You won’t be too surprised to find it’s been quietly rowed back:
Workers on Sark who were laid off by the billionaire Barclay brothers six weeks ago have quietly had their jobs reinstated, in an apparent U-turn in the newspaper magnates' investment policy on the tiny Channel Island.I guess wiser heads prevailed after all…
The Barclay brothers said they were no longer willing to invest in an island that appeared not to want their involvement. But in an apparent softening of attitudes, the vast majority of those who were fired have now been rehired. Speaking yesterday to The Independent, Gordon Dawes, the brothers' lawyer in Guernsey, said: "The Barclays are not inhuman or unfeeling, and the jobs are still there. But their willingness to continue investing at £5m per annum has been tempered by the election result."‘Not human or unfeeling’, eh…? Not consistent, either, it would seem. Also not able to follow through on the empty threats they made so hastily…
Paul Amorgie, who owns the Stocks Hotel and was voted into Sark's Chief Pleas parliament on a mildly anti-Barclay platform, said he believed that the brothers realised that firing so many people had been a mistake.But the islanders have scented blood and weakness, and are now quite sure who has the whip hand:
"What's happened is a total U-turn," he said. "I think the decision to fire their own people in December was a frustrated, knee-jerk reaction from the Barclay brothers, but they're obviously readjusting their position and it seems to be that their investments are back on track."
Tensions do still exist, however. On Wednesday, the brothers lost a long-running court case in which they had demanded the return of a £200,000 donation to build a community hall. The Barclay brothers were opposed to the hall having a liquor license because they do not make charitable donations to commercial ventures and claimed that the hall's trustees had broken a stipulation on their donation. But Sark's Lieutenant Seneschal, Patrick Talbot QC, found the hall was not a pub and cleared the trustees.Heh.
Lesson for the Barclays: Don’t upset a small, geographically-isolated area of very closely related people. Still, it could have been much worse for you….