Island Parish broadcast to depict reality

THE BBC2 Island Parish series promises some rare and welcome positive publicity for Sark.

Some of the Sarkees who will appear in An Island Parish. Left to right Bas Adams, Karen Le Mouton, Reverend Gill Nicholls, Julie Jackson, David Scott, Kevin Adams (Picture by Sue Daly. (C) Tiger Aspect)
Some of the Sarkees who will appear in An Island Parish. Left to right Bas Adams, Karen Le Mouton, Reverend Gill Nicholls, Julie Jackson, David Scott, Kevin Adams (Picture by Sue Daly. (C) Tiger Aspect)

THE BBC2 Island Parish series promises some rare and welcome positive publicity for Sark.

The series principally features Anglican minister the Rev. Gill Nicholls, who left last month after a year at St Peter’s Church, and Methodist lay pastor Karen Le Mouton – and I’m told both were scheduled to appear on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning.

Last night’s programme was shown on the big screen at the Island Hall where the Carnival Committee was holding its annual cheque presentation night – an event arranged before the Island Parish programme schedule was made known.

The series will, I am sure, depict Sark in a manner which is light years removed from some recent comments, which painted a portrait of an island totally unrecognisable to many who actually live here.

On that subject, I find it strange that there remain people – even living in Guernsey – who think that Sark is somehow part of or even beholden in some respects to Guernsey.

One such commentator recently suggested that Sark be ‘cut adrift’ by Guernsey and left to fend for itself financially – something which, as was swiftly pointed out, it has done for almost 450 years.

It gets precious little from Guernsey and pays (sometimes through the nose) for services that island provides. As I pointed out when Sark was accused several years ago of being a parasite for getting its legislation drafted by the Law Officers, virtually everything used or consumed in Sark comes through Guernsey and thus provides profits for Guernsey businesses and tax income for its exchequer.

The larger island does nicely out of its smaller sister and gives little or nothing in return, other than patronising and often sanctimonious criticism that is frequently so ill-informed as to beggar belief.


There can’t be many places where almost 15% of the adult population will turn out in filthy weather in the middle of November to listen to a civil servant bang on about his job for an hour and a half.

That’s what happened here earlier this week when Sark’s Chamber of Commerce and La Societe Sercquaise joined forces to invite temporary Chief Secretary Colin Kniveton to a forum so that he could talk about his work as director of the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development.

Two things will stick in my mind about Colin’s talk and audience reaction. The first is his emphasis on the Isle of Man’s superb ‘we can – can do’ ethos or philosophy and how the government links with the private sector to the mutual benefit of both.

The second is the telling comment of audience member Conseiller Chris Nightingale who said, in effect, that Sark’s biggest problem is that it suffers from a lack of confidence. To an extent there is little wonder, given how anyone who dares to open his or her mouth will, depending upon the point of view expressed, become a target for personal vilification.

As to the ‘we can – can do’ ethos, Sark’s 28 conseillers could do a lot worse than examine how they and the committees on which they serve can adopt such a refreshing approach. Having just seen the list of more than 40 definitions of the Road Traffic Committee’s tractor licensing code, I am minded to suggest a fortnight in the Isle of Man would do this committee the world of good.

Sark used to be run on a bit of a wing and a prayer and an abundance of common sense. The common sense aspect seems to have been tossed to one side in favour of a barrel of bureaucratic nonsense that will inhibit rather than enhance Sark’s commercial activity.

I can feel the brickbats coming already, from one quarter or another.

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Comments for: "Island Parish broadcast to depict reality"


Good newsletter Sark

Sorry I missed Friday night's BBC2 broadcast. As usual had a snooze & was all over by time I came to!

No worries no doubt can do a catch up

guern abroad

Good read.

The common sense comment can be applied everywhere, it is I feel often lacking from the bottom to the top.


On iPlayer...

Oh, well played sir! This is the very Best of Falle. Colin Kniveton could do far worse that suggest replacing the SNL with a "proper" island newspaper edited by Phil if he wants to "fix the basics".

There is so much common sense in this week's Falle report that it should be reproduced and sent to Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon; Lord President of the Privy Council, The Rt. Hon. Nick Clegg

etc etc etc.

John S

The point about a "proper island newspaper" is fundamental. A community dealing with radical change needs reliable, trusted and robustly honest channels of communication in order to neutralise the misinformation, malice and invective that otherwise takes charge.

The SNL has been allowed to get away with crude tactics from the Goebbles' handbook of propaganda - not least hiding in plain sight - by accusing the "other side" of the very things that the SEM/SNL do as a matter of course.

The way the SNL "greeted" Colin Kniveton with a thinly veiled invitation to do what the SNL/SEM proposed in all things if he wanted to count Sark as a triumph on his CV, was remarkably unsubtle, even by their standards.

It is difficult to see how any sort of reconciliation can begin as long as the SNL is used to distract, victimise and harass anyone of any contradictory viewpoint.

So yes, let's have Phil (and Ebeneezer!) in charge of a proper weekly Island newspaper, please. The Scribe is a worthy monthly, but by avoiding controversy and a full online presence it simply cannot reach and inform all those many thousands who are now following the unfolding of the ever fascinating Sark Saga.

Dave Jones

The mistake you make is by believing for a nano second that the Sark Newsletter is some sort of serious weekly news journal.

It is a propergander sheet that is poorly written by an ex chippy who can't get his own way.

SEM wanted democracy in Sark provided it was their sort of democracy, if they had wanted a workable relationship with Chief Pleas and the people of Sark they might have started by not telling the people who and who they should not vote for.

They might also have decided not to wheel out their retained lawyers on every occasion, warning that it is unwise to ignor the benevolence of the Barclay family and the closing down of the bussineses after one election shows you what we can do if you don't

heed the warnings.

They might try not sending ther pet lawyer to every meeting of Chief Pleas, an account of which is then sent hot foot to the SNL for publication of their version of what took place.

Give this tacky little rag no credibility whatsoever, it will cease one day and Delaney will be gone. Elect those who you want to govern you and do not be browbeaten by SEM or it's agents.

Sark has survived for hundreds of years before the Barclays and their hired lacky's arrived and it will continue to do so in the future

The Sark people are a resilient bunch and they will come through this period of social unrest stronger for it.

guern abroad

The unfortunate reality is that there is money enabling the printed propaganda to keep spewing out.

I use the word spewing as it conjures up an image of bile and mess which as an outsider would seem an approproriate way to describe how I imagine the contents.


Phil earns his keep this week.

"Sark used to be run on a bit of a wing and a prayer and an abundance of common sense."

Enforcing the dishonest concept of Western "democracy" that is bought and controlled by money, is a mixed blessing, and has done as much mischief to the world in the last 50 years, as religious bigotry managed in the previous 500 years.

Sark can just about still set an example - if it is allowed.