Barclay Brothers Storm Off Sark In A Big Huff After Losing Elections
Last week we had a look at wee little Sark, with its arcane laws regarding unspayed dogs and attempted takeovers by unemployed French nuclear physicists, and where the Barclay brothers were attempting to manoeuvre democracy into. But after Sark’s first democratic elections earlier in the week, and the end of Europe’s last fiefdom, the Barclay brothers have thrown their toys out of the cot, and had a strop so big it leaves Sark’s economy in the balance and a quarter of its workforce out of a job.
Only two out of nine of the Barclay brothers’ preferred candidates were elected into the Chief Pleas, which will be the cause of such annoyance to the Barclays, as they worked so hard to get the democratic election in the first place. In reaction to the elections not going how they wanted the Barclays are pulling out all investment in Sark, closing down all businesses immediately and stopping all building work. This leaves those jobless in a tight spot, as there is no welfare state in Sark.
But it’s their estates manager, Kevin Delaney, who’s been mouthing off in public after the Barclays’ failure. To the BBC he said Sark “have effectively written the longest commercial suicide note in human history“. And the Guernsey press reported him slamming the poll as “a cartel”. “Deals were done behind closed doors that were executed with military precision. It was block voting on a breathtaking scale of which I have never seen in my life”, he said, over-egging it just a touch. If it was an organised coup, then it certainly wasn’t on a breathtaking scale, there’s only 600 people who live on the whole island, including children.
And it’s hardly a difficult operation, when half of those people or more were heavily anti-Barclay and their helicopters in the first place. The vote was however, a bloody complicated one, where each person had to cast 28 votes, not to make up for the lack of voters, but to individually choose someone for each one of the 28 seats in the Chief Pleas.
To help their supporters, the Barclays published a newsletter with a useful list of Barclay approved candidates and anti-Barclay “feudal talibanists” and those with”‘socialist streak”, who were not to be trusted.
The Barclays leave Sark on a sharp economic downturn, and the Barclay backlash seems to have added weight to their detractors’ suspicions, that they were trying to control Sark in one way or another. The severity of the reaction seems to be over the loss of something more than the freedom to “preserve unique beauty and tranquility” on Sark.
So was it wise for Sark to go Barclayless? Members of the new government, say, in dramatic expect-a-sequel style, “The show will go on. We’ve lost one of our benefactors but we’ve got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and move forward to a shiny new democracy.” But not helicopter or cars shiny, just licensed bicycles and tractors shiny.