Saturday, March 28, 2009
Jersey and Guernsey Contemplating UDI?
Devolution in the UK might have been introduced in a rather cackhanded way-why didn't anyone think though the West Lothian Question for example?- but it has provided a precedent and template for other bits of the UK who might wish to delcare UDI. We know Mebyon Kernow thinks Cornwall should be independent and there are occasionally murmurs of a parliament for Yorkshire, though no other part of the UK has seriously suggested it might want to hive off on its own.
So that's why I was fascinated by the article by Martin Kettle yesterday when he suggested that Gordon Brown's stated G20 objective of bashing tax havens is being taken seriously by Jersey and Guernsey:
In both Jersey and Guernsey, for example, the possibility of a declaration of independence from the UK is a very live issue indeed; legislative preparations are well advanced and could be triggered if London attempted to interfere with the islands' low tax regimes.
This raises the question of what kind of legislative restructuring do the Channel Islands have in mind? Is it a 'devolution' model? Or is a 'complete autonomy' model? Either way it would provoke a major constitutional crisis which would also have security and foreign policy implications.
How exactly would they issue a UDI when they are already the I part?
I think Acts of the UK parliament do affect thsm if they are specifically mentioned, so their tax status in theory could be legislated on. Or indeed anything else as they are technically 'Crown Dependencies'. But to legislate on anything but 'reserved Crown matters' I guess would provoke a huge row whichn any government would rather avoid. So I'd guess any coercive anti-tax haven action unlikely.
The move would be futile in any case. There are plenty of other tax havens.
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