whereby his southern neighbours meet all his obligations, whilst he throws oodles of newly-minted Flatbits at his voters. Flatlanders are unanimous in their objection to this boondoggle, and insist that he create a separate currency - Northern Flatpounds - which would trade at a substantial and increasing discount to Flatbits. Moreover, any bank remaining in that new territory could expect no favourable treatment from the Bank of Flatland, or its Governor, Mark Carnivorous. Naturally, a not-very-orderly queue of banks has formed, each of would will relocate to an exotic location at the first whiff of electoral support for the aspirant Emperor Codfish. All this hoopla gives good cause for rebuilding Hadrian's Fence.