Friday, December 12, 2008

An appalling act

I am, broadly speaking, in favour of successful people. Therefore I was, broadly speaking, minded to support the Barclay Brothers when they acquired TMG.

However, a couple of things have happened which have changed my mind. First, and least, they seem determined on spoiling the Telegraph. Fair enough. It is their business, and if they want to sack all their best writers and move the editorial line in a mad jig between Heffer-esque fogeyism and economically illiterate Brown-backing then fine - I will read something else (as I increasingly do), but it does mean I think less of them.

Their second act is more serious - to whit their absolutely appalling behaviour with regard to Sark. Things on Sark seemed to be running OK with their exotic feudal system and my view is, broadly speaking, if it aint broke don't fiddle with it; however the Barclay Brothers seemed to have a burning love of democracy and pumped cash and time into driving forward an election. Bully for them, and well done for tearing up another interesting and different system for the greater good of something I am not sure what.

When the democratic vote came through, the result wasn't to the liking of this reclusive duo. That is what happens in a democracy, I know, as I live in England and cannot stand my democratically elected government. Not for the Barclays, who have now decided to withdraw their investment and shut - not sell - their investments and throw 20% of the Island out of work - for all the world like spoiled children: do as we demand or we remove your ability to earn a living or pay for a home, an act more feudal than anything that used to take place on Sark.

This is bullying of the highest order - and this aggression cannot be allowed to stand. It must be stamped on, and hard and the Barclay brothers taught that you cannot wreck lives and economies because people don't do as you please.

First, the new parliament should pass a law allowing the Seneschal the right to seize the assets of the Barclays and operate them effectively in trust, collecting and holding rent and proceeds on behalf of the Barclays (so that property rights are maintained whilst stopping this attempt to hold Sark to ransom);

Second, there should be a general boycott of the businesses owned by the brothers in the UK (in the Telegraphs case this would simply accelerate an inevitable trend);

Third, the Queen should revoke their Knighthoods;

Action must be taken, for as it says in The Big Lebowski, this aggression cannot stand, man.

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