Thursday, March 09, 2006

Welcome to the 21st Century

The tiny island of Sark, in the English Channel, has decided to exchange feudalism for democracy.

After around 450 years of rule almost exclusively by landowners, the smallest independent state in the British commonwealth will allow each of the 600 residents to stand for election.

(snip)

Since around 1565, 40 heads of the island's farm owning families have raised taxes and decided on matters of law, part of an independence agreement brokered with Queen Elizabeth, after the English seized control of the island from France.

In 1920, 12 non-landowning deputies were appointed, voted for by all islanders over 18 -- the last concession made to democratic government.

I bet you didn't know there was an independent nation in the English Channel, much less a feudal one.

Still, the feudalism couldn't have been too bad. There were 40 landowners and 12 deputies overseeing an island of 600 people. That works out to one government official for every 12 people. Now *that's* representation!

The new system will cut that down to 28 officials, so representation will get diluted -- one representative for every 22 people. It still probably won't be too difficult to get an appointment with your elected legislator, though....

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