Thursday, January 15, 2015


Notice how much larger Andorra is than almost anywhere else
The smallest country in the world (even the Vatican is larger), you can’t go there by plane as it has no airport, and it is landlocked (despite the impression given in the adjacent map that it stretches all the way from France to Romania)

It is the only country in the world with two heads of state at the same time, though neither lives there, nor is even a citizen; one is chosen personally by the President of France (currently it’s François Hollande, because the Pres decided to choose himself – nice one Frankie!) and he gets to be called the King of Andorra; the other is a Bishop appointed by the Pope. So no marks for democracy, though there is a government of sorts, it just doesn’t have anything to do. But high marks for economics – by not having taxes or a national bank, nor the power of government to spend any money, there is no national debt. Andorra’s main crop is tobacco; actually, unless you count skiing, tobacco is its only crop (who knew you could grow tobacco successfully in Europe? Marijuana in pots in hidden greenhouses, yes - but tobacco?). Andorra has a small army, and did declare war on Germany in 1914, and actually remained at war till 1939, because the people who wrote the Treaty of Versailles forgot to include them (odd that they then declared peace in 1939 of all years!). Duty-free cigarettes and skiing don’t count much on my scale, but in 1,000 years they have never actually fought a war with anybody. Don't tell the Basques or the Bretons, but Catalan is the official language of - no, not Catalunya; the people speak Spanish there - of Andorra. All seventy-nine thousand, two hundred and eighteen of them.

Marks For: 1

Marks Against: 1

(I am conscious that my attempted mark-scheme has had its benchmarks blown out of the water, and I am only on country number 7. The revised system now gives marks on merit, or demerit, rather than the requirements of a prescribed rubric; this, I appreciate, is not the system preferred by the accountants of education, who require their league-tables to be founded in objective data garnered from pointless tests, quizzes and examinations rather than the actual education of individual students; but so it will have to be, in a blogsite dedicated to critical thinking)

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