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Lets really take back control: time for Swiss-style direct democracy?

Lets really take back control: time for Swiss-style  direct democracy?
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We have just passed fourteen months of governments led by Boris Johnson. Both formed from a Tory party that makes no attempt to purge its ranks. As we saw this week, many MPs still are more loyal to a hostile, meddling European super-state ruled by Germany than to their own country. Their attempts to over-rule democracy are rewarded by the remain tail wagging the leave dog. Wets led by Boris and Gove run the Tory party. Buying peace among the wets is still more important than our votes. 

Let’s take them on face value and teach a hard lesson to this useless Parliament that welcomes mostly MPs positively opposed to their own country, our Commonwealth and allies such as the United States of America. Tories, Labour, Liberals, Scots Nats and Welsh Nats – they all want to be ruled by Germany. This week we remember the Battle of Britain – what would the Few think of these modern vermin? 

The House of Commons Select Committee on Intelligence and Security in its latest report criticises the Tory Party and individual MPs for accepting money from wealthy Russians, some with connections to Putin, moreover at a time when Russians are being murdered in Britain on his orders. Its outstanding Chairman was shoved out of the party for honesty. The China Research Group of MPs has pointed out that the same kind of penetration of the British establishment has been achieved by China.

Yet not one Committee nor the Government investigates the most aggressive and arrogant power that meddles in our politics, the one that daily tries to overturn the results of national votes, that hands out sweeteners worth millions to buy institutions and organisations – when are we going to see a report on the malicious influence of the EU Commission’s representatives and those of its member states? Their latest demand is to cede the Channel Islands’ waters – which never belonged to the EU though the Islands are the last part of the Duchy of Normandy – to the French. Previously I would have put such a stupid idea down to an EU disinformation ploy. Sadly, no any longer. There’s track record. Only these overgrown public schoolboys manage to combine supreme arrogance with such breathtaking ignorance.    

Did we vote for this kind of party? 

I certainly did not.

One cannot escape the conclusion that Conservative Party members also need to take back control and well before the next General Election. This would be the obvious and most quickly applied solution. It would also be the most effective. Only the local associations should select who is going to become a prospective candidate and who will represent their constituency in Parliament. As long as the party HQ is in charge the Tory party will resemble a giant rotten borough where big money buys power and favours. Where Pop decides who is in the Cabinet and consequently the Cabinet is worthless. Margaret Thatcher’s party had over a million paid up members. She didn’t need billionaires and Russian fat cats. 

If the associations won’t take charge and reform so the membership runs the party, do we need a new political party? 

Not for one moment do I mean a party owned by three people and registered with Companies House. On the contrary, I mean a proper political movement with mass membership and where the local associations decide who will represent them in Parliament. Only then does power and control rest with the people.  

I hear you muttering – but that is what we had when Maggie Thatcher was leader and there were over a million party members from all walks of life. Look at the party now.

Quite frankly, I agree with those who are despondent, I don’t believe reform is any longer possible. May I suggest the Swiss cure. It’s worked for eight-hundred years and individually the Swiss are the wealthiest and most comfortable people in Europe. 

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

I have lived in Switzerland twice during my life, from 1974-1978 as a diplomat at the British Embassy where I covered politics and economics, and for the last dozen years as a private citizen. The Swiss have governed themselves through simple forms of direct democracy since the thirteenth century. They won their freedom from the Hapsburg Empire at the Battle of Morgarten in November 1315, when the tough mountain farmer soldiers of the sparsely inhabited forest cantons ambushed a huge imperial army and wiped it out. The Swiss wrote their own constitution in 1848 during a time when the Radical Party was so strong that it inflicted an early form of political correctness tyranny on the Swiss people. Imagine rule by New Labour for half a century! 

The Swiss dealt with the Radicals’ dictatorship by introducing the concept of a popular vote. Anyone who could gather enough signatures in support was entitled to have a popular vote on a particular question or cause. Over the years this revolutionary instrument has become much more refined and nearly all major decisions are taken by popular vote – foreign treaties, defence, raising or lowering taxes, immigration and legal questions, moral and medical questions. 

A further safeguard was added to avoid the smaller communities in the country being always out-voted by the five big cities – the double yes. This requires not only that the winner must gain the popular vote but also a majority of cantons. When the last vote was held on EU membership back in 1993, the popular vote was very close but those opposed to EU membership won two thirds of the cantons – a political landslide. 

A quick glance at the British 2016 referendum results for voting areas on Wikipedia will show you why this is an essential safety net for small communities such as those engaged with fishing and farming. Under such rules, small remote communities cannot be swept aside by the big cities and big money. Had the numbers of voting areas won also been counted towards the result of our referendum the score would have been that out of 382 voting areas (one was Gibraltar) 119 voted to remain, including all 32 areas in Scotland while no less than 263 voted to leave. A map on Wikipedia shows England and Wales almost entirely blue save for London plus the M40 and M11 corridors. 

The Swiss would not have negotiated with Brussels until they had sorted out their own position with the Scottish and Irish cantons. Some of the votes in Scotland were close particularly where they have a fishing fleet. Only when they had agreed a strategy would the Swiss have triggered Article 50, on the understanding that all cantons were ready to walk away with no agreement with the EU if necessary. 

On the 27 September the Swiss voted again on whether they should remain in the Schengen Zone. The Swiss Peoples’ Party campaigned to get out – they argued that a quarter of the eight million population is not Swiss and asked “does the country really need a further two million people”? The establishment threatened, along with most of the media, that leaving Schengen would end the trade deals with the EU – Project Fear in Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansch – and won. 

Four other votes took place on the 27 September, including one on whether the government should set aside six billion Swiss francs to replace the air force’s small fleet of F 18 jet fighters. Last time a vote took place on this question the politicians refused to make it a double yes – despite their officials advising they would lose without that safeguard – and that’s what happened. All the leftie/liberal/green elves came out of the woods – mostly brick and concrete cities – and voted for disarmament. (They don’t want any armed forces, Mutti’s EU takes care of everyone.) This time, the vote passed with a wafer-thin majority, far closer than polls had suggested thanks to the high urban turn-out of the aforementioned.

For eight-hundred years every Swiss citizen has enjoyed direct democracy. When it comes to their written constitution and changing the law of the land, raising taxes or lowering them, the ordinary Swiss voter has the last word, not politicians or judges. This custom decides anything at three levels – local, canton, and federal/national. Swiss are not citizens of the country but instead of nearly three-thousand local communities. Most are villages or towns, some big cities. My family are citizens of two. Your community provides local government, the schools, fire brigade and so forth and look after people who need help. Public meetings are held so that you can directly question the candidates in the local election. And voters ask plenty of questions. But any big decision, such as the local building plan, is taken by the voters. 

The canton is like our UK county councils on a larger scale and looks after the roads, police and hospitals. Swiss pay all their taxes to the canton. Their local community organises the collection. The communities and the cantons are hundreds of years old, self-governing democracies. They devolved some of their powers to a small federal government in Bern. Switzerland is thus a confederation. Again the candidates have to present themselves to the voters and while the canton parliament prepares the choices, the voters decide all big decisions through direct democracy.

A Swiss voter may decide that their Federal Council and Parliament are full of incompetents but knows that ultimately the people make the decisions. No nerds and weirdos calling the shots from a bunker under the Cabinet Office in this country! The UK could import direct democracy over decisions – we have parish councils, county councils, regional parliaments and Westminster. We, the voters could take control. No written constitution required or desired. The Queen just carries on and long may she reign.

This precious jewel of direct democracy means that the Swiss cannot agree to allow the European Court of Justice to make their laws unchallenged. The EU wants to make direct democracy meaningless – silence the peoples’ voices. Sounds familiar?

Switzerland is a warning to us of what happens when a proud nation forgets what makes it special. There are lots of real Swiss around but the last two generations became rich without doing much. They just earned Swiss francs. 

According to a friend who was a cantonal parliament member in Basel, Europe’s richest city, the danger of the result of the vote on the 27 September is a two way migration. The EU’s jobless including professionals from Germany where they train more than they have jobs for, will come into Switzerland. Once the EU have that ‘ level playing field ’ in Germany’s favour, industries will migrate into Germany. Industry pays most of the taxes in Basel and other cities. That’s why these places have low taxes, high salaries and socialist governments spending money like water. Industry and banks could leave. 

There are press reports that in Zürich the German president of UBS after a merger with Credit Suisse will transfer the combined bank from Zürich to Frankfurt. There is also a danger that Novartis might hop over the frontier as well.  As my friend puts it, ‘ So we risk an uncertain future. We are in a war, not a conventional war, but a modern war with biochemical weapons, media propaganda warfare.’ 

Look at what the Swiss have lost already. Swissair, all sorts of really first class family industries, only the banks and pill makers have done well. Now they risk losing them. 

As the young lady who runs the local meals on wheels for the working people so aptly says,’ They don’t use panzers these days – they invade with armies of lawyers and bankers.

For us Brits, take it from my friend in Basel, a clean break is best by far.

The post Lets really take back control: time for Swiss-style direct democracy? appeared first on Global Vision UK.



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