Accepting the Lance – Chapter 35

Blair Road
Boss Conrad’s House

In which Mrs kaz’Ineo has an idea.

The mention of the Gilmour Agency’s human resources manual as a recent acquisition places this chapter not long after the opening scene of “Block Party”, in which Luzeal had just made the discovery, although perhaps not after the entire story, which covers a period of several weeks.

Although I approve of the voting idea as an alternative to outright conflict, I’m not as confident as Mr Hufstead that “there’s no blood in it”. History has shown that in votes like this, especially in disputed territories, it’s not unheard of for people to be leant on to encourage a particular result. Then again, the streeters have experience of being leant on to encourage a particular behaviour, that being a major tool in the Old Boss playbook, and they know now what to do about it if they’re disinclined to acquiesce.

I also see a number of practical problems to be overcome, as for instance: before you can get every person in every turf to vote, you need a list of every person in every turf, to make sure nobody gets left out and nobody takes more than their share. That could take some time to organise. (I can already foresee complications: For instance, are the Bedel going to want to give the gadje a complete and accurate accounting of themselves?) Then again, from the point of view of the Bosses, that’s not a disadvantage; it’s Boss Surebleak who has time constraints.

8 thoughts on “Accepting the Lance – Chapter 35

  1. Ed8r

    I confess that—although I see the need for this development in order to keep Surebleak moving forward, with Liadens needing lessons in how a democracy works—also I am bored by politics, and this whole plot thread (maybe more so in a later chapter) struck me as awkward exposition on the democratic process.

  2. James Lynn

    Pat Rin’s unfamiliarity with voting as a Liaden custom strongly suggests that the Council of Clans doesn’t use voting to determine its policies. Which makes me wonder how it does work. It surely can’t rely on consensus or it would never decide anything.

    The issue I had with the voting plot thread was that (having read Dragon in Exile, and being aware I was reading a novel) I had no doubt about how the vote would turn out, but I was never sure whether this was intended as a form of dramatic irony, or whether I was supposed to be in doubt.

  3. Paul A. Post author

    I don’t think we’re meant to be in any doubt that a free and fair election will choose Boss Conrad and the New Ways; the interest is presumably in what Boss Surebleak will do to either prevent that outcome or render it moot. (I say “presumably” because I didn’t find this plot strand particularly suspenseful either.)

  4. Othin

    I find “Pat Rin’s unfamiliarity with voting” a bit strange. Wasn’t Daavs father’s grandfather, Captain Arl Fed pen’Uldra, in a committee the deciding vote for several years? Something that wasn’t strange for Chi or Petrella. So why should voting be so unfamiliar to Pat Rin?

  5. Ed8r

    Actually, aren’t we simply discussing the difference between a republic and a pure democracy? A quorum meeting of the Council of Clans would allow for a vote using a simple show of hands (or other physical indication). Pat Rin is just not making the leap from the familiar into the unfamiliar territory of a pure democracy and the logistics of how to allow every citizen to vote individually?

  6. James Lynn

    Maybe. But he has to have voting of the board of directors explained to him, and reacts by thinking that it’s a bad idea, not that it’s like the Council of Clans. And once it’s been explained, he doesn’t see how the system is used on Liad, which is odd if it’s what the council uses. When he asks how voting is related to liaden culture he is not referred to the council, which would be the important use, but to a way of deciding between masks.

    It might just be that he’s unfamiliar with democracy, but it appears that he is unfamiliar with voting as a way for a meeting to reach a conclusion, and assumes that such a meeting will instead seek a consensus.

    To put it another way, the difficult bit for Pat Rin doesn’t seem to be the application of the (well undestood) concept of voting to the citizens of Surebleak, but rather with the concept of voting as a way to reach a decision.

  7. James Lynn

    It has occurred to me that the council of clans could work by consensus if they make vetoing a popular idea expensive enough. If the effect of you being one of the few delms to oppose a motion is that the clans who supported it break of all contracts with your clan and shun you publicly, then that would end up destroying your clan, and so you wouldn’t do it. Therefore, anything with a decent majority of influential clans behind it would pass.

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