Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Those Barclay Scaramangas!

On a recent cruise around the Channel Islands I was amazed to see a local fisherman chug past in his motor boat making insulting hand gestures at various security cameras staring out from the Brecqhou coastline. My guide explained wearily: “The Barclays are not too popular around here”.

He means billionaires Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay who own the Telegraph and Spectator among many other things - including the Brecqhou island. Apparently their grandly gothic, honey-coloured castle home – Fort Brecqhou, no less – is the object of some mirth. But their power battles over tax/water/whatever with the hereditary ruler of nearby tax-free Sark, The Seigneur (who has dominion over Brecqhou), is a comedy perhaps only Peter Sellers could have done justice to. The twins are presently petitioning the Queen to terminate The Seigneur’s pesky reign over them and his feudal set-up – maybe because they want to start up their own sovereign feudal state (population: 20).

A glance at something called the This Is Guernsey Forum indicates the ill-feeling felt by many Channel Islanders towards the twin Scaramangas (Scaramanga, you may recall, was the sophisticated resident of his own island, played by the incomparably vain Christopher Lee, in The Man With The Golden Gun - the Barclays, I hasten to add, are not assassins). But back to the Guernsey Forum posts ... :

The Rev LGH Craske rages at their “monstrous mock castle covering the whole of a tiny island built to accord with some feudal and mythical lineage known only to [themselves], the battlements and accessibility of which are best understood in a world of Ali Baba and his flying carpets or that of Gulliver upon his travels.”

A James Marr brutally denounces the Barclay Brothers as “despicable” and demands that “they should be ostracised by every inhabitant of the Bailiwick.” He relates: “Even the Germans treated the Seigneur's grandmother with respect and if these domineering browbeaters and despoilers of Sark's heritage cannot be withstood, they can at any rate be treated with the contempt which they deserve.”

Felicity Belfield asks: “When the Barclay Brothers bought Brecqhou in 1993 they knew exactly what Sark's constitution was, so if they did not like it, why did they go ahead and buy the island? They were already based in the tax haven of Monaco. Could Sir David and Sir Frederick please tell me what they actually like about their small rocky outcrop, where they have no fresh water supply, no indigenous trees, no beach and very few friends?”

Ominously June and Brian Prout warn: “To use one's wealth to force other and powerless people to toe your line has a very unpleasant name ... and wars have been, and are being, fought over such things.”

Indeed. But every Scaramanga has his (or their) Nick Nack (or servant, should you not be familiar with Bond movies). A Barclays employee, Mark Harrison, points out that the brothers have spent a fortune beefing up the Islands’ emergency services with an ambulance ship and helicopter.

“Separately,” he adds, “some £3.2m has directly entered Sark's coffers by way of our charter of vessels belonging to the Isle of Sark Shipping Company. A substantial donation has been made to Sark's community school, allowing its completion. Funds have been allocated to many other charities and, indeed, to individuals who are in need within all the Channel Islands.”

The seigneurial knights are known to be litigious and are currently prosecuting the Times editor for criminal libel in the French courts. It is a wonder that they have not slapped libel writs on the 500-odd inhabitants of Sark.


Mary said...

The guy with the massive cock on your rogues gallery to the left looks like a young Leonardo di Caprio. Can't take my eyes off it.

Anonymous said...

It's huge but it could be mocked up, I'm not sure. The Barclay Brothers look like they've got tiny dicks.

Anonymous said...

The cock pic is supposed to be Pete from Big Brother - I'm sure it's fake.

Anonymous said...

1)your a twat

2)Who are you

3) no one cares about any of you three opinions.

Arcati said...

Well, certainly no one could give a toss what you think, you illiterate piece of shit.