The Scilly Spring – Islanders Demand an Elected Mayor

Last week Guido brought you the news of a council chief executive who was so desperate to stop the only school in his control from becoming an academy, that he suspended the headteacher without following due process or presenting any evidence for an alleged financial irregularity.

Until Craig Oliver went to town on Norman Smith, the story was one of the highest ranking of the week as residents of the Isles of Scilly flocked to the comment section to vent their frustration at the nation’s smallest Unitary Authority and its loathed leader Philip Hygate. The problems blighting this tiny archipelago are a fascinating microcosm of the problems that blight all of government. Namely, vested interests, concentrated power and incompetence. 

Word has reached the mainland that a few brave islanders viewed the suspension of the popular headteacher as the last straw. Last night a public meeting was held. More than two hundred attended – 10% of the population – despite reports of intimidation from the Council and threats not to attend. One would-be revolutionary told Guido it was a “we the people” moment, with islanders overwhelmingly signing motions including scrapping the post of Chief Executive and replacing it with an Executive Mayor. It was apparently “the most mild mannered revolution of all time.” Guido understands that at least one Minister has a holiday booked on Scilly this summer, perhaps he should take Hilton, Gove and Pickles with him…


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