The Eastern City
Chancellor Nathan Key sat at his desk, staring at the old pocket watch his father gave him. It was a symbol of status. A status his family had held for generations. Lost to time, he thought, how the world turned slowly round and round yet this watch remained. A watch that stood the test of time, watched as the great kingdoms of the Mountains fall to the same enemy. Time. Time was a valuable thing, so fragile,and rare it was, it never lasted more for a second and yet lasted for eternity. The watch showed its time, older than the Grand Cathedral of Heutenburg, ordered to be constructed by the Pope himself at the time in the 18th century. The hands were not moving, time had stopped for Nathan, as much as it had for his family when the walls of the castle fell and the monarchy was declared in the words of the leading revolutionary, "A fucking disgrace".
"Damn thing, never works anymore," he muttered to himself as he fidgeted with the watch to make it work.
His assistant, Daniel, looked up from the paperwork he was reading off to the Chancellor about the upcoming Weissian-British summit to be held in Heutenburg. "Chancellor, is there something that is bothering you?" he asked.
"It's simply this blasted watch. Never works anymore. Can't throw it out though, family heirloom from the good old days."
"Still a monarchist Chancellor?"
"Yes, but not to the public. A public servant I am, a public democratic servant I am. Not a King, not a duke, not a count, not even a knight. Just a public servant," the Chancellor responded while throwing the watch onto the table in defeat, "My family deserves that throne. Five hundred years of my house leading this nation, then some blasted idiot decides he shouldn't pay taxes and it comes crashing down. The bloke tries to be a President, only to throw the country into a fucking depression. Still now, the man's a hero. Saint Nathaniel. I'm named after him you know, my mother had a sense of irony believe it or not."
"I'm sure she did Chancellor, however, if I can speak freely sir."
"You know you always may Daniel" responded the Chancellor who stood to watch the rising sun. It was morning in the Isles, a bit foggy cold but no major snow yet. It was simply how it always was.
"There is a portion of your own party, and of the general public which would love to see the monarchy restored. President Reihner is a dangerous woman, whether she publicly commits actions or not everyone can see that. In January's election, if you add the Restoration of the monarchy to the platform, we could win. The Habsburg family could be restored, the Kingdom of the Isles could be restored. But why wait I say, announce a referendum, push forward a semi-absolute monarchy"
"You want to know why," The chancellor cut Daniel short and turned to him, "Its because the Social Democrats would be up in arms! Reihner would push to have me impeached, and I might not even be able to get my own party behind it. Our majority is small as is, imagine a chancellor trying to put himself back into power permanently as a king. I would have defections left and right, back bench and front bench."
"That is why...you use bribe your way out. Pay Hartnell off, promise him a cozy position as count of some place. All expenses paid. He is one for the easy way out, and the veteran of you cabinet, get him on baord and the rest of the cabinet and your party will fall in place. Leave it to me Chancellor and I'll make it happen"
"Fine, for now, keep it quiet. If word gets out I'll resign in less than two minutes. Keep any information with people you trust. If we are going to do this, we are going to do it my way. Is that clear?"
"Yes Chancellor, perfectly clear." smirked Daniel, he had a devlish grin on his face. The Chancellor was a smart man never to trust Daniel whenever he had such a grin. Daniel's blackberry buzzed, pulling it out and surveying it he told the chancellor that the British were coming.
"The general knows the proper protocol for arrivals with honors, have them be sent to my office. We will do private talks before we smile for the cameras. I always prefer to get my work done before I play."
"Already done Chancellor"
"Prime Minister," said an aide, waking up the Prime Minister, who was dealing with a slight cold, on his chartered British Airways flight to Heutenburg. Mr. Robertson woke up, still in the midst of a slight cold sweat. He saw the misty, cold landscape of the Weiss Isles grow larger into view as the plane descended to the airport.
"I take it we have arrived," the Prime Minister grumbled. He hadn't slept well in the past week, mostly due to figuring out what on earth went on in his Cabinet during the Kalmar - Davishire conflict. Surely heads would have to roll, and this was a disaster for the new Government, which had the mandate of the people to not commit foreign policy faux pas that the previous Labour Government accomplished. Goodness, the United Kingdom's political classes needed to calm down immensely. He took the opportunity for a summit with the Chancellor of the Weiss Isles as an ability to move forward and advance the Conservative Government's foreign policy agenda.
"What a gloomy landscape..." said the Prime Minister while looking at the weather once the plane taxied into the gate.
"Says a man who is Prime Minister of the United Kingdom...of course it's a little dreary here. It's already into winter here," the aide said to Mr. Robertson. They walked out of the plane and airport, and into the cold air. It was sharp and a big wake-up to the Prime Minister, and he was handed a cup of tea in a portable mug while he sat in the car, cheeks slightly red.
"Okay, tell me all of what we know about the Weiss Isles."
"Well, Prime Minister, it is a semi-presidential federal republic. The head of state is President Reihner. She is independent but her politics seems to be extremely right, more along the line of Paul Cracitus in terms of social policy..." the aide began. The Prime Minister sighed.
"I guess the Guardian or Daily Mirror will be on our bloody case tomorrow for visiting a nation led by someone who is right-wing," the Prime Minister scowled. He looked out and saw the delightful architecture and Christmas lights and was not as amused as probably he would have been a week earlier.
"Their Chancellor is named Nathan Key, leader of the Black Widow Movement..." the aide continued.
"Black Widow!? This is all great....I hope something of value comes out of this. Go on,"
"The Black Widow Movement is on the European centre-right that has since shown signs of lurching further to the right. This party has been in power for nearly 60 years, all after overthrowing the monarchy there. Chancellor Key is a bit power-hungry, and I take it a little bit of a head to head with the President. Compared to our own Conservative Party, they're to the right of it."
The Prime Minister started to feel a little less under the weather when he was brought to Chancellor Key.
"Hello Chancellor, thank you for the invitation to come to the Weiss Isles," said the Prime Minister. "I apologise for not bringing some Cabinet ministers with me. It's just me and some aides today."
"It's perfectly fine Prime Minister, to be frank I dislike having to need a cabinet. Cabinet members here in the Isles tend to act....independently. Now please have a seat," the Chancellor responded to the Prime Minister while shaking his hand. They were in the Chancellor's Study as dubbed by the our guides who worked in the Old Palace, it was an elegant study, filled with books from over 1,500 years in the past. Crafted out of wood gathered in the Weissian forests, it took decades to be completely furnished due to the strict requirements.
"Now Prime Minister, I welcome you to the Weissian Isles, unfortunately you came at the time of the year where it is simply bleak with no snow. Alas however, we have many plans for the upcoming year here in Weiss. One of them already being announced. The transition from the Euro over to the Weissian Mark. My Federal Treasurer, Hartnell already contacted your ministry which responded with a temporary agreement to pegging the Mark to the pound, I wish to have this solidified before we go into other subjects. Your thoughts Prime Minister.'
"Far be it from me to tell someone how to run their fiscal policy. I have confidence in the British pound, so if you share that same confidence, by all means peg it to as much as you'd like," said the Prime Minister.
"May I say that your decor here is absolutely beautiful. It's a big change from Westminster."
"Yes, this was originally the King's study back when the monarchy was still in place about 175 years or so ago. The king, my great great grandfather was hung from outside the window right here. It only survived the main sacking of the palace due to it being seen as a national treasure. Really George Wallace, the leader of the rebellion, just wanted the office for himself. Typically, a Chancellor is suppose to use the Federal Office built for him at the Presidential Palace.
However, I had..family value for the office so I commissioned it for the duration of my term as Chancellor. It took 57 years to finish construction, it only deserves to be used by a Habsburg. Now economic matters, the United Kingdom is one of the largest trading partners with the Isles. I hope to ease tariffs on resource and industry sectors for Weissian exports. Are you any interest for any agreement that would contain such provisions?"
"I think on particular industries and products we could find a way to reduce tariffs. We believe in free trade and reduced tariff trade. I think free trade could be accomplished on any agricultural products between our nations. Your products would still be subject to VAT in the United Kingdom, but we could reduce the tariffs applied to your goods to 0% on standard and essential goods, while leaving luxury items at 5% tariff and 10% on technology and services, lowered from 10%. I think British and Weissian trade could be something of great value to both of our nations, with quality and competition driving consumer choices.
The City of London is one of the largest financial hubs in the European Union and the London Stock Exchange is the highest volume securities, futures, bond, and exchange market in Northern Europe. We would like access to the Weissian market for the City's banks and financial services as they find it an exciting market to invest in and we believe that it would be good for the economy of Weiss to have British investment into businesses. I also want to see what we can do on joint investment into logistics and infrastructure projects that will work for the benefit of both of our nations.
Visa free travel will also be crucial to this economic development between our two nations."
"The Weissian Isles is a main producer of a variety of raw materials, exporting these materials is of particular importance to my administration. Afterall, 45% of Weissians work in such areas. I agree with your other points, and I'm sure we can open up the market more to British investment. The Weissian economy is still trying to manage its way out of a depression. So any help would be appreciated."
"I'm glad we could work out some of the details on that. Is there anything else you'd like to discuss along the lines of trade or investment?" the Prime Minister could feel his fever coming on again.