Monthly Archives: September 2016

Political Effluence

Reading Jeremy Corbyn’s Conference Speech to the Labour Party faithful/nodding monkeys, few will realise that changing the speaker for any other political party leader and allowing for the required change in ideology one  stark fact would have been apparent – the verbal effluence would have remained similar.

Does not every party political leader, whose party has been out of power for a period,  exort their faithful to rebuild trust and support in order to win the next general election and form the next government?

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Compare and contrast

Yesterday the Swiss people had the opportunity of voting on three national referendum questions, something they do four times a year, (along with some cantonal referendums – of the latter more later): they backed a new law allowing phone and email tapping; they rejected a proposal to increase retirement benefits by 10%; and they also rejected unspecified cuts in the use of natural resources such as lumber and water.

Where cantonal referendums were concerned, in the canton of Neuchâtel, the people voted against an initiative that would have made it the first Swiss canton to allow foreigners to stand in cantonal elections. Fifty-four percent of voters rejected the plan, launched by a citizens’ committee last month. Several cantons do allow foreign nationals to stand for public office at communal level, but none at cantonal level. The French-speaking canton in Western Switzerland is already a pioneer when it comes to civic rights for foreigners. Foreign nationals have been allowed to vote in communal elections for over 150 years, and in 2000 they were granted the right to vote at cantonal level.In a 2007 referendum the public granted foreigners the right to stand for office in communal elections, but not at cantonal level.

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Seaham’s Annual Car Show

Every year Seaham holds what is termed a ‘vintage car’ show which includes some vehicles whose vintage is, to be polite, not ‘so vintage’

This year was no exception with some vehicles showing engines off which one could eat one’s dinner, every part of which was polished chrome. Even on show was a Hillman Hunter (If anyone remembers them) in superb condition, however I digress.

Walking round I thought I had found the car of the show: a Ford Zephyr. Originally bought new in August 1962, that owner had suffered a driving ban and promptly ‘garaged’ the car. It was then bought by someone with a view to renovating it – but never did,  even though he had spent £s obtaining some of the parts required. Purchased by the current owner as a ‘seized-up’ hulk in 2012, he spent 18 months getting the vehicle roadworthy to the point the only ‘new’ item on the car were the carpets.

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What happens next?

An intriguing situation has arisen in Switzerland on the question involving the ‘free movement of people –  one of the EU’s ‘red lines’.

We read that the Lower House has ‘capitulated‘ in this regard encapsulating a ‘row’ in that legislature.

The Swiss media appear to be not ‘happy bunnies’, with Tages Anzeiger stating the Swiss government has ‘capitulated’ and the lower house decision “must not be the last word” on the matter; while in Berner Zeitung the claim is made that the referendum was “deliberately ignored” and what parliament has decided “has nothing to do with the constitutional mandate”.

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Yet more ‘domicide’………

An article in the Financial Times by Martin Wolf about a hard brexit (viz-a-viz Theresa May)  is but another example of ‘domicide’ (see preceding article).

For example yet again we are led to believe that all EU law is originated by  the EU when patently, with a little research, this statement can easily be shown to be false.

People are reliant on all media to inform them of ‘news’ that may have an impact on their lives and consequently, especially  when producing opinion pieces the media in all forms, have a duty to ensure that the information they produce is factually correct. Not withstanding that basic requirement, they also have a duty to check statements by politicians to ensure that those statements are correct, factually, rather than just reproducing them verbatim.

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Death by Government

The title of this post is taken from a book written by an American political scientist named R.K. Rummel who coined various phrases such as ‘democide’ and politicide’. democide is defined as:  the murder of any person or people by their government; and politicide as: deliberate physical destruction of a group whose members share the main characteristic of belonging to a political movement; or: an action which irreparably damages a person’s own political career; or finally: a systematic attempt to cause the annihilation of an independent political and social entity.

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That’s the way to do it………

……as Mr. Punch used to say.

Unknown to a lot of people the Swiss have the third of four referendums to be held this year, on 25th September; along with elections which are also taking place in many cantons and communes across the country.

The referendums being held contain:

A proposal to reduce Switzerland’s carbon footprint by promoting a sustainable economy, a proposal which has seen a substantial drop in support ahead of a nationwide vote. Pollsters expect the initiative to fail at the ballot box;

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Switzerland (2)

First the meeting with the SVP politicians on Thursday went well despite the language problems (even with a translator present) and I will report further on this on my return to the UK.

In the meantime more on the holiday aspect of the trip. Yesterday Helen and I took a four and a half hour boat trip to Interlaken West on the Thunersee (Lake Thun) on the Berner Oberland and enjoyed a superb lunch – accompanied with the obligatory glass or two of wine.


The boats that do this trip stop at various points on both sides of the lake for those wishing to get on or off. One of the boats that do this trip is an old, presumably converted, paddle boat:

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The best laid plans of mice and men – I appear to have left the cable to download photos from camera to laptop at home; coupled with the Wifi connection is a tad poor to say the least.

Consequently I have had to use the camera on my iPhone and post  the article on same ( which is a pain!).

However this is where we are staying:


This is a view of lake Thun with Thun on the far shore and Spietz in the foreground:


Finally one of the mountains nearby at sunset yesterday evening:


An article or two will follow in due course……

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Switzerland Hiatus

SfS is leaving fairly early tomorrow morning for 7 days in Switzerland where on Thursday evening he is attending a meeting at which several politicians, who have already agreed to speak with him, will be present. Needless to say a detailed report will be issued in due course, probably on my return to the UK. I shall attempt, however, to publish a short resumé the following day.

The remainder of the trip will be spent traveling around the country sightseeing and visiting ‘one or two’ restaurants. Hopefully, if the technology works and it will not bore readers, some pictures will appear.

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