July 12, 2007

NO ONE EVER LEAVES WELL ENOUGH ALONE:

Democratic revolution: Sark may pay a price for losing its feudal exceptionalism (The Economist, 7/11/07)

Two campaigners for reform are Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, twin tycoons who live part-time on Brecqhou, a nearby tiny island over which Sark claims overlordship. The Barclays, who bought Brecqhou in 1993 and have built a neogothic castle there, have repeatedly used the European Convention on Human Rights to challenge Sark's feudal ways. [...]

Yet upholding human rights is an expensive business. The island's two volunteer constables now need a paid assistant to keep track of charge sheets and to ensure that overnight guests in the island's cells are properly monitored. Taxes were once set by a committee that guessed what each person owed. “Tax law used to take up half a page; now it's a book,” laments Michael Beaumont, the seigneur. He remembers when the meetings of Chief Pleas wound up in time for lunch. Now each of its sessions lasts two days. It, too, has begun employing an administrator.

The shock of the new is placing a heavy burden on an island that cannot afford a full civil service. It may one day have to throw itself upon Guernsey, its much larger neighbour—and in so doing, lose its right to set taxes, which are currently rock bottom. Sark's democratic revolution sounds good in principle but it may cost the island its independence.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 12, 2007 7:38 PM
Comments

In the Western US, the process is known as "Californication". This just shows that it's an international phenomena: people will move to an area and then immediately set about making their paradise an exact copy of the place(s) from which they escaped.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 12, 2007 10:34 PM

Raoul:

Because, of course, they were the reason it was that way in the first place; they are fleeing the consequences of their own actions.

But what does that say of immigration? Is it harmful, or should we merely be careful not to attract the elite, contrary to popular thought about how we should select?

Posted by: Mike Earl at July 13, 2007 10:10 AM

Intellectualism is incompatible with Americanism.

Posted by: oj at July 13, 2007 11:12 AM
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