Quentin of Wyvern: “Our approach to the rules is too pragmatic”
It doesn’t happen every day that 6 days before the GUM Elections for Chairman, a candidate steps down. But this was the case with Joseph Kennedy, who retired his candidacy only hours ago. His decision to leave the race was however followed by the arrival of someone else, already known in the GUM for being its current Supreme Judge. We have decided to take a coffee with him and understand why he decided to run for Chairman.
Quentin I of Wyvern, head of the Kingdom since 2009. A Dutch vegetarian, you are seen in the micronational community as one of the leaders of the conservative current, together with your government. If you could describe your micronational career, both inside and outside the Kingdom, in a couple of sentences, which ones would you use?
I’m not often one to tie myself to one agenda in particular, not even that of my own government, even though I’m often forced to make my government’s positions clear when they’re being discussed. I try to keep a good distance from emotion and morality in debate. Stability and logic are the two things I think are best about the way I work – as you say, I have been the King of Wyvern since 2009, and I plan to hold that title for life. As for my logic, I try to be relentless and analytical, even if that offends people who think in terms of morals.
Indeed, some of your political positions are seen as controversial.
It’s in my nature to care more about being right than I do about being popular. I do not wish to nuance those things that I think are true. I’ll always say what I think and do what I say.
And now you are running for GUM Chairman, which is a position that could need both rightfulness and popularity. What do you think?
It’s a position that could use a bit of me. If there’s no criticism of a Chairman, or at least some debate, then that Chairman hasn’t been enough of a leader. Right now, I believe there need to be some changes to the organisation, and I think I’d be in a better position to explain them as a Chairman.
Ciprian Jucaresti also pointed out in his campaign that “change” is needed. Therefore, what is your definition of “change” in this case, with the GUM?
As you know, I have been Supreme Judge this term. It was interesting to see that, after several terms, that position finally became more important to the organisation. I have been writing a report about the constitutional definition of the term ‘convention’, followed by a list of rules that could be considered ‘conventions’. I believe what this organisation needs to do is take a closer look at the Constitution, which is actually a beautiful document, and return to the legal roots that we can find in it. What I aim to change most is the current culture within the organisation, which features very little documentation, information that is difficult to obtain, and an approach to the rules that is much too pragmatic.
So in your opinion the main problem of the GUM is that not many people follow its basic law.
It’s not the main problem; the main problem is that so many people seem to forget what the organisation is about. And with only a little knowledge of and respect for the Constitution, they’d understand. It’s a document that, theoretically, could be the basis for a great and healthy organisation, but it’s not respected as much as it should be and the people in charge – including myself as Supreme Judge, perhaps – have not done enough to change that. We need to get back to the organisation’s original goals, because right now the organisation is only really useful as a networking location.
A bit like a chatroom, or a club, like the Micropolitan.
Yes, precisely. And in order to break out of that spiral, the first step should be to acknowledge that there are more important things, more constructive things, that this organisation was originally set up to do.
Have you tried doing so while you were Supreme Judge, under Jacob Tierney?
As Supreme Judge, I felt that I had little space to maneuver. You see, I come from a culture where a judge isn’t supposed to be a political figure. I wasn’t too concerned with politics in the organisation, or at least I didn’t feel like there was anything I could do at that time. In a few days, I’ll be releasing a report on the state of the organisation’s rules, as I promised. I couldn’t do that before, because some of the recommendations are very political – though still, I feel, constitutionally more valid than the organisation’s current course.
So, more concentrated on the legal side. And you plan to keep this same vision of politics if you’re elected Chairman?
I’m not very interested in the politics in the organisation. Unlike some people who were Chairman in the past – unfortunately, that includes Bradley of Dullahan – I do not intend to spend my time plotting and trying to rule with an iron fist. Again, the Constitution has a very good point: “…it is necessary for micronations across the spectrum to work together to promote mutual development and intermicronational peace.”
So that sectionin particular, after you, has been ignored in the last months.
Especially the part about mutual development is one that has been overshadowed by dirty politics and quarreling for a long time. If it was up to me, we’d go ‘back in time’ a few years, back to when micronations tried to impress each other through cultural and military feats and diplomacy wasn’t a synonym for intrigue.
Many of your political opponents could think otherwise.
I feel that they, along with even some of my closest allies in the community, are stuck in that mindset. They’re always, perhaps out of boredom and perhaps out of spite, looking to plot against each other. I’m not plotting against anyone, because frankly I think that’s a complete waste of time. What I want to do is to get a discussion going on what we want this organisation to be. And personally, I don’t want this organisation to be a partisan thing. It should be about the development of people’s micronations and about encouraging a constructive diplomatic atmosphere for that, regardless of what you think of their culture or politics. Credit where credit is due – as much as I disagree with, say, Will Sörgel, I do respect his enormous efforts to build a culture and a viable political and economic system for his micronation.
Last question: what is your opinion of your opponent? You seem to share several points with him, after all.
He has a lot of drive, for better or for worse. He has worked his way up in the community in a way that few micronationalists have since, and he’s more intelligent and creative than I usually give him credit for in public, so that needs to be said. My main concern, however, is that he could be stuck in the line of thinking that has controlled this organisation for months now – the scheming, the intrigue and the hostility.
Thank you for your time.
Ah, no problem!