Yesterday the Swiss voted in a binding referendum to restrict immmigration from the EU. There is a good account of the impact this vote will have on Richard North's blog. Click:
I decided to write on this last night but Richard got there first. I hope he does not mind me summarising his salient points below.
"Much to the Swiss federal government's chagrin, the outcome obliges it to turn the Swiss People's Party (SVP) initiative into law within three years, imposing quotas on immigrants from the EU.
Apparently, we are told, there will not just be quotas but also restrictions on the right of foreigners to bring in family members and access social services. Businesses must give Swiss nationals priority when hiring staff. There will be a new clause in the constitution stating that migration must serve the nation's economic interest."
23% of the Swiss population of 8 million is foreign born. The comparable UK figures are 13% for the 7.5 million foreigners.
Richard notes, "This puts Switzerland on a collision path with the EU. The entire set of EU relations could be suspended under a guillotine clause which can be triggered if any part of the EU-Swiss agreement is violated."
It will be interesting to watch how this develops. EU comissione Reding was on Radio 4 this morning not answering any difficult questions abbout what the EU wil or indeed can do about this.
Far more important is, ", this puts the people in direct confrontation with their own ruling elites. They have had enough and, despite the entire establishment warning them of dire consequences, the majority have taken their stand." I hope my own Scottish countrymen will show similar courage in their Scottish Independence vote and not defer to the self appointed 'experts'. If there is one lesson from our Somerset floods its is listen to those on the ground who live there and don't listen or defer to experts based in London especially Sirs, Lords and Dames..
The difference is the Swiss are not deferential to their supposed betters like the English and to a lesser extent the Scots. I was astounded how defential UKIP supporters were in 2009 to the belted Earl, William Legge in choosing their MEP candidates. He was a failed Tory and in my book that made him a candidate with political baggage.but Farage likes the aristos and indeed hopes to join tham soon. That is why the Swiss have democracy and their country and we have Cameron and Milliband and a moteley mess of special interest groups. .