Bradstovian Government By Consensus
The system of governance in Bradstowe is perhaps unique in the EU, and possibly the world. It is based on the writings of noted political philosopher Leopold Kohr, and relies not upon an overall top-down system, but a wide-state approach comprising hundreds of individual communities that govern and enact local laws according to a direct-democratic local vote rather than through a distant top-down fiat that cannot hope to take specific local issues into proper account. These individual local councils then elect a representative to the regional Bradmoot, while the entire region then elects two persons to the national Bradmoot to bring attention to local laws and "refinements", as they are known. Why are they referred to in such a way? Well, it all boils down to a single document: a series pages and articles cooked up by candlelight in a backstreet dive bar thirty years ago by political dissidents living in constant fear of the fascist secret police, slowly refined into the guiding principles of an insurrection, a revolution, and a new republic. This is perhaps the most ambitious piece of political writing ever to make it to adoption by a national government. This is the General Consensus.
The General Consensus (hereafter GC) can be likened to the constitution of a more conventional government structure, except it was intended to be far more broad and, somewhat counterintuitively at first, far more vague than such a label generally implies. The reason for this was quite simple: the GC was just that, a consensus, a mutually-agreed basic framework for ethical governance that could be added to and amended to suit regional and local needs directly by regional and local governments. It is a progressive and left-leaning document, perhaps inevitably given its origins within the Bradstovian native anti-fascist movement, and it enshrines in national law an array of policies that leaves conservatives spitting feathers. Voluntary euthanasia, non-heteronormative civil partnership rights, universal basic income, equality and equitable treatment, free adoption, pacifism, animal rights, and an abnegation of the prison system (and the prison-industrial complex in particular) are cornerstones of the document, as is the banning of private industry in favour of community-owned and community-operated projects designed to run for local need, not profit. As staunch pacifists, the Bradstovian government does not force individual communities to join the Republic; however, any communities that do wish to join are obliged to follow the GC and use its various articles as the framework for their own self-governing legislation. In essence, this makes Bradstowe a kind of condensed Hellenic League and an anarchist thalassocracy, a collection of mutually-reinforcing city-states united by a common language and a common commitment, spread across an island and the peninsula to the northeast of it.
When a community joins the Republic and adopts the GC, it is then informed as to the Regional Consensus and its effects. These are more mutable, and can be amended by the community's local government officials via popular vote. A lot of communities often worry that, upon joining up, they will be obliged to turn everything they have over to the state; this is why the GC is so keen to define the difference between personal property and private property. This means that, while outwardly quite poor and without much in the way of global clout, the individual communities within Bradstowe are largely self-sufficient. Again, this might echo the nation's origins as a disparate network of connected resistance cells united by a common cause. The banjax, Bradstowe's unit of currency named after a national animal hunted to extinction several decades ago by the nation's fascist predecessor state, does not have a lot of international buying power for precisely this reason. As a very small nation with a low population and an unconventional economic structure, its ability to buy in bulk is limited anyway, but the way the GC is set up means that international trade, especially currency trading, is more than a little bureaucratic. Import/export is thus handled on a much smaller scale than is usual for nations, and it is not uncommon for individual communities to stock up on a variety of European currencies (including the Euro, obviously) to expedite the process a bit.
Bradstowe's approach to government is also hinged on something it refers to as the "wide state", also known as horizontal leadership. With the bulk of day-to-day governance carried out by communities at the local level, the National Moot is more akin to a political philosophy think tank than a government in the traditional sense. The party or coalition in overall control of the National Moot puts together a Cabinet and elects a Supreme Premier from amongst its number, and all of these nominations are then put to a nationwide ballot upon which people vote. If a two-thirds majority of the voting populace is not reached, then another candidate must be selected. Uniquely among nation states, a cabinet position and even the office of the Supreme Premier can remain unfilled for any length of time; the rest of the Cabinet simply gets on with organizing refinements to their respective sections of the General Consensus based on issues raised in the various Moots. If a Supreme Premier is not elected, then the order of succession is as detailed here until a candidate is accepted. Critics of the system have described it as cumbersome, and in some senses they are all too right, but given the purpose of the Cabinet such a system is both fair and just. So its proponents say, anyway.
A final note is that a community's particular brand of legislation, referred to as a Local Consensus, is obliged to be shown at all ports of entry, trade stations, and major gathering places. This being the 21st Century, it is common for traders within the Republic (as well as people just travelling around and enjoying the countryside) to have a government app downloaded that automatically pings them with a message from a local government office detailing the Local Consensus where they are, how it differs from the one where they just left, et cetera. Government officials will often travel on factfinding missions to communities near and far to speak to their counterparts on how they arrived at their Consensus, as well as engage in video conferences with one another on the same subject. Mutual aid in this manner is explicitly encouraged by the GC and its mutualist principles. Local governments and civil service entities are therefore more efficient than the casual observer might initially suppose, with each one benefiting from the experience of all.
The Bradstovian system is very strange and almost antithetical to most political schools of thought. However, for all its peculiarities, it is a well-intentioned system, and one that seeks to govern a nation in the fairest manner possible.