You have to love Switzerland.
It’s a place that is so clean, so sensible, so fabulously neutral. It’s as if beige had its own country.
That is if beige enjoyed piling up Nazi gold in its banks, without too much concern about the black and white of its provenance.
We all have the impression that Swiss neutrality is a mark of maturity. They must be people with very few problems. They have very white mountains. They have fondues. They have chocolate for dessert. And they have pretty watches that wake them up in the morning and make them look as if they are the richest people in the world.
Which perhaps they are. (Perhaps the Nazi Gold really is worth a lot.)
But, just like so many of us imperfect beings, there is this other side. And I’d like to take you to this other side, purely for, you know, research purposes.
The Swiss, fair and neutral as they are, didn’t give women the vote until 1971. What a Swiss Hillary Clinton might have been doing before 1971, I’m not sure. Perhaps she would have been perched beneath her husband’s desk in case of, you know, emergencies.
So the path to civilization has slipped a few stones into the walkers’ shoes.
And I can report that recently there has been a minor outbreak of regression.
A ridiculous Swiss political party has put out an election poster. It features three white sheep and a black sheep. At first glance, it appears the three white sheep are smiling. They are, after all, standing on the Swiss flag. However, with very slightly closer inspection, you can see that one of the white sheep is trying to kick the black sheep off the flag. The headline on the ad reads ” For More Security.”
Of course, this is merely some neo-Nazi party that is trying to get attention because the Swiss (men and women) are in the midst of an election campaign.
The party is called the Swiss People’s Party. A fine name for a neo-Nazi Party, you would surely agree.
The Swiss People’s Party happens to be the largest party in the current Swiss Parliament. It’s also a member of the coalition government.
I haven’t noticed any enlightened western governments expressing a bleat of protest about the Swiss. Perhaps all western government members get discounts on their Rolexes.
But the poster is just the beginning of the Swiss People’s Party’s fun-filled festival for the future.
They’re also trying to get the required 100,000 signatures to force a referendum to reintroduce a law that allows judges to deport any foreigner convicted of a serious crime, once they have served their sentence.
More than that, the Party has declared that it’s going to draft a proposal that any member of a criminal’s family under the age of 18 can also be deported.
At the time the sentence is passed.
Once upon a time there was a country (oh, go on, guess which one) that had a similar policy. They called it Sippenhaft. The core tenet of this policy was if you commit a crime, the whole of your family is responsible and should be punished equally.
And the man who thought this was a good idea was called Himmler. It allowed him and his fellow patriots to execute family members just for the misdeeds of their kin. Misdeeds such as ‘cowardice.’
His fine example was also followed by Stalin. Kim Jong Il is apparently a big fan too.
Of course, no civilized country like Switzerland could possibly fall prey to such behavior, could it? Not even a country where 69% of the prison population consists of foreigners or those seeking asylum.
The Swiss are the bankers of the world. And bankers are fine, upstanding chaps.
I am sure the Nazis always received their interest payments on time.