So what is the status of the Crown Dependencies?

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There is much heated debate on this blog, quite often, about the true status of the Crown Dependencies. I argue that they are just that — dependencies of the UK with which they UK toys. So long as they do pretty much what is expected of them then the UK lets them think they are self governing. Rather like (in fact very like)  town councils are self governing so long as they stick to the rules.

But, those from the Crown Dependencies argue they’re full blown independent locations and that they owe no loyalty and have no tie to the UK — being linked merely through the Crown.

So it’s interesting to note the forward to a new report, issued this week, from the Ministry of Justice that responds to a Parliamentary report on the Crown Dependencies issued earlier this year. This report says:

The Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man) have their own democratically elected governments responsible for setting policy, passing laws and determining each Island’s future. They have an important relationship with the United Kingdom because of their status as dependencies of the British Crown but they are not part of the United Kingdom nor, except to a limited extent, the European Union. They are not represented in the UK parliament and UK laws do not ordinarily extend to them without their consent.

My emphasis added. Not ordinarily, maybe; but possible, most certainly. As this confirms:

The United Kingdom respects each Crown Dependency’s laws and policies as the expression of the will of a democratic government with the power of self-determination. The UK government is responsible for the Crown Dependences’ international relations and ultimate good governance and has the commensurate power to ensure these obligations are met. Whilst the UK does not require the Crown Dependencies’ policies to closely mirror those of the UK, the UK will look to resolve anything which appears to be fundamentally contrary to current UK principles or interests with the Crown Dependency concerned.

Again, my emphasis added — but if this is not a statement that says the UK will interfere as and when it sees fit, I’m not sure what is.

In other words, as long as the Crown Dependencies play the game the UK wants the pretence of independence is allowed to continue. But that’s what it is. Which also makes the UK responsible for the abuse they promote, by the way. For as I’ and others have long argued, these places are just branches of the City of London for all practical purposes.