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The Swiss, bless 'em!

Posted by Thersites on UTC 2018-06-11 13:03.

Connoisseurs of that exciting mixture of breathtaking direct democracy, breathtaking rationality and breathtaking imbecility that is woven together in the rich tapestry of life in God's Own European Country had a fun weekend.

It was a referendum weekend and so always good for surprises.

Sane

It gave the voters of Canton Valais an opportunity to reject decisively all thought of holding a Winter Olympics in Sion in 2026, aligning themselves with the voters of the Grisons, who had twice previously (2013 and 2017) roundly rejected a proposal to host the games there.

Refusing to toss 100 million CHF of public money into the malodorous pit that is the IoC for the wasteful snow circus was a welcome sign of Swiss rationality. By 2016 the price would certainly have trebled at least.

There was still some slight delusion, of course: the proponents defended the 8 million CHF or so that had already been sunk into the hopeless campaign as 'not at all wasted'.

Sane – we think

As expected, the voters of Switzerland rejected the Vollgeld Initiative, the 'Full Money proposal'. Not only was its title incomprehensible but its purpose, too. Away with it.

Not as sane as you might think

A large majority of the voters of Switzerland accepted the questionable Geldspielgesetz, the 'Gambling Law'. This law will block foreign online gambling websites (which are nominally illegal already) and will tax and regulate online gambling for the benefit of the Swiss state – much as it does now with the lottery.

The proposal will do next to nothing to counteract gambling addiction apart from allowing the Swiss state to profit from it – as far as the Swiss gambling cartel that has now been created is concerned, business is business. There were clearly not enough people concerned at the state's proposed use of network blocking to keep officially unwanted content out of Switzerland. The success of the proposal will encourage the state to try more of the same. Today they come for the online gambling sites – and tomorrow?

Unhinged

In other Swiss news, a stage of the E-Prix, the electric car formula race series, was hosted in Zurich on Sunday. In this event, identical looking electric racing cars prove their worth by circling a small, narrow circuit for an hour at considerably lower speeds than proper racing cars with real engines. One organizer described the circuit – a canyon of high protective fences and impact buffers around the Enge district of Zürich – as 'beautiful'. Anyone who sees beauty in such things needs to be sectioned.

The race may have lasted only an hour, but the residents and workers in the busy district had to put up with two weeks of immense disruption, pollution and noise beforehand while crash barriers and high fences were erected. Now another two weeks of similar disruption start today, during which all the junk will be taken down again. We'll spare you the further details of the event, which detach from all sanity. The only glimmer of rationality is the fact that no public money – allegedly – was thrown at this lunacy.