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Death wish for Britain.
Land of milk and money

The Fires Of Independence In Offshore Islands
See also
Channel Islands and the Isle of Man turning into aid
dependent off shore rocks with no economy: EU Draft report Tax Reform
 


Death wish for Britain.

From Dr David Baxter, in The Guernsey Press
14 September 2000

There is no way the current national uprising is only about the highest
petrol prices in the World, any more than the French Revolution was only
about the high price of bread.

Then, as now, it is all about profound discontent felt by 95% of the
population and not, much as Blair would wish it, anything remotely akin to
Scargill's miners strike.

This little sideshow was by a tiny greedy, minority who were prepared to
blackmail and ruin the whole country in order to extort more money for
themselves.  Although they were tacitly supported by Labour, Parliament
and all the people  could not let the tail wag the dog.  In a democracy
militant minorities have to be put down if necessary although wise
Governments will heed their grievances.

Like the French Revolution, however, this current situation is nothing as
trivial as the miners strike. This is, just as in France, about all the
people being lied to, cheated and sold out to foreigners with Blair and
New Labour being as arrogant, cynical and unheeding as the French
nobility.

Blair banned handguns after the Dunblane Protest, why does he not respond
to this far larger yet still legal protest as did France's Lionel Jospin
who has conceded large subsidies to his farmers, fishermen and hauliers.

Why odes he seem so happy to ruin whole sections of the national
community, these last groups being just three examples.  Is this his
revenge for Thatcher taming the Unions?  It is unlikely to be that simple
and unfortunately would appear more to do with the more malign policies,
of head, Hestletine and Clark. These, along with most of New Labour, seem
hell bent on collaborating with the new EU project even though the stated
policy of Brussels is to break up the UK and divide England into a group
of regions, at the same time ruining our farmers, fishermen, hauliers and,
perhaps imminently, the City so that their's will have less competition.

All this Blair is gleefully doing for them, the whole while telling us
with his sickly smile that he is not raising taxes and is trying to make
Britain a better place.

He has been extremely credible.  He is a consummate actor like Ronald
Reagan and able to project facial expressions and body language which is
so reassuring it hides, for a time, his sinister policies.

The people have rumbled him now and the price of petrol is merely one
thing that they can grab in both hands.  Having rumbled him, the only
query remains why Blair and his other fanatical EU supporters should
implement these EU policies like suicidal traitors with a death wish for
Britain.

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Land of milk and money
From the Gaurdian  Visit their site at
www.guardianunlimited.co.uk
Article http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,362527,00.html
Friday September 1, 2000

Jersey is known for its low taxes and trademark cows. But that might be
about to change. Which is why a leading island figure is proposing the
unthinkable - independence. Paul Kelso reports

Spruce in the late August sun, the streets of St Helier, Jersey, reflect the
island's happy combination of good beaches, fine weather and offshore
tax-haven status. Bucket-and-spade shops sit alongside the offices of
multinational banks and fund management houses; children clutching Lilos
scurry beachward past bankers in striped shirts snatching mid-morning
cigarettes on the pavement, and a blue Rolls-Royce, its roof down, sweeps
past, driven by a man with a deep tan wearing a panama hat. The lanes and
alleys of Jersey's capital make an unlikely setting for a battle over
national identity. But in this seemingly tranquil cross between Salcombe and
the Square Mile, a row is brewing, one that threatens the island's economic
and constitutional future.
Jersey is a UK dependent. It has its own legislature, judiciary and
currency, raises its own taxes and funds education, health, the police and
all other services except defence. It levies tax at 20% and guarantees that
those who wish to store vast assets in the island's banks may do so
relatively unmolested. More than 90bn is held by banks and fund managers on
Jersey, around 1bn of which goes in trade to the City of London every year.
And around 80% of the island's income and most of its jobs depend on the
financial sector.

It is a situation that has suited many islanders for many years, but the
increasing influence of the European Union on British law is for the first
time prompting some to question the relationship with the UK. Earlier this
week Paul Le Claire, a senator in the Jersey parliament, raised the prospect
of the island declaring independence over EU proposals to change Jersey's
tax status.

Le Claire, 37, asked for a referendum of the 90,000 islanders on the
question of independence, due to concern that the chancellor, Gordon Brown,
may be willing to trade Jersey's offshore status for the abandonment of
plans for a "witholding tax" against the City of London. According to Le
Claire, a former Royal Marine, the island's future is under such serious
threat that he is willing to set aside 896 years of history and sever ties
with Britain. "If the tax status changes, the lifeblood of the island would
go overnight and then who's going to look after 90,000 Jersey folk? Not
Gordon Brown. He might be happy to watch it happen but I'm not," he says.

Pierre Horsfall, Jersey's senior parliamentarian, dismisses the idea of
independence: "It is absolutely no part of government policy to break away
from the crown. We have nothing to gain by being independent," he says,
before adding by way of explanation: "Mr Le Claire is entitled to bring any
suggestion he wants before the States [Jersey's government], but he is, and
this is not meant to sound derogatory, he is a very recently elected member,
you know."

Part of Le Claire's problem - the intransigence of the island's old guard
aside - is defining what sort of independent state Jersey might become. Even
he seems confused on this point. "There are all sorts of options open to an
independent Jersey. We wouldn't necessarily fly under our own flag, and we
certainly wouldn't want to abandon loyalty to the crown," he says. But if
Jersey were to reject the UK, how could it retain loyalty to the crown?
"There is always the possibility that we could join the Commonwealth and be
like Canada. Also we could join Nafta [the North American Free Trade Area]
which Canada has done without any apparent threat to its sovereignty or its
currency," he says.

This embryonic independence movement has yet to capture the imagination of
the people of St Helier. In the town's covered market there is little
enthusiasm for the idea. Ivan Wanless, a butcher who moved to Jersey from
the mainland in 1963, is dismissive. "We would never survive," he says,
pressing minced beef into burgers. "We've no infrastructure, no industry
apart from finance and a little bit of tourism and farming. Everything we
buy is imported from England and Scotland. The islands would be empty if we
left the UK." His colleague, Ray, born and bred on the island, agrees. "No
way. We will stay with the Queen. It's just not feasible to go it alone."

Other islanders suggest that to go to such extreme measures ignores the
negative effects of the finance industry. Anxieties about the rising
population of finance workers from the mainland and abroad led to the
introduction of the undertaking regulations law, which requires anyone
wishing to hire staff from outside the island to apply for a permit, a
measure that has left the agriculture and tourism industries struggling to
find the seasonal workers they require.

House prices have leapt beyond the reach of many local people. Regulations
require residence on Jersey for 20 years before you can buy property, so the
rental market has boomed and the price of land and property for development
has rocketed at a rate that would make even a London estate agent blush. The
average price of a family home is 140,000. Per room.

(The only exception to the residency qualifications are known as "11Ks",
named after a tax bracket. 11Ks are people with taxable assets in excess of
6m buying a property worth more than 1.5m; they can move to Jersey at
once. The golfer Ian Woosnam, motor racing driver Nigel Mansell and the late
Jack Walker, steel magnate and chairman of Blackburn Rovers, all moved to
the island as 11Ks.)

Gary Hill, 33, was born in Jersey and recently returned to the island after
a spell in Australia. He works for one of the bigger banks but questions the
influence of the finance industry. "I'm not sure the presence of all this
money has done an awful lot for Jersey and its traditions and history. Of
course the standard of living is good, there are opportunities here and
people earn good money, but I think some of the uniqueness has gone," he
says.

"People are being forced out by the cost and they may not come back. I was
speaking to an artist the other day, a renowned painter here, and he said he
wanted to stay but couldn't afford a studio and a house, so he's going. That
can't be good. The environment here is also precarious. The planning
committee has no teeth and no credibility. It will take more worldly
politicians than we've got to stop the island losing the things that made it
special in the first place."

In addition, a huge bureaucracy, numerous committees, a maze of regulations
and a habit of overspending on public projects have damaged public respect
for the administration. Don Leflem is having a closing-down sale at his
video, DVD and computer games shop. He can't afford the rates and will close
at the end of the week. His is an uncertain future. "The question is, who is
Jersey going to be independent for - the bankers or Jersey people?" he asks.
"The idea is nice but it couldn't work with our politicians; they have no
maturity. There's no real vision here beyond keeping the bankers happy, no
thought of local people. It feels like feudal democracy sometimes," he says.

Independence, then, is some way off. But while Le Claire lacks both friends
in parliament and public support, he does have one formidable ally. Karen
Stevens is a fervent Eurosceptic and she is armed with a potent symbol of
the island's distinctive history, one that locals hold almost as dear as
money: the Jersey cow. It might be an unusual symbol for popular discontent,
but then not all cows have the breeding or the historical resonance of the
Jersey.

Since the late 18th century, when it became illegal to import semen from
other breeds to Jersey or for a beast that had left the island to return,
the Jersey cow's pedigree has remained unsullied, a model of bovine racial
purity. To many this may be no more than an agricultural oddity, but to
Stevens, coordinator of a fledgling action group dedicated to saving the
shapely milkers (slogan: Stuff the EU, drink Jersey milk), it is a matter of
vital importance. It seems that the Jersey is under threat from Brussels,
and with the UK government apparently apathetic about the fate of the native
cow of its largest dependency, Stevens intends to act.

For 10 years the importation of "foreign" milk to Jersey has been prevented
under a derogation order granted by the European commission in 1990.
Recently, however, it emerged that an error in processing the order rendered
it illegal and the granting of a further order unlikely, raising the
prospect of imported semi-skimmed flooding into the island and selling at
half the price of Jersey milk.

"It's an appalling prospect," says Stevens, at her campaign headquarters in
St Saviour. She is a woman who clearly relishes a battle. Opposite a
poster-sized portrait of Margaret Thatcher, hangs a picture of Winston
Churchill ("I sat on his knee as a child") and between the two is a
watercolour of HMS Kelly, Lord Mountbatten's frigate, and another of a
Spitfire dogfighting with a Messerschmitt, signed by Douglas Bader. "We need
around 4,000 cows on the island to keep the breed pure, and there are around
4,500 at the moment. If that dropped because of cheap milk imports the
farmers would go out of business, the countryside wouldn't be managed and
all that heritage would be lost," she says.

Farmers support the campaign. One, Peter Lee, plans to march on St Helier,
herd in tow, to rally public support. Le Claire can be relied upon to milk
the occasion for all it is worth.

Jersey: a brief guide

Location: 10 miles across, five miles long, Jersey is the biggest of the
Channel Islands and lies 12 miles west of the coast of France. It supports a
population of just under 90,000, one third of whom live in the capital, St
Helier, named after a Frankish missionary martyred there in 555.

History: The Battle of Jersey took place on January 7 1781 when French
soldiers invaded the island. They were defeated in a short, bloody battle
outside the Royal Court. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Jersey was rife
with feuding, smuggling and privateering. Along with the rest of the Channel
Islands, Jersey was the only part of Britain invaded by Germany in the
second world war.

Economy: Finance, agriculture and tourism.

Famous for: Jersey Royal potatoes, cows, knitted jumpers, horticulture,
Bergerac (the television detective series which starred John Nettles).

Celebrities: Ian Woosnam, Alan Whicker, Jack Higgins, Gilbert O'Sullivan,
Graeme Le Saux.

Reasons to visit:

* Jersey Zoo, founded in 1959 by the author Gerald Durrell and specialising
in endangered species such as spectacled bears, Mayotte brown lemurs and
Rodrigues fruit bats.

* Its beaches have been voted cleanest in Europe.

Laura Barton



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The Fires Of Independence In Offshore Islands
Isle Of Man Examiner business section 10th July 2000

The UK Government has been accused of letting the Isle of Man and the Channel
Islands down by siding with critics of the offshore jurisdictions who brand
the islands as tax havens.

The attack has come from the Conservative MP for Wokingham, John Redwood, a
member of the Tory Campaign unit set up to highlight perceived weaknesses
in the performance of the Labour Government.

Mr Redwood, who visited the Isle of Man last year, says 'the offshore
dependencies have proved that low taxes created more business, jobs and
prosperity, while leaving sufficient funds for adequate public services.

His comments come in the wake of a call from outspoken Jersey Senator Paul Le
Claire for the establishment of a small islands federation in order for the
governments of Jersey Guernsey and the Isle of Man to move towards greater
independence.

Mr Le Claire, who claims to have widespread popular support in Jersey, called
on the executives of the island administrations to be more open with the
people. 'I'm concerned that the full picture is not filtering down to the
people, or indeed the majority of elected representatives, he told the
Business News.

He added 'The time for playing tea parties with the British is over. They must
treat us with dignity and respect.'

Mr Le Claire said the Labour Government was not representing the islands'
interests in Europe as it was obliged to do.

Meanwhile the staunchly conservative anti-European pressure group 'Channel
Islands Watchdog' has also criticised Labour's representation of the islands.
Spokesman Richard O'Riordan told Business News 'I have had assurances from two
Shadow cabinet ministers that if they were in office the pressures the islands
have sustained would not have happened as they are the party that truly
represents business, so please, this is an appeal to any sates members - do
not go down the route of subservient appeasement, start to defend the islands
on behalf of the people who recently elected you before it is too late'....




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