The potato patches aren’t exactly a gulag, and the closest similarity to the Berlin Wall is that its buildings get blown down in storms… but Tristan da Cunha has been described, by its former governor, as a communist state. In the nicest possible way, of course.
Andrew Gurr was paying a compliment to the 260-or-so people of the world’s most remote inhabited island when he made his observation, but it’s raised the eyebrows of one seasoned Tristan watcher.
Mr Gurr told this site: “Tristan is a successful example of communism and I really stand by that.
“I think that for me, they just pull together in a way you wouldn’t expect in a society that was much bigger.”
His original comments can be seen here, in a transcript from his talk in Oxford in May 2012 to the Friends of St Helena.
A reader has responded by quoting Wikipedia:
“Communism is a revolutionary socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless, and stateless social order structured upon common ownership of the means of production.”
Leaving aside the bit about money, it’s that common-ownership bit that spoils the analogy, says our reader:
“While Tristan has a great deal of communal ownership, and everyone is pretty much provided for equally, the primary means of production is the fish factory… which is owned by a South African company.”