Guelphia

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Guelphia (formally titled the Kingdom of Guelphia) is a country of some 3.3 million inhabitants located in the South Pacific Ocean.

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Guelphia
country in Oceania
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Official name: Kingdom of Guelphia
Demonym: Guelphian
Capital: Kingsbury
Population: 3,300,000 (2011 Census)
Area: 27,285 sq mi (70,668 km²)
Language: English
Government: parliamentary constitutional monarchy
GDP: US$52,320 mln (2011)
GDP/capita: US$35,208
Flag:
Flag-guelphia.png

Toponomy

The name of the kingdom is drawn from the House of Welf, which when rendered in English was often translated to Guelph. The House of Welf was, as the House of Hanover, the ruling dynasty in Great Britain when Capt. James Cook first sailed past the islands in June 1773. Cook named the the archipelago after the Royal Family, and also named the main landmasses Brunswick Island and Lunenburg Island after the German cities of Braunschweig and Lüneburg respectively.

History

Referencearrow.png Main Article: History of Guelphia

The Guelphian archipelago is thought to have been first inhabited by the Polynesian peoples only as late as 1550. Within a century these peoples had established themselves as distinct cultural group as the Ngati Meru. In June 1773, the isolation of these peoples was broken with the arrival of Captain James Cook, who sailed past the islands on the HMS Resolution during with second voyage to ascertain the extent of the hitherto mythical continent of Terra Australis Incognita.

Dissatisfied with previous organised attempts at colonisation in Australia and New Zealand, the settlement of the islands was placed in the hands of the Guelphia Company in 1834. Settlement commenced in 1835, and the company formally took possession of the islands on 18 February 1836. Throughout the nineteenth century, the islands were colonised by English settlers from all classes, whilst the native Ngati Meru were largely marginalised. Guelphia was granted her full independence by the British on 1 October 1907, an act which also saw the modern constitution of the kingdom come in to force.

Guelphia fought in both world wars as an ally of the British, with whom it has maintained close defence links for over a century, but the kingdom has not been active in a military conflict since 1953. The post-war period has also seen a stable 2½ party system has establish itself and endure through to the present day. Indeed, Guelphia remains one of the most socially conservative western nations in to the 21st century, with many social reforms common throughout the west being either limited or non-existent in Guelphia.

Geography

Location

Guelphia is located in the south-west of the Pacific Ocean. The centre of the country sits at 41º 24.51' south of the equator and 164º 18.03' west of the prime meridian. The nearest other landmass closest to the archipelago are the Chatham Islands lie 470 miles (757 km) to the west-southwest of the Dumaresq Promontory. East Cape in New Zealand lies 758 miles (1,220 km) to the west-northwest of Cape Barney, whilst Rapa Iti in French Polynesia is 1,278 miles (2,057 km) north-east from Diamond Head.

Climate

The climate of the islands varies between sub-tropical conditions on parts of the northern coast, to temperate on the central plateau and the southern coast. This strong division in climate is caused by the Main Range which runs east to west across the Brunswick Island, partly sheltering the northern two-thirds of the archipelago from the cold polar currents coming from the south. At the same time, warm moist equatorial currents are brought south along the South Pacific Gyre by way of the Coriolis effect, thereby warming the islands significantly.

Temperatures in all the major urban centres across the archipelago are therefore comparable to cities in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Government and politics

The governance of Guelphia is heavily influenced by the Westminster System, which Guelphia inherited from the United Kingdom upon gaining independence in 1907. This has given Guelphia a framework of strong democratic traditions, which have developed their own unique flavour that is not seen anywhere else in the world. Since independence, the governance of Guelphia has taken place within a constitutional framework of limited monarchy and parliamentary democracy.

Constitution

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Constitution of Guelphia

The constitutional framework of Guelphia consists of a mixture of various documents, both written documents and as political convention. However, the most important piece of the framework is the written Constitution of Guelphia. The Constitution is the basis for the operation of government in Guelphia, and all the principal organs are created and empowered by this document. The current Constitution consists of seven articles, each of which defines the powers of the government and other requirements to ensure that the administration of the Kingdom is conducted by the rule of law.

Neither the Monarch or Parliament have the power to change the Constitution, which can only be amended by referendum. Changes to the Constitution are carried out by a Constitutional Convention, a special body that is assembled by Parliament to make recommendations on a proposed change. Changes recommended by the Constitutional Convention require the approval of parliament before they can proceed to the people for a referendum. Like the Constitution of Australia, the conditions for approving changes are somewhat difficult, but act to protect the Constitution from partisan tinkering. Since 1907, there have been just five successful changes to the Constitution.

Monarchy

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Monarchy of Guelphia

Guelphia is a constitutional monarchy. The King of Guelphia is James II (usually styled HM The King), the eighth Monarch to have reigned over Gulephia since the Kingdom was established in 1836. Although an integral part of the process of government, the King remains politically neutral and deliberately stands above the political contest. The King, along with his family, also perform a number of charitable and community duties that bring them into contact with Guelphians from many different walks of life.

Despite being above politics, the power of the monarchy is quite significant, although royal power and authority is bound by the Constitution just like that of all Guelphians. Many important actions of the government are done 'on behalf of' the King and the monarch normally exercises his powers on the direction or advice of the Prime Minister. Many of the powers which remain within the Royal Prerogative are uncodified, and exist as only political conventions, albeit with a very powerful influence over the business of government. Only a handful of powers were codified in the Constitution when it was created in 1907.

Government

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Government of Guelphia

Guelphia's central government is divided into three principal branches, each of which must act with a degree of independence in accordance to the provisions set down by the Constitution. The principal branches of the government are the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. Above these branches, and ensuring the smooth operation of government, sits the Crown. The notion of a separation of powers is blurred in Guelphia, and does not have the same meaning as it might in the United States.

The executive is the most powerful arm of government, and is headed by the Prime Minister. Despite it's perceived power, the executive is dependent on the support of the Parliament. A Prime Minister who loses the support of the House of Assembly is obliged to resign his commission of government to the Sovereign. The Parliament of Guelphia forms the legislative arm of government. Parliament makes all laws and scrutinises the actions of the executive through a rigorous committee system. The judiciary is charged with the administration of law and order, and is also responsible for the interpretation of all laws, including the Constitution.

Politics

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Politics of Guelphia

Guelphia is a multi-party democracy, with a open and competitive political environment. There are a number political parties vying for the right to be elected not only to parliament, but to go on and form a government. According to Elections Guelphia, there are 20 parties registered to contest elections at both levels of government. Of these, only three parties (considered in general parlance to be the 'major parties') have won enough seats to be considered able to form a government. These parties are categorised in the parliament as the 'government', 'opposition' and the 'third party'.

There are a variety of issues that dominate the political scene on any given day of the week. A number of these issue are significant owing to the longevity, or their impact on the political landscape. Some of these topics are typical of all nations in the west, with society struggling with issues of social justice and dislocation. Other topics are unique to Guelphia, with the relationship with her neighbours being a constant source of contention. As with any political system, Guelphia has suffered from it's fair share of scandals as well, with the capacity to deal with these being the test of just how strong the institutions of government have become since 1907.

Local authorities

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Local authorities of Guelphia

As a unitary state, Guelphia has no autonomous sub-national entities such as states or provinces. Instead, the constitution provides for the creation of a democratically elected local government, whose existence and power is determined by the Parliament.

There are presently three tiers of local government in Guelphia. At the top sit eight cadastral units known as counties, which are elected to administer matters such as civil defence, public transport, and water supply. Below the counties sit over 80 municipalities, who are responsible for the administration of matters such as building ordinances, garbage collection, and public libraries. Finally, there is also a third tier of local government known as a parish, which are elected to manage minor matters such as allotment gardens, disused cemeteries, neighbourhood watch programmes, and the management of the local village hall.

Demographics

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Demographics of Guelphia

Most Guelphians are descendants from the British colonial immigrants who came to Guelphia in the years between 1836 and 1907. At the time of independence, the population of Guelphia was about 825,000. Over the last century, that population has increased to 3.3 million. Post war immigration since 1945 has seen a number of people from outside Britain and Ireland attracted by the social stability and tradition values seen here. The largest numbers of migrants have arrived from other western nations, such as Germany, Greece, Italy, and the former states of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. As part of its international obligations, a small number of needy migrants from the third world are accepted every year, with those chosen often being people persecuted for cultural or religious reasons.

Largest urban centres

Guelphia is a largely urbanised country, with 57% of the population living in the ten largest urban centres. As of July 2012, the largest cities and towns in Guelphia are:

# City County Population
1 Kingsbury Centralia 298,600
2 Port Frederick Albanyshire 190,140
3 Corfe Harbour Fitzroyshire 177,024
4 Lunenborough Isle of Lunenburg 112,766
5 Swanbrook Deverauxshire 108,829
6 Williamsdene Beaufortshire 87,719
7 Earnestvale Westerland 74,523
8 Warnock Isle of Lunenburg 59,274
9 Pasquale Albanyshire 50,457
10 Ashley Isle of Lunenburg 45,105

Religious affiliation

Perhaps most surprisingly to many outsiders, the Guelphian national identity seeks to encourage the idea that all people should have a strong faith system in their lives (it doesn't matter which one, as long as it is not extremist). To Guelphians, the idea that people have a strong system of faith and beliefs is one of the most important aspects of their lives, and goes a long way to explaining why most religious groups have continued to grow throughout this century whereas in other countries, religion is in decline. Christianity remains the officially established religion of the land, and is accorded special rights and privileges by the government, with other religious groups given toleration and basic protection from discrimination. In the last census, 88% of the population identified as Christian, with 78% belonging to the Anglican Church of Guelphia.

Daily life

Guelphia is a stable and prosperous western society, with a sound basis on the rule of law and democracy, coupled with a sense of tradition and reverence for those institutions that have endured since time immemorial (church, monarchy, family). Since independence, the people of Guelphia have developed a single national identity, with a set of institutions and political ideologies which reflect the nation's culture and history. These values are drawn from Christianity, the established religion of Guelphia. Guelphians are encouraged to love thy neighbour as thyself, to forgive men their trespasses, and to be charitable to those whose need is greater than them. Whilst Guelphia shares the ethic of a 'fair go' with Australia and New Zealand, the notion of egalitarianism is considered to be an unrealistic fiction and a very simple class system endures.

Whilst this is a society that prefers assimilation over multiculturalism, there has been a bleeding of outside cultures into Guelphia over the years, which while causing some early tensions, has proven to be a positive influence and prevented society and culture here from becoming hard and unreceptive. Foreign cuisine, music, film, dress, language, and sport have all found their way into this country, and have had a dramatic influence on the arts and culture of the local population. The less desirable elements of any culture (and all have at least some) are actively discouraged and weeded out. These unsavoury elements include violence, discrimination, intolerance of others, and welfare dependency. Also discouraged is the cultural isolation that occurs with the formation of cultural ghettos by migrants. Assimilation has meant that newcomers are expected to speak English fluently and clearly, and must be employed in permanent full-time work before they are allowed to enter the country.

Education system

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Education in Guelphia

The top priority of the Guelphia education system is ensuring that when all pupils complete school they are able to read, write and count sufficiently to be effective members of society. This is the core purpose of education in a modern society, and forms the basis of the National Curriculum of Guelphia. There are of course other skills and disciplines that are important, and all pupils receive instruction in these foundation subject areas.

The education sector is divided into four tiers. Children start their schooling in the preparatory system at the age of four or five. At the age of six, all pupils start their primary education in first form, where they spend six years (or three forms) before moving on to secondary education at the age of twelve for another six years (again consisting of three forms). At the age of eighteen, and having completed sixth form, pupils receive the Advanced Certificate of Education (A-levels) and may matriculate into tertiary education once they have compelted their compulsory national service. There are five tertiary institutions consisting of four polytechnics and one university.

Health system

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Healthcare in Guelphia

Guelphia's health system offers a fully comprehensive system of care to all Guelphians through a mixed public and private health care system. All of Guelphia's citizens and permanent residents are guaranteed treatment by the public health system through a series of insurance and compulsory contribution mechanisms that aim to ensure treatment is made available to all on the basis of need, and not an ability to pay. However, the Guelphia health system does expect individuals to make a significant contribution towards their own healthcare costs, with those who can afford to pay for their own health care encouraged to do so.

The management of the Guelphian public health policy resides with the Ministry of Health, with the day-to-day operations of hospitals and clinics managed by local health boards. These boards are funded by both the local community and central government.

Public safety

The central government is responsible for the provision of all public safety services in Guelphia. Whilst policing is organised along both county and national lines, and the national fire, ambulance, and civil defence services are agencies of the Guelphian central government. These services ensure that Guelphians are protected against danger, and can expect to be properly cared for when an emergency occurs.

The private sector also plays a key role, particularly in the provision of private security, fire prevention, and first-aid care with a number of organisations operating across the country. These organisations must be legally registered in order to operate, and are regulated by the government to ensure they are qualified and able to operate without endangering the lives of the people they are supposed to help.

Working life

The vast majority of Guelphia people must work in order to make a living. For most people, this involves a career in one, or sometimes two or more, professions. For the average Guelphian, working life commences after they complete study and national service, and continues for forty-five to fifty years until they retire. Throughout this time, there are plenty of breaks and leave periods that an employee can look forward to over the years, with the average employee having five weeks annual leave, four weeks sick leave and various other types of leave for miscellaneous circumstances.

Guelphians enjoy fair and equitable workplace conditions. The right for an employee to negotiate their own employment contract (with or without a trade union) is enshrined in the Industrial Relations Act, and protection against unscrupulous employers is further protected by the Industrial Relations Commission. Likewise, employers are able to utilise powers backed by the commission to deal with a problem employees or overzealous union officials. Union membership stands at just 23% nation wide, with the civil service having the highest rate of membership (36%) of any industry sector.

Economy

Referencearrow.png Main Article: Economy of Guelphia

Guelphia's economy is built on a mixture of agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and services industries. The agricultural sector is built on wool, cereals, dairy, fishing, and hardwood timber exports. Manufacturing is small but growing sector, with electronics being a major export earner. Services remain the core of the Guelphian economy, with retail, tourism and financial services playing a major role in propelling further growth.

Although the private sector is very strong in Guelphia, the government continues to play a major role in some core industries still controlled by the state. All public utilities, including energy, transport, and water are run as publicly owned profit-making entities or "crown enterprises". The economy is not significantly regulated, with free enterprise being the cornerstone of the national economy.

Economic facts

  • GDP: US$52,320 million (2011)
  • Currency: Guelphian Pound (£1=20 shillings=240 pence)
  • Time zone: GMT (UTC) -11.00
  • Inflation: 1.95% (2011)
  • Unemployment: 5.75% (2011)
  • Labour force: Agriculture and mining (25%), industry (15%), services (60%)
  • Exports: Electronics, forestry products, fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy products, wool,
  • Imports: Motor vehicles, steel, textiles
  • Main trading partners: Australia, China, EU, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore

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