So, Switzerland yesterday voted in a referendum to reject limiting the number of EU citizens able to live and work in their country, knowing as they did, that continued freedom of movement of labour also meant that the other three freedoms of movement would remain safe … movement of capital, goods and services.

Interestingly, several years ago, there was a similar referendum, very very narrowly won by the other side, but rejected by the federal government when it became clear how much damage it would do.

The turnout in this referendum was higher than other recent referendums at almost 60%, and possibly one reason for that was the closeness of the result last time around together with the news that has reached Switzerland from the UK about just how difficult it can be to turn your back on the biggest reading block in the world.

Another interesting fact, of course, is the percentage of votes for Switzerland to retain its complex series of contracts with the EU was pretty much identical to the voting for Scotland to remain within the EU. Around 62-38.

Happily for Switzerland, their vote will be listened to and acted upon. In short, how they voted matters.

Scotland’s vote, as a member state of the UK, has not been listened to; no concessions have been offered, and indeed, in order to facilitate the jumping through hoops that will now be expected of the UK, some, if not many, of the devolved powers will be taken back into the unsafe hands of a man who needed to go to Durham for an eye test.

Aye, Better Together, UKOK and Blue Passports…

Swiss passport - Wikipedia

Hey, there’s a thought. Did anyone promise the Swiss blue passports?

And what about Swiss busses? No promises of 415,413,250.00 CHF per week?

Bus advertising Geneva | full cover | rear | tram ads

Jeez, they missed a trick, huh?


  1. The parts of the Tory’s single market bill relating to NI will have to be removed.
    However,the bits that allow them to override Scottish interests and effectively eliminate Holyrood will remain.
    Holding on to Scotland is of paramount importance to the continuance of the British state because without that there will be no UK/British state.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You would seriously think, though, wouldn’t you, that they would see that whatever they are doing right now, it really isn’t working.

      I mean, even with the SNP biting chunks out of each other like unruly, ill-mannered children, they are still hammering the unionists.

      You’d think someone would say… OK, we gotta stop this.

      Alternatively, on the basis that there is nothing we can do… and we are not Northern Ireland (I think it was Andrew Bowie who tactlessly pointed that out), sod the jocks.


  2. Switzerland voting so convincingly for the free movement is a blow to the unionists and good for pushing a few more from No to Yes here.
    Three of the five component parts to the UK voted to stay in the EU. Now two of them have been given concessions that leaves them in effect still within the EU. All is quiet on the Gibralter issue, it will be good for a few more Yes votes when the details break.
    Anyone hear the deails yet?


    1. No, but I understand that their government has been in talks with the EU. Amazing in and of itself. Some dipstick, I believe, told Nicola Sturgeon she couldn’t talk to the EU and they withdrew any diplomatic support from her.

      Not that that would stop her.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The EU gave the countries who would be sharing a border with the departing UK a veto over any deal before it was signed. Spain was not going to just roll over, especially when Gibralter voted 92% to maintain their special relationship.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yep. They’d have been bonkers not to vote that way. The cross border daily traffic is utterly essential. People, both ways and goods.

          I understand that the bulk of Gibraltar’s water now comes from Spain.

          Now that is pretty essential.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. The referendum result is great news but it remains the case that the Swiss-EU relationship is very fragile. The EU are insistent on bringing all the Swiss/EU bilaterals under a single framework agreement and have made it clear that the system of bilaterals will not be extended or amended. This would leave the Swiss locked out of any further EU developments on financial market regulation or the single digital market etc etc. The bilaterals also have a tendency to rot as new ways of living require new ways of regulation. The framework agreement is still being negotiated and it’s easy to imagine that it will be very controversial and will itself require a further referendum for ratification.

    This is life outside the EU. The uncertainty and tension never ends. It just goes on and on and on and on, year after year.

    I still don’t think Leavers (and that includes indy supporters who mistakenly believe Scotland can forge a relationship with the EU on its own terms) understand that Brexit will never end. In 10 years time, the UK will still be negotiating something or other with the EU and there will be political tensions about parliamentary ratification and the effect that some new EU agreement or other will have on the next election. If the EU brings in regulations for autonomous vehicles, what exactly is the UK going to do? Meekly accept it or shut itself out of a lucractive market?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Absolutely.

      Random thought on this…

      I’d say that the Swiss system is less than perfect. I understand that the EU doesn’t care much for it (which is why the UK would never get that kind of agreement…even if it had the sort of government that would accept it).

      I don’t know enough about the Swiss economy to know whether they would have been better to be a full member, or to have the EEA kind of agreement.

      As I understand it the EEA agreement suits the three EEA countries well for several reasons.

      They have no (or little) need of any EU handouts… although I think they can have some. Each is seriously rich. I remember hearing a BBC Radio Scotland programme where they talked to Norwegian farmers and asked if they wouldn’t like the kind of grants that EU farmers have… they said …. lol lol lol… (or the Norwegian equivalent thereof).

      Their government , they informed us, can afford as good if not better than the EU.
      Probably the same can be said for the relatively small farming sectors in Iceland and Liechtenstein. I mean in Liechtenstein, the prince could buy all the farms in the EU and North America and have enough left over to go for a slap-up feast at Tour d’Or in Paris.

      I’m guessing the same sort of financial set up applies to Switzerland. (Erm, not the rich prince bit). Their farmers, I dare say can get sufficient subsidies that they don’t need Bruxelles.

      These countries pay in money and get almost nothing back, except a free trade agreement. Clearly the free trade is a pretty important thing… Eh, Mr Gove?

      That wouldn’t work for Scotland given that our oil wealth was squandered by the British desire to have a finance-based economy in London and to play constable to the USA’s chief of police… in policing the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of the live issues that Switzerland had with EU and EEA is that neither fit well with the system of Cantons and communities. They also don’t fit well with a system of direct democracy that requires informed consent for a wide range of policy. On top of that, Switzerland generously subsidises domestic industries, particularly agriculture. The trade-offs on level playing field required for further EU integration are hard to sell. There’s a general feeling that the EU will lower standards. I think the same is true in Norway, as you said.

        I don’t think any of this applies to Scotland as it is today. I can’t help feeling that rUK would exert downward pressures on an independent Scotland. We’d need something like the EU to work against that.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. It takes a lot of getting used to. The weirdest thing of all is that federal income tax is only something like 4%. People moving here often forget that the cantons and communities swallow another >20%. I’m guessing this is a good indication of who controls spending.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. We had two farm apprentices from Switzerland on the farm. Both came from farming families, one was mainly fruit production, the other family farm was dairy, but they only had 16 cows. When I asked how does the family manage, he, thinking I was meaning the farming workload, said “we employ a couple of people that stay with the cattle up on the Alpen during the summer. They make the cheese up there from the milk.” Bless him. I persevered to get to the knub of their economy; ie how many Mars Bars can you buy with an average wage. What I did not realise was the tax gathering split in Switzerland between central and local, until now, from Terry.

              Now I have worked twice in the dairy sector within the UK. One had 60 milkers, beef sucklers and sheep, it was a struggle. In the other unit we milked 220 cows and it was a struggle.

              Switzerland wanted their farmers incomes to be the equivalent to an engineers or other skilled factory worker. A noble ambition. It appears that they did this with pricing of the produce, all good and well till increasing numbers of citizens were crossing the border into the EU to stock up on cheap food. As you indicated Terry this would have deprived the Cantons of tax income. This must have been building up financial strains within the Cantons, therefore felt locally first.

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Tris

    To be honest, the government rejecting a referendum result would alarm me to be honest, ignore the result you don’t like and accept the one you do, irrespective of the motives around national self-harm it does make a mockery of having the first vote in the first place in my humble opinion and that does more harm to democracy, better to put in a thresh hold if they feel strongly about it and at least everyone knows the rules.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would certainly be the case in the UK, Bruce.

      In Switzerland, however, it appears to me that it is understood that referenda are advisory.

      I doubt that they could or would have done it with a result that was anything but the narrowest of margins.

      Of interest though is a recent referendum which was annulled by the federal government becasue one of the sides was found to lie.

      Imagine that on the side of a bus.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s the case that referendums here require a government response that is accepted by parliament. Most have defined outcomes and they are implemented as expected. For example, one of the recent referendums was on paternity leave. It was quite specific, setting out the number of days that could be claimed. It’s hard to argue that it meant something else.

        One referendum was annulled because incorrect statistics were used. The previous immigration referendum did not implement the question presented to voters but instead made a cosmetic change. It all comes down to consent, I think. The referendum had unexpected outcomes that were inadequately discussed and the government took the view that the narrow majority did not give them a mandate to make this kind of change.

        The government are right now considering what the 63/37 outcome on EU migration means in terms of consent to negotiate the framework agreement. From what I’ve read online, it’s in a bit of a grey area.

        I like the idea of consent but it is also a massive pain in the behind.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. The UK just isn’t a direct democracy. It should have never put to referendum a question that was well within parliament’s authority. Any decision even tangentially related to Brexit no longer requires consent because it is assumed to be the will of the people.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Of course the general election of 2019, fought almost entirely on the promise to “get Brexit done” gave Mr Johnson’s government the biggest majority since the days of Tony Blair.

              Once again, of course, that majority was virtually all in England and in Scotland he lost half the Tory seats that even Theresa May hadn’t managed to lose desp[ite her dismal performances on the campaign trail in Scotland (namely hiding from anyone who wasn’t the soon to be Baroness).

              Liked by 1 person

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