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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]

Now for the Rowling stuff. And maybe this should be on hp_britglish, and maybe I'll put it there, but I want to talk about it here. I got a sort of heads-up about something I'd never actually considered seriously, and when I did, I got it wrong. I think.

Basically, how are Ministers for Magic chosen? How did Fudge get his position, and how was Dumbledore competition? How will Fudge be replaced (and we all agree he must be replaced)?

I'm an American, and have American cultural references. I've learned to say "leaving" instead of "graduating," and "trousers" instead of "pants," and "biscuits" instead of "cookies" - I've learned some British vocabulary, basically and some cultural stuff because that goes along with it. I've even, well, not learned to not use "gotten", but to do a search and replace to get rid of it.

But I'm still an American, and so, with *no* evidence at all, I assumed that Minister for Magic was an elected office. And it's not just me. While I haven't seen stories, I *have* seen political threads in rpgs, especially last fall (I mean autumn) during the US presidential election. And all of them, whether they chose Arthur Weasley or Lucius Malfoy or an original character to replace Fudge, did so with a popular vote, and that seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

Which makes no sense for a couple of reasons. One I should have figured out - in Britain, the prime minister is not popularly elected. He or she is the leader (I'm not sure how that is determined) of the party that gets either the majority or the largest plurality of seats in Parliament. The only people who actually vote for this person are the peoople in his or her home district. It's conceivable that British wizards and witches vote in their country's election, but they'd be voting for local members of Parliament.

The second, though, is something zsero pointed out. "Minister" is not an elected office at all - it's an appointed position. Apppointed by the Prime Minister. It doesn't even need Parliamentary approval (unlike the analogous position in the US government, cabinet secretary, who must get Senate approval.) He runs a department, not the government itself, even if it's a huge and varied department that pretty much resembles a shadow government - *is* a shadow government of which the Muggle government is fully aware, as we know from PoA. The Minister for Magic would be the primary liaison between the two.

(We also discussed where the Department of Magic would be in the US government. It should be cabinet level, but there's that senate confirmation thing and that's too many Muggles in one place to be comfortable. So it would be under either Defense, because of the partially hidden budget, or Interior because Interior makes sense.)

So, any thoughts?

Wizard population

Well, retro-figgerin' from the size of Hogwarts: the normal size seems to be about 1000 students, or that's the impression I get from the Snape flashbacks in OOtP. That covers 7 grades. Now, the NYC public school system is about 1 million kids in 12 grades, vs. 7.5 million people total. So, at 80,000 kids per grade, about, that's 560,000 kids in grades 6-12, vs. 7.5 million total. So the total population should be 7.5E6/5.6E5, or 13.4 x the school population. So the wizarding community should be about 13-15,000 people all told in all of Britain. Presumably Muggle-borns and squibs cancel out.

I doubt that would cross the level of a single seat in Parliament. Or are the districts still not linked to population (cf. Rotten Boroughs)?