The Owl Post is politically neutral. Any analysis or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone. They do not represent the views of this publication or Hogwarts School.
I am told that many Muggles sit in trepidation on election days as they wait to hear who will fill the leadership positions of their impressive looking government departments dotted along Whitehall, London. If only they had any idea of how anxious we in the wizarding community feel at events taking place beneath its floors. Behind their towering and rather opulent underground offices, countless functionaries observe carefully as their new Premier is chosen by their fellows in the community outside. I refer, of course, to the Election of the Minister for Magic.
Even as I write, I hear yawns from the other side. Ministry politics is scarcely a thrilling read so why should we students, most of us voteless, pay it much attention? I don’t mind being a wee bit controversial to convince you to read on. Those of you familiar with the Muggle world might think of the Minister for Magic as being equivalent to the Office of Prime Minister, the Head of the Muggle government. I say ‘no’ – and I emphasise ‘No!’. Prime Ministers are chosen by elected parliaments (that’s an assembly of muggle law-makers for those unfamiliar) who may vote them out when they become an incompetent nuisance. Prime Ministers are constrained by laws that they can’t just change when they feel like it. They are criticised by fair and independent judges chosen by legal experts and subject to the clear, insightful, sassy, and often rather rude ridicule of the press and sometimes even their own supporters.
We have no such luck. The Minister for Magic, the only elected position in our entire government, serves as our executive, chief legislator, public guardian, frequently as a judge, and our hopeful symbol of national stability and peace. I tremble to think of the power and influence this (often quite talentless and unremarkable) individual wields. I tremble even more to think of the sort of person who could possibly be attracted to it. Nevertheless, we elect them and we elect nothing else. This means that they are the only control we just might exercise over the Ministry – in truth, an enormous, complex, mysterious, and unaccountable bureaucratic troll.
This could be where any chance of my employment with the Ministry ends forever. Maybe that’s simply the consequence of speaking the truth (of course, we all think it) but just maybe I can do something to instill a desire for Ministry Reform in our generation. Anyway, let us leave that for that future and I will try to recover myself with at least some praise. Our incumbent Minister Picklebottom will be a hard act to follow, being in my view a tactful leader as well as a kind and fair-minded gentleman. It’s a shame that his leadership was brought to an end by placing too much trust in the outwardly capable Judy Dorchester, whose downfall has been achieved through the swift justice of the Wizengamot.
Thankfully, we also have an intriguing line-up of candidates ready to take the helm after Picklebottom’s departure. Certainly no fewer than nine candidates have already put their names forward. Some will depart from the race and others will join. I hope to discuss all of them in due course. However, let’s focus our interests on ‘The Big Three’.
Image courtesy of the gracious Philomena Pest, Daily Prophet.
Bademus Baront (left)
Baront is an Irish gentleman with enviable political experience but his fair share of past drama. He served as advisor to Apelbaum Finnish Picklebottom during the last administration. Ordinarily, this would be a position favourable to moving into the Ministership itself but last year’s problems show that not all is rosey up there at the top. We should be asking the question whether it was merely poor luck or sheer incompetence that caused the Ministry’s failing to controlling Dorchester. The former Chancellor’s Wizengamot trial astonishingly revealed that both Picklebottom and Baronet allowed themselves to come under the influence of the Imperius curse, at least in the opinion of Draco Romanov, former Hogwarts Professor and ex-Auror (citation, Daily Prophet, 19 Nov 23). If this up-and-coming Irishman failed to avoid Picklebottom’s errors then experience as his aide-de-camp seems unlikely to make him a suitable heir-apparent.
During an election, it is always worth digging through the archives and rummaging in the broom cupboard so to speak.. A rather helpful contact pointed me towards another Daily Prophet article dated three years last. It claims that Baronet was a ready influence in the appointment of the notorious Eponina Hawthorne, the disgraced Hogwarts Headmistress. There might be nothing to this rumour but how it escaped my attention before now is beyond. There it is – lost to history no longer. This gentleman certainly seems to suffer from a lack of judgement of other characters. Maybe it’s time for a totally new order?
Magdaline Gonore (centre)
A name surely familiar to the BeWitched readers out there. A radical, I am told. As you might have guessed, I am quite partial to some reforming zeal when necessary but it does depend upon the worthiness of the cause. Madame Gonore is the patron of Hats for the Haggered Hag, a charitable enterprise which has restored the dignity of certainly no less than several hundred ‘Hags’ since its foundation. There was a time when charitable feelings were mostly felt for abused house-elves and wrongly accused Azkaban prisoners, but I suppose there is always a good cause you’ve never heard of previously, right? Her controversies are far from hidden, what with her being a vocal supporter of one of her clients, the notorious Hag of Crowscreep. Miscarriages of justice do happen and we need those to stand up for the accused. In the case of that particular be-hag-ed lady, however, I am not quite convinced. Do we also really want a Minister who stands up against the judgement of the courts? I called for reform not unstable rebellion. Nevertheless, she’s an eccentric with an independent mind and that receives my deep admiration. Every ballot needs at least one colourful character after all.
We come lastly to the big name in this contest, Chief Warlock Bugulus Warble, the recently appointed successor to Judy Dorchester at the helm of the Wizengamot. Nobody can underestimate or fail to hold admiration for the man who persuaded Dorchester and her goons into confession. Many would had given several hundred galleons to be sitting in that courtroom and watch as they were sentenced to Azkaban. Wurble is the law and order candidate, the face of experience, and the embodiment of good-judgement. My research has revealed nothing controversial about the life of this serious and capable wizard. You might be surprised to learn that this does not quite convince me. It’s difficult to imagine how the more restrained and, dare I used the word, ‘democratic’ Ministry which I long for could come about any time soon with such a commanding zealot holding its Premiership. Choosing the right candidate is not just about experience, it’s about character.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of this election and there is still much to be seen. Who knows, popular opinion might take a completely different direction. As far as I can gather, political experience is almost totally lacking in many of the other names. Merewina Mawt (right), for example, a name widely bandied about in this race but previously unknown. Why has she received more photographic attention that many who seem much more capable? How about Bethany Brimwick? This witch is rumoured to have her soft-spot for the use of Muggle transportation. Hogwarts students know that we’ve dabbled a little but the statute of secrecy might just be a tiny wee bit of an obstacle. Surely she knows this? On that topic, fasten your ‘seat-belt’ I believe they are called – we’re in for a bumpy journey.