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Swiss Referendum

March 5th, 2001

A letter to the Editor of the Sunday Telegraph written on 5th March 2001 in response to an article from the previous edition.

Sunday’s article on Switzerland’s Referendum vote “Swiss decide whether to join the world” neatly captures politicians’ overestimate of their own importance.

Switzerland is very much in the real world, with international corporations like Nestlé, Ciba, Roche, Suchard, Zurich present in every major country, and goods exports per head of population nearly three times Britain’s throughout the 1990s.  And, although not in the EU, Switzerland manages to sell 63% of its exports to the EU, a considerably greater proportion than Britain’s.

Of course, the relatively small political class in Switzerland is keen to join the EU and UN, seeing as it does in Britain, lots of well-paid jobs skipping about from one international hotel to another attending this or that portentous-sounding conference, but 78% of the Swiss population (Referendum result) is sensibly having none of it.

One of the pleasures of reading the Swiss newspapers is the almost complete absence of journalists’ chatter about the doings and sayings of politicians.  Long may it remain so.