News flash – Fear 1:0 Hope

November 28, 2010, 6 Comments

In the end it wasn’t even close. The SVP spent its millions on racist posters to promote its politics of fear, and bought itself another victory: 52.9% of the vote and 17.5 cantons. Double-majority achieved, motion passed. 

With a national turnout of 52%, only five and half cantons voted against the initative: predictably it was all the French-speaking ones (Geneva, Vaud, Neuchatel, Jura, who usually lean to the left), plus Jura and Basel-Stadt. Even supposedly cosmopolitan Canton Zurich said yes, though only just with 50.8%; most in favour were the Swiss people in Schwyz, with 66.3% yes; most against was Vaud with 41.8% yes.

The counter-proposal only won 45.8% and not one single canton. So much for the 2xNein idealism of the Social Democrats. Maybe next time they will be more pragmatic about politics; even if they can’t outspend the rich rabble-rousers, they could outflank them.

So it seems that my faith in Swiss commonsense and fair play was misplaced. A sad day to live in Switzerland, a bad day to be Swiss, and an even worse day to be a stranger in a strange land.

6 Comments on "News flash – Fear 1:0 Hope"

  1. swisswatching Tuesday November 30th, 2010 at 11:18 AM · Reply

    The results from individual districts, not just cantons, are now available, and make interesting reading. The starkest example of a city out of step with its canton was Zurich: city voted heavily No (only 35.5% yes) but canton was overall yes.

    For all the results here’s the offical link:

  2. Justin Time Thursday December 2nd, 2010 at 04:01 PM · Reply

    Switzerland is not alone in becoming more xenophobic and less tolerant each day. Not pretty, but it is a sad truth.

    Almost every English-speaking country in the world (the places where I can read the newspapers, being an Anglophone only, and where I have lived and travelled over many years.) prints shocking stories of hate crimes perpetrated against visible, religious, and ethnic minorities. The Swiss have a long practiced discrimination of Auchlanders (sp?).

    The USA also has a very deep history and a continued legacy of promoting intolerance and systematic discrimination against non native born and visible minorities. Look at the present day policies against Latinos, gays, and colored people. Not to mention intolerance against those who are not “Christians”.

    So why should we expect Switzerland be any different?

    Switzerland only escaped occupation in WW2 because of collaboration with the Nazi regime. And they made a healthy profit from it. That is well documented. Intolerance and xenophobia in Switzerland is, in part, just a modern day practice of doing the wrong thing as part of self-interest and preservation of the status quo.

    Switzerland continues to sell its message of of “neutrality” to the world and promoting the idea that it is in fact a protector of democracy. While at the same time its economy is earning billions of dollars selling weapon systems and other hardware of war to anyone with the money to buy it. The joy of being “neutral” means the market is twice as large. The war industry IS big business. Visit places like Thun and surrounding areas and you see clear evidence of the industrial arms infrastucture that is providing jobs for thousands. And the Swiss continue to enshrine militaristic values by having compulsory military service for all men. An army culture does not breed tolerance and understanding.

    So why is it a surprise for you to learn that Switzerland voted to place more controls on foreigners giving them less rights than the Swiss themselves. This has always been the case.

    Perhaps it is you who lives in an Alice and Wonderland existence and believe that Switzerland (and all other English speaking countries) are NOT full of bigots and racists.

    History does not support this view, however.

    • Mishale Friday December 3rd, 2010 at 04:09 PM · Reply

      Maybe, Diccon, as all the others (including me), were hoping, that we (the Swiss), would vote differently this time… In German, you say: “Die Hoffnung stirbt zuletzt” – I don’t know how to translate this correctly… Your arguments are certainly right, but there are others, too, you did not mention. In my view, people are just overwhelmed with all the media information and after a long workday, they don’t have the energy to read reasonable newspapers or news sites online, so they consume “20 min”, “Blick” and “Weltwoche”, written by journalist, who are paid by rabble-rouser. After reading, they are left with anger, fear and helplessness. This should not be an excuse, it’s rather a try to find out, what is happening to the Swiss (and other industrial countries). And you are also right about your view about the Swiss in general: we, the Swiss people, are not famous for our generosity towards others; someone famous (forgot, who it was) once said: “the Swiss are a simple, narrow-minded common mountains-folk.” Globalisation is seen as a threat, only (of course not for those, who earn their money with export business, but they are interested in their weahlth, only).

      What can I say? I would like to have another nationality, too, but unfortunately, I was born into that rat pack…

  3. Kraft Thursday December 16th, 2010 at 12:17 PM · Reply

    @Mishale: I can tell you who the ‘famous’ person is you like to quote with “the Swiss are a simple, narrow-minded common mountains-folk.” It was Adolf Hitler. Maybe, it’s you who should stop reading 20 Minutes and the like.

  4. Mishale Saturday December 18th, 2010 at 08:49 AM · Reply

    Dear Kraft,
    Thank you for your comment and teaching me… I was not aware of this saying should have been by Hitler, if I had known, I would never have used it, of course. But as you seem so sure about this, I’m looking forward to getting the direct link to your text source. Every freshman in college learns that a paper is worthless without lists of references. Moreover, you don’t know me at all, how come you advise me to stop reading 20 min.? You can criticize me anytime, but I do not accept the snotty character of your message.

  5. ben neville Thursday January 13th, 2011 at 01:26 PM · Reply,_Baa,_Black_Sheep

    did the SVP think that ‘wool’ was a code-word for something far more nefarious……

    ..or just a comment about taxation without representation.

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