January 20, 2008


A Revolution Not Televised (Eben Harrell, 1/17/08, TIME)

The factor motivating the Chief Pleas grudging change was not the democratic fervor of the islanders, but pressure from European institutions such as the Court of Human Rights. After protracted debate, it had decided last year to add more elected seats to the legislature, but defiantly insisted that a certain number would still be reserved for landowners.

In a dramatic intervention last week, the British Lord Chancellor Jack Straw sent a letter to Sark demanding it move to full democracy, calling the proposed compromise "not in any way consistent with modern democratic principles." Although strictly independent, Sark is a dependent of the English monarchy, and its laws therefore require approval by the British government.

A recent poll suggests the ordinary folk of Sark — farmers, mostly — will not be celebrating Wednesday's vote: Only 56 per cent of Sarkese backed a move to full democracy, and many did so more in recognition of its inevitability than because of deeply-held beliefs.

Just declare independence and tell the statists to get stuffed.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 20, 2008 6:17 AM
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