Hey You: Leave Switzerland Alone!
Start out with the natural prejudice that the world's elite politicians has against wealth (except their own). Add in the outrage of welfare state tax collectors who hate financial privacy and bank secrecy (which they wrongly equate with tax evasion). Then throw in a large dash of international envy - and you can understand why the media also aims their attacks at Switzerland.
The latest anti-Swiss media campaign started weeks ago with the approach of the Swiss national parliamentary elections to be held on Oct. 21st. The usual suspects are leading this anti-Swiss outcry - including self-appointed representatives of the United Nations, the European Union and Amnesty International.
For more information on Switzerland as an offshore financial haven, click here.
So what upset these do-gooders? It's the campaign theme the Swiss Peoples Party (SPP) is using. The theme addresses a major Swiss domestic concern, which is the huge influx of foreigners into the nation in recent years. The SPP decided to express this theme with a campaign poster that certain critics see as a controversial. The poster shows three white sheep kicking a black sheep off a Swiss flag above the slogan, "For more security."
The anti-immigration SPP created the poster. In the last three decades, the SPP has grown from a small group to an influential political party with the largest number of seats - 55 of the 200 - in parliament's lower house, the National Council. This party has also become a major player in the coalition government. Indeed, opinion polls show the SPP again leading the other parties in the run up to the election.
As if the United States doesn't have any problems with illegal immigration and crimes committed by unlawful immigrants, The Washington Post just won the prize for sensationalized reporting on Switzerland. The Washington Post published a truly horrific story about a 37-year-old black Angolan man living in Zurich who was attacked and seriously injured by chainsaw wielding thugs shouting racial epithets. The article suggests wrongly that many other Swiss people would do the same thing, given the chance.
Last week, counter-demonstrators threw rocks and bottles at Swiss People's Party protesters during a political rally at the national parliament building. Police fired tear gas to break up the melee. A UN "fact-finder" on racial intolerance, accused the SPP and its campaign posters of "advocating racist and xenophobic ideas."
"That's nonsense," says Ulrich Schluer, an SPP legislator, newspaper editor and creator of the sheep campaign. "It's not against race. It's against people who break laws. People are fed up." (Sounds like Bill O'Reilly on the Fox TV network.)
The SPP won national referendums to make it tougher for foreigners to enter Switzerland and obtain citizenship and easier to deport immigrants. Switzerland now has some of the strictest naturalization laws in Europe.
Switzerland's population is now about 7.5 million, up by 750,000 since 1990. It generously has opened its borders to refugees from many nations and now has one of Europe's highest percentages of foreigners living within its borders, many of them workers from Spain, Portugal, Italy, and parts of the former Yugoslavia.
More than 20% (1.4 million) of Swiss inhabitants are foreign nationals. The SPP argues that a disproportionate number are lawbreakers. Many drug dealers are foreign, and according to federal statistics, about 70% of the prison population is non-Swiss.
In recent years, there has been a growing resistance to immigration and granting citizenship. Some cantons (provinces) now require a public referendum on whether to admit applicants and many individuals have been rejected in these votes, as the law permits.
In the best of all worlds, no one should support racism. But Switzerland probably is no better or worse than other European nations (or the United States) when it comes to trying to deal with a massive influx of foreign persons. At the very least, every nation has the right to protect its citizens from criminal activity, regardless of who the culprits may be.
But you can bet that much of the current anti-Swiss media uproar is just another phase in the continuing anti-Swiss campaign. And you can also be certain the very independent Swiss will go their own way - without the need for advice from outsiders.