ews is weird. One would, based on logic, assume important news that really impacts us, is news you would take an interest in reading. But that is not how it works. Instead, we want drama, action, and preferably someone to dislike. This is an interview with Earl Michael van Rook, (and Court Registrar Zulaiya Rowley) about some of the recent economical legislation and committee work. It is not dramatic, or full of action, there isn’t really even a bad guy, but it is important news just the same.


I often start out letting my vic.. ehh interviewee introduce themselves, it reminds me to note their names and titles so I can get it right for the articles, but it also shows a bit about the person how they answer. This is no exception, formalities first. H. Lester: Names, titles, job descriptions, if both of you plan on answering during the interview then I’d love both of you to reply to this Earl van Rook: My full title or only that which is pertinent? H. Lester: Whatever you think the reader needs to know Earl van Rook: Very well, I swill go with "Michael van Rook, Earl of Valenbard, Deputy-Secretary of the Internal Affairs Committee at the Royal Court, Chair of the Queen Tiffin Ellerian Memorial Foundation. H. Lester: A mouthful. But I am no better when people ask me who I am. Earl van Rook: And I have left out three or four more titles. Zulaiya Rowley: Mine is much simpler currently. Simply Zulaiya Rowley, Court Registrar and Magus. H. Lester: Thank you. Let us start with "Deputy-Secretary of the Internal Affairs Committee" what does that committee do? Earl van Rook: The Committee of Internal Affairs, under the leadership of Secretary Dame Bridget Halliday, is the office responsible for the affairs that reach the court pertaining the Kingdom of Stormwind - Comprising mainly of the City of Stormwind, Elwynn Forest, the Redridge Mountains, Westfall, and Duskwood. H. Lester: I'm sure that is the official description, but maybe we could have a few examples of what such affairs might be? Earl van Rook: This reaches from economic policy, which is the initiative I head, to guard activity, cooperation with local townships and regional government, land disputes within the kingdom.

The Pandaren Thingy:

H. Lester: Ah. Thank you. It is the economy I have invited you here tonight to talk about. Especially the Tiffin Foundation, but maybe you want to briefly explain the Pandaren.. thingy first? Earl van Rook: Of course. During the Scourge Attacks we saw a new form of the Plague of Undeath passing through the Kingdom. One of the main fears was that the produce was going to be infected, which gave a large subset of the people a rather grievous flashback to Lordaeron during the Third War. For this reason, there were factions that ordered and executed the burning of farmland that was trodden upon by the undead or had any sort of contact to it. In some places, Westfall especially, there was also a large subset of farmers that burned the produce preventively. One of the side effects of this was that these farmers did not have the produce to provide for their families or the processing industry, such as brewers, millers, and preservers. It is here that we, as the Court, felt we were in an excellent position to help. With the help of the Pandaren Ambassador, Ambassador Icepaws, and two shipping agencies, those owned by Master Forge and Miss Rowley, we were able to strike a deal with Stoneplow village for ten tonnes of produce in their upcoming harvest and the possibility for another ten tonnes at their next harvest. H. Lester: So the court approved the purchase of produce?, how will this help the farmers? Earl van Rook: This allows the Queen Tiffin Ellerian Memorial Foundation to provide the farmers with significant compensation for the lost harvest, while also allowing us to resupply some of the processing industry with the missed produce so they do not fall further behind. The aim is clear: On a micro scale we wish to ensure the prolonged longevity of the farmer's and processor's income, prevent layoffs for their employees, and provide food for the people of the Kingdom. On a macro scale this is the first cog in a long plan to reinvigorate the economy. We have been hit by a disaster and there has been significant impact on the economy, but with this move we hope to that the agricultural and processing industries, as well as all the industries dependent on them, such as transport, retail, and even the citizens like you and I, Master Lester, who eat the food they produce and drink the beverages they produce...to continue performing our work and continue to provide labour to prevent the economy from dipping further, or Light forbid: Collapsing. H. Lester: So this deal with Pandaria means you now have access to produce you can distribute to the farmers of the Kingdom, and this is where the Tiffin Memorial Foundation comes into play? Earl van Rook: Correct. The Pandaren Trade Deal gave us access to ten tonnes now, ten tonnes soon, and it also opens the possibility for us to continue supporting the farmers in this way should this be needed. The Queen Tiffin Ellerian Memorial Foundation, or Ellerian Foundation for short, is key in this as they receive earmarked donations from concerned citizens and businesses who continue to thrive which are not part of the budget considerations of the Royal Court. This allows the Foundation to make specific injections of capital where it most benefits the citizens that are hit by a disaster.

Queen Tiffin Ellerian Memorial Foundation:

H. Lester: Let us delve a bit deeper into that. Who came up with this idea? And how are these specific injections distributed? who decides who gets what? Earl van Rook: The idea for such a foundation was a combined effort of the Courtiers and guests that attended the Economic Policy Initiative meetings. The idea was fast set-in place and we very quickly managed to get the required approval. The difficult part was how we would do this without corrupting the independence of the Royal Court. You must understand that if the Government was to receive donations from private businesses or citizens that this could lead to public outcry and despite the Court's own belief it may maintain independence, we must also be able to affirm this to, and excuse my choice of colloquialism here, the "Average Joe". After much consultation we came to the structure as it has been declared now, in this the wisdom of the Lord High Chancellor himself was quite vital. As for the other two questions... In the statutes of the Queen Tiffin Ellerian Memorial Foundation it is stated that - upon the declaration of an emergency - the fund is opened for distribution at which point sixty percent of the funding that is freed up is dedicated to each of the regions that is involved, leaving fourty percent to be dedicated by the Foundation itself to be injected in the areas that the Foundation feels are most needy. This allows the Foundation to ensure a equal distribution while maintaining the capital for specific injections. These decisions are made by the Chair of the Foundation, which is your truly at this point, the Secretary of Internal Affairs, and an auditor with expert economic knowledge. H. Lester: Oh I have questions about this setup already. Using Court coin to buy grain and having your transported by your wife-to-be's company does raise some red flags - but I will let that one slip for now. Earl van Rook: Oh, I am willing to answer questions regarding that if you wish, if you would phrase it as one, Mister Lester. The main comment I do immediately want to make is that it is not Court coin. It is coin provided by voluntary donations to a Foundation that is overseen but not operated by the Royal Court. H. Lester: But it still puts you in charge of using a large sum of money, and part of that is used to hire your fiancée’s company. Zulaiya Rowley: Actually. No, it is not. H. Lester: No? Earl van Rook: Miss Rowley's company is not reimbursed and has voluntarily offered her ships with no fee attached. H. Lester: Really? So you do this for free? Earl van Rook: Similarly, Master Forge has offered his ships with only the caveat that we pay the wages of his sailors. This ensures no profit is made. H. Lester: Very well. I withdraw my concern then. Good on you Miss Rowley. So back on track. 60% goes to the regions, is this a fixed percentage for each regional council to distribute? or based on size? population? Earl van Rook: For the sake of simplicity we have chosen to hold a fixed percentage per involved region. It must be noted however that due to the importance of our capitol it is considered a separate region, making the total of five regions: Duskwood, Westfall, the Redridge Mountains, Elwynn Forest, and the City of Stormwind. H. Lester: And this is then distributed locally by city councils? Earl van Rook: No, this is distributed by the Foundation responding to petitioning parties. So, say a single individual petitioned then we will consider that. Similarly, if a town council petitioned, we will consider it all the same. This is part of the separation between government and the Foundation: They are two separate, yet entangled, organisations. H. Lester: So lets see if I got this right. Two big pools of resources. 60% which is then divided into five sub-pools, and people or organizations in those five regions can apply for that. The remaining 40% is then...? Earl van Rook: Appropriated across regions by the Foundation. So you must understand that the first sixty percent is required to be used in the region it is appropriated to. We may, for example, not take coin destined for Westfall, and invest it in the city. This is to preserve a fair distribution of funds. However there are reasons, say the Legion invasion from years back which saw most attacks fall in one specific region, that the Foundation need the freedom to invest into the regions and industries that are most needy after a disaster. I would not be able to sleep myself, and I think you will echo this Mister Hardhy, if the farmers in the Redridge Mountains could not get help while, as an example, the funding for Elwynn Forest is hardly touched by the Foundation. Clearly that is a disparity that cannot happen. H. Lester: The Pandaren trade deal is a fact, it was ratified last Monday, how far is the Ellerian Foundation? Earl van Rook: The Ellerian Foundation has been ratified and published by the Court Registrar. It has been officially founded and a Chair has been appointed, however there are some details, such as an Auditor, which are still being considered. H. Lester: I'm so glad you mention that. What sort of oversight will the Court keep on this foundation? Earl van Rook: The Court will have limited oversight. The main function of the Royal Court when we consider their direct effect is the declaration of a 'disaster'. Upon a happening the Chair of the Foundation will present a motion to call a specific occurrence a disaster. This will be published in concurrence with an advisory, regardless of the Foundation approving or disapproving the declaration. If the Court chooses to ratify the motion the funds are opened up and petitions are accepted by the Foundation. [H. Lester: And currently there is such a disaster? Earl van Rook: The Foundation is, in fact, overseen by an Auditor in the employ of the Foundation, who will ensure every document is preserved and that procedures for the preservation of the independence of the Court are followed without corruption of the transparency to the people. And yes, the initial reason for the deployment of the Economic Policy Initiative - the Scourge Invasion - has been the reason that the Ellerian Foundation was erected and has in that implicitly been deemed a disaster. H. Lester: I have to ask. The name. You not worried it raises some historical connotations - especially - when it comes to Westfall and its history and relations with the Crown? Earl van Rook: Not at all. The reason we chose this name is because Queen Tiffin Ellerian was a spokeswoman of civil justice based on nothing but good citizenry and compassion. There was no military order nor a religious decree that was uttered for her passions in aiding the people of her Kingdom. She was, Light rest her soul, an embodiment of the purpose of this foundation and I am proud that my name stands signed under the document carrying the name of such a benevolent person. H. Lester: She was also killed by a stone thrown by a protester during the riots when the nobles refused to pay the stonemasons after the rebuilding of Stormwind. And now you come swooping in trying to save them. Earl van Rook: Let me start by saying that I am in no position to judge the choices of the House of Nobles at that time. The blessing and curse of hindsight is that we know the consequences of actions, however, hailing from Westfall myself, the reason the Queen died was because she was publicly and fervently endorsing the Stonemason's Guild be paid for the work that they delivered. If she stood so strongly for the thing that saw her own tragic death put in the history books, is it then not a small step to assume that despite what happened to her personally: The good of the Kingdom and its regions must always come first? - It is that which the Foundation tries to embody. A benefit to the Kingdom, to its regions, and to its society. No matter if you are a farmer or a noble. If you are left a victim of such a disaster: The Foundation stands to provide you with the aid you need to continue your life. H. Lester: Not for me to judge. I just had to ask if you had thought about the signals the name might send to some. Anyway, I think I am running out of questions, but when do you expect to be ready to start accepting applications? and who else is in this Foundation - taking part in deciding who gets something and who does not? Earl van Rook: I cannot give you a firm date on when we start taking petition's for specific aid as I hope to gain that information together with the Secretary tomorrow. However, once everything does start up, there will be three people involved: The Secretary of Internal Affairs, the Auditor of the Foundation, and myself. H. Lester: And is this the final number? or do you plan to have a slightly larger group help decide on these things? 5 or 7 maybe? Earl van Rook: That is not something I will exclude in the future, however that is another item which experience will need to guide. H. Lester: It might benefit the public’s view on it if it is not solely decided on by people who already hold a large sway over people’s lives. Maybe a union person, or a local farmer. Someone closer to the actual people who need the help Earl van Rook: I would be happy to work with people on this, however it must be observed that the decisions are mainly made based on the statutes. The reason these three were chosen to start with is because the Auditor should have an economical background, the Secretary has the political background and experience, while the Chair is involved to ensure the Foundation is represented and its guidelines followed. H. Lester: Oh I am sure there is a logical reason for most of it. But the public sees what they see, which is not always based on logic. Anyway, I put the idea out there. Earl van Rook: And it has been noted. We will take it into consideration as we always do. H. Lester: I think that brings us to the end of my questions. Is there something you would like to say here at the end? Earl van Rook: The Queen Tiffin Ellerian Memorial Foundation is there for the people of the Kingdom of Stormwind. If anyone reading this article is still trying to recover from the losses incurred and have exhausted all other options, I invite them to write to the Queen Tiffin Ellerian Foundation and ask for aid. I got nothing much to add to this, it seems like a good initiative, it may need a bit of polishing, but it is a great start, and good news for the Kingdom and the people.