Britain. Tour to the island of Jersey
If you talk about what is good island of Jersey, it is best to start not with what it is, and with what is not here. There is no unemployment, value added tax, mass rallies, drunks on the streets, political parties, car thieves… “Where would they steal them?”– asks a rhetorical question guide named Hughes. And clarifies: “it Is true that the machines from the island disappear. But it is not the thieves who are to blame, but the sea and the unlucky tourists who Park their cars near the water, not knowing that during the tides its level rises here to fourteen meters compared to the level of the tides.” So the missing cars aren’t stolen by hijackers, they’re stolen by the sea.“A piece of France that broke away from it, fell into the water and picked up by the British,” – so once said about the island of Jersey, the great French writer Victor Hugo, for three years lived here as an exile. Telling about this tourist pamphlets usually silent about the fact that local authorities, unhappy with the too radical, in their opinion, the statements of Victor Hugo in defense of press freedom, in the end, expelled him to the neighbouring island of Guernsey. There Hugo was treated more loyal, and he lived in Guernsey for fifteen years.
Jersey, like Guernsey, – the largest of the channel Islands, located in the English channel. Eight hundred years ago, the English king John of The landless of the Plantagenet dynasty lost a significant part of British possessions in France, after which he was forced to sign the Magna Carta. To the people of the island of Jersey, who could choose between England and France, the king gave even more liberties than to all his other subjects: he promised them autonomy and tax exemption.
These privileges Jersey enjoys until now – and, the last thirty years with greater benefit, than ever before in history. The tiny island with an area of only 116 square kilometers and a population of 87 thousand people is one of the largest banking centers in Europe. Liberal legislation, low taxes and guaranteed privacy have made Jersey a very popular offshore zone. Banks and a variety of financial offices, signs which can be found in the main city of Jersey St. Helier at every step, transferred last year to the Treasury of the island about a quarter of a billion pounds. It is easy to calculate that the total turnover of all these banks and offices amounted to more than five hundred billion dollars. Not all this money is “clean”. And in recent years, the financial Paradise has been threatened. On the one hand, Jersey – as well as other 34 offshore zones, through which are often beyond control cash flows – threatened sanctions authoritative international organizations. On the other hand, there are competitors from more remote regions. And in the summer of this year, the Parliament of Jersey (and the island has its own Parliament, its own judiciary and even its own currency) decided to reduce by half – to ten percent – the tax on large financial institutions. But to somehow compensate for what will not get in this case, the budget, the deputies introduced (for the first time in eight hundred years!) turnover tax. Very low – only five percent. But it was enough to take to the streets of St. Helier (also for the first time in eight hundred years!) there was a protest demonstration. About a thousand protesters accused the deputies that they ignore the interests of workers.
All this is all the more surprising that the people of Jersey have always been famous for their peacefulness and docile character. However, the French in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries unsuccessfully tried to land on the island landing, but the Germans captured it in 1940 without a fight. The island of Jersey was the only British territory that the Nazis managed to occupy during the Second world war. By the way, the British also fought him off without a fight, despite the fact that the Wehrmacht sappers built dozens of impregnable concrete bunkers with thick walls on the coast of the island. Today, in one of these bunkers opened a fish shop, in the other – a beer zucchini, and the third generally rent as a residential apartment vacationers in Jersey exotic lovers.
What else is this island famous for? Of course, knitwear, which gave his name. The French, by the way, here took revenge on the British, once took away from them this piece of land (or rather, stone), and changed the name of the fabric in its own way, putting the emphasis at the end of the word – “Jersey” and not “Jersey”. So it came into use.
In addition, the island is famous for its new immigrants – super-rich. A little away from the main roads you see surrounded by the high stone walls of the estate (in other words, and not pick). One of them has a famous racing driver “Formula One”, a former world champion Nigel Mansell, another veteran of pop music Gilbert Osullivan. Fifteen million pounds of free (and, of course, honest) capital is a prerequisite for those wishing to permanently move to the island of Jersey. This strict condition is somewhat mitigated by the fact that super-rich people agree with the authorities on preferential rates for income tax. Some have it at five percent, others, as they say – even two. The average resident of the island pays about twenty percent. But this is exactly none of the indigenous people of Jersey does not complain: rich immigrants give work, and thanks to them, sharply increased prices for land and rent for housing. Many residents of Jersey became rich that have sold their pastures and apartments for rent to seasonal workers that come here. Previously, here came mainly French (they worked in the fields), Portuguese and Italians (these specialized in tourism and hotel service). Now the bulk of “guest workers” are on the island of Jersey poles. No one but the Portuguese has stayed here yet. And the Portuguese (at least some of them) settled on the island and now make up about ten percent of the population. Discontent with these “outsiders” Jersey residents expressed in recent years, only one time: when the recent European football championship, the British lost to Portugal.