Tag Archives: votes

Morning, 09 February 2014, Switzerland: Vote NO to Immigration Quotas!

07:00 Swiss time, Sunday, 09 February 2014.

It’s probably no state secret that the alpine republic in the centre of Europe has seen its population swell — the opening and realisation of free movement of people between Switzerland and the rest of the EU and EEA has seen visible changes for Switzerland.

But just how good are the changes? Here, there are as many naysayers as they are optimists. Naysayers will point out to overloaded trains, poor sanitation, and a Switzerland that is running out of space for quality living areas — some fear the eventual “Hong Kong-isation” of the neutral isle. They also point out to an increasingly growing presence of those of the “big canton up north” (that’s Germany) being unwilling or having problems speaking in Swiss-German, as well as a loss of sovereign rights to say who can or cannot come to Switzerland.

I’m part of the optimists that say there are better ways for Switzerland to deal with its immigration problems than to chuck the excess load out. Reimplementing quotas would be the beginning of the end between Bern and Brussels; in spite of me being a EU-rosceptic I still believe the end of free movement between Switzerland and the rest of the EU is a bad idea. Bern and Brussels work with the bilateral agreements under the condition that a guillotine clause is included. In other words, if Switzerland breaks or withdraws from one agreement, all agreements with Brussels could be at stake — Brussels may also choose to pull out from the entirety of agreements as well. Swiss citizens may, then, in future encounter more red tape when entering other European nations; the era of the “EU / EEA / Swiss nationals” fast track access channel may soon come to an end. It would also impose unnecessary red tape amongst foreign citizens coming into Switzerland. Buying a house and setting up shop in Switzerland would soon be something much easier said than done if the proposal was passed; and I’m speaking like this even as a citizen of Switzerland.

No amount of xenophobia, even racism, will solve the prickly problems of the present day. It is time we did less “take-away” sums and “added” more for people in Switzerland, both local and foreign. Let’s integrate, not separate; show smiles, not scorn. As a Swiss abroad I treasure the diversity of international metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Zurich and London. These cities thrive because they’re inclusive, not restrictive (this is true even for the capital of Communist China).

It’s not a good idea to bite the newcomers to Switzerland. As a Swiss citizen resident overseas I have sent in my vote already. I urge all to take a stance and not let Switzerland backtrack on its pledges or become some kind of laughingstock, be it in Berlaymont or anywhere. Introducing quotas would mean the Swiss are ready to take a langlauf that could eventually send it ploughing downhill, and only God knows how painful it might be in the end.

By voting NEIN / NON / NO to the “Gegen Masseinwanderung” popular initiative, which foresees unsightly quotas and restrictions amongst foreigners in Switzerland, we keep things the way they are — which is very much a Swiss tradition — and we remain open, economically, and socially as well. Don’t bite the newcomers — don’t let a discriminatory bill have the upper hand over reason.

I have already voted. I leave it up to you and all the rest of us in making sure Switzerland remains an inclusive and open society.

Swiss Democracy: No Donald Duck, But Yes, Pirate Party…

I have to say I’m a little shocked seeing that the Chinese are pirating the idea of a pirate party: the Wikipedia link says a Chinese Pirate Party is “in discussion” and is on the drawing board. I think that party’s pointless: nearly all of China is pirated. Don’t get me started on the trains: the CRH3C is a pirated version of the ICE 3 (albeit a legal pirate); no soul, obviously, would believe the propaganda that it is “Chinese because of technology transfer”. Even the doors still carry that invasive sticker: Made in Ybbs*/Austria. Unless the PRC colonised Ybbs (for the train doors, maybe), that’s still non-Chinese…

* How the hell do you pronounce “Ybbs”, by the way?

Ookie. So what’s all this talk about the Pirate Party all about? I was given a shock larger than electrocution (I think: I’ve never been electrocuted, and I think if I was, I probably wouldn’t be blogging here) when I found out that there was a REAL Pirate Party. Bang on the ballots for the Swiss National Council elections (to come 23 October 2011; I’ve, by the way, already sent my ballot back; I didn’t vote for them, for what it’s worth) — the one for the Canton of Zurich had it on page 10. I swear. Take a look at it. Right there — 18 potential “legitimate political pirates”. There are folks younger than I am on the list, and there are even a few sociologists amongst them. It’s crazy.

In China, people are flattened because they happen to stand in the way of a high-speed railway viaduct — and they failed to get the hell out of there in good time. This kind of polit BS would have been sent to Switzerland for a nationwide vote. We are finishing the Gotthard Base Tunnel in the mid-2010s because our people said so. Switzerland is part of the United Nations because I voted yes because I thought this nation had no more sane reasons to stay out of the freaking thing. Bank accounts in some deep, hidden-under-the-square safe just don’t get emptied out of the blue just because you’ve joined the UN. It just doesn’t happen like that.

The fact is, Swiss democracy works just like that. We are pestered up to 4 times every year just because some idiot couldn’t figure if it was OK building this stretch of freeway this way across this yard or that way. But that’s how we’d like it. We don’t advertise to the rest of the world that we are “most democratic” so-called, and we don’t bomb Afghanistan or Libya because they’re “unfree”. In fact, Moammar Gaddhafi wanted to declare “jihad” on the Swiss. Not a single bomb was dropped on Tripoli from the authorities in Berne — and this from a nation that was the target of a Gaddhafi-dictated “jihad”. We’re comparatively cool people!

About the worst thing that happens on Swiss ballots is the requirement that you choose someone who is alive, breathing, and Swiss. No foreign cultural imperialist icons — and by no means Donald Duck. That’s a sucker, given. And we don’t get to choose our Federal President. Rats. But that’s about all there is to it that sucks about Swiss democracy. The rest — is just neat.

Oh, and did I mention that you need “just” 100,000 valid citizens to amend the Swiss Constitution in full?

I’m proud…

…that we can change our government without dumping the constitution whole.

Thanks to this civilized invention called an election.

The one thing that makes me super-happy to be Swiss: the government has given us this thing called “a ballot” that gets sent out to registered expat Swiss voters every so often (basically once per quarter). And unlike Aussies who are required to vote, we can legally toss the ballot into the shredder (as in not vote at all) without this hidden fear that government might be breathing down our neck, wondering why we were so civilly disobedient. (Sole Swiss exception: the Canton of Schaffhausen, up north, requires people to vote.)

The upcoming Swiss elections take place on 23 October 2011. I’m sending my ballot back the next few days to be doubly sure that my votes count. I’ve decided to give the SVP (the Swiss People’s Party) Dumpster treatment after its discriminatory “minaret ban” got Switzerland some seriously bad publicity. Worse still, it allowed the Swiss to do something un-Swiss: to eat upon the freedoms the Constitution gave this land. You thought China had “human rights issues”? Have a gander at just how bad the situation is in Switzerland, especially post-ban. Communist China has a minaret right by the new Tianjin West Railway Station (and it looks pretty new — both structures, that is). That kind of architecture (the minaret, not railway stations) are now hors la loi in this supposedly “neutral” country.

I don’t want to get into politics — especially not as a politician. But now, post-ban, whenever there’s a vote about stuff that’s Swiss, that’s like — it sets off an auto reaction my end. I posted a whole slew of commentary regarding the whole election on Facebook. I’ve reposted this on my blog so that most of you get to know my political views on this matter:

  • The best thing about a democracy is you can expel those idiot politicians and unsightly parties screwing the whole country up. Thank you God!!
    Now voting as an expat Swiss as the Swiss national elections loom large and clear. For one thing, the SVP is finished. You gave us the crap minarets ban, ookie… we are voting you suckers out of office!!
  • Of course, all politicians ultimately (will) stink. There is nothing you can do once you get your nose shoved into this trade…
    But the good thing is this: I have not chosen a soul who wants to let the Swiss keep doing nuclear power plans, especially after Fukushima. Nuclear power has always been this kind of hidden bomb that could feed on humanity — and it has, as Chernobyl and Fukushima have shown us…
  • The one “mediated event” of Swiss politics that has completely blown me off is the crazy minarets ban 2 years back. I basically made a huge anti-ban campaign over social media. I told every last living human, algae, cockroach and Swiss-citizen-to-be NOT to vote for that short-sighted bill.
    Which was passed “anyway”.
    And which got me bat-fr*ck-insane when that DID happen.
  • Once upon a time an election was a mere election. Now, it is no more. And while it’s not some kind of crusade or “to save the minarets” (if you can call it that at all), I did find the so-called “minaret ban” most absurd, most unsightly and most anti-humanity.
    I don’t know much about the Muslim world. It kind of fascinates me, though, in all ways. I wouldn’t convert religiously, of course, but having said that, I don’t think a minaret should be something that you should have a cow over or stuff like that.
    Yes, women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. But instead of making a huge propaganda campaign against that and by calling that “backward and undemocratic”, the best we can do as outsiders is to merely foster a “live and let live” attitude. I don’t think the entirety of any accepted, established religion is problematic, perverted or anything like that.
    The thing that totally pisses me off about the minaret ban is, of course, discrimination, but also this latent and real fear that the Swiss constitution is being eaten alive, bit by bit, by its citizenry. When you start modding the constitution to feed upon itself, when that thing starts taking away the very principles on which it was established, that sure is one hell of a scary development. You think China’s human rights issue is scary? Just you wait until Switzerland comes out with stupider still mods to its constitution. A bigger human rights issue in the making…

And while I think the odds that the Swiss People’s Party will be politically nixed or humiliated are by no means guaranteed, what I can do with my ballot is to show my disapproval. Of course, the vote will be a secret vote, but Bern will have one less ballot in favour of the Swiss People’s Party this time. They’ve sinned and stuff’s got to happen to right that one very big wrong.