Author Topic: Europe's Last True Feudal State Calls it Quits  (Read 1129 times)

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_JS

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Europe's Last True Feudal State Calls it Quits
« on: April 14, 2008, 05:48:19 PM »
Sark agrees switch to democracy

Politicians in the Channel Island of Sark have agreed to end the island's feudal system of government which has been in place for the past 450 years.



Governing body, the Chief Pleas, has approved new reform laws which will lead to the introduction of a 28-member elected chamber.

Elections under the new constitution will be held in December.

Sark, 80 miles off the south coast, had been governed by a mix of landowners and elected people's deputies.

'Great relief'

There was pressure on Sark to reform its feudal constitution to comply with the European Human Rights laws and other international obligations.

Owners of the island's 40 tenements (divisions of land) currently have an automatic seat in the Chief Pleas, and islanders chose 12 people's deputies.

The first new assembly of Chief Pleas will take place in January next year.

Deputy Paul Armorgie said: "It's a great relief.

"We have been trying to achieve this for 10 years and now a line has been drawn.

"Sark is finally moving from feudalism to democracy."


Quote
In its day, Sark had a very democratic system. The settlers ran the island
Seneshal Lt Col Reg Guille 


Sark, which is only 3 miles (4.8km) long and 1.5 miles (2.4k) wide, has a resident population of about 600.
Its government can directly trace its roots back to Queen Elizabeth I, who once granted the ruling "Seigner" a fief on the tiny Channel Island.

The unelected descendents of 40 families brought in to colonise Sark, after the French abandoned it in 1553, have governed life on the island ever since.

But its feudal system of government started coming under pressure in 2000 in the light of human rights laws.

Two proposals for reform were rejected in 2005 and 2007 until Thursday night's historic agreement.

Mr Armogie said: "Ten years ago the mood on the island was that no change was wanted.

"But Sark had to face up to its international obligations and it became clear that Sark had to move on."

"It is the passing of an era."

'Very successful'

Seneshal Lt Col Reg Guille, who acts as a presiding officer of the Chief Pleas, said the original settlers of the island would be "horrified" at the change.

He said: "The system of government has proven for our small community to be a very successful way to manage our own affairs.

"They (the original settlers) would not understand our modern democracy.

"In its day, Sark had a very democratic system. The settlers ran the island."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "Sark is seeking to reform its feudal constitution in order to make it comply with the European Convention on Human Rights and other international obligations.

"The UK is responsible for ensuring that Sark's constitution meets those requirements and the UK is vulnerable to challenge if it does not."


Also...

Sark democracy plans are approved

The UK Privy Council has approved proposed changes to the governing body of a Channel Island which still operates a feudal system of government.



Sark's ruling body, the Chief Pleas, breaches the European Convention of Human Rights because landowners have got a seat automatically for 450 years.

The Chief Pleas had already approved new reforms for an elected chamber.

A lawyer for millionaires Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, who own nearby Brecqhou island, said they will appeal.

Advocate Gordon Dawes said the approval will be disputed in the High Court in London as the reforms do not address the role of the seigneur and seneschal.

The seigneur is the head of the Chief Pleas and retains feudal rights and the seneschal is president of the Chief Pleas and head of the judiciary.

The Barclay brothers say their roles are incompatible with the reforms.

But Sark's Seneschal, Reg Guille, said the decision to change the system of government reflected the wishes of most of the island's people.

'Huge changes'

Sark has been governed by a mix of landowners and elected people's deputies since the 1600s.

Owners of the island's 40 tenements (divisions of land) currently have an automatic seat in the Chief Pleas, with islanders choosing 12 deputies.

They will be replaced by the new 28-member chamber, which was approved following a referendum for islanders voting for democracy.

The Privy Council's approval enables Sark's judiciary and parliament to be significantly modernised.

Quote
We just like to get on with life away from the public eye
Lt Col Reginald Guille, Seneschal of Sark 


A spokeswoman for the Privy Council said: "The meeting has concluded and the Sark laws have been approved."

The move comes following pressure on Sark to change its feudal system to comply with European human rights laws and other international obligations.

The presiding officer of the Chief Pleas, Lt Col Reginald Guille, the Seneschal of Sark, said the changes would help bring the island's judiciary and government in line with the 21st Century.

He said: "These moves are intended to be a step away from a feudalist system, but at the same time still keeping some aspects of that system in place.

"It will see huge changes to our judiciary and government, making both more modern."

'Close-knit community'

The self-sufficient, car-free island is just 3 miles (4.8km) long and 1.5 miles (2.4km) wide and has a resident population of about 600.

The only forms of transport permitted are horse-drawn vehicles, bicycles, tractors and battery-powered buggies.

Lt Col Guille described life on the island as "idyllic", saying: "It's a very quiet and peaceful place.

"We are a self-sufficient, close-knit little community and we just like to get on with life away from the public eye."

The government there can directly trace its roots back to Queen Elizabeth I, who once granted the ruling "Seigner" a fief on the tiny Channel Island.

The unelected descendents of 40 families brought in to colonise Sark, after the French abandoned it in 1553, have governed life on the island ever since.

But its feudal system of government started coming under pressure in 2000 in the light of human rights laws.

Two proposals for reform were rejected in 2005 and 2007 until the island's historic referendum.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/guernsey/7339172.stm

Published: 2008/04/09 18:33:56 GMT
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Europe's Last True Feudal State Calls it Quits
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2008, 06:31:05 PM »
What most people knew about Sark until recent times was that the ship Cutty Sark was at one time the recordholder for a transatlantic crossing. Then a popular brand of Scotch Whiskey was named for the ship. I recall it had a yellow label and was not made anywhere near Sark.

During WWII, the Nazis took over all the Channel Islands, and may have carted several Jewish servants off to Auschwitz.

"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

_JS

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Re: Europe's Last True Feudal State Calls it Quits
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2008, 06:42:24 PM »
What most people knew about Sark until recent times was that the ship Cutty Sark was at one time the recordholder for a transatlantic crossing. Then a popular brand of Scotch Whiskey was named for the ship. I recall it had a yellow label and was not made anywhere near Sark.

During WWII, the Nazis took over all the Channel Islands, and may have carted several Jewish servants off to Auschwitz.



Indeed. Also, the complicitness (is that a word?) of many of the wealthy individuals on the Channel Islands with the Nazi occupiers remains a grim and cloudy subject in the history of those islands. There are quite a few records and accounts that indicate that many of the landed aristocracy and wealthy families of the Channel Islands supported Fascism and were more than willing to aid the Nazis. A friend of mine won a seat on Guernsey's Council and researches that time period as a hobby. he has looked into many of those families (including his own) and uncovered some interesting stuff.
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Universe Prince

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Re: Europe's Last True Feudal State Calls it Quits
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2008, 06:50:33 PM »

complicitness (is that a word?)


I think the word you're looking for is complicity.
Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever.
--Hieronymus Karl Frederick Baron von Munchausen ("The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" [1988])--

_JS

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Re: Europe's Last True Feudal State Calls it Quits
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2008, 06:56:25 PM »

complicitness (is that a word?)


I think the word you're looking for is complicity.

LOL

Thanks Prince. I'm off my game today.
I smell something burning, hope it's just my brains.
They're only dropping peppermints and daisy-chains
   So stuff my nose with garlic
   Coat my eyes with butter
   Fill my ears with silver
   Stick my legs in plaster
   Tell me lies about Vietnam.

Plane

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Re: Europe's Last True Feudal State Calls it Quits
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2008, 01:31:44 AM »
http://www.robertburns.org.uk/Assets/Poems_Songs/tamoshanter.htm


Cutty Sark was a Whitch.The name describes her dress.

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Europe's Last True Feudal State Calls it Quits
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2008, 01:38:49 PM »
The Cutty Sark the Whiskey was named for was a Cutty (clipper ship) named after the Isle of Sark.

There was/is a picture of the ship on the label.

Perhaps there was a witch known by that name, but the whiskey took its name from the ship.
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

Amianthus

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Re: Europe's Last True Feudal State Calls it Quits
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2008, 01:44:55 PM »
The Cutty Sark the Whiskey was named for was a Cutty (clipper ship) named after the Isle of Sark.

Quote
The ship is named after the cutty sark (Scots: a short chemise or undergarment). This was the nickname of the fictional character Nannie (also the name of the ship's figurehead) in Robert Burns' 1791 comic poem Tam o' Shanter. She was wearing a linen cutty sark that she had been given as a child, therefore it was far too small for her. The erotic sight of her dancing in such a short undergarment caused Tam to cry out "Weel done, Cutty-sark", which subsequently became a well known idiom.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutty_Sark
Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. (Benjamin Franklin)

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Europe's Last True Feudal State Calls it Quits
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2008, 04:01:27 PM »
Okay, you are right. Apparently the Island's name is from French and is unrelated to the Scottish word.

I can't remember who told me that the Cutty Sark was named after the island, but it was a long time ago.

.
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."