March 08, 2015

Horse 1855 - You In A Different Country From The One You Were In On March 1st. – 50 points

In 2012 I was in a Photo Scavnger Hunt¹. The rules required you to get a photo every day and whoever got the most points in the month won (and won the fame and ovation of the people forever).
BJD is currently on another sort of hunt for photos this March and that's well worth a look at².
Whilst I don't have any intent to necessarily engage in a month long photo hunt, quite coincidentally, I had to deliver a set of documents to someone's house; that sparked the following diversion.

Within the Municipality of Mosman lies another country, that is if you consider that a country can just unilaterally declare itself as a separate entity; that country is the Principality of Wy.

Lying somewhere near Wyargine Point, Principality of Wy declared itself to be a separate nation following a lands dispute with Mosman Council. Prince Paul Delprat wanted to build a driveway from his house across what appears on the survey at the Lands & Titles Office (which is now Land And Property Information NSW) as an unfinished road. Mosman Council had not resolved the issue after eleven years of dithering and so Prince Paul finally did his rag at the council and declared the Principality of Wy to be its own sovereign nation.
I assume that the name "Wy" is both a play on the name Wyargine Point and the word "why"³.

- Where is Wy? Is this Wy?

Even though I know exactly which house lies in the middle of the Principality of Wy and can even find it on a map, it is exceptionally difficult to work out where it is once you are there.
I suspect that this footbridge is the only access point into the principality but I could be entirely wrong. Certainly this was the point that once I crossed, I felt scared and worried that I might be trespassing - being a citizen of Australia, I don't have the necessary consulate permission or visas to enter Wy.

In some respects, I quite like the idea that a chap who felt disgruntled with the local government just decided to unilaterally declare his bit of land a separate country but in others, I'm exceptionally glad that no-one really recognises this.
If it were perfectly legal for everyone to do this, then my advice as an accountant would be for everyone to do it immediately as a way of avoiding taxation. The problem with that is that, if everyone were to embark on such a course of events, the level of taxation collected by governments would plummet and it would spell the end of public services. That's perfectly fine, provided you don't mind living in a world of complete chaos.
The thing is that lots of multi-national corporations already do this and thus avoid paying any tax anywhere. Very big corporations like Apple, Google and Microsoft are already known to engage in what's known as a Double Irish arrangement, whereby the amount of tax they pay is very close to zero because their ultimate destination for reported incomes are tax havens like Bermuda.
I like the idea of the pomp and regalia of a micronation but ultimately if they draw services like rubbish collection, water, electric, defence, police, schools etc. for government, they should pay tax like everyone else. Prince Paul of Wy does pay Mosman Council's rates as well as the regular income taxes in Australia - he's fine.

Unlike entering the state of Victoria, or the Australian Capital Territory, there are no signs to let you know that you've entered the Principality of Wy. "Where is Wy?" is a harder question to answer than "Why is Wy?". As the photograph shows, you can't build a driveway across that gorge thing without causing serious disruption to the Wyargine Point Reserve. "Why is Wy?"is easy.

I am convinced that “Why” is the most important word in the English language. It is only by questioning and testing that the status quo may be examined. Scientists do it all the time, greatly to their credit. When we read the newspaper the first question we should ask is; “Why was this written” This is not being cynical and is merely common sense.

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