Europe’s Last Feudal State Mixes It Up

It’s been just over four months since residents of the Channel Island of Sark voted for a new political system, in large part in order to bring the island’s system of governance in line with European Human Rights laws.

Located just east of the better-known (and much more populous) Guernsey, Sark has been ruled for 400 years by a Seigneur appointed by the British monarch. In October 2006, Sark’s islanders voted to overturn this system of rule, and the Seigneur’s powers will henceforth be exercised by 28 elected conseillers.

However, Sark’s feudalistas won’t give up without a fight.

According to a news report from the island, the Chief Pleas (the existing government) has “decided to appoint another committee to discuss the validity of the opinion polls.” The upshot? “The draft law could not go for Royal Assent and seven years of work was ignored.”

Perhaps Tony Blair should force democracy on Sark in his final months as Prime Minister.

About the author

Alex Robertson Textor
About the author: Bitten by the travel bug at 11, Alex Robertson Textor has fond childhood memories of ultracheap Spanish hotels (the kind with Styrofoam shelving) and supermarket lunches scarfed on park benches. Formerly an academic, Alex has spent the last several years redirecting his professional life into full-time travel journalism and editing. He has published articles in the New York Times, Guardian Unlimited, Condé Nast Traveler, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, among other publications.
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