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Subject: A Sneak Peek at an Upcoming COIN Title rss

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Note that this is a three-player COIN game, first of its kind for the time being.

The factions are the Reds, the Senate, and the Social Democrats (again, not to be confused with the party).

The Germans and the Russians feature as simple non-player factions providing military punch to the Senate and the Reds, respectively.
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Matias Vierimaa
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Ok, I see. Then, there is no country/internal politics mixup which makes more sense.

From rebellion side, this has logic since SDP was divided between the bolshevik (red) faction and more moderate one that supported parlamentary democracy (as did senate side) and this side did not participate to rebellion.

However, you may end up into more complicated situation since rebellion was not only divisive factor. Historically whites also had different viewpoints (swedish style kind or strong presidency) as already discussed.

If you want help, you might look Sweden as an example. There, bolshevik influence was much smaller and swedish SDP was very worried about their sister party's radicalization in Finland after Russian revolution. That may provide ideas what alternatives moderates in SDP might have had instead of rebellion.

I know at least one source (in Finnish) in this subject:
https://journal.fi/tt/article/view/4248/3962

I believe this article is a shorter version of related book:
https://www.adlibris.com/fi/kirja/suomen-hurja-vuosi-1917-ru...

[politics on] I think you are overempahasing reds will to democracy. If reds (rebellious side) was seeking for the parlamentary democracy, then there was little point in rebellion. This is also further supported by the fact that those SDP members that truly believed in democracy simply did not particiate to rebellion. Rebellion was reflection of what happened in Russia earlier (October revolution) with similar interests and illusions. Some reds may genuinely have believed in democracy but then their view of democracy is mildly put strange, since finnish parlamentary system in 1917 was one of the most advanced ones in the world.

Also, I think you are overemphasing king issue as antidemocratic as common in Finland nowadays. I think there is little proof that it would have contradicted parlamentary democracy. It was more as a mirror what exists in Sweden. And we do call Sweden a parlamentary democracy although they don't have a president.

I try to avoid discussion of politics but it seems very difficult with this kind of topic. [politics off]

One thing often omitted is that white victory led to current day democracy. Sure, you can say that there were many twists and turns not seen in 1918 but still, it is what ultimately happened. Regarding victory for two other factions in the game you design, we can only make an educated guess. Hopefully you are able to reflect this somehow in the game.









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Oerjan Ariander
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Sweden is a constitutional monarchy. Nowadays our royal family has no formal political powers, but during WW1 those royal powers were still in the process of being dismantled... and whereas Finland had had universal suffrage since 1906, Sweden didn't adopt it until 1919 (and the first Swedish election where every adult was allowed to vote wasn't held until 1921). During the WW1 period Finland was considerably ahead of us democracy-wise, so mirroring what existed in Sweden in 1917-18 would have been a significant step backwards for the Finnish democratic system at the time.

And, of course, the prince who actually was invited to become King of Finland wasn't Swedish but German (brother-in-law to Emperor Wilhelm II); and Germany was rather more authoritarian than Sweden was.

Regards,
Oerjan
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I'm with Oerjan. Here's the historian Vares describing the monarchist proposal:

"The proposal had conservative characteristics that clearly harked back to the German rather than the Scandinavian model".

(My translation of the Finnish original from p. 381 Sisallissodan pikkujattilainen 2009: "Esityksessä oli vanhoillisia piirteitä, jotka muistuttivat selvästi enemmän saksalaista kuin skandinaavista mallia".)
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Matias Vierimaa
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I fully agree what Oerjan said but although I mentioned sweden as an example I was referring more to modern perspective. As far as I know, monarchy oriented whites were still supporter of consitutional monarchy. One of their key figures, Paasikivi, definitely was, and he was also to become future president of Finland.

Masil: I don't want a further argument on this but please realise that history has been written quite differently depending on political viewpoint. Some may see more swedish model in it than others.

German king sounds odd 2017 but not so 1917. There was very real threat that our great neighbour (no matter outcome of civil war there) would become soon hostile again and retake Finland. Germany was at that point nearly only superpower that Finland could ally with against that threat. The threat indeed realised but no sooner than 1939.

This was main reason I wanted to make a point to you (masil) in earlier post. No matter how you evaluate "whites" and their twists and turns, no matter which stance you take from diffrent political viewpoints, it is a fact that white victory in war ultimately led to current democratic system we have.

White victory could have(given especially possibility that Germany had won WWI) led to constitutional monarchy, perhaps, but what kind of, we can only make an educated guess.

Therefore I hope that you do not draw lines from SDP player victory to democratic Finland, let alone if reds would win the war in the game. We know now that democratic Finland required Bolshevik victory in russian civil war, white victory in war 1918 in Finland and german loss in WW1 later 1918.

It may even be that this was actually ONLY outcome to Finland to become parlamentary democracy so soon. Gamewise, this could be quite interesting thought, wouldn't it?

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Brian Train
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Matias wrote:

Masil: I don't want a further argument on this but please realise that history has been written quite differently depending on political viewpoint....
That's the problem with civil wars; they are never really over, even (or especially) when they are finished.

Brian
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Matias Vierimaa
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Yes, I fully agree. That is also why my feelings towards this game are quite mixed.

Politics aside, I don’t quite get the idea of three parties in conflict that was largely bipolar in nature. Even with rationale, it feels odd. I think it is fascinating topic though so I am interested to see what comes out of it.


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The thing that really drew me to this topic (besides my having designed one of the two games in English on the Finnish Civil War) was the third phase of the game: after the shooting comes the attempts at reconciliation and rebuilding civil society.

As you say, perhaps social democracy was in Finland's future regardless but seeing a wargame attempt to cover the conflict before, during and after the "kinetic" phase (as they call it now) makes this worth a look.

Brian
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Matias Vierimaa
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Pacifist tones existed among both whites and reds. My point however is, we don’t know what would have happened if ”pacifist party” had won (I really don’t want to use SDP here as it would exclude white pacifists) and no red rebellion had occurred.

Let me clarify:
This MIGHT have led to a situation were parlament came to a joint decision that no military conflict was necessary and as a consequence, large amount of russian troops would still occupy Finland. Without 1918 war, there would really be no finnish army, instead Russian troops would still exist in country.

This COULD have led to rapid retake of Finland by bolshevik Russia (just as in Ukraine) as Lenin and Stalin would just postpone removal of Russian troops until bolsheviks would become strong enough.

In this very specific alternate history, end result would be destruction of short finnish democracy and annexation of finnish people to happy family of soviets.

Baased on the decription of OP, I am bit uncertain if this game is able to tackle the hird phase, what would happen after war or even what if war never realises. OP mentions that eventually social-democrats won. Well, you can really dispute this as currently they present less than 20% of political power. I would say that real winner of 1918 events in Finland was finnish democracy and I believe this was true intention of senate anyway.

As terrible as war in 1918 may be seen, it may not have been the worst outcome.
 
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Matias wrote:

This MIGHT have led to a situation were parlament came to a joint decision that no military conflict was necessary and as a consequence, large amount of russian troops would still occupy Finland. Without 1918 war, there would really be no finnish army, instead Russian troops would still exist in country.
I’m not sure what your point here is, Matias, but you sound there (as well as in one of yout posts above) as if it was somehow a Finnish decision whether the Russians or the Germans were involved. It was not. Finland was essentially a pawn in the geopolitics of the two great powers. The treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 virtually decided the military outcome of the Finnish civil war —and to the content of that treaty the Finns had no say. In the treaty the Russians were ordered out of Finland by the Germans and that was that.
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Matias Vierimaa
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Sure, you are right in this. However, you missed my reference to Ukraine. According to brest litovsk treaty, also Ukraine and Belarus were supposed to be left independent but this never realised.

You see, treaties may be signed but they are not necessarily followed promptly. That’s why we small countries need armies as well in order to ensure that there is a cost in case big powers change their minds.
 
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ltmurnau wrote:
Matias wrote:

Masil: I don't want a further argument on this but please realise that history has been written quite differently depending on political viewpoint....
That's the problem with civil wars; they are never really over, even (or especially) when they are finished.

Brian
Not to derail the topic, but this was certainly true in Ireland as well, where the civil war happened pretty much at the same time as that in Finland. Only in the last generation have the divisions associated with that war started to fade. Ireland's two main political parties are essentially both right-of centre parties with largely identical policies, whose origins deriving from the opposing factions in the war. Moreover, the side that ostensibly lost the war was then the dominant party in government for most of the next 70 years.
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Matias Vierimaa
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Also, another issue came to my mind.

War in 1918 established frontline, and although activities occurred in more focused fronts, there was no real terror activities throughout the country as typical in COIN series (cuba libre, andean abyss).

In white side, retaken towns and other areas were cleared from potential red leaders. In order to "calm" areas behind frontline, some operations were conducted there too even if no real fighting had occurred.

In reds side, terror activities mostly occurred in the beginning of war and during frantic end in areas that reds controlled.

Terror ops was not used in areas that were outside one's control. In beginning of war whites tried to stop or slow down arms trains coming from Bolsheviks but they were more to disturb logistics rather than conduct terror.

This gives terror ops clearly different role compared to typical games in COIN in which terror ops are used to make terrorist attacks in areas controlled by other player.
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Let me return to an earlier post from Matias just to clarify some points about how the game views history.

Matias wrote:
Masil: I don't want a further argument on this but please realise that history has been written quite differently depending on political viewpoint. Some may see more swedish model in it than others.
So this comment is written as if it suggested I had not up to this point realized that history is written from a perspective, which is patronizing. Sorry, but this has to be pointed out.

Throughout the discussion above I've tried to anchor my points to references in the literature in order not to seem like some sort of an ideologist here. There are, as far as I can see, plenty of documented statements from the White victors themselves that there were social democratic voices among them (I stress, social democratic but not in the sense of party affiliation, but in the sense of a broader political outlook, the Scandinavian or the Nordic Model if you like).

So it is not really fair to suggest that there's a leftist conspiracy going on with this game to the effect that history is made to appear in a particular light.

There is, however, a distinction being made in the game that I don't think has necessarily been made in the literature or in the Finnish discourse on the topic ---which has, unsurprisingly, tended to have been polarized between the old Red and White poles (the discussion in this thread shows that as well). The distinction is that there was a third "force" or voice at work --and present both among the Reds as well as the Whites, as documented above-- which is the ideology of reconciliation, social reform, and national independence. (In particular national independence and reconciliation are physically present in terms of game mechanics in the game.)

Let's hear that voice here once again. Juhani Aho, the seminal Finnish novelist and an ardent critic of the Red Revolt, wrote in his war time diary: "Those ideals, that drove the worker's movement, have also belonged to others, to us as well, to that entire generation to which I belong". Let's be clear: this is a self-confessed member of the bourgeoisie, and a critic of the Red Revolt identifying and sympathizing with the worker's movement. All Bridges is saying Finland would not be what it is today if voices like this had not in some political sense "won" the war.

In a way, then, the game is attempting to bridge the still present divide between the Reds and the Whites by reminding us that there was something they had in common and we were lucky, really, that that spirit "won" the war.

There, btw, is a history of making such distinctions in the COIN Series. Think of e.g. the manner Fire in the Lake treats the VC - NVA relationship. I'm very proud to be continuing that tradition.

Quote:
This was main reason I wanted to make a point to you (masil) in earlier post. No matter how you evaluate "whites" and their twists and turns, no matter which stance you take from diffrent political viewpoints, it is a fact that white victory in war ultimately led to current democratic system we have.
This is formulated as if I was taking a political view point --for I am said to "evaluate" and take a "stance from a political viewpoint"-- which, again, is patronizing. That kind of suggestions are not OK and should be pointed out when they occur in public debates.

Also, for the reasons demonstrated above (not least the monarchist project), it is not unequivocally true that it took a White victory to get us on the road toward parliamentary democracy. It took a White victory, and then a second victory by the parlamentarists among the Whites, to set Finland to the path of democracy.

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Therefore I hope that you do not draw lines from SDP player victory to democratic Finland
I am not. Besides, despite my repeated remarks to the contrary above, you imply here that I am identifying the Social Democratic faction of the game with the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

The social democratic victory in the game means that the elements among the White and among those Social Democratic Party members who left out of the Red Revolt won the day in that the way was paved for a political settlement and reconciliation.

Hmmm... Oerjan, we might have to look again into renaming the third faction. Obviously the label Social Democrats is liable to mislead.
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Matias Vierimaa
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Ok, fair enough and I thank you for your continuos interest to discuss.

I don't actually agree with your stance on king issue being "undemocratic" ending but nevertheless, let's move on from that topic as I am well aware of different opinions on that one. At least we can agree that we don't know for 100% as it never realised.

Second issue, SDP is really a party name and I can see where you are aiming at with naming of third faction, but it would immediately lead to misunderstandings.

"The social democratic victory in the game means that the elements among the White and among those Social Democratic Party members who left out of the Red Revolt won the day in that the way was paved for a political settlement and reconciliation."

Ok, I am trying to put my thoughs in hopefully understandable form:

My main gripe is really that historically speaking, such forces did exist but they did not pose power, almost not at all. In reds side, moderates failed to stop radicals conquering the party and in white side, moderates accepted the use of arms to disarm Russian military and consequently to put end to red rebellion as these happened simultaneously.

My second note is the issue I mentioned in earlier post: victory of so-called "SDP player" may be victory to "settlement" but since there would be no clear winner of war, even no war at all, it may lead to situation that would end up to victory to Bolshevik Russia (see my earler post on this) and thus being actually negative ending! Of course this is just one possible alternate history for victory of this faction. If I may say, you can see analogy in US civil war in which "settlement" would win the day but it could lead to continuation of slavery and maybe even later lead to division of country into two parts.

Our thinking may differ in that that I don’t see ”moderate whites” and ”whites” arguments after the war as two separate factions. Maybe because I see whites not as a single block with single aim (see president/king issue and how reds should be punished after the war as an example). For me so-called ”social democratic” faction victory indicates either stalemate in war or situation were war was avoided either partially or completely.

Based on OP and discussion here, I can see that you are really motivated to have three party game. Despite the main issue I had, there is truth in what you say that of course in both sides there were more moderate opinions and war hawks, as typical in situations like this.

In Finland during Russian occupation, some people were called activists as they made resistance in active level. There is no direct analogy to 1917 but you could consider both whites and reds being activists and thus calling this third faction something opposite of activists. Passivists sounds silly so I really don't have yet a good candidate to this kind of "let's calm down, and wait" approach. Neutrals, moderates, temperates, non-violents, pasifists? I don’t really know.



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Oerjan Ariander
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masil wrote:
Hmmm... Oerjan, we might have to look again into renaming the third faction. Obviously the label Social Democrats is liable to mislead.
Told you so

Regarding the "it took a war to end the Russian occupation" issue: no, not really. The Soviet Union had already recognized Finland's independence several weeks before fighting broke out, and the Senate ordered the disarming and expulsion of Russian troops the day before the Red revolt began. (I've seen some theories that the decision to disarm the Russians forced the Reds' hand, causing them to begin the revolt early, but I don't know how valid those theories are.)

At least in Vaasa, the disarmament was carried out peacefully - not too surprising, considering that many of the White leaders were former officers in the Russian army. If the Reds had not raised the lamp of revolution on January 28th, there's a good chance that the other Russian garrisons could've been disarmed and sent home peacefully as well.

Regarding Terror: correct, it plays a very different role in ABB than it did in the previous modern-era COIN games.

Regards,
Oerjan
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Matias Vierimaa
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Oerjan wrote:


Regarding the "it took a war to end the Russian occupation" issue: no, not really. The Soviet Union had already recognized Finland's independence several weeks before fighting broke out, and the Senate ordered the disarming and expulsion of Russian troops the day before the Red revolt began. (I've seen some theories that the decision to disarm the Russians forced the Reds' hand, causing them to begin the revolt early, but I don't know how valid those theories are.)

At least in Vaasa, the disarmament was carried out peacefully - not too surprising, considering that many of the White leaders were former officers in the Russian army. If the Reds had not raised the lamp of revolution on January 28th, there's a good chance that the other Russian garrisons could've been disarmed and sent home peacefully as well.
I agree, at least with very minor resistance, if any. There was lots of pressure from Russian Bolseviks to launch the rebellion and later some rebellion leaders said it was mistake that they did not launch the rebellion earlier in October when Russian revolution occurred. At this point senate was still waiting for weapon ships from Germany to arrive so whites would have been largely unarmed.

Osrjan wrote:
Regarding Terror: correct, it plays a very different role in ABB than it did in the previous modern-era COIN games.
Great, looking forward seeing it in the game!
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Sakari Lindhen
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The Civil War can still awaken passionate debate amongst us!

About the name for the third faction (I am very happy about the renaming of the other two factions to Senate and Reds, as I indicated it an earlier post I wasnt with the initial names.)...I dont know if you want to name it after a diffuse concept rather than something concrete, but there is a word in Finnish to describe the social system that developed after the war and the feelings of compromise and cooperation, esp between the unions and the employers, and between the political parties (which allows for even red-blue coalitions). Unfortunately, living 30 years in Sweden, and being aged, the word escapes me, hopefully someone knows what I am talking about. Not yhteistyö or sovittelu, but a specific word...can anyone help me?
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The Nordic Modelists!

Joking aside, is this the word you are looking for, Sakari: https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eheytyminen

Edit: For the non-Finnish speakers, the above linked article talks about the political ethos of reconciliation pursued by the first post-civil-war Finnish president, KJ Stahlberg, in the 1920s. I wonder if Sakari was looking for the word 'eheytyspolitiikka', or, the politics of reconciliation in his post above?
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Matias Vierimaa
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Aah, ok, I would guess Sakari means finnish word called konsensus, in english consensus (?). So maybe something along that word, then. Not a bad idea at all IMO.

I think even with regards to modern day political debate this kind of faction in game would provide interesting viewpoint. Especially, since we know that after victorious war to whites, consensus attitude was effective way of working, bringing social democrats back to government already 1926 and later unifying the nation just in time for Winter War.

But we don't know whether consensus (i.e. avoid war) would have been best possible choice in January of 1918. At first sight, it may sound as best choice but there might have been consequences if war had started later, say 1918 when Germany had lost WW1 or even if no war had occurred but as a result of consensus, finnish army had not been established in reasonable strenght. Historical what if's are always interesting.

 
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not quite...yhteisymärrys?....but perhaps Nordic Modellists IS the answer, lol. Or The Triangle, from the Kolmikanta system where the unions, the employers's assosciation and the state worked for Tupo. https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulopolitiikka

 
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Sakke_af_Lindh wrote:
not quite...yhteisymärrys?....but perhaps Nordic Modellists IS the answer, lol. Or The Triangle, from the Kolmikanta system where the unions, the employers's assosciation and the state worked for Tupo. https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulopolitiikka
Translated into English this would yield a faction name something like the tripartist. Tripartism means politics in which the interests of business, workers, and the state are unified in a tripartite solution.

In the context of Finnish history, tripartism appears refer to politics of a later period (60s, 70s), and does not seem like a great fit.
 
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Matias Vierimaa
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What about konsensus then? It has been used in slightly different level, but if you can read finnish, you can see that it is not too far fetched in this context:
https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konsensus-p%C3%A4%C3%A4t%C3%B6...

Also in english:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making

This is word often used in Finland when seeking compromises in decision-making and also politically to reach agreement over political blocks.
 
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Matias wrote:
What about konsensus then? It has been used in slightly different level, but if you can read finnish, you can see that it is not too far fetched in this context:
https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konsensus-p%C3%A4%C3%A4t%C3%B6...

Also in english:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making

This is word often used in Finland when seeking compromises in decision-making.
Consensus sounds fine as an idea describing the orientation of the third faction, but then the consensualists does not sound like a faction anyone would like to play.

When we talked about renaming the third faction a few weeks ago, Oerjan's suggestion was the moderates, but then that does not sound super sexy either.

How about this: the parlamentarists? I'm quite liking this because it denotes the general orientation of favoring parliamentary, discursive, dialogical, democratic, decision making.

(The spell checker in my browser says it should be "parliamentarians".)
 
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Matias Vierimaa
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Problem is that Whites were parlamentarists already, they wanted to continue with the parlament and senate in power was appointed based on parlamentary elections.

So-called "King adventure" that some whites supported does give its flavor to this (with all respect, I wouldn't call it "undemocratic" as constitutional monarchies also exist) but still, goal of the Whites was to "restore legal order to the nation" i.e. respect of parlamentary democracy and other existing legal functions young nation already had. Even new parlamentary elections were arranged soon, just 10 months after war ended and social-democrats were again the biggest party (but not in majority). I don't really see how this can be seen as non-parlamentarism.

"Moderates" was actually something that I would also suggest in this context if consensus sounds less sexy.

Whites-Reds-Moderates sounds pretty ok to me and I don't consider any of them to sound sexier than others. Maybe we can figure out some better word but I would lean on Oerjan's suggestion here.
 
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