Saturday, 20 December 2008

Democracy comes at a price

Last week the island of Sark in the Channel Islands held its first ever election for the Chief Pleas, the parliament of Sark. Sark is a Crown Dependency and is therefore not part of the UK or the EU but the elections were held to comply with the EU Convention on Human Rights.

Until last week Sark was a feudal state with the unelected Seigneur as head of the Chief Pleas which was itself comprised of the tenants of the original 40 quarantaine. The Seigneur will continue as the feudal lord of the island but the island's government will now be elected.

Progress has its price, however. The Barclay brothers, owners of the Torygraph and the Ritz hotel, are a bit pissed off because their candidates did badly in the election. They own the island of Brecqhou, one of the quarantaine and are a law unto themselves. They regularly break Sark law, driving cars and using helicopters and have been accused of tax evasion. They have even tried to claim independence from Sark.

In retaliation for not voting for their candidates, the Barclay's have closed their businesses on the island and put 140 people out of a job. The island only has just under 500 inhabitants, no social security and residents aren't entitled to claim benefits from the British government.

So that's another economy devastated and half the working population of Sark out of a job because of Federal Europe. But hey, at least they get to put an "X" next to a name every few years.


Charlie Marks said...

The Barclays' used EU laws to try and get their way - it wasn't the EU pursuing this. Now they've been rejected at the ballot box, they are imposing collective punishment on the islanders - many of whom were unhappy about the arrogance of the billionaires, who as you say broke the law repeatedly and tried to dictate how people should vote.

I blame the Barclays for wrecking the economy of Sark and by rights the islanders should take over all of their properties on the islands and send the twins into exile - no doubt they'd go running to the EU squealing about their human rights, most sacred of all for the EU, the right to exploit the labour of others...

wonkotsane said...

The Sark government cited compliance with the EU Convention on Human Rights as the reason for holding the elections. It's a bit strange given that they argued, earlier in the year, that the Barclay's couldn't sue them in an English court for breaching the same convention because it doesn't apply to Sark.

Anonymous said...

I do not think this is down to the EU the EHRC is a Council of Europe institution.

From Ken Adams Eurealist