Stocks continue to stagnate - when will the Govt. release cash controls?
What IS a Zeitgeist?
Jerman for "Spirit of the Age". In this case it is to mean the "spirit" of the Utanian
people, the magazine reporting the people's thoughts behind the press-releases and reported
©Zeitgeist Magazine, 300 AP.
©Mike Ham, 2000. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)
A Peoples Party government anyone?
While the USP-PPP coalition winning the polls, and the Conservatives are being
savaged to death by their allies, few know the policies of the parties that would be the
inaugural government of Utania. This article and interview seeks to redress that.
"For a long time, the media and analysts have just assumed that Hope would somehow
pull a rabbit out of his hat and win." George Okarvits looks intensely at the crowd. "It is
about time they accepted that the Utan-Sædaj and Peoples Parties will win in September
and will be government in October!"
While the crowd appreciated the 43 year old's dressing-down of the media, the
assembled journalists uncomfortably smiled at the crowd whose focus was suddenly upon them.
However, George Okarvits, leader of the Peoples Party of Utania, is right: the USP-PPP
coalition appear certain to form the foundation of the inaugural Utanian government, and few
in the media have accepted, let alone reported, that fact. Consequently, few in the media
knows their policies or platform. I was there to help rectify that.
Not all of this is the fault of the media. The PPP-USP coalition has been suspiciously
quiet on many policy issues. They have been at the fore attacking the President's I'ana
occupation and others of the President's fumbles, but in terms of policies, few and far
between press releases have been made.
If elected, the PPP-USP coalition would work to two mottos: Integrity in politics for
MP's are the examples for the people, the leaders of a nation; and economic prosperity for
the people... ALL the people.
The Okarvits legacy
The first thing that you think of when you first meet George Okarvits is his father,
and the son is not uncomfortable with that. "My father laid the foundation for not only this
party but also, in some ways, for the successful democracy that we are now experiencing."
He pauses and takes a deep breath before continuing. "Utani and Uta-Decashi working together
in one nation... unheard of even twenty years ago."
Abraham Okarvits' portrait hangs on the wall behind his son's desk as a constant
reminder to all of the party's "paragon of virtue" leader, who died defending the weak and
oppressed. It remains the party's mission: ensure that all Utanians are included. "For
government is about serving the people", Okarvits Snr once said. "All of the people."
The Peoples party is one of only a couple of parties with universal support across the
country (the others are the Democrats). In Lasanne, they are considered the only real
opposition party. Likewise Nystonia. While in Utani B'yan they are the Cruisian party that
helped give the pro-Utani independence movement legitimacy, and are now the party that leads
the progressive way forward, tempered with a deep-held belief that ALL people must benefit
from that same progress.
Economic Development policy
That is the economic development motto of the Peoples Party: Benefit for all. Okarvits
is emphatic on this. "The government would see development introduced into the country, that
much is sure. But, I believe that it will be heavily weighted in favour of the east coast
wealthy, and the poor of the west will see little of the benefits. The clearest example of
this is the Belson Corporation, which is making multi-billion pund profits while paying the
farming communities in the west of the country precious little for their produce.
Inefficiencies in that company have absorbed a massive amount of the livelihood of ordinary
"When we are in government, we will use the 30% holding in the company to force through
massive reform of that company, to ensure that the western communities get twice what they
are currently paid", Okarvits tells me in what I believe is the first real policy from the
coalition. "It is simply outrageous that the company can get Û400 per tonne of wheat
exported, yet only pay farming communities that grow the crop a mere Û70 per tonne."
Asked how the coalition will develop the hinterland west, Okarvits takes a deep breath
and explains. "We need time to ascertain the true state of the economy, and finalise our
policies thereafter. However, we will seek to have factories move from the wealthy east coast
to the western regions. Furthermore, we will look at tax incentives to boost local industries
and develop community assets."
"But, with every step we take, unlike the government, we will consult with the local
communities and ensure that we are taking no action that they oppose." Okarvits pauses for a
moment. "This is essential and key to all our policies."
In terms of the overall economy, fiscal management, Okarvits is surprisingly
conservative. "We are committed to balanced budgets and responsible policy, but we will not
allow this to hamstring us. We are a pro-capitalism party, and will not be following
the socialist mould that the government accuses us with. Our difference is that we believe
that all people in the society should benefit from the development, the wealth, that comes.
This is traditionally not the case. In most capitalist countries in Vexillium, the wealthiest
20% earn ten or more times what the poorest 20% earn, and I would expect that Utania is no
different. The Peoples Party has, as its platform, reversal of that trend. We believe that
a nation can have both fairness and economic development, and that will be the balance we
Integrity in Politics
The Peoples Party are also emphatic about the integrity of politicians. "Politicians
should be virtuous beyond reproach." he declares, and one wonders whether this isn't pure
fantasy. "We have a system, in politics, where deflecting blame, telling lies to escape
blame and failing to own up to your own mistakes are simply accepted, nay, encouraged so that
you can 'survive' as a politician long enough to have an impact on the country. And MP's have
lied long enough to the electorate that they believe there is no other way."
"Well, not under the Peoples Party, and we will push hard for (coalition partners) the
Utani-Sædaj to adopt a similar principle. We are not in favour of digging dirt
on our opponents, unless there is reasonable grounds for misdeeds being aired. We must return
the high standards of personal and corporate integrity to politics, because we are the
On the topic of leadership, Okarvits has much to say: "Leadership is not a right, but
a privilege, a great honour, bestowed by Cruis that people may have lives without trouble and
fright, that they may live peaceful and prosperous lives. THIS is the job of a leader: NOT
the advancement of his own career at the expense of the country or its people!" Okarvits is
clearly getting agitated. It is a topic close to the heart of Peoples party beliefs.
"Leadership, and you are a leader by being an MP, is about setting an example for the people
to believe in, that they may implicitly trust you, then follow. I am afraid I
see little of this in politics today."
He is most scathing for President Hope. "He has brought this country into disrepute!"
For Okarvits, it is not bad enough that Hope implied that the poor make their own poverty in
a May interview, but his occupation of the I'ana archipelago told the people of Utania that
solving disagreements is best achieved by force. "That is simply wrong!"
What was worse, is that Hope did it to save his political hide: "We cannot go about
invading islands because we're losing in the polls to the Liberal Nationalists. This is not
true leadership, because all you're telling the people is that you will do anything to hold
onto power. The Peoples Party is everything BUT that. We would rather lose an election by
taking an unpopular stand, than curry favour with a militarist few."
"True integrity", he continues, "is about staying true to one's mission, staying true
and not deviating because you find someone disagrees."
When I press him on this point, telling him he had just advocated negotiating with
local groups to ensure their support for his economic direction, he has the reply already
worked out. "No, we have stated our underlying mission is to bring prosperity, but to bring
it such that everyone benefits and everyone is comfortable with the benefits, that we are
not overruling certain people to favour corporations or businessmen. We will freely modify
our decision on a particular factory, say, if the locals are opposed, because we are a
government for the people. What we will not do is change our underlying mission: development.
If people opposed that, we would not change our political position so easily. We would stay
the course, and continue to represent the people who want fair income distribution even if
it means never winning power."
"We feel the same way about integrity in politics", Okarvits continues. "If the people
want politicians who lie, cheat and play 'dirty', then they shouldn't bother voting PPP,
because that is something we will never stop opposing."
Okarvits says the party does subscribe to the traditional "left-wing" triumvirate,
health, education and social security, as core government functions. The coalition would build
more government-funded hospitals in Utani B'yan and Savana. It would provide more teachers
for poorer schools to ensure that education is free and equal opportunity is given to all.
It would provide the "fundementals" of a safety net for the poor and temporarily out of work.
"We believe that equal opportunity must be provided to all Utanians, and that there
should be a safety net for the poor to balance their family and financial demands." By this
Okarvits is saying the coalition supports the 12-hour day rule: no one should have to work
more than 12 hours to support their families, and if they need to, the government will
provide the balance of their income required.
But, the Peoples Party do believe in accountability. "There is a minority that believe
in living off the social security that the state provides. The Peoples Party does not, and we
will be looking for ways to ensure that this is difficult to achieve. Having said that, we
will not throw legitimate need off the queue just so we can get to the one person living off
the state - that is not fair, nor right."
On foreign investment, Okarvits says the party is ambivalent. Foreign residents into
Utania should be welcome, but "the coalition will not be aiming to bring in millions of
On the matter of moralism, Okarvits says the party suffered in the '93 split with the
Cruis-Democrats, but he still believes leading the split was right. "We did not, and still do
not believe that we can enshrine in law personal morality. There are always laws instituted
to protect the people from fraud, theft and murder, and these are accepted by the people as
being necessary for social cohesion. What we're talking about here, though, is making laws to
force people obey laws of Cruis. You cannot force people to Cruis, they must go willingly.
The Cruis-Democrats disagreed: legislate them into heaven, appears to be their motto."
"I would rather an entire nation disobedient but having faith in Cruis, than a nation
without faith obeying His laws because they'll be thrown in prison if they do not. I think
the Lord would agree with me there. Salvation first; obedience is a natural flow-on effect."
An Okarvits-lead government above all will be looking for ways to bring equality to
the country, an oft-repeated phrase meaning socialism, according to their opponents. "The
PPP-USP coalition are little more than socialism in sheep's clothing", says President Hope.
Okarvits shrugs. To him getting the votes is less vital than standing true to the
cause, and retaining one's integrity. "We will not sell our souls to win power", Okarvits
says. "Over a long enough timeline, truth and fairness always win. Ours is the right way, but
we must have patience."
If the polls hold true, Okarvits won't have to wait very much longer at all.
"For government is about serving the people... All of the people."
- Abraham Okarvits, founder of the Peoples Party.
"We will use the (government's) 30% holding in [Belson corp.] to force through massive
reform of that company, to ensure that the western communities get twice what they are
"(Consultation with local communities) is essential and key to all our policies."
"We believe that all people in the society should benefit from the development, the
wealth, that comes."
"We have a system, in politics, where deflecting blame, telling lies to escape blame and
failing to own up to your own mistakes are... encouraged so that you can 'survive' as a
politician long enough to have an impact... MP's have lied long enough to the electorate
that they believe there is no other way."
"Leadership is not a right, but a privilege, a great honour, bestowed by Cruis that
people may have lives without trouble and fright, that they may live peaceful and prosperous
"True integrity is about staying true to one's mission, staying true and not deviating
because you find someone disagrees."
"If the people want politicians who lie, cheat and play 'dirty', then they shouldn't
bother voting PPP, because that is something we will never stop opposing."
"We will not throw legitimate (people in) need off the (social security) queue just so we
can get to the one person living off the state - that is not fair, nor right."
"I would rather an entire nation disobedient but having faith in Cruis, than a nation
without faith obeying His laws because they'll be thrown in prison if they do not."
"We will not sell our souls to win power."