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« on: October 08, 2008, 02:40:49 pm »

The rules and structure of the game at their most basic...

Basic power structure side of things... this might be a little rambling... anyway... not the most realistic setup possible, but one that will, I think, work. If it looks complicatated, it isn't, not really...

1. Most of the power in the city (that players can actually have) will be in the hands of the City Council and most of that in the hands of elected councillors. Councillors will be elected (details on how elections will be run will come later) from wards for terms of four "years". Each ward will have three councillors (note that most councillors will be NPC's unless this is far, far, far more popular than is even slightly likely). Individual councillors don't have much power as individual councillors, but as members of political groups (more on them in a bit). If a group has a majority of councillors, then that group "controls" the council; its leader becomes the Leader of the Council, it's councillors get to chair all the committees and so on and so forth. If no group has a majority... then comes the time for coalitions and carve-ups. The largest group not part of the Administration forms the Official Opposition.

2. The Leader of the Council is the most powerful position in the game; the Leader decides who shall chair each committee and is responsible for overarching policy decisions and so on. In turn, the Chairmen of the committees are very powerful within their committees. And the bulk of council policy (and thus the bulk of this game, presumably) will be decided by these committees. I'm not sure how many to have, but probably something like; Oversight & Scrutiny (ie; the fiefdom of the Leader), Finance, Housing, Planning, Welfare, Transport, Arts & Leisure. Note that some decisions will be taken by the full council. Membership would obviously overlap and is, of course, in the hands of the Group Leaders. Another position is the Mayor; a largely ceremonial role and worked around seniority (and terms are for one "year"), but nice work if you can get it, all the same.

3. Leadership of political groups will be decided by internal group elections. Other group (as opposed to council) positions be Whip and Deputy Leader. The first is responsible for enforcing the authority and will of the Leader and the Group and gets to do fun things like openly bullying other councillors and expelling people from the group, the latter's role is almost always for one of the following; placating a defeated leadership candidate, placating a powerful faction, as a position for a rising star of some form, cronyism. And sometimes an amusing combination of the above. Group and Council roles can (and probably should) overlap.

4. But there be power outside the council chamber as well. They loosely fall into the following catagories;

a) interest groups (Trades Council, Chamber of Commerce, Arts organisations, etc, etc). These organisations mostly lobby the council for things, but can also serve as useful alternative powerbases for players.

b) stuff to do with the adminstrative side of the council; civil servants, public sector unions and so on. Won't play a big role early on, but may do later (if things head off in certain directions).

c) local parties; to begin with, there will be three important ones; the Municipal Socialist Party, the Municipal Conservative Party (or '' '' Reform '' '' or '' '' Unionist '' '' or whatever) and the Municipal Liberal Party. I'll write up more on these tomorrow, but for now, note that only the MSP will really exist as an organisation with much power on its own (and this will largely revolve around candidate selection and so on. Yes; I'm making a certain sort of factionalism easy). For reasons that will also become clearer later.

d) The police, the courts and so on. Because corruption and crime will for sure be a feature of this game.

e) community leaders & etc. Not important... yet. So ignore for now.

f) Central Government. None of the players will have any influence over this whatsoever. lol.

Most of these overlap to a certain extent.

A note on years...

A year is the name given to the pretty informal turn system that the game will use. Years are mostly to be used as a yardstick for various things (ie; how long it takes for things to be built, the age of characters, etc) but will have another use of sorts; they're split into two parts, the first shorter than the other (though the length of both depend on activity, the whims of the GM and so on). In the first part of the year, councillors will be spending most of their time trying to get re-elected or helping other members of their party to get elected. In the second part of the year they will spend most of their time actually doing the job that they were elected to. Or use it as time to get properly involved in corruption and so on. It's your choose.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 02:43:06 pm by Al Sibboleth »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2008, 02:44:13 pm »

Elections (the heart and soul... or the great trauma at the centre of... the game)

1. Elections

Elections in Chamberlain are fought on several different (though frequently overlapping) levels, one of which is (almost) totally out of the control of the players, one of which is determined by the collective decisions of the political groups and one which is largely in the hands of individual characters. They are as follows; National, City and Ward.

a) National

Perhaps regrettably, the tone (and often results) of municipal elections is invariably set by national political conditions. As most governments are (to some extent or other) unpopular, this means that the major party out of power nationally starts with a built-in advantage in almost all electoral years. Occasionally national tides are strong enough to sweep all before them (real life example; in the 1968 municipal elections the Labour group lost every seat it was defending). Elections like that are rare, but they *will* happen.
National factors can effect elections in other ways; major government projects built in the city sometimes have an electoral effect, though can also backfire. Almost all national factors are in the hands of the GM; the sole exception concerns begging national government for projects.

b) City

The core of the electoral aspect of the game are the decisions made by each party group about electoral strategy and tactics. The structure of this is very simple; groups make decisions about the general tone of their campaign, which issues to emphasise, which wards to target (and how) and inform the GM. They will do this three times during the campaign; at the beginning, half-way through and at the beginning of the final week of campaigning. They may also decide on last minute GOTV tactics (in the same way) on the last day before the election. As well as this semi-secretive war against each other, groups may hold rallies, public debates and so on.

c) Ward

Individual characters do have some influence over their electoral fate; they are fully entitled to run their own personal campaigns alongside their groupís citywide campaign. While they must inform the GM of the details of what theyíre doing, quite how much detail they choose to tell their own group is up to them. This, somewhat needless to say, is the level where most of the electionís inevitable dirty tricks are played.

ELECTION DAY

Characters spend election day in a rather nervous state and do what ever it is that they have to do. Meanwhile, the GM will feed them snippets of information. Whether they react to this (and how) is up to them.

ELECTION NIGHT

When all the polls have closed, characters are summoned into the Town Hall where the votes will be counted and declared by the GM. Group officials (and any directly affected candidate) will actually be told (privately) a rough picture of the results before they are announced. This is to allow the groups to decide whether to ask for any recounts (note that only the Groupís agent (a temporary position appointed by the Group leader) may request recounts). Once recounting has been finished, the GM will read the results out. Results read out by the GM are official and may only be challenged if misconduct is suspected.
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2008, 02:46:21 pm »

Self-explanatory, but very important...

2. Characters

This is really very, very simple. There are two (and half) forms of character; player characters and NPC's. The former are played by, well, the players, the latter by the GM. Anyway...

a) Player Characters

There are two ways to create player characters; the first is to submit a character creation form, the second is to take over an NPC. There are advantages and disadvantages to both; taking over an NPC may give you more power (at first) than creating a character of your own, but the character (and its flaws) will have been created by the GM. Yes, the Deputy Leader of the Generic Party Group and Chairman of the Housing Committee may look extremely powerful, but it could easily be the case that he's on the fiddle, a drunk or both.

i) Character Creation Form. Easiest way to do this is just to post a draft one. Basically you fill in stuff. The first section is public...

Name:
Age:
Party:
Address:
Place of Birth:
Occupation:
Brief Biography:
Other:

Quick notes; your character may not be younger than 21, you may stick religious affiliation (if any) under other but you don't have to, you don't have to invent a full address, just stick in a ward name (as the game progresses this will change slightly) if you like... and under brief biography I do not want to see anything like this; "...John grew up on a farm (the son of a farmer) and had to scrape to find the funds to send himself to university. At university...". This is not an American fantasy, this is Birmingham (sort of) in the 1950's.

Note that you do not have to run for election in the ward that you actually live in, but you must have some other excuse (such as property (inc. renting), a business, work, etc). You don't even have to live within the city.

The second section is not submitted publically, but is instead handed to the GM...

Conflicts of Interest:
Past Scandals:
Sexuality:
Addictions:
Medical Conditions:
Bigotries:
Corrupt Activity:
Other Criminal Activity:
Other:

You can leave that section blank if you want (though don't announce that publically!) and play the game clean. But that might not be so much fun. As for what to put; remember, we start the game in the 1950's.

You may also choose a picture to represent your character (a load will be up online shortly). You don't have to, though.

ii) Taking over an NPC

Very easy; if you find yourself characterless (you may not play more than one role at the same time) you can just ask the GM to show you the Form for an NPC of your choice. If you like what you see, you can then take over the character. This will be announced officially, somewhere.

iii) Defeat, Retirement and Death

Your characters do not last forever. You may retire or kill them off whenever you like, however you like. You may also chose to drop a character felled by the Electoral Reaper and start afresh. Don't be afraid of doing this if you think that your existing character is stuck in a rut. Be warned; once characters reach a certain age, the GM may start playing nasty tricks with their health and so on. A dead character is dead. Retired and defeated characters may only be brought back at a later date if they're under the age of 65. Ex-player characters may become NPC's, but only with the consent of the former player.

b) NPC's

Much of the above applies equally to NPC's. What's different is that, in their case, everything comes from the imagination of the GM and less is made public. With a few exceptions, NPC's will generally be rather crude caricatures. Don't assume that they all are though.

C) the GM's Character

The GM may chose to create a character as well... this character will work like an NPC but may not be take over by another player. While the GM's character may not use secret information to his own advantage, for other reasons it may be best not to trust the GM's character much.

D) The Black Book

Finally, a word on the Black Book. Every group gets one of these; it's run by the group's Whip and may be viewed by no one but the Whip (not even the Leader). It contains details of various dubious activities that members of his group have been getting up to and is the source of most of the Whip's power. The Whip gains this information by keeping his ears open to what players in his group say and so and (most of all) by asking the GM for information. How much the GM tells them is up to the GM. When a Whip is replaced, the old Whip must give the Black Book to the new Whip (whether they chose to edit it or not is up to them. Wiping it would be a big mistake). Former Whips should note that blackmail is illegal...
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2008, 02:50:19 pm »

This supplements information given earlier (and replaces any lists of committees given earlier).

It's worth noting that as the game develops, the committee structural will probably (that is if you (collectively) want it to) change radically. These rules are by no means set in stone.

First, there are the two monsters; Public Works and General Purposes. Public Works controls not just a conventional definitiuon of public works but also planning, transportation policy (include the details of public transport administration), waste disposal, etc, etc. General Purposes controls everything not controlled by another committee (this includes, by way of example, licensing, oversight, disciplinary stuff, relations with the police and fire services... etc...). At some point it's pretty much inevitable that calls will be made to break up the monsters.

And then there is the Finance Committee, which controls the purse strings and rates (ie; local property-based taxation). It's both extremely powerful and rather weak. The power of its Chairman tends to increase in the runup to the yearly budget being announced.

Next the are two committees that are extremely powerful in their own area, but have little power outside it; the Chamberlain Local Education Authority (which controls education policy in the city; including the cirriculum at this stage. Additional edited in note; if you're interested in this committee, it'd be a good idea to become somewhat familiar (even in a very general way) with the issue of selective education and the introduction of the comprehensive system) and the Housing Committee (which does exactly what it says on the tin. This, for any Americans present Smiley, includes being, in effect, the landlord of the city's council estates, that's public housing to you).

And there are three weak committees that inevitably bow to pressure from the strong; Public Health, Welfare, Arts & Leisure.

Finally, there is the Full Council. It controls general policy and has to rubberstamp decisions made in committee. The "committee's" chairman in a literal sense is the Lord Mayor, but in terms of power, it's the Leader.

So, how do they work?

First, read what was written about them earlier. But some more details...

1. Committee appointments are made by the Leader of each group (the Leader can have the Chief Whip vet them if he likes) and no one else.

2. Commitee chairman are (as mentioned earlier) also appointed by the Leader (ditto vetting etc). Note for leaders; there's nowt wrong in appointing NPC's to chair committees. Some of these people are rather senior, rather powerful, and could cause you a lot of trouble if you sideline them.

3. Each committee will get its own thread on the child board. The only people who may post in these threads are committee members. Exactly how decisions are made is up the Chairman of each committee. Public votes must be held for all decisions made by the Full Council, but this is not strictly necessary in committees. (postings on the committee threads will be assumed to count as minutes).

4. Councillors may be a member of up to three committees (NOT including the Full Council), but may not chair more than one.

5. Councillors can be removed from committees by the Leader or Chief Whip of their group without notice. The General Purposes Committee can also remove councillors from committees (and can also suspend and expel councillors from the council) but hearings must be held in public before that can happen. Note that, at this stage, this is the only way (barring a criminal conviction or electoral defeat) that corrupt councillors can be removed from their positions, and their office. The introduction of outside bodies to regulate this area is decades away.

6. Committees may call any of the following to give evidence; councillors who aren't members of the committee, the Leader of the council (even if he is a member of the committee), any and all Council officers (ie; civil servants), any and all members of the public (including senior policemen or whatever, for example).

7. Oh yes, the finance committee. There won't be any need to pass a formal budget, just make general decisions about which departments and projects are getting more money, which are getting less... the same applies to the various kinds of rates (to make this simple, let's just have two. Ordinary (paid by the citizens), Business (paid by all businesses and etc). Just say whether they're going up or down and by what %.

I think that's enough for now. Ask any questions if thee has them.

(yes, yes, yes... there is potential for abuse here. That's both deliberate and realistic).
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2008, 02:51:31 pm »

That's, basically, it for rules. So far. But new rules will come (and old rules thrown out) as the game develops. One thing that will be introduced as soon as the new council is elected is... ah yes for many the beating heart of local government... the expenses system.
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2008, 02:51:56 pm »

About the Game

The game is loosely based on local politics in Birmingham (initially in the late 1950's). You can work out how things work by reading the rules.

About Chamberlain

Chamberlain is an industrial city (and service centre for the whole area) in the West Midlands and has a long and proud history (for details read the descriptions of the political parties), much of it tied to the iconic figure of Joseph Birmingham a politician of national, as well as civic, importance. Seemingly every other public building or square in the city is named after him and even now, over fourty years since his death, he casts a shadow over the city's politics.



One of his sons actually became Prime Minister. He is not so well thought of, even in Chamberlain.

The game begins in 1957; a few weeks before the first elections to the newly enlarged Chamberlain City Council. Thanks to a decision taken in Whitehall, Chamberlain will, as part of an experiment into metropolitan government, expand to swallow some of its neighbouring boroughs; namely the Ash Country industrial towns of Fauldswick and Western Broom and the rich suburban towns of Slutton Chillifold and Muddihull. Local opposition to this was close to total, but it went ahead anyway. Quoth the Minister; "Progress is Progress". The chances of this "experiment" being reversed are next to zero.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 03:34:25 pm by Al Sibboleth »Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008, 02:52:27 pm »

A basic landuse map;



It's based on a real life one from about 1950 or so. You'll note that I've also rejigged the boundaries somewhat; this is to make it slightly less hellish to draw the ward map (which will be a coming this very afternoon, I hope).

Grey is build-up areas (including some industry and so on), Green is parks and woodland, White is everything else. I'll do a special transportation map at some point also.

The wards as they are at the start of the game...



Map coloured according to a crude class estimate (based (to an extent) on real life information about rates in the early '50's).

Parliamentary Constituencies within Chamberlain after the 1955 General Election:



Result was close in the light colours, not-at-all-close in the dark ones, and in between in the in between colours.

Part of the Muddihull constituency is outside the boundaries of the expanded Chamberlain. Note also that Chamberlain now includes about a third of a constituency with a population base outside the city (it's not been named).

While M.P's won't form a major part of the game, becoming one will obviously be a goal of some characters (and has been in the past).
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 02:56:03 pm by Al Sibboleth »Logged

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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2008, 02:52:40 pm »

The Wards

Please note that I can tell players a lot more information about any ward they're curious about.

I: once a solidly middle class area, this ward has frayed around the edges somewhat as the middle classes move out to the suburbs. Demographic change appears to be bringing political change; once a solid Moderate ward, it's recently been flirting with becoming a marginal. The ward also seems to be unusually popular with low income Commonwealth immigrants.

II: like I, this ward has seen a slow trickle of immigrants (in this case mostly Irish or from the West Indies) in recent years. But it's a working class area and safe for the Socialists.

III: historically one of the poorest parts of Chamberlain, III was bombed out during the war and has been radically rebuilt since. Where once stood decaying slums and (often derelict) workshops, stand council houses and new tower blocks. It has always had a strong Socialist presence and has recently turned into one of the party's safest wards. It also home to many new immigrants.

IV: a working class inner city ward on the edge of Chamberlain proper, full of industrial land and railway lines. Popular with immigrants. Votes the way you'd expect.

V: another working class inner city ward (though not so poor as, say, III). It's often claimed that levels of Commonwealth immigration here are the highest in the city. Solidly Socialist, but never overwhelmingly so.

VI: an extremely working class ward at the very heart of Chamberlain. Arguably even poorer than III. While a very safe Socialist ward now, a long serving Moderate councillor (who has since retired) was able to get re-elected in a reasonable election for the Socialists only a couple of years back.

VII: a curiously shaped ward that covers the central business district, before sweeping south to the houses of the bourgeoisie, VII is a ward increasingly difficult to justify (indeed, there were angry scenes in the council chamber when it emerged that it would not be abolished with Chamberlain's annexation of its surrounding boroughs) and will probably not survive the next re-warding (whenever that is). It's solidly Moderate.

VIII: an industrial and utterly working class ward to the east of the CBD, since it was gained by the Socialists in the early 1920's it has failed to vote for the party just once (in the Götterdämmerung of 1931). The area has seen a large influx of immigrants, mostly Irish construction workers, recently. It includes Chamberlain's first ever tower blocks.

IX: this ward was once a borough in its own right, but was annexed to Chamberlain in one of first of the cities expansionist drives. It's an industrial, working class and inner city ward and is home to one of the city's two football clubs (Aston Wanderers*). A Socialist stronghold.

X: one of Chamberlain's first suburbs and the traditional home of the city bourgeoisie, X is still the richest ward within the city's old boundaries and is home to the University of Chamberlain and to Ardenshire County Cricket Club. One of the safest Moderate wards in the city, even post expansion. Still, it's not quite so affluent as once was, and concerns have been raised about subdivisions in the north of the ward.

XI: inter-war suburbia (mostly) and very middle class. Always a staunch Moderate ward.

XII: historically a bit of an oddball; despite being suburban and largely middle class, this was actually a dependable Socialist ward before the 1930's. It is possible that this had something to do with the influence of a certain chocalate manufacturing dynasty, who built a company town here and who's onetime head was a longtime (first Reform, then Socialist) councillor for the area. But those days are gone and the ward as trending strongly Moderate since the end of the War.

Ach! Disaster! The next XII is the pink one

XII: Made up largely of giant inter-war council estates, XII isn't as working class as its history would suggest, yet it votes strongly Socialist all the same. There are fears that the ward might be capable of producing massive swings (as often seen in XIII) but, so far, this has not happend.

XIII: a very strange ward that combines more inter-war council estates, middle class suburbia... and a large car factory. It has normally voted Socialist, but is prone to wild swings often caused by strange turnout patterns and the health of the motor industry.

XIV: nice enough, but rather dull, middle class suburbia. Some estates on its fringes. Votes Moderate, but not always massively.

XV: middle class suburbia, often quite new. Again, some estates on the fringes. Solidly Moderate.

XVI: yeah, same again I think.

XVII: the same again... but often quite a bit richer. We're almost into "Solihull" here and it shows. A weak ward for the Socialists; and there's still a Reform presence here.

XVIII: in many ways the epitome of affluent inner-suburbia and it votes like it... but... it's fraying a little around the edges here and there. Subdivisions are becoming common in places, much to the horror of residents.

XIX: a solidly working class inner-suburb and safely Socialist since 1945, but the area has become popular with prostitutes recently and there are concerns that this may cause property values to fall, thus becoming more popular with...

XX: poor, inner city, working class and with a large Irish population. The Socialists have always done very well here and continue to do so. Locals have expressed concern about Commonwealth migrants.

XXI: another working class inner-suburb with a steadily increasing population fo immigrants (both Commonwealth and Irish). Home to Chamberlain City FC. Votes Socialist.

XXII: very like XXI, but without the football ground. Oh, in both areas (and in this part of the city in general) we're dealing with late 19th century terraced housing, rather than traditional slumland (since redeveloped). This will become important later one.

XXIII: like the last two, but a bit more affluent and a bit more suburban... tends to be a swing ward though.

XXIV, XXV, XXVI: dull (in a nice way) suburbia. XXIV is usually Socialist, the other two are unpredictable swing wards.

done it again

XXVI: (the bigger of the two XXVI)... home to many new council estates (many of which are very recent and some private suburban development. Unusually affluent for a safe Socialist ward.

XXVII: working class, Socialist-voting suburbs. The Socialist vote here seems to be more solid than in many inner-city areas as the party held on easily in the worst elections of the late '40's.

XXVIII: contains 19th century terraces, some newer suburbs and is very industrial. Normally solidly Socialist, but the Moderates have won enough fluke victories here of late to worry the local Party.

XXIX: an industrial area and one of the Socialists safest wards in the city. Historically the home to the traditional skilled working class produced by the engineering industries, this was one of the Socialists earliest strongholds. As a historical note, it also used to be home to most of the city's Jews.

XXX: an odd ward, containing a working class, strongly Irish and increasingly inner city area with various forms of suburbia. Generally decent turf for the Socialists, but capable of strong swings against the party.

XXXI: mixed suburbia with a middle class lean; capable of voting Socialist, but rarely does so.

XXXII: mixed suburbia with a working class lean; it should be a swing ward, but isn't. Socialist control here hasn't been under threat since the late '40's.

XXXIII: dominated by a giant 1930's estate, XXXIII is a Socialist stronghold, but turnout can swing wildly and the Socialist vote with it. The ward is safe, but might be vulnerable on a low poll.

XXXIV: see XXXI

XXXV: historically a middle class urban area and a Moderate stronghold, majorities have fallen in XXXV recently. The reasons for this are as yet unknown, though the increasing tendency for housing in the south of the ward to be subdivided and so on have been blamed by local Moderates.

XXXVI: suburban, middle class and Moderate voting. The trends seen in XXXV and I don't seem to have struck here, perhaps because the housing stock is newer.

All S wards: rich (very rich in some cases; SI especially) suburbia and far safer even than X. There has been discontent in both (soon to be former) boroughs about the expansion of Chamberlain. While this may cause the Moderate group some headaches, the party's grip on these wards is total.

BI to BIV: while basically part of Chamberlain, Fauldswick grew up as an entirely seperate industrial Ash Country town... and would have prefered it if things had stayed that way. The town has been a stronghold of the Socialists for decades and the only one of the new wards that doesn't seem to be very safe is BI; which includes some newer suburban developments. Concerns have been raised recently in Fauldswick about Commonwealth immigration. It is unknown whether this will have much of a political effect as numbers here are smaller than in Chamberlain proper.

BV to BVII: like Fauldswick an industrial town and strongly Socialist, Western Broom hasn't really physically merged with the Chamberlain sprawl. Local feeling against the political merger was strong, especially as the case for the town remaining its own borough seemed hard to argue against. Nonetheless, it is expected that any political effects from this will be felt from within the Municipal Socialist Group. BVII is the exception to this; it does actually include some genuine (and middle class, strangely for the borough) Chamberlain suburbs and is unlikely to be as strongly Socialist as BV or BVII.

*A prize to anyone who gets the reference!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 02:59:07 pm by Al Sibboleth »Logged

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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2008, 02:52:53 pm »

Ward names... this will be updated and so on...

I: South House
II: Summer Street
III: St Jude's
IV: All Souls
V: Rotting Wood
VI: Short Forest
VII: Bear Pit
VIII: Henchard
IX: Eston
X: Calthorpe
XI: Nettlefold
XII: Cadbury
XIIPINK: Knowles End
XIII: Austin
XIV: Convent Vale
XV: Arrow Hill Park
XVI: Sparkdell
XVII: Sarehole
XVIII: Mewsley
XIX: Hattersley
XX: Bexwick
XXI: Little Moor
XXII: Sparkwood
XXIII: Sparkfold
XXIV: Calwick
XXV: Acton's Green
XXVI: Lesser Hemming
XXVIBIG: Shawsley
XXVII: Hacker
XXVIII: Woolwood Moor
XXIX: Sanker
XXX: Stoney Hill
XXXI: Ardenton
XXXII: Pound Green
XXXIII: Cromwell
XXXIV: Perry Stump
XXXV: Handsford
XXXVI: Peatwell
SI: Slutton Three Oaks
SII: Slutton Hazey
SIII: Slutton Old Hut
SIV: Muddihull East
SV: Muddihull South
BI: Priory
BII: Langsalop
BIII: Fauldswick Central
BIV: Fauldswick North
BV: Western Broom South
BVI: Loathley Moor
BVII: Western Broom North & Big Barr
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 10:47:08 am by Alderman »Logged

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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2008, 02:59:27 pm »

The Parties and the Press

Descriptions of the main political parties:

Municipal Socialists

An industrial city such as Chamberlain might be expected to prove strong territory for a Socialist party, but while the early growth of the Municipal Socialists in Chamberlain was solid (if not spectacular) the party struggled for decades to break out of its strongholds in the oldest working class districts in the city. Only after the Birmingham Machine collapsed in ignominy during the Second World War did the Socialists first become the largest party on the city council (in fact the swing in 1945 in Chamberlain, at both parliamentary and municipal level, was one of the most violent in the country) and Socialist control didn't last for long; in power the party pursued a housing policy (based on quality, not speed) that proved to be extremely unpopular and it was swept out in a landslide in the late '40's. Since then control of the council has swung between the Socialists and the Moderates and the party won a narrow majority in last years elections.
The Municipal Socialist group in Chamberlain is commonly thought of as being one of the most right-wing in the country and the leadership, which has strong links to local right-wing unions, has grown increasingly intolerant of left-wingers in recent years. Purges, deselections and allegations of systematic bullying are not uncommon, adding to the party's reputation as a bulwark of machine politics. Ironically, many of the group's leading figures were left-wing firebrands in the '20's and '30's.
Matters are more relaxed in Western Broom and Fauldswick; while the right dominated the Socialist groups on both councils, the left has never been persecuted in quite the way that it has in Chamberlain and a sizeable minority of councillors in both boroughs are known left-wingers. The Socialists in both boroughs are different from their Chamberlain comrades in other ways, not least in that they have controlled both since the end of the War and usually ran Fauldswick (though often without an absolute majority) in the Inter-War period.

Municipal Moderates

The Moderates in general, and the Birmingham family in particular, dominated Chamberlain politics until 1945. It was a highly effective and utterly dominant political machine, always with a large (and often huge) majority on the council, always with a majority of M.P's, always with the craven support of the press and local employers, always with a surprisingly large minority of the working class vote (though the Irish have always been, for historical reasons, hostile to the Moderates), always touting its increasingly threadbare reformist record. It's zenith (and foundation) came during the reign (that word is quite accurate) of Joseph Birmingham during the late 19th century, and during the 20th century it provided the national Moderate party with two leaders, one of which, Neville Birmingham, was Prime Minister when war broke out in 1939. Birmingham's fall from grace (and then death) was a key factor in the astonishing collapse of the machine in 1945 and, despite picking itself off the floor quite quickly and regained control of the council in the late '40's, the party has never been able to return to its former glory.
The Moderates links to local business and private property developers are often regarded with suspicion by their political opponents, although no allegations of corruption have ever been proven.
Things have always been quite different in the suburban boroughs of Slutton Chillfold and Muddihull. Here, the Moderates never fell from power and have never had (nor ever felt the need for) reformist urges. The dominant ideology is of a placid, some might say complacent, suburban, bourgeois conservatism. Local opinion in both boroughs was totally against the merger with Chamberlain and while threats to run as independents have subsided, many suburban Moderate councillors remain bitter towards their Chamberlain colleugues.

Municipal Reform

Joseph Birmingham was once a member of the Reform Party. Then he left as a result of the titanic disputes over policy towards Ireland. It would be a cruel understatement to state that the party has never recovered from that hammer blow, although it managed to retain a sizeable group on the city council during the first decades of the 20th century. But even those days are gone, and what councillors the party has left (not many) are totally dependent on the support of the Moderates. Despite its liberal heritage, the party is sometimes regarded as being to the right of the Chamberlain moderates. It is now mostly supported by elements in the lower middle classes and it is in this class that all its remaining hopes seem to lie.

Obviously the city must have newspapers, so here they are;

The Chamberlain Evening Mail - a downmarket, trashy rag, yet also the local paper that most people in the city read. Tends to swing around in the breeze politically, but a definate right-populist flavour on certain issues.

The Chamberlain Post - the city's serious newspaper. Right-wing, linked to certain local industrialists. Far less people read it than the Meaning Evil.

If a negative story appears about a player in the Post, it's probably not that serious (unless the story is inherently serious or if the player is ambitious and in the Moderate group). If a negative story appears on the front page of the Meaning Evil, it's frequently (though not always) curtains for that career.

There is no rule against players taking positions in either paper. If that's what they want to do.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 03:02:51 pm by Al Sibboleth »Logged

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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2008, 03:03:57 pm »

Basically... the public forms of all active major characters (both NPC's and ones controlled by players) will be found here. I might also set up an archive (at some point) for former characters.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 03:12:34 pm by Al Sibboleth »Logged

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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2008, 03:04:29 pm »

If you want to play the game, you need a character. This is the thread in which you create your character; fill out the "form", post the top half here, pm the bottom half to me. That's all it takes.

The first thing to do is probably to repeat the rules on characters here:

Comments welcome here also...

-----------------------------------------------------

2. Characters

This is really very, very simple. There are two (and half) forms of character; player characters and NPC's. The former are played by, well, the players, the latter by the GM. Anyway...

a) Player Characters

There are two ways to create player characters; the first is to submit a character creation form, the second is to take over an NPC. There are advantages and disadvantages to both; taking over an NPC may give you more power (at first) than creating a character of your own, but the character (and its flaws) will have been created by the GM. Yes, the Deputy Leader of the Generic Party Group and Chairman of the Housing Committee may look extremely powerful, but it could easily be the case that he's on the fiddle, a drunk or both.

i) Character Creation Form. Easiest way to do this is just to post a draft one. Basically you fill in stuff. The first section is public...

Name:
Age:
Party:
Address:
Place of Birth:
Occupation:
Brief Biography:
Other:

Quick notes; your character may not be younger than 21, you may stick religious affiliation (if any) under other but you don't have to, you don't have to invent a full address, just stick in a ward name (as the game progresses this will change slightly) if you like... and under brief biography I do not want to see anything like this; "...John grew up on a farm (the son of a farmer) and had to scrape to find the funds to send himself to university. At university...". This is not an American fantasy, this is Birmingham (sort of) in the 1950's.

Note that you do not have to run for election in the ward that you actually live in, but you must have some other excuse (such as property (inc. renting), a business, work, etc). You don't even have to live within the city.

The second section is not submitted publically, but is instead handed to the GM...

Conflicts of Interest:
Past Scandals:
Sexuality:
Addictions:
Medical Conditions:
Bigotries:
Corrupt Activity:
Other Criminal Activity:
Other:

You can leave that section blank if you want (though don't announce that publically!) and play the game clean. But that might not be so much fun. As for what to put; remember, we start the game in the 1950's.

You may also choose a picture to represent your character (a load will be up online shortly). You don't have to, though.

ii) Taking over an NPC

Very easy; if you find yourself characterless (you may not play more than one role at the same time) you can just ask the GM to show you the Form for an NPC of your choice. If you like what you see, you can then take over the character. This will be announced officially, somewhere.

iii) Defeat, Retirement and Death

Your characters do not last forever. You may retire or kill them off whenever you like, however you like. You may also chose to drop a character felled by the Electoral Reaper and start afresh. Don't be afraid of doing this if you think that your existing character is stuck in a rut. Be warned; once characters reach a certain age, the GM may start playing nasty tricks with their health and so on. A dead character is dead. Retired and defeated characters may only be brought back at a later date if they're under the age of 65. Ex-player characters may become NPC's, but only with the consent of the former player.

b) NPC's

Much of the above applies equally to NPC's. What's different is that, in their case, everything comes from the imagination of the GM and less is made public. With a few exceptions, NPC's will generally be rather crude caricatures. Don't assume that they all are though.

C) the GM's Character

The GM may chose to create a character as well... this character will work like an NPC but may not be take over by another player. While the GM's character may not use secret information to his own advantage, for other reasons it may be best not to trust the GM's character much.

D) The Black Book

Finally, a word on the Black Book. Every group gets one of these; it's run by the group's Whip and may be viewed by no one but the Whip (not even the Leader). It contains details of various dubious activities that members of his group have been getting up to and is the source of most of the Whip's power. The Whip gains this information by keeping his ears open to what players in his group say and so and (most of all) by asking the GM for information. How much the GM tells them is up to the GM. When a Whip is replaced, the old Whip must give the Black Book to the new Whip (whether they chose to edit it or not is up to them. Wiping it would be a big mistake). Former Whips should note that blackmail is illegal...
« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 10:44:02 am by The Singing Detective »Logged

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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2008, 03:10:32 pm »

A sample character creation form... obviously your bio sections will be longer, more descriptive and can include political views if thee likes...

Section One

Name: Stanley James Taylor
Age: 56
Party: Municipal Socialist
Address: Henchard, Chamberlain
Place of Birth: St Jude's, Chamberlain
Occupation: Industrial Mechanic
Brief Biography: UEU Shop Steward, Member of Chamberlain City Council 1945-Present (Henchard Ward)
Other: Anglican (weak), a member of the United Engineering Union

Section Two

Conflicts of Interest: none
Past Scandals: A member of the Communist Party in the early 1920's. Is, amusingly enough, now fiercely anticommunist and firmly on the Right of the MSP.
Sexuality: straight
Addictions: alcohol
Medical Conditions: alcoholic
Bigotries: doesn't like all these brown people moving into his ward, doesn't like Catholics, doesn't like homosexuals, is paranoid about freemasons.
Corrupt Activity: none directly, but has cheerfully covered up for the corrupt activity of others.
Other Criminal Activity: beats his wife when drunk. Is also responsible for repeated punishment beatings inflicted on his enemies in the local UEU
Other: nothing to add


Please, please, please, please, please don't post Section 2 publically! PM it to me instead.
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2008, 03:10:59 pm »

This, btw, is probably also the best place to ask (or yell, it's up to you) for help.
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« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2008, 03:18:36 pm »

Player Controlled:

Name: David Abercrombie
Age: 32
Party: Moderate
Address: Arrow Hill Park, Chamberlain
Place of Birth: Arrow Hill Park, Chamberlain
Occupation: Civil Servant
Brief Biography: Son of Martin Abercrombie MP. Attended Campion School for Boys, Cambridge University, Sparkwood and Bates Architectural Firm, then Civil Service. Elected to Arrow Hill Ward.
Other: Catholic, Chairman of the Arrow Hill Rugby Supporters Association


Section One

Name: David Harriman
Age: 62
Party: Municipal Liberal
Address: Convent Vale, Chamberlain
Place of Birth: London
Occupation: Economist
Brief Biography: Headed various financial and service societies pre-war. Councillor for Convent Vale (1935-present)
Other: Anglican.


Section One

Name: Henry Alexander Fox
Age: 31
Party: Municipal Moderates
Address: Calthorpe
Place of Birth: Calthorpe, Chamberlain
Occupation: Industrialist
Brief Biography: Third son of the wealthy Fox family, Henry wasn't being prepared to lead.  Then his brothers rather rudely died in the War.  Shortly thereafter, Henry inherited his father's extended industrial holdings (mostly in canning, where his ancestors got their start during the Crimean War).  Though at first a bit unsure of himself, he seems to have found himself a more stable footing among the elite.  He recently launched a political career, getting himself elected to the Chamberlain City Council, representing the XXXI district
((would this be a horrid place for his main factory to be?)).
Other: Methodist

Name: John Peter Martin
Age: 57
Party: Municipal Socialist
Address: XXIV (Calwick(Is it a British name?)), Chamberlain
Place of Birth: London
Occupation: Mechanic for industries
Brief Biography: Son of a shopworker, became a mechanic. Member of Chamberlain City Council 1950-Present (Calwick Ward)
Other: Catholic, active in trades unions


Section 1

Name: Stephen Hunter
Age: 26 (Born 1931)
Party: Municipal Socialists
Address: Eston
Place of Birth: Poplar, London E14
Occupation: Barman
Brief Biography:

Born in the East End of London, although not quite in the sound of the Bow Bells, Stephen Hunter spent the first decade and a half of his life going to school and helping his father, Daniel, run a market barrow.

When the war came, he was evacuated to Cumbria, while his father served in the Royal Navy, but was lost to a U-Boat in the North Atlantic in 1941.

Following the war, he was taken on as an assistant at a local public house in Poplar, before moving with the owner to Chamberlain.

He was called up for National Service in 1948 and served 18 months as a technician at the submarine base in Portsmouth.

He is now one of the barmen at the King's Head pub and looks forward to inheriting the business. He regularly talks politics with his clientele and wants to serve on the local council because he sees some of the dilapidation.

He is married to Sarah, who is a housewife.

Other: Practising Methodist


Name: Alexander Hughes
Age: 23
Party: Moderate
Address: 10 Crown Street, Calthorpe, Chamberlain
Place of Birth: See Address
Occupation: Director and Owner of Hughes Publishing, PLC.
Brief Biography: The eldest son of a wealthy Recusant merchant family, Alexander Hughes is a graduate of the University of Chamberlain, and while there was very active in the Young Moderates, and had a reputation for putting together soiree after soiree, successfully mixing dancing with political discussions and lectures. He belongs to the Chamber of Commerce, and of course is owner of his own company
Other: Religion: Roman Catholic


Name:  Robert Reginald Lillie (goes by "Reggie")
Age: 41
Party: Municipal Socialists
Address: Ward XX, Sparkwood, Chamberlain
Place of Birth: Sparkwood, Chamberlain
Occupation: Shopkeeper/former Prizefighter
Other: Presbyterian; Member of some shopworker's union, probably...; Member of Chamberlain City Council 1954-present.

Brief Biography: Reggie's family immigrated from rural northern England to Chamberlain sometime in the mid-19th century to work as cogs in the industrial developments.  This continued for a while until the early 1910s, when Reggie's grandfather decided to start up his own shop (in the Sparkwood area) - a kind of general store for food and other necessities.  It was a family enterprise, and although it didn't do too well in the beginning, it did pretty well later on.

Reggie never did very well in school - he was too busy fighting with the other kids to learn much.  However, through his teenage years, he started to get involved in the local boxing clubs and established quite a name for himself as a amateur fighter (middleweight).  I won't bore you with the details, but he was so successful, he got a title fight chance in 1938 against legendary American boxer "Haymaker" Hank Wilson.  Hank knocked Reggie out in the 11th round of the fight, though rumors still exist to this day that the fight was fixed, as all score cards showed Reggie leading Hank when he got knocked out.

Anyway, as the WWII began, Reggie decided to enlist and became a fighter pilot.  He was shot down three times and spent the whole of 1943 as a POW in Germany, but registered 59 kills to his name and received five medals.  After the war, he decided not to go back to boxing (he was getting too old) or to go into civil service, but to run his family's store.  It was 1946 and his father was not well (he would die three years later).  At that same time, he met Miss Laura Bartley (she was seven years his junior), a teacher at the local school and they got married.

His recent entry into politics has been pushed by certain Socialist leaders, who view him as a popular and well-known face (through his boxing exploits) in the area.  In addition, he has expressed concern over certain *changes* to his local ward in the past few years.  (feel free to elaborate there if you wish)


And the GM's Character...

Name: Iorwerth Alun Roberts
Age: 73
Party: Municipal Socialist
Address: Sanker
Place of Birth: Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan
Occupation: Miner (retired), Machinist (retired), Trade Union Official (retired)
Brief Biography: Moved to Chamberlain in 1923, active in Chamberlain ISP at this time. Left the ISP in 1932, elected as a Municipal Socialist to Chamberlain City Council for the Sanker ward in 1929. UEU Regional Organiser 1933-1949, President of the Chamberlain Trades Council 1938-1949, Member of the UEU National Executive 1934-1949, Socialist Whip 1936-1949, Chairman of the General Purposes Committee 1951-1954, Lord Mayor of Chamberlain 1955-1956.
Other: Baptist, JP, Member of the UEU, Member of the boards of various cultural amenities and societies in the City
« Last Edit: February 08, 2009, 08:57:15 am by Alderman »Logged

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« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2008, 03:19:24 pm »

NPC's of note:

Name: Sir Ronald Wainwright
Age: 63
Party: None
Address: Bear Pit
Place of Birth: Leeds
Occupation: Town Clerk of Chamberlain
Brief Biography: Became the Town Clerk of Chamberlain City Council eight years ago and will continue post-redrawing.


Name: Horace Merdacallosa
Age: 58
Party: None
Address: Calthorpe
Place of Birth: Birkenhead
Occupation: City Engineer and Surveyor of Chamberlain
Brief Biography: moved to Chamberlain in 1923 and worked as an engineering assistant to the Sewers and Rivers Department, Chief Engineer of the Sewers and Rivers Department 1927-1935, City Engineer and Surveyor of Chamberlain 1935-present


Name: David Peters
Age: 52
Party: Municipal Socialist
Address: Austin
Place of Birth: Short Forest, Chamberlain
Occupation: President of the Chamberlain Trades Council
Brief Biography: worked on the assembly line at the Newbridge Car Works for almost thirty years, heavily involved in the G&T union, was a Socialist councillor (Austin ward) 1945-1948 and 1951-1953. Elected President of the Chamberlain Trades Council in 1956


Name: Sir Julius Benedict
Age: 78
Party: Municipal Moderate
Address: Muddihull South
Place of Birth: Calthorpe
Occupation: Owner of the Chamberlain Newspaper Group
Brief Biography: local newspaper baron, briefly an M.P (Chamberlain Sarehole) but retired after a single term.


Name: Stanley James Taylor
Age: 56
Party: Municipal Socialist
Address: Henchard, Chamberlain
Place of Birth: St Jude's, Chamberlain
Occupation: Industrial Mechanic
Brief Biography: UEU Shop Steward, Member of Chamberlain City Council 1945-Present (Henchard Ward)
Other: Anglican (weak), a member of the United Engineering Union


Name: Bernard Martin Atkinson
Age: 59
Party: Municipal Moderate
Address: Nettlefold
Place of Birth: Chamberlain
Occupation: Industrialist
Brief Biography: Member of Chamberlain City Council 1954-present, Unsuccesful candidate 1955 General Election (Chamberlain Short Forest), Owner of the Atkinson Tyre Co.

Name: Albert William Lewis
Age: 69
Party: Municipal Socialist
Address: Fauldswick Central
Place of Birth: Fauldswick
Occupation: Sheet metal worker (retired), Trade Union Official (retired)
Brief Biography: G&TWU Regional Officier 1937-1955, Member of Fauldswick Borough Council 1932-present, Socialist Whip 1946-1952, Chairman of the Planning Committee 1952-1955, Leader of the Council 1955-present
Other: Methodist, Member of the General & Transport Workers Union


Name: Sir Nigel Horace Godwin
Age: 64
Party: Municipal Moderate
Address: Slutton Three Oaks
Place of Birth: Handsford, Chamberlain
Occupation: Soliciter
Brief Biography: Member Slutton Chillfold Borough Council 1938-present, Chairman of the Public Works Committee 1943-1950, Leader of the Council 1950-present
Other: Anglican (strong), Mason, knighted in 1956


Name: John Bertrand Reeve
Age: 42
Party: Municipal Socialist
Address: Rotting Wood
Place of Birth: Cadbury, Chamberlain
Occupation: Mechanic
Brief Biography: Member of Chamberlain City Council 1954-present, unsuccesful candidate 1951 General Election (Slutton Chillfold), 1955 General Election (Chamberlain Handsford), unsuccesful candidate for Leader of the Socialist Group (1956)
Other: Member of the G&T


Name: Ernest "Ernie" Frederick Bailey
Age: 58
Party: Municipal Socialist
Address: Hacker
Place of Birth: St Jude, Chamberlain
Occupation: Toolmaker
Brief Biography: Member of Chamberlain City Council 1945-present, Chairman of the Housing Committee-1945-1947, Deputy Leader of the Socialist Group 1948-1954, Socialist Whip 1949-1954, Leader of the Socialist Group 1954-Present, Leader of Chamberlain City Council 1956-Present
Other: Anglican, Member of the G&T


Name: Edwin Raymond Knight
Age: 60
Party: Municipal Moderate
Address: Calthorpe
Place of Birth: Calthorpe, Chamberlain
Occupation: Soliciter
Brief Biography: Member of Chamberlain City Council 1937-Present (Sarehole 1937-1946, Bear Pit 1946-1951, South House 1951-Present), Deputy Leader of the Moderate Group 1947-1954, Chairman of the Housing Committee 1947-1951, Leader of the Moderate Group 1954-Present, Leader of Chamberlain City Council 1954-1956
Other:


Name: Thomas "Tom" Allan O'Neill
Age: 28
Party: Municipal Socialist
Address: Henchard, Chamberlain
Place of Birth: Acton's Green
Occupation: Journalist
Brief Biography: Member of Chamberlain City Council 1956-Present
Other: Roman Catholic, Member of the National Union of Reporters
« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 05:10:26 pm by Alderman »Logged

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« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2008, 03:21:03 pm »
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I will, one day, have to have a closer look at this thing. Finally.
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« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2008, 07:23:26 pm »
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I will, one day, have to have a closer look at this thing. Finally.

Isn't it really nice and easy to look at now that it's in a separate forum? Smiley

Thanks Al!
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« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2008, 10:35:33 pm »
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Why the character I submitted isn't there?
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« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2008, 08:55:59 am »

Why the character I submitted isn't there?

Oversight; many, many, many apologies, I'll go find it now...
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« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2008, 08:31:36 pm »

Going to send a few PM's round (to all those registered already, to all those who registered for City Hall and so on) and then probably start things off on Sunday. Or Monday. One of them.
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« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2008, 08:38:21 pm »
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Hooray! About time.

Incidentally, this is the second post on this board by a non-orange avatar.
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« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2008, 08:59:28 pm »
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Third post Grin

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« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2008, 09:48:46 am »

Going to send a few PM's round (to all those registered already, to all those who registered for City Hall and so on) and then probably start things off on Sunday. Or Monday. One of them.

Obviously I meant next Sunday or Monday. Ahem. But work and an election in Canada... you see...
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« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2008, 12:02:24 pm »
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You are forgiven. Smiley
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