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Situated on the eponymous island (49.179°N 2.107°W), Conti—officially Ville et bailliage de Conti—is a communal republic and mercantile city-state of industrious seafarers devoted to the advancement of commerce, the principles of good government and the preservation of libertas.

Bailiwick of Conti
Communal flag and merchant ensign of Bailiwick of Conti
Communal flag and merchant ensign
Motto
Libertas
Capital City Conti
Official Language(s) French
Established 28 February 2009
(5,614 days old)
Government Type Capitalist Capitalist
Ruler Council of Ten
Nation Team Team: Blue Blue
Statistics as of 28/02/2019
Total population 153,814
 85,373 civilians
 68,441 soldiers
Literacy Rate 100.00%
Religion None None
Currency Franc Franc
Infrastructure 6,999.99
Technology 3,026.67
Nation Strength 53,352.938
Nuclear Weapons Nuke 25 nukes
Native Resources Aluminum Fish
Connected Resources Cattle Iron Lumber Marble Pigs Sugar Uranium Spices Water Wheat
Bonus Resources Beer Fastfood Construction

Instrument of Government[]

The Instrument of Government promotes good governance through deliberative policy-making mechanisms and a collegial exercise of power, centred on the States of Conti and the Council of Ten.

The States of Conti is the unicameral legislature of the bailiwick. It consists of 100 deputies elected for a single term of seven years. The bailiwick's bilateral treaties are automatically suspended at the end of a term and must be renewed by the succeeding legislature if they are not to lapse.

The Council of Ten is the executive governing body of the bailiwick. Elected from among the States of Conti, the executive officers of the state, assembled in council, are:

  • the Chancellor, Protector of the Seal
  • the Controller-General of Finances
  • the Paymaster
  • the Councillor of State for Commerce
  • the Councillor of State for War
  • the Councillor of State for Education
  • the Councillor of State for Technology
  • the Councillor of State for Health
  • the Councillor of State for the Environment
  • the Councillor of State for Works

The Bailiff, elected by co-optation from among the Council of Ten for a single one-year term, presides over sessions of the council and performs ceremonial functions. The councillor of state for war is the only member of the Council of Ten not eligible for the position. There is no constitutionally designated head of state in Conti’s system of government.

The States-General is a temporary legislative assembly of 300 elected deputies, vested with the exclusive authority to review and amend the Instrument of Government. Its promulgations are irrevocable, cannot be overturned by the States of Conti and cannot be subjected to a referendum. The States-General hold the plenitude of legislative power during their lifetime, the duration of which cannot exceed 90 calendar days. Law-making powers revert to the States of Conti upon the dissolution of the States-General. International treaties negotiated by the Council of Ten and ratified by the States of Conti lay beyond the purview of the States-General. The power to convoke the States-General is the sole prerogative of the States of Conti.

There is no apex court nor judicial review in the Conti system of law. Courts cannot invalidate legislation passed by the States of Conti and the States-General.

The Instrument of Government distributes and regulates power between the constituent bodies of the state. The concise and factual document is the operating framework for the exercise of public administration. The Instrument of Government ascribes seven basic functions to the civic authorities:

  • dispense justice
  • preserve the public peace
  • uphold the inviolability of private property
  • enforce contracts
  • maintain civic amenities
  • administer finances
  • preserve the sovereignty of the state

Conti operates a single taxation system to finance its public expenditure. The universal impost, a flat value-added tax capped at a maximum rate of 30 per cent, is collected from businesses every 20 days (a collection cycle). A higher level of taxation is deemed confiscatory and inimical to the public interest. The imposition of extraordinary taxes is unlawful unless sanctioned by a majority vote of the States-General. The bailiwick does not levy import duties and does not have a central bank. There is no state monopoly on the issuance of currency; private commercial banks are free to issue their own notes (hence the profusion of designs and denominations encountered in Conti—only the vertical format of the notes and the list of security features are consistent across issuers).

Conti’s legislation on citizenship is governed by the jus sanguinis principle. Citizenship is acquired at birth if either of the parents is a citizen of Conti. In effect, political participation and the exercise of citizenship rights in Conti’s overseas dominions are restricted to residents of Conti descent. Naturalisation can only be granted by an act of the States. The penalty for misappropriating public funds is the removal of citizenship.

Although Conti's institutional arrangement and form of government is representative in character, the Instrument of Government allows for a degree of direct democracy. Citizens can challenge legislation via referendum if a public petition is signed by a fifth of all qualified voters. The right to vote is restricted to adults age 20 or over who fulfil the property qualification—defined as owning a property or ƒ1,000 in business capital.

The New Guildhall is the seat of government and the nerve centre of the administrative machinery of state. New Guildhall is employed as a metonym for the complex of municipal government buildings occupying the site of the city's old Guildhall, the former headquarters of the merchant guilds. The new communal regime purchased the vacant building and redeveloped the site after the abolition of the guilds on 28 February 2009—itself the momentous event in the aftermath of which the bailiwick's institutions acquired their present character. The Seal of Conti, which is used (alongside electronic seal stamps) to authenticate state documents and give force of law to enactments of the States upon their publication, is kept in a separate building within the New Guildhall. Ceremonial responsibility for the seal passed from the president of the League of Water Merchants to the chancellor as a result of the replacement of the hitherto guild-based constitution with the Instrument of Government.

The bailiwick's shield of arms is a ubiquitous feature of the city's streetscape, adorning municipal buildings, street furniture and public infrastructure. The blazon of the arms is: Gules, a portcullis with chains or. The flag of Conti is composed of a red cross on a field of white (the time-honoured symbol of civic freedom) upon which is superimposed a gold cross, the former heraldic device of the League of Water Merchants whose president was traditionally the chief magistrate of the city under the old regime. The blazon of the protector's shield of arms is: Argent, a cross gules. By convention, past and present holders of the office are not allowed to marshal the protector's device with their personal arms.

State-chartered Companies[]

The Company of the Orient (COR) and the Company of the Occident (COC) are mercantile companies established by the act of incorporation passed by the States of Conti on 5 June 2009 to encourage long-distance commerce. Both corporations possess a charter of privileges issued by the States guaranteeing special trading rights with territories lying respectively east and west of the prime meridian. The legislator did not grant monopoly charters with exclusive trading rights, the act only defined geographical boundaries within which the companies enjoy economic privileges conferred on them by the States for the duration of their charter. These privileges include fiscal exemptions aimed at stimulating the growth of trade in raw commodities and securing continuing access to energy supplies, the right to maintain a military force, make war and peace (at their own expense) and conclude treaties independently. The chartering of trading companies was conceived as a temporary device to kick-start Conti's overseas commercial expansion and is not destined to become a permanent feature of the bailiwick's economic policy. On 27 August 2011, The Company of the Orient obtained letters patent from the States of Conti to undertake the colonisation of territories. The COR is the only and supreme authority in its subject territories under the sovereign supervision of the States of Conti. Territories can be seized as collateral if the company were to default on the portion of its loans underwritten by the state. The Company of the Occident secured similar arrangements on 20 September 2011. Not until 30 December 2016 would the COC acquire its first territory overseas with the purchase of the Caribbean island of Saint-Barthélemy (17.90°N 62.83°W) from the king of Sweden for ƒ458,600. Ships and vessels operated or owned by the Company of the Orient are allowed (by special dispensation) to sail under the company’s own flag rather than Conti's merchant ensign. Since 14 August 2013 the company is also allowed to fly its distinctive crimson and gold flag (similar in other respects to Conti's flag) on land in territories under its administration. The Company of the Occident, for its part, has not requested permission to use a distinctive flag for its fleet, opting instead to fly the merchant ensign and a squared variant of its banner of arms at the jackstaff. The grant of arms to the state-chartered companies was included in the secondary legislation implementing the act of incorporation. It was a rare distinction that speaks to the hybrid character of the two trading companies, at once private commercial ventures and instrument of power projection. After receiving their letters patent, the companies complemented their heraldic devices with a key to symbolise authority and power over their future dominions (the bit of the key facing right—east—on the COR’s shield of arms, and left—west—on the COC’s). The Company of the Orient’s blazon of arms is: Gules, a portcullis with chains or, pendent therefrom a key or; within a bordure componée or and sable. The Company of the Occident’s blazon of arms is: Gules, a portcullis with chains or, pendent therefrom a key argent; within a bordure componée gules and or.

Parasitic piracy in the distant seas of the East made prospective investors uneasy, that is to say sceptical about the profitability of the business in the absence of an adequate naval deterrent. To entice them to purchase equity in the Company of the Orient, the Council of Ten reminded investors that the article empowering the chartered-companies to raise a private military force had been crafted (if only in part) to address concerns of that nature. While outwardly dismissive of the threat, directors aggressively channelled money and resources into military infrastructure, the centrepiece of which was the shipbuilding program. This colossal undertaking was funded through a mix of financial instruments, including the sale of equity, corporate debt issuance and access to state-backed credit. This capital-intensive investment meant that the company was seeking more than the capability to conduct pirate-busting operations to protect its commerce; it had every intention of muscling its way to a position of dominance in the eastern trade. This was precisely the type expansionist, aggressive brand of capitalism the company’s foundational document was designed to enable. The militarisation of the company was an inevitable outcome of the financial stress caused by predatory actions at sea but the scale of the build-up was also a measure of the company’s expansionist ambitions. By 2011, piracy in the Java and Banda seas had become so endemic and disruptive that marine insurances rates spiked. The prohibitive rates and the general uncertainty posed an existential threat to the over-leveraged business. On 2 December 2011, the Directorial Committee (the company's board of directors), having recently secured generous letters patent from the States, dispatched a naval squadron of four warships to the strategically located island of Bali (8.20°S 115.00°E) to protect its shipping. Frigates Nemesis and Themis and destroyers Titan and Leviathan were tasked with securing the island and to use it as base of operation against pirates. The COR’s private expeditionary force stormed north Bali’s main port, Sangaraja, on 14 January 2012. A systematic campaign of land conquest ensued culminating in the removal of local potentates and the subjugation of the island to company rule. The sister-islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan fell in quick succession. The acquisition of this first permanent base for its long-distance colonial commerce in Asia was a transformative moment for the Company of the Orient: the mercantile arm of the Conti thalassocracy had become an imperium in its own right.

By contrast, the account of the Company of the Orient's presence in Singapore (1.30°N 103.80°E) is one of cooperation rather than confrontation with the titular lord of the land. It is under the aegis of the sultan of Johor that the COR established a factory at the mouth of the Singapore River on 27 June 2012 which laid the foundation for the company's commercial penetration of the Malay peninsula. In exchange for an annual tribute of ƒ144,000 (the ufti) and numerous off-the-books gifts to the court of Johor and the temenggung (the sultan's chief minister), successive chief factors have gradually extracted from the sultanate a series of privileges and franchises collectively known as the capitulation agreements. The first capitulation accorded on 31 December 2015 guarantees company ships free and safe passage through the Strait of Malacca. Through the second capitulation, the company secured extraterritorial rights for its merchants and employees within the confines of the trading post. The government of Johor also authorised the company to station half a squadron of patrol boats (two crafts) in Singapore. The agreement not only limited the number of vessels but also placed restrictions on their size (380 tonnes) and armament (one autocannon and two machine guns). Despite opposition from the Chief Factor of Bali, directors elected to relocate the company’s regional headquarters from Singaraja to Singapore on 3 April 2017 (the Directorial Committee remaining in Conti). Geography and trading patterns favoured Singapore with its strategically located deep-water harbour commanding the maritime routes between the mother-city and the Far Eastern markets. The Singapore factory had by then become the axis of the company’s shipping network and its most profitable trading post, the volume and value of trade passing through the factory far outstripping that of its Balinese counterpart. It was evident to the Directorial Committee that Bali had been relegated to the status of secondary node. The relocation made sense from an economic and strategic perspective but it accelerated the company’s transition from interested observer to covert participant in the politics of the sultanate of Johor. Unlike Bali, Singapore was not under the administrative control of the company, meaning that its chief factor had to contend with the island’s sovereign proprietor, the sultan of Johor, his government and his court. Cultivating the amity of the sultan consumed treasure and diplomatic capital. The company’s money bankrolled special interest groups and influential individuals with access to the sultan. The company also showed a willingness to exploit the factional dynamics of the court to protect its core interests, beginning with the proper implementation and monitoring of the capitulation agreements. In many respects, the Singapore factory served as the blueprint for the Company of the Orient’s dealings in Bengal.

COR ships were regular visitors to the Bay of Bengal and the Malabar Coast. Yet after a decade ploughing the trade routes of Asia, the company had failed to make inroads into the coveted Indian market. The Singaraja and Singapore precedents had brought home the advantages of establishing a secure base of operation in faraway markets. It was the model the Company of the Orient was keen to replicate in the subcontinent. Years of relentless lobbying eventually paid off on 1 September 2018 when the nawab of Bengal granted a leasehold title to the company over 125 hectares of land on the right bank of the Hooghly river near Chandannagar (22.87°N 88.38°E). The company's surveyors and engineers swiftly moved in to erect a rectangular walled compound 1 km wide and 1.25 km in length on the site. (Upon taking office the first Chief Factor of Chandannagar set about demolishing the compound's defensive walls in a bid to foster amicable relations between Conti merchants and the population of the city). Back in Conti the Directorial Committee hailed the arrangement as a breakthrough although the nawab had stopped well short of according the preferential tax tariffs and judicial immunity the company's agents had been angling for. Privately, directors were keenly aware that the company's fortunes in Bengal hinged precariously on the goodwill of the nawab, his retinue and his counsellors. The long-term goal of the company was to establish itself as the country's dominant foreign trading partner by extracting favours from the central political figure in the land. To that end, the Directorial Committee sent a set of instructions to Singapore on 8 September 2018: a chief factor was to head the new concession in Chandanngar, agents were to be posted in Kolkata, the nawab was to be assured of the company's friendship, merchants' property rights were to be protected and trading privileges were to be sought. The extraordinary latitude given to the chief factor to play the political game to attain the goals mirrored the strategy pioneered in Singapore. The nature (and cost) of the service or benefit the company could provide was a function of the risk and the prize that could be extracted. This could take the form of gifts, punctual financial assistance, a moderate tribute (as in Johor) or military support against the nawab's local enemies (either by sending military advisors, lending artillery or through active warfare in a regional conflict as an ally).

An agent of the COR in the Middle East acquired the Manishtushu Obelisk (ca. 2340-2200 BCE) in the summer of 2018. The company had intended to send the obelisk (a four-sided black diorite stone covered in cuneiform script) to Conti as a gift to the States. When the Long War broke out, the artefact was instead shipped to Chandannagar for safekeeping.

The Council of Ten conducted in 2017 an interim review of the chartered company experiment then in its ninth year. It concluded that only the Company of the Orient was thus far an unqualified success. Its debt load is manageable and shrinking, it is hugely profitable and has fulfilled all the promises of its charter, building in the process a commercial and territorial empire of its own. It is a competent administrator of its subject dominions and an effective vehicle of the bailiwick's Far Eastern diplomacy. Not that the company was immune to criticism. The review was scathing in its assessment of the Company of the Orient's business practices. That the company had a natural bend for monopolistic rent-seeking had been painfully obvious to the business community in Conti from the onset. Its charter gave it a built-in advantage that made it difficult for rival commercial ventures to compete in the distant markets that the company was opening to Conti trade. It was for example only after the Council of Ten had threatened to divest the chief factor of Singapore's of his plenipotentiary powers, that the company had agreed to lobby the sultan of Johor into granting all the merchants of Conti privileges similar to the kind already enjoyed by the company's agents. The company's track record made it inopportune to renew its charter on its current favourable terms. The fiscal exemptions and the special trading rights would have to be revisited. The Company of the Occident is in many ways the mirror image of its sister company: it is chronically in the red and appears mired in a state of stasis. The COC's original plan to establish colonies in the Saint Lawrence basin floundered when the impetus of colonisation took root in the African New Settlements instead. The review was more nuanced in its assessment of the youngest of the three state-chartered companies. The Brittany Company did succeed in establishing a functionally effective administration but is still beset by conflict (incidentally exacerbated by the Council of Ten's occasional meddling) with sections of the old corporate elite unreconciled to foreign rule.

By Favour and Permission[]

The Brittany Company (BC) is a chartered corporation formed by an act of the States of Conti on 14 June 2009. After the passing of the last duke, the States bought the claims of rival lords and established suzerainty over the Armorican peninsula, which the company rules by favour and permission of the States of Conti. The company's wide-ranging charter is a product of the bailiwick’s unwillingness to allocate domestic tax revenue to its dependent territories. The act of delegation formalised the transfer of legislative competences to the Brittany Company for the duration of the charter, effectively privatising the administration of the old duchy. The charter and the act enable the company to exercise police powers and levy taxes, conferring upon it quasi-regal powers nominally attributed to the States of Conti. The company's charter is subject to review and renewal after 12 years. The Brittany Company’s blazon of arms is: Ermine; an inescutcheon gules, a portcullis with chains or.

The act of dissolution promulgated on 21 April 2016 by the States of Conti in their capacity as the true sovereign and proprietor of Brittany, formally abolished the Breton monarchy whose throne had been vacant since 2009 and established the March of Brittany in its wake. Much to the insistence of the Brittany Company, the act reaffirmed the nobility's privileged legal status. The company's intercession ensured that the composition of Brittany's only elective body, the Breujoù Breizh, remained unaltered.

The States of Brittany, or Breujoù Breizh in the Breton vernacular, is the highest judicial body in the former ducal lands. The States are composed of delegates from the urban merchant patriciate and hereditary members of the landed nobility. By virtue of the extensive authority conferred by its charter, the Brittany Company has displaced the States and the traditional corporate elite as the prime source of political power in Brittany. For the Breujoù, which had initially expected from the States of Conti the continuation of its ancient privileges and liberties, the most contentious issue concerns the loss of its hitherto extensive fiscal powers. In particular, the States of Brittany insist that monetary levies ought not to be raised without their prior consent. The question of institutional reform, in substance the issue of self-administration and taxation remains a point of contention between the Breton polity and the States of Conti. Having lost their customary rights of consultation and deliberation with the advent of company rule (and with it prestige and vitality), the States' powers are largely confined to the exercise of their judicial prerogatives. The registration of legislative acts with the States of Brittany is a requisite for the validity of those acts. The States of Brittany only retain limited oversight of taxation in time of war. The lingering dispute over taxation came to a head on 11 August 2017 with the adoption by the Council of Ten of a decree ordering the Brittany Company to remit to the TechFund², for three consecutive years, a sum calculated as one per cent of Brittany's total tax receipts for the year 2016 (thus decreasing in real terms over the triennial period). The annual levy due to be collected from 2018 through 2020 is timed to coincide with the expiration of the Brittany Company's charter of privileges. The levy was ostensibly raised to pay for the construction of Conti's underground railway system. The financial cost of the network's two driverless lines was without precedent for an infrastructure project in the city. The system's high degree of automation carried a substantially higher price tag than had been envisaged in the early stages of planning, which compelled the councillor of state for works to raise additional liquidity. Having ruled out divestment from the TechFund² or the issuance of public bonds, the Council of Ten settled on extracting income from the bailiwick's largest dependency to part-finance the project. This appropriation of revenue caused universal consternation among members of the States of Brittany who likened the levy to rent extraction and refused to register the decree in protest. Even the nobility, whose sectional interests traditionally align with Conti, proved resolutely hostile and irreconcilable. As the Brittany Company had forewarned the Council of Ten, the severance of feudal ties between the States of Conti (as sovereign overlord) and the former dukedom brought about by the act of dissolution had deprived the States of its only instrument to enforce the registration of new laws. In response, the States of Conti addressed a remonstrance to its Breton counterpart, accusing it of stirring up civil discord and strife. The crisis, later known as the registration controversy, presented a direct challenge to Conti's rule. It humbled and marginalised the Brittany Company, alienated Conti's aristocratic allies and shattered the assumption that the States of Brittany was an ineffective and malleable body. The prolonged stalemate caused legislators to entertain radical measures. Withdrawing the immemorial privilege of registration from the body sitting at the apex of Brittany's system of courts or dispensing with the Breujoù Breizh altogether were politically undesirable. In the end, the Council of Ten's announcement that the company's charter would be allowed to lapse in 2021 did enough to stem the crisis but otherwise left the question of the future constitutional relationship (if any) between Conti and the mainland in the post-company era entirely unresolved. Indeed, when the States of Brittany addressed a formal letter to the States of Conti on 28 November 2017 to press the issue (articulating its own preference for self-governance within the framework of a loose confederation), the response from the New Guildhall was muted and non-committal.

On 20 December 2016 the States of Conti passed an act prohibiting Conti citizens from purchasing hereditary landed estates on the mainland, a practice often criticised for antagonising the aristocratic element of the States of Brittany and undermining the republican ethos of the Conti citizenry. Principled citizens, who argued that the act constituted an infringement of the right to property, and therefore a fundamental breach of the social contract between citizens and state, soon launched a public petition to overturn the ban. As the bailiwick doesn’t have a court with the power to adjudicate on the constitutionality of laws, private citizens can challenge laws deemed contrary to the spirit of the Instrument of Government by drumming up support for a public petition to repeal the controversial legislation. By garnering sufficient signatures to force through a referendum and then winning the contest, the electorate rendered the act of 20 December 2016 null and void. In a complete reversal of policy, the Council of Ten would within the year abandon its long-standing objection to the purchase of rural estates from noble landowners (evidently in retaliation for the nobility's perceived disloyalty during the registration controversy). From that point on, far from pursuing of policy of accommodation, Conti would seek to exploit factional divisions within the States of Brittany to its own advantage. The conferral of citizenship upon loyal members of the aristocratic and patrician elites (for a fee of ƒ725 and the promise to buy property in the city within three years) became the preferred instrument of that policy. In 2017 alone, 21 nobles and patricians were admitted as Conti citizens in this way, six of whom were sitting members of the States of Brittany. A further 11 were made citizens in the first half of 2018. Then, mid-July, the flow of petitions for citizenship ebbed. Conti was at war.

Situated at the mouth of the Rance estuary on the northern coast of Brittany, the Free City of Saint-Malo (48.38°N 2.00°W) is Conti's major commercial gateway to its mainland dominions administered by the Brittany Company. Owing to Saint-Malo's prominence as the bailiwick's chief emporium on the continent, the States of Conti declared the city a corpus separatum under the provisions of the charter of liberties of the free city of Saint-Malo conceded on 26 July 2009. Saint-Malo remained a de jure ducal territory but the jurisdictional authority of the Brittany Company and the States of Brittany over the city and its dependent lands was ended. It was to be the opening act of a protracted dispute between the States of Conti and the States of Brittany. The maligned charter (the epithet appended to the city’s official name—free—especially incensed the Breton elites) progressed to the States of Brittany for registration, but bereft of political clout the States were unlikely to withhold their imprimatur. The charter institutes a council of 12 elected members, collectively known as the Executive Commission, entrusted with the government of the city under the stewardship of the Provost of the Merchants. The document gives the city ample powers of self-governance, including the latitude to determine its own rights of citizenship, and confines Conti’s involvement in municipal government to prerogatives pertaining to defence and foreign affairs. Moreover, the States of Conti renounced their feudal overlordship over Saint-Malo (an article of the charter rendered obsolete by the act of dissolution passed seven years later). The States and the Executive Commission agreed an addendum to the charter on 18 May 2017 authorising the intendant-general of the fleet to requisition up to a third of the ships registered in the Malouin merchant marine (amounting to no more than 25 per cent of the fleet's total gross tonnage) into the Naval Service's wartime auxiliary fleet. In exchange, Saint-Malo gained the right to establish its own court of appeal; appeal cases would no longer be referred to the States of Brittany for arbitration. Saint-Malo unilaterally renounced its right to send delegates to the Breujoù Breizh on 8 September 2017, which in any case it had abstained from exercising for the last eight years.

Instrument of War[]

The Naval Service and the office of Intendant-General of the Fleet were established by the naval service act on 8 October 2009. The intendant-general of the fleet, appointed for a two-and-half-year term by the States of Conti, is responsible for overseeing the administration of the navy under the nominal ministry of the councillor of state for war. In practice, the office enjoys pre-eminence in all naval policy matters through the direct administration of military shipyards, drydocks, maintenance bases and the Institute of Naval Warfare (founded on 25 January 2014). Such is the prestige of the position that the holder is unofficially regarded as the 11th executive officer of the state. The Naval Service's annual budget for 2017 stood at ƒ1.90 million, accounting for 47.78 per cent of the bailiwick's total military expenditure that year (ƒ3.98 million). The Naval Service maintains 27 capital ships in full commission.

The Naval Service operates three military ports in the home waters: Conti, Brest (48.23°N 4.29°W) and Lorient (47.45°N 3.22°W). On 21 January 2014 the Naval Service and the Company of the Orient established a joint naval station at the foot of the Table Mountain, north of the Cape of Good Hope. Port Conti (33.55°S 18.25°E) is the bailiwick's only naval facility in the southern hemisphere. By March 2014 the Naval Service had extended its territorial control to Port Conti's immediate hinterland to protect Conti, Malouin and Breton settlers who had illegally begun colonising the coastal plain abutting the westernmost ridge of the Great Escarpment. The Naval Service's policy of territorial consolidation went ahead despite opposition by the Company of the Orient which views Port Conti as a way-station of moderate importance for its Asian shipping and had no appetite for extending direct dominion over the city's sparsely populated hinterland. The COR has since repeatedly declined to extend its involvement beyond the joint control of the naval station and the posting of a small garrison of company troops within its perimeter. The Naval Service is responsible for the administration of the New Settlements. By no coincidence, the naval branch of the military is also the largest landowner in the territory. The first census undertaken on 7 May 2014 recorded 7,062 citizens of Conti, Saint-Malo and Brittany residing in the New Settlements. By the second census of 13 November 2016 this number had increased by 26.05 per cent to 8,902 with for the first time the population of secondary settlements exceeding 1,000 in Er (33.46°S 18.71°E) and Montcalm (34.02°S 20.43°E). The expansion was stimulated by private settlement companies; in the open, high wage economy of Conti, Malthusian pressure played no part in the out-migration to the settlements. The Naval Service's model of administration in the New Settlements is an experiment in minimalist government confined to the functions of law and order; the administration of civil affairs is left entirely to individual settlements which are free to enter contracts with one another. By mid-2017, 19 such bilateral or multilateral treaties had been ratified between the autonomous polities of the New Settlements to address concerns of common interest (water management, rural policing, boundary disputes) and articulate a collective response. Under the watchful tutelage of the Naval Service, a vanguard of settlements comprising Er, Montcalm and Vannes (32.75°S 18.00°E) came together to establish a common treasury and an inter-settlement court of arbitration to adjudicate contractual disputes between them. The tripartite cartulary, the collection of treaties and contracts between the participating settlements, is a proto-constitutional instrument regulating relations between increasingly assertive self-styled republics. It signalled the birth of an embryonic confederacy, or league of settlements, destined to emancipate from the mother-city. Despite the enduring sense of kinship with Conti, the settlers' eagerness to embrace from the outset early forms of self-governance for their communities accords with their self-image as societies based on free enterprise, thrift and self-reliance. Communities of the New Settlements were to be tested in the crucible of the Long War. Conti's pre-war strategic plan called for a broad redeployment of naval assets to the home waters to fight a defensive war of attrition. The bulk of the fleet stationed in Port Conti sailed north at the outbreak of the war; the remaining vessels were tasked with protecting the seaward flank of the settlements. The Company of the Orient mirrored this strategy in the East in defence of its scattered Asian holdings and reshuffled its military assets to strategic hotspots across the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. (As the war progressed, they too would eventually be recalled to the Atlantic). The company prepared for total war, suspended the payment of the ufti and reduced its garrison in Port Conti to a handful of military engineers and advisors. Together with their Naval Service counterparts, these specialists taught the art of war to the civilian volunteers rallying in anticipation of the forthcoming onslaught. Volunteers were organised into communal militias and moulded into cohesive units. Plans were carefully laid out to shield the landward side of the colony from incursions from the central plateau. Engineers built a string of fortified defensive works along the ridge line, replete with artillery (howitzers and mortars supplemented with dismounted naval guns repurposed as field artillery), machine gun nests and extensive networks of subterranean galleries.

The defence reform act adopted by the States of Conti on 9 June 2010 created the General Service, the nucleus of Conti’s first standing army, composed of professional soldiers organised into permanent regiments raised, equipped and financed by the States. The act lessened the bailiwick’s over-reliance on civic militia (known as the Inland Service) and mercenary companies for its defence, reformed the long-standing practice of raising temporary armies of paid soldiers in wartime and abolished the purchase of officer commissions. The Inland Service, retained as an auxiliary unit of the General Service, is entrusted to support civic authorities in preserving domestic order. The property qualification to vote is a cornerstone of Conti republicanism. The corollary of this right is the duty to serve into the General Service if conscripted. This was introduced into the legislation by the section of the act legalising wartime conscription for enfranchised male citizens of the eligible age bracket. Compulsory enlistment is an option of last resort: a conscript army is unwieldy, expensive and harmful to the economy. The military leadership approved the transition to a standing army of professionals but reckoned that conscription could partially offset a numerical disadvantage in a defensive war. The reform framed the issue of wartime conscription in practical, pragmatic terms: in the ongoing war, does mobilising conscripts offer a path to victory or peace on honourable terms? Citizens are expected to set aside the sum required to purchase their personal equipment if called into service. This is a substantial outlay for the standard issue equipment of an infantryman in the General Service costs ƒ183. There was a measure of debate on whether this constituted a hidden tax incompatible with the Instrument of Government, until the States-General legitimised the measure in a 2018 promulgation (adjusted for inflation, the price had by then risen to ƒ211). The penalty for evading conscription is the deprivation of citizenship. The General Service's Captain-General of the Land Forces is a joint appointee of the Council of Ten and the States of Conti. At the States' discretion a committee of deputies can accompany the captain-general on campaign and partake in major military deliberations. Members of the committee, typically numbering two, are known as Special Commissaries. The title is also given to deputies sent on diplomatic errands. It was common practice prior to the reform to assign a special commissary to the general headquarters in a supervisory capacity; militiamen and mercenary units were then the mainstay of the city’s fighting force and were always handled with a healthy dose of suspicion by the States. The practice continued with little alteration although more intermittently. The General Service is a proponent of a combined arms doctrine whereby different types of forces (reconnaissance, infantry, artillery, air support, engineering and logistics) are combined within the same formation and brought under a single command to achieve tactical superiority on the battlefield. The Air Service is the military aviation branch of the General Service. The General Service's motto (adopted on 9 May 2016) is: Non inultus premor ('I cannot be touched unavenged'). The General Service adopted the mitre cap (usually emblazoned with the city's shield of arms but not exclusively) as part of its full dress uniform on 21 April 2019.

The Intelligence Service, created by an act of the States of Conti on 23 November 2013, amalgamates the previously fragmented intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities of Conti's military branches into a single centralised organisational and command structure.

The funding of the Regiment of Brittany (formally the Ducal Regiment of Brittany until 21 April 2016), is a joint-responsibility of the Brittany Company and the States of Brittany. To mitigate the effect of rising fiscal pressure, the company and the States can raise funds necessary to finance wartime expenditures by jointly issuing war bonds. The regiment is the only component of the General Service permitted to supplement its ranks with hired mercenaries in wartime (in contrast to the Naval Service which makes a liberal use of sailors for hire).

The defence reform act of 3 February 2018 was drafted in response to the strategic sea change provoked by Conti’s withdrawal from its former alliance. The underlying rationale of the act was twofold: increase the size and scope of the military while limiting the impact on taxpayers. The initial investment in new material was thus defrayed by the sale of state assets rather than through an increase in taxation. The chief beneficiary of the armament program was the Air Service. The fleet was expanded to 105 aircrafts and reorganised into seven permanent squadrons of 15 aircrafts each. Squadrons No. 6 and No. 7 operate from the Air Service’s new air base in Rennes (48.12°N 1.68°W). As the base shares some facilities with civil aviation, the Air Service is able to recoup some of the maintenance costs by charging a landing fee to commercial carriers. The act made it the duty of the General Service to keep the Air Service at full operational strength at all times. The Naval Service was also the recipient of a substantial investment. This led to a modest expansion of the fleet from 23 to 27 capital ships (cruisers Terrible and Invincible and frigates Ardent and Diligent entered service in 2018). By law the fleet can only be expanded beyond that number through leasing arrangements. In other words the act made it possible for privately owned warships to be rented out to the Naval Service and the state. These vessels must comply with contract requirements and technical specifications set out by the Naval Service (displacement, tonnage, speed, sensors, weapons system) to ensure they are interoperable with the rest of the fleet. The maintenance of the leased ships and the recruitment of the sailors are outsourced to the contractors whilst the Naval Service appoints and pays its own officers. In a departure from the convention of naming warships of a similar class with the same last syllable (observed by both the Naval Service and the Company of the Orient), the privately owned vessels commissioned into service are given names starting with the same syllable. Overall, the emergency budget revision approved by the States in January increased military expenditure for 2018 by 46.48 per cent to ƒ5.83 million. The rebalancing of spending in favour of the General Service caused a decrease in the Naval Service’s share of total defence expenditure when compared to the previous year (to 35.26 per cent at ƒ2.05 million). Conversely, much of the increase in the General Service’s share emanated from its aviation branch. The act foreshadowed the renewed interest in military contracting during the Long War. Military entrepreneurs would, for profit, prey on enemy shipping, launch expeditions, conduct airborne raids and initiate intelligence operations; under Conti military law, any prize captured becomes the property of the contractor. As independent irregulars, entrepreneurs are notoriously difficult to control but are valuable to the war effort. In a conflict dominated by attritional warfare, military contracting allows Conti to lower the cost of mobilising resources.

The Irregular Bands is the informal name given to the private regiment of soldiers raised once a year by a contractor licensed by the States to do so (under the provisions of the defence reform act of 3 February 2018). The bands are raised in accordance to contractual agreements between a foreign state and the regimental proprietor (after whom the regiment is named). The licence granted to a private contractor to raise a mercenary regiment comes with restrictions. Most importantly, the regiment can only enter the service of a state favourably disposed towards Conti from a list drawn up by the Office of Despatches and vetted by the Council of Ten. The regiment can only be raised if Conti is at peace. The proprietor cannot recruit more than 4,000 soldiers into his regiment (the size of a regiment in the General Service). No more than one regiment can be in foreign active service at any given time. By law contracts cannot exceed 12 months. The troops are forbidden to serve in foreign navies. The contractor cannot recruit soldiers in the New Settlements (whose population is too low) or in Saint-Malo where the Executive Commission has passed legislation barring its citizens (and all other inhabitants enjoying the protection of the city) from joining mercenary regiments. The soldiers’ salaries and pensions are paid for by the contracting state. Lastly the regiment can be recalled to Conti and incorporated into the General Service at the outbreak of a war without compensation to the contracting state or the regimental proprietor.

To date, the bailiwick's forces have captured 266 enemy battle ensigns and 302 regimental colours (these war trophies are preserved or displayed at various locations across the city: officers clubs, barracks, naval shipyards, civic associations, societies, museums and various public institutions such as the Institute of Naval Warfare and the State Archives).

Technology Procurement Fund[]

The technology procurement act enacted on 1 September 2010 established the Technology Procurement Fund with the mission to stimulate foreign direct investment involving technology transfer and facilitate the acquisition of technology by Conti-based enterprises. The fund is the beneficiary of an annual public contribution of ƒ2.16 million. Its Chief Executive spearheads Conti's technology accumulation drive and reports to the councillor of state for research and technology.

The letter of command is the document of reference for technology deals operated or facilitated by the Technology Procurement Fund. The letter addressed to the fund's chief executive is published annually in January by the councillor of state for technology in compliance with the technology procurement act. The document sets out stringent procurement objectives for the calendar year. The 2011 letter, the first of its kind, published on 15 January set a target of 500 technology units per month amounting to a total of 6,000 technology units for the entirety of the year, an amount superior to the volume of technology acquired by Conti until then. On 10 November 2014 the fund reported the accumulation of an all-time high record of 23,132.19 units of technology. The 2018 letter challenged the TechFund to diversify its procurement sources and alter the pattern of its technology trade which in recent years had been dominated by intra-alliance trade. The fund’s answer was to send trade missions to potential supplier states with the objective of setting up to six permanent tech trade representations overseas.

The technology procurement revision act of 12 August 2013 modified the fund’s governing statutes to address the rising cost of technology procurement resulting from intensifying competition and a dwindling supply pool. As funding requirements for 2013 doubled to ƒ4.32 million—twice the fund’s annual state subsidy, the Council of Ten sought to attract private investment to surmount the rising financial challenges and bridge the funding gap. The revised legislation paved the way for the part-privatisation of the fund and advanced its transformation into a fully fledged commercial entity contracted with the management of public assets. Under the new arrangement, the bailiwick sold a 49.99 per cent stake in the fund to private investors thus retaining a controlling majority stake. A fraction of the profit financed the rehousing of the State Archives (the bailiwick's central repository of official documents) to a new state-of-the-art, purpose-built facility within the New Guildhall. The second innovation of the act is the creation of Conti's sovereign wealth fund under the management of the Technology Procurement Fund: the TechFund². The act prescribes that any excess liquidity created by a government budget surplus or proceeds from the sale of state assets be transferred to the TechFund². The legislation places no limitations on the States’ power to sanction extraordinary public expenditure. As a responsible steward of the bailiwick’s finances, the States’ generally restrict these investments to city beautification initiatives and projects of scientific, cultural or historical interest. One such occurrence is the purchase on 14 September 2015 of the Selden Map of China for the benefit of the State Archives at a cost of ƒ63,000 to the public purse (an exorbitant sum, equivalent to the cost of maintaining a patrol frigate in active service for 14 months). The State Archives further enriched its cartographic collection on 17 August 2017 with the purchase at auction of a lot worth ƒ70,500 comprising six medieval maps and the oldest surviving pre-Columbian portolan chart: the Carta Pisana (c. 1275-1300). Two-thirds of the monies had originally been budgeted as one time-expenditure by the State Archives for the acquisition of a manuscript edition of the Chronica. When it became apparent that this transaction would not come to pass (despite the benevolent intercession of Ravenspur's ambassador to Conti), the State Archives reallocated the funds to the new project and appealed to the States and private benefactors to cover the shortfall of ƒ10,500 required to match the asking price for the maps. What began as a one-time expenditure for the acquisition of a cultural object thereafter became a permanent line item of the State Archives’ budget, making the purchase of artefacts under state patronage a yearly occurrence no longer reliant on ad hoc appropriations.

Assets under management
ƒ0.00 million

The privatisation act of 9 February 2017 provided for the separation of the TechFund² from its parent company and its incorporation into a separate legal entity for the purpose of transferring the business to private ownership. (The TechFund² was repeatedly raided during the Long War and eventually liquidated to finance the war effort.) The reform was part of a wider privatisation drive which included the cession of the port of Conti, the airport and the fire service to the private sector, all of which were satisfactorily concluded by June 2017. The Prison and Rehabilitation Service was dissolved and ownership of the city's two rehabilitation facilities (managing a correctional population of 316) was transferred to private contractors. Likewise, electric and water utilities subject to public-private partnerships were outright privatised. This legislation signalled a policy shift towards a smaller communal government after years of bureaucratic expansion. It was underpinned by laissez-faire philosophy, affinity with economic individualism and trust in the free market system as means to maximise the creation of wealth. As part of its effort to moderate spending, the Council of Ten adopted on 23 August 2017 a three-year scheme to fast-track Conti's transition towards a cashless economy with the total phasing out of the physical currency scheduled for 1 January 2021. The scheme allowed businesses to pay the universal impost using bitcoin for the first time.

Office of Despatches[]

The Office of Despatches is a civil service secretariat created on 10 May 2016 to assist the Council of Ten in managing foreign affairs. It derives its name from the diplomatic missives, memoranda, notes and reports from the bailiwick's emissaries, trade representatives and foreign agents streaming back to Conti for compilation and analysis. The office has since matured from a clerical clearing house into a bureaucratic power-centre within the state machinery, influential enough to shape foreign policy. Conti mostly relies on temporary emissaries to conduct its diplomatic business and as a result only maintains a limited number of permanent diplomatic outposts:

  • On 10 May 2016 following the establishment of diplomatic relations with Ravenspur, Conti dispatched a minister to set up permanent representation in the country's capital, Warszawa. The legation occupies the first floor at 12 Senatorska Street. On 29 December 2016 the Council of Ten approved a secret policy document designed to protect Conti's Baltic trade should Ravenspur experience a catastrophic institutional collapse and cease to exist as a sovereign state (as did Imperial Ravenspur in 2007 after the traumatic events chronicled in the nation's history as the partition).
  • Conti's first minister to Russia presented his letter of credence to the president of the Russian Federation on 11 May 2016. The legation closed permanently on 12 January 2017, 23 days after Russia had subsumed itself into the revived Soviet Union. Conti's legation in Moscow was located at 1 Petrovskiye Line Street (Петровские Линии улица, 1). The legation's records were eventually deposited at the State Archives on 14 August 2017.
  • The Company of the Orient's envoy to the Sultanate of Johor, traditionally appointed by the Chief Factor of Singapore independently from the Directorial Committee, is also invested with plenipotentiary authority to represent the Council of Ten. The crowning achievement of the company's diplomatic undertakings in Johor is the third capitulation conceded by the sultan on 17 June 2016 which extends the provisions of the first capitulation to all citizens of Conti and Saint-Malo based in Singapore and the realms of the sultan. Conti and Malouin merchants, whether employed by the company or not, henceforth ceased to be subject to the jurisdiction of Johor courts. Merchants' property (including houses) and assets in Johor are likewise subject to extraterritoriality. Finally, the Company of the Orient was accorded the right to display its shield of arms, flag and banner of arms on company property across Singapore (but not beyond the Tebrau Strait into mainland Johor).

Minister is the highest ranking title in the bailiwick's diplomatic service as Conti does not appoint ambassadors. The cost of running a legation abroad is only partially covered by public funds. Expenses incurred for gifts, hosting dinners, entertaining guests and the furnishing of the minister's private quarters are intentionally left out of a legation's operating budget. Ministers are expected to cover the shortfall at considerable personal expense which in turn has led to an overrepresentation of the merchant class in diplomatic appointments. At the end of his term of office the returning minister is subjected to an inquiry into the conduct of his ministry. Whereas ministers are exclusively appointed from the propertied citizenry, one does not need be a citizen of Conti to enter the service of the bailiwick. Experienced foreign diplomats with a keener understanding of local conditions are frequently accredited by the States as emissaries on temporary missions overseas (the use of special commissaries has meanwhile become exceptional).

Nothing better illustrates the office’s pivotal influence in the realm of foreign policy than the libertas memorandum which began circulating among clerks of the Office of Despatches in mid-2017. At first a purely prospective paper, the memorandum (and its two follow-up papers produced through the summer) sparked a profound rethink of the bailiwick’s foreign policy. The paper voiced the disquiet of many state functionaries with the parlous state of inter-alliance politics from which the city could derive neither profit nor advantage. The authors exposed the contradictions of a foreign policy that deplored these developments—and their adverse effects on trade and general prosperity—whilst Conti itself remained a member of an alliance (all the while ignoring the fact that, at the very same time, the Company of the Orient was stirring trouble in Brunei and casting covetous eyes on the sultanate’s rich offshore oil and natural gas deposits). The memorandum expounded the benefits to be had from breaking with the international system of alliances, in particular the opportunity to retool the bailiwick’s foreign policy to pursue independent objectives, unencumbered by alliance considerations. The follow-up papers addressed the practicalities of the transition, chiefly the financial cost of the shift. The disengagement from alliance politics was by itself a proposition fraught with risk and ever more so in an age of heightened international tensions. The most immediate consequence would be a marked increase in military spending and the need to raise revenue. The papers explored these challenges in some depth, some recommendations later making their way to the defence reform act of 3 February 2018. The Council of Ten (correctly) predicted that, other things being equal, the radical reform advocated by the memorandum would increase military spending requirements for 2018 by nearly a factor of 1.5. In itself the memorandum should have not lead to the radical shift in foreign policy that its authors envisioned had it not been vindicated by the unfolding of events in the world, chiefly the abuse of sanctions and the violations of neutrality. By temperament Conti legislators are distrustful of publicly stated doctrines and favour a practical and trade-centric approach to foreign policy; a reform that promised to free the bailiwick from the constraints of alliance diplomacy was seductive. Yet the issue was deeply divisive and the politics very fluid. Many doubted the wisdom of a radical policy shift when the current arrangements had proved largely beneficial to the bailiwick. Others questioned the timing of the enterprise as the political shock waves of the registration controversy continued to reverberate into the winter. But the financial implications of the policy adjustment were central to the dispute. A combination of spending restraint, privatisations (including the sale of public land in the New Settlements), regulatory reform and private finance initiatives had placed Conti’s finances on a surer footing in the past year (the value of assets invested in the TechFund² surpassed the ƒ50 million mark for the first time in December 2017). There were concerns that all this could now be undone. The inescapable reality was that defence spending would need to be higher and more sustained. No longer would the post-war decommissioning of warships, the disbanding of squadrons and regiments or the selling of surplus equipment be sensible cost-cutting measures. The Council of Ten and the States of Conti were internally split. A majority of the Council of Ten favoured reform while the States of Conti were leaning towards the status quo. As public sentiment gradually shifted, the States acquiesced to the bailiff’s suggestion that the States-General could be summoned to untie the Gordian knot. As the final arbiter of policy the States of Conti were under no obligation to do so. Yet the issue of Conti’s membership to an alliance was so fundamental to its future security and prosperity, the implications of either outcome of such magnitude and the need for a decisive resolution so pressing that the election of the first States-General in the bailiwick’s history became a sensible option. Because Conti’s free association with its erstwhile alliance did not proceed from a treaty requiring the States' consent, the Instrument of Government could not be invoked as an obstacle to the convocation of the States-General. The States of Conti dully convoked the States-General on 28 November 2017 and referred the matter to the newly elected assembly four weeks later. Per the Instrument of Government the States of Conti then transferred their legislative powers to the States-General. The first States-General thus assembled on 26 December 2017. The States-General met in continuous session until 7 January 2018 (12 days). The deputies issued eight promulgations as the result of their deliberations and votes:

  • The bailiwick’s alliance membership was to be rescinded within 60 days—or three tax collection cycles. (Conti withdrew from the alliance on 25 February 2018 after 2,012 days as a member state).
  • The section of the defence reform act of 2010 pertaining to wartime conscription is incorporated into the constitutional law.
  • The census requirement for military service is temporarily lifted until 2028. Male citizens of military age (20 to 50) who do not meet the property qualification to vote are no longer exempt from wartime conscription. (Prior to this, only enfranchised male citizens were liable to conscription).
  • The obligation placed upon citizens conscripted into service to purchase their personal equipment, including their service rifle, is maintained.
  • The Instrument of Government is amended to extend the lifetime of the States of Conti (and the term of office of deputies) from five to seven years. The next elections are scheduled for 2021.
  • The universal impost’s cap is increased by two percentage points to 30 per cent.
  • The non-renewability of terms is reaffirmed as a core stipulation of the Instrument of Government, for it prevents the emergence of a career political class.
  • To moderate the volume of legislation, the number of new acts is limited to 10 per session (a session lasts 12 months).

The Long War[]

15 July 2018 - 19 April 2019.

3 June 2019 - 1 November 2019.

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