It would have been nice if we'd been told about election observer

SARK’S general election next week is to be formally observed to ensure that it complies with international best practice.

Pictured at Monday’s Sark survey public meeting with temporary chief secretary Colin Kniveton and Cathryn Hannah from the Ministry of Justice is Conseiller Steve Taylor (left).
Pictured at Monday’s Sark survey public meeting with temporary chief secretary Colin Kniveton and Cathryn Hannah from the Ministry of Justice is Conseiller Steve Taylor (left).

SARK’S general election next week is to be formally observed to ensure that it complies with international best practice.

To this stubborn Channel Islander, who is becoming increasingly disturbed by the number of people being parachuted into Sark, this is another way of saying that Lord McNally at the Ministry of Justice is anticipating flak from certain quarters and this is his way of deflecting it.

In a press release issued on Wednesday morning to the Channel Islands media but, significantly, not directly to the people of Sark, it was announced that Sir Norman Browse, former president of Alderney, will be the official observer.

It is perhaps ironic that less than 48 hours earlier more than 100 Sark residents heard from another parachutist – Cathryn Hannah from the Ministry of Justice – that one of the issues emerging from an island-wide survey was a call for ‘better communication and openness when (the government is) dealing with the population’.

Surely that meeting itself was a heaven-sent opportunity to tell a significant number of Sark residents that the island’s ability to run free and fair public elections – something it has done successfully for close to a century – was being subjected to external scrutiny. Equally, this should have been followed immediately by a letter to everyone on the electoral roll.

In a community this small and close-knit, telling the media before those directly affected by such a move is discourteous, to say the least.

I have voted at every opportunity I have been given since 1962, including several here in Sark. While here, I have never seen, heard of or been given the slightest reason to believe that Sark’s public elections are anything but properly run. Indeed, so open is the count that the public is able to keep a running total of votes cast for particular candidates because those votes are called out from every ballot paper.

Four years ago, the whole election was observed independently by the world’s media. Their accounts of the first fully democratic election and its aftermath centred on the island’s biggest employer throwing toys out of the pram rather than any single mention of election impropriety.

Lord McNally appears to ignore that inconvenient truth and instead bows to anticipated criticism. I can only hope that it is his taxes which are paying for Sir Norman’s visit to Sark rather than mine.

All that said, I remain hopeful – despite online criticism, some from people who can’t or don’t read – that the election will be determined on issues rather than personalities and that as great a percentage of the electorate as possible turn out to vote. All 22 candidates deserve nothing less, as well as our thanks.


SARK Chamber of Commerce president Bob Parsons has appealed for funds to continue the tradition of Christmas lights in The Avenue. This year’s display will be switched on by Miss Sark Princess Yasmin Williams at 5.30 on Wednesday evening – directly after Sark’s School’s nativity at the Methodist Chapel – but cash is urgently required to ensure that there will be a display next year.

Sark Electricity staff have been busy putting up the lights this week and no doubt their efforts will be rewarded with a display well up to the usual standard.


LAST week saw an unusual arrival at Creux Harbour when fisherman Jon Shuker and crew member Steve Taylor brought ashore a porbeagle shark which had become caught in their nets just off Grande Greve on Sark’s west coast.

Unfortunately, although it was alive when netted, the shark died before they could release it back into the sea but I am told that its flesh made a tasty and welcome addition to a number of Sark plates.

As I write, my Cable & Wireless landline is out of action and has been for hours. They have said it may take three to five days to fix. There was a time when we used to have a resident engineer. Happy days.

Comments for: "It would have been nice if we'd been told about election observer"


Whats wrong with an independant observer to the election apart from the fact you dont want one there Mr Falla?

Never Mind The Ballots

I believe that Mr Falla gave his reasons in the above article, namely the unnecessary expense on the Sark tax payer, that the ballot count has always been fully open to public scrutiny and that since the first democratic elections were held on Sark in 1922 there has never been (to my knowledge) any claims of vote rigging. Lord McNally has pandered to the loudest bully in the playground who cries foul when he loses.


The westminster hypocrisy continues unabated. Who observed Lord McNally (a consummate Westminister hack if ever there was - first Labour then LibDem - then HoL) being elected?


Some of the comments here and "elsewhere" suggest that if CP ever was to be able to go full bore at the astonishing circumstances, contradiction and sheer hypocrisy that has bee thrust on the island by Westminster-pensioned jobsworths, then we would have a pretty rip-roaring debate, with some unpleasant and unanswerable questions posed of all involved.

It's too bad the present island siege is forcing most of the more erudite folks to keep their heads down, and just take the occasional shot at the nonsense from a safe distance.


Well said Phil. Sark has absolutely nothing to hide. This clever dickie, PC divine intervention initiative has been handed down from on high, from our good Lord at the MoJ in London. Very much a case of dabbling and interference from outside the independent jurisdiction of Sark. It also pampers to the whims of that other popular ministry; of misinformation.

The Sark electorate and Conseillers feel rightly & deeply aggrieved over the issue. Infact one Conseiller has already resigned.

Sark needs to retain it's right to self determination.


What's Mr Falle complaining about?

This is the twenty first century, even on Sark. Nothing strikes fear into supporters of democracy more than to hear complaints against the scrutiny of governments, particularly around election time. I am racking my brain to think when I last heard a journo complain because a government was receiving too much attention from the outside world.

One thing can be said about this guy, John Pilger he ain’t!


Phil's only complaining that Sark was not advised that a scrutineer was being appointed, not that there was one.


It seems Lord McNally's memory fades easily, and he has failed to note that all previous Sark Elections have been carried out with impeccable propriety.

Now then, on what basis were you "elected", Lord McNally? Your party is only speciously represented in UK government on the basis of an extreme minority of the UK vote.

The sight of this motley gang of Westminster chancers making it up as they go along - commissioning reports here, parachuting in jobsworths there, is far beyond a joke.

But this is what the current bonkers concept of "democracy" seems to be all about: give power to the unelected minority - while the long suffering majority picks up tab, after tab, after tab...



Eco-Christmas lights suggestion...

If the SEM viticulture wizards had got the GM sequencing right, they could probably have bred some luminous grapes by inserting genes from a glow-worm.

(Now there's a business idea for you, Mr Delaney!)


What a terrific idea.

We should grow our own cats-eyes!


The growing suggestion that the UK is contemplating "legalising" cannabis opens up an interesting opportunity for "secure" agriculture.

Medicinal Opiates are of course also needed globally, and there can be few more "secure" places to grow them. Reg would probably be funded and encouraged to install a SAM battery to keep all aircraft away.

But does the climate work? If it does, we might all be less inclined to give a stuff for the SEM and its shenanigans... man...

the man

..yeah, the climate works!! ;-)


Phil: are you sure that was porbeagle shark - and not a lawyer on his/her way to Brecqhou that fell overboard?


Well, if all lawyers tasted that good - and news got out - I suspect there would not be quite such a surplus of the blighters.

it could be

perhaps the observers just wanted a jolly to somewhere nice, I would love to be paid to go and hang out in Sark for a few days!!! why did no-one call me!!


Absolutely - who is going to observe the observers? Big Brother in the UK government is trying to turn the screw ever tighter with new laws enabling privacy invasion, in the name of "counter terrorism".

Remind us, exactly how many people worldwide have been affected by the sort of "terrorism" that snooping on EVERYONE's email might help curtail?

It's more likely the Eton clowns have looked in their crystal balls (the only sort they have got) and have seen the civil unrest that a generation of austerity will lead to, and are getting their "population monitoring" tools in position.