View previous topic | View next topic

Democracy

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

Frederick The Monk
61183.  Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:08 am Reply with quote

Question: Where am I describing:
There is no public health service
No old age pension
No dentists
No private ownership of land
No mains water
Until 2003 there was a ban on divorce
No schooling provided beyond the age of 15
Every tenant must keep a gun
The ruler has announced that his country is definitely NOT a democracy.
The ruler is subject to another monarch to whom he pays £1.79 a year for the privilege.
You can't catch fish whilst scuba diving.
Only the ruler can keep unspayed female dogs and pigeons.
it sent two competitors to the 2006 Commonwealth games.....

Forfeits: Cuba/ Russia/ Libya/

Answer: Sark

Notes: Sark is the last Feudal state in Europe, although thanks to the sword of democracy currently being wielded by those champions of justice, the Barclay brothers, that may be about to change.

Since Elizabeth I's time, the island has been ruled by 22 "Seigneurs" - Elizabeth thought this a good way of keeping pirates at bay - under whom the 16th Century remains alive and well.

The Constitutional Steering Committee has come up with proposals for a new system of government based on election by universal suffrage. If it is approved by Chief Pleas, another poll will be held in December 2006 under the new rules.

Revolutionary billionaires
Universal suffrage? South Africa and Iraq have beaten Sark to it, then, but this vote has come not on the back of military intervention, nor of a popular movement, but because of some new neighbours who just happen to be billionaires....

It's fair to say this is probably the first revolution initiated by a pair of identical twins in their 70s. In 1993, Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, owners of the Ritz, Littlewoods and The Scotsman, bought Brecqhou - one of the islands off Sark - and built a £60m gothic-style fortress there.

Usually the reason people move to the Channel Islands is to avoid the UK's tax system, but the Barclays weren't enamoured of the equivalent on Sark: having to pay the Seigneur a "treizième" on their purchase - that's £179,000 in the new money.

Ever since, the twins have been fighting various parts of Sark's constitution, and claim to have spent £1.75m researching "Norman, feudal, constitutional and human rights law" and pushing to modernise the rules on tax, inheritance, and now, through their reference to the European Convention on Human Rights, the very nature of government.

The main problem they have is that Sark's 600 rsidents are rather pleased about living in their Feudal state. Their feeligns are summed up by the Seigneur (Michael Beaumont) who commented 'nothing much is human rights compliant here' and 'of course we will have to have a lot of civil servants now'.

UPDATE
BBC site:
Island cuts back feudal influence

The island with Europe's last feudal system has voted against completely abolishing the role of landowners in its government.

After an extraordinary meeting of Sark's parliament, the Chief Pleas, it agreed to reduce the number instead. Landowners will now be reserved 14 seats in the Chief Pleas, with the total number of seats on the body reduced from 52 to 28.

The other 14 seats will be made up of elected people's deputies. The public will also vote to decide which landowners are given seats.

The current set-up is that the legislature gives all 40 landowning tenants an automatic seat in Chief Pleas, with a further 12 seats for elected Deputies.

The measures were approved by 25 votes to 15 and the move follows European human rights laws which mean Sark can no longer be run in the same way. The island has come under pressure to adopt universal suffrage, in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights

Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, who live on the nearby island of Brecqhou, petitioned the Queen's Privy Council that the current system breaches EU human rights laws.

That was rejected but the Sark government was told to rethink its plans. Some doubt remains whether the Privy Council will approve Wednesday's changes as having gone far enough.

But Sark's Seneschal, Reg Guille, said Chief Pleas are prepared to defend their decision in the European courts and a fund is being started to cover legal costs.

Links to: Democracy - Honey bees/ Deodands/ Domesday/ Dukes/Diplomatic Bags

Sources:
http://www.sark.gov.gg/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4528220.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/guernsey/4787130.stm

Pictures/Props: Before - grim Eastern Bloc tower block/ After - lovely Sark

Researcher: JP

 
bobwilson
448516.  Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:02 pm Reply with quote

You missed this:

Quote:
In 1990 an unemployed French nuclear physicist named André Gardes attempted a singlehanded invasion of Sark, armed with a semi-automatic weapon. The night Gardes arrived he put up some signs declaring his intention to take over the island the following day at noon. He was arrested by the Island's part time police officer while sitting on a bench, changing the gun's magazine, whilst he waited for noon to arrive.


On a more serious note - there seems to be no clamour from Sark's inhabitants to enjoy the delights of democracy, in fact very much the opposite. Is this an instance of "you vill haf democracy whether you like it or not"?

 
Lukecash
448533.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:46 am Reply with quote

See,

If I were the Feudal Lord, I would have just beheaded those upstarts.

 
suze
448804.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:36 pm Reply with quote

The original post in this thread was made 2½ years ago, and Sark has by now begun a transition to democracy. Sark's first election will be held on 10 December, although thus far only seven people have declared that they will be seeking one of the 28 seats available. (Since the population of Sark is about 600, that must create just about the highest proportion of "MPs" of any country in the world.)

One thing that the Seigneur couldn't have done, incidentally, was to behead anyone. Sark is bound by Guernsey on matters which go beyond the merely local, and Guernsey has ratified the two parts of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibit capital punishment.

 
Flash
448851.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 2:29 pm Reply with quote

Beheading someone is a fairly local matter if you're the person in question, but I dare say that's a specious objection.

 
bobwilson
449050.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:46 pm Reply with quote

none of which alters the fact that Sark was quite happy to continue to operate in a "non-democratic" way and that none of Sark's inhabitants appear to have raised any objections to the current system.

But the modern world doth encroach - and Sark must have the new God "democracy" imposed upon it. No doubt the inhabitants are now looking forward to the opportunity to paying the salaries of (as suze notes) 4% of their population for being engaged in the kind of debates that were previously provided free in the local hostelry. Not to mention the influx of civil servants that will be required to record, impose and monitor the results of such debates.

To paraphrase Monty Python - what has Democracy ever done for us?

 
Lukecash
449059.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:50 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:


One thing that the Seigneur couldn't have done, incidentally, was to behead anyone. Sark is bound by Guernsey on matters which go beyond the merely local, and Guernsey has ratified the two parts of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibit capital punishment.


What the heck is the point of being a feudal lord if you can't just randomly pick someone out and say "Off with there heads?" Seriously, If I were a Lord and some lawyer started waving around words like "Human Rights" and "Treaties" I'd probably abdicate. When it stops being fun and all that.

Perhaps he should just make the island a multinational corporation, with him as majority stockholder. Then he can do what ever the bloody hell he wants.

 
bobwilson
449061.  Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:55 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Seriously, If I were a Lord and some lawyer started waving around words like "Human Rights" and "Treaties" I'd probably abdicate


Surely - behead him?

 
Lukecash
449064.  Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:05 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
Quote:
Seriously, If I were a Lord and some lawyer started waving around words like "Human Rights" and "Treaties" I'd probably abdicate


Surely - behead him?


Well, you can't if you were stupid enough to sign a treaty with "human rights". Apparently law school no longer teaches about the divine rights of the monarchs and nobles.

 
bobwilson
449066.  Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:19 am Reply with quote

Here we go again. What part of the Human Rights Act prevents beheading then Luke? Do tell - I'm all ears?

And when did Sark become a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights?

But let's not let facts get in the way of some good old fashioned chauvinism

 
Lukecash
449076.  Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:16 am Reply with quote

Well, According to Suze, they have signed European Convention on Human Rights. And according to that, capital punishment is forbidden.

She is my fountain of information. I confess, very humbly, that I know nothing for certain.

In the United States at least, people who are beheaded have the tendency to stop functioning biologically. Now I've heard that the United Kingdom does things differently-such as which lane you drive your automobiles. So a beheading may not be as drastic.

But then again you have NHS, where I get to pay the highest bidder.

 
dr.bob
449109.  Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:07 am Reply with quote

bobwilson wrote:
none of which alters the fact that Sark was quite happy to continue to operate in a "non-democratic" way and that none of Sark's inhabitants appear to have raised any objections to the current system.


Where are you getting that information from, bob? Given that the residents of Sark voted in February 2006 whether or not to adopt a democracy, and the supporters of democracy won by a margin of 6%, it would appear that a majority of people who cared enough to vote prefer democracy over the previous system.

 
suze
449326.  Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:19 pm Reply with quote

Sark itself has never signed up to the ECHR, and I'd tend to agree that the Seigneur would have been reluctant to do so had the matter been left to him.

But Sark forms part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and as such it is bound by Guernsey on all matters beyond its own borders. Guernsey wasn't especially keen on the ECHR either, but the British government forced its hand and most (not all) of the protocols do apply to British colonial possessions. Among other things, that does mean that capital punishment is not allowed in Guernsey or in its dependencies such as Sark. (That being the effect of Protocols 6 and 13 of the ECHR.)

In fact, Guernsey in any case abolished capital punishment in 1965 via the Homicide (Guernsey) Law 1965 - the same year as it was abolished (initially temporarily) in England, Scotland, and Wales.


There's one thing you'll be pleased to learn though bob - the members of Sark's new parliament will be unpaid. On the other hand, there certainly will need to be a more extensive civil service than hitherto, a fact which the Seigneur has noted more than once.

 
Moosh
455299.  Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:15 pm Reply with quote

After the first election on Sark, only five of the 28 candidates elected to the Chief Pleas are seen as wanting reform.

The Barclay brothers have stormed off in a huff and taken their ball in with them.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/guernsey/7778245.stm

 
Davini994
455323.  Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:51 pm Reply with quote

Lukecash wrote:
She is my fountain of information.

I think that should be fount there Luke.*

Quote:
Given that the residents of Sark voted in February 2006 whether or not to adopt a democracy, and the supporters of democracy won by a margin of 6%,

Well of course they did. The alternative, that democracy was rejected in a vote, is clearly a logical impossibility;)

*Suze is also my fount of knowledge, so hopefully she'll be along to deny or confirm shortly.

 

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group