Swissies may upset Euro juggernaut
On 21st October Switzerland goes to the polls, with an expectation of significant gains for the anti-statist and nationalist SVP, which polled nearly 27% of the vote in 2003. The party has become well-known throughout Europe for a poster entitled 'bringing safety' that the party insists is not racist.
The Swiss have long enjoyed both powerful localism through the cantons and direct democracy through popular referenda; both have been eroded in recent years under central Statist governments. The SVP's policies seek a return to greater local control; on citizenship, rather than the State making the decision, they propose that only those who have lived legally in the country for 12 years and have a clean criminal record may apply. And that the decision is taken not by the State but by the applicant's local community, by vote. Immigrants who don't integrate, and don't cultivate the goodwill of their neighbours, would never gain citizenship. Such common sense proposals will strike chords across Europe.
The SVP would also ban minarets rising above the shingle rooflines of their communities - UnSwiss, an alien and divisive symbol, they say. Again, this will find echoes across Europe.
And the sheep poster, illustrating a policy of deporting foreigners who commit criminal offences, has already found fertile ground in Europe's heartlands.
If the SVP do well in the election, and put these policies into effect, the waves will ripple from Warsaw to Galway.