Zeitgeist of the year: Pedro Carmonte
Runners up: Roven's President and Finance Minister
Other key events this year
Kyle Langley: pro-unions?
Gov. Hope tours the south
"Pardon? There's a drought?"
Are the Burovians a spent force?
The bitter fight over Savante's millions
Gichadia: island paradise comes of age
The Moun's Front legacy
Pataki Communists refuse "dregs"
Castronovia: recog- nition or bust
ICARA's Alphalpha 300 debacle
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An Utanian Insecularity law?
"Unnecessary" say Utania’s politicians
Most Utanian Presidential candidates were careful not to make harsh judgements about the Lendosan people, government or culture in their comments, but almost all were against introducing the law to Utania, at least not such a harsh version of it.
There was, however, wide difference of opinion as to the "extent" of secularity required. At one end of the spectrum, Kyle Langley told this newspaper that "if a people and their culture are to survive, then their government must be at the forefront of protecting their culture." However his position was somewhat self-contradictory, suggesting that government should be unifying the people, not dividing them.
Burovian presidential candidate, Max Boornal, echoed a similar theme, when asked: "Government is about healing division, not creating them."
"Government must be neutral, impartial in any debate or discourse on race, culture, religion or gender. And I believe government should be impartial on matters of sexuality, too. Promoting any one group ahead of others can only lead to national divisions."
Boornal was the only candidate against using government funds to support "cultural events or programmes", something other candidates found hard to advocate.
There is perhaps nothing wrong with the standard the law demands, but the
sentencing can only be described as somewhat draconian.
President George Okarvits
"The government, I agree, should not be in the business of promoting a specific ethnic culture, or religion," conservative candidate, Gov. Edward Hope said. "Government must instead be equally fair. But to not provide funding for at least some cultural activities for fear of showing bias is simply political correctness gone too far."
President Okarvits was even more relaxed. Utania's civil servants, he said, understood that the state was the maintain a strong tolerance of other cultures and religions, but added that, "Utania already has a strong Cruisian tradition, and separating that characteristic of the people from their own government is a worthless exercise at best."
On the subject of introducing a secularity law, only Max Boornal advocated a law to protect public funds from abuse.
"There has to be a law to protect public funds being abused by civil servants or politicians for the benefit one or another community group," Boornal said. "I would consider a law along those lines, but that is more about public accountability than cultural or religious favouritism."
Langley, a former lawyer, was unconvinced legal enforcement of secularity for government employees was required, adding that "codes of conduct" should make such laws unnecessary. Gov. Hope concurred that a strong "code of conduct" was all that was required, saying such a law would be "counter-productive". President Okarvits said such a law was "entirely unnecessary" in Utania.
Yet, all were happy enough for Lendosa to enact such a law. "Ultimately, the people of Lendosa make their own choices," said Gov. Hope. However, President Okarvits openly questioned the sentencing applied to Pedro Carmonte.
"I think the Lendosan Senate should carefully consider whether the law is too harsh, or being applied too tenuously," he said. "There is perhaps nothing wrong with the standard the law demands, but the sentencing can only be described as somewhat draconian.
"For a mere university lecturer, in these circumstances, I think sacking should be the limit of disciplinary action."
The only hope for capital markets in Utania: Hope!