Posted on  UTC 2022-08-01 02:01

01.08.2022 – Little Switzerland

1 August, Swiss National Day. In parties in towns and villages throughout Switzerland, political worthies of all ranks will be making patriotic speeches.

It is going to be quite difficult to crank the patriotic hurdy-gurdy this year. This is the year in which the idea of neutrality and the constitutional requirement to provide 'good offices' for warring parties have landed in the dustbin of history with no more fuss than the soft thud of the lid. There will be a referendum, but once you have thrown away your doctrine of neutrality, no Promethean flame can rekindle it.

The EU imposes sanctions on Russia; Switzerland immediately follows suit. What else can it do? Become the sanctions-busting capital of the world?

The army, militarily pointless since the end of the Cold War, is looking at the Russia-Ukraine ding-dong and thinking: O.M.G. More than twenty years of indecisive back and forth fretting about the purchase of a few secondhand fighter planes has been a complete waste of time and money. In any modern conflict involving devastating modern conventional weapons, Switzerland would be obliterated in short order.

Switzerland's mad dash for green energy and concomitant reliance on someone else to make the electricity and deliver the fuel has hit the buffers with a bang. Warned of impending blackouts and fuel shortages, we learn today that the dimmer Swiss are panic-buying electric heaters. Don't use them, the experts plead, you'll bust the grid! Nota bene, the smart grid.

We cynics and 'climate deniers' are still chortling over the solar panel entrepreneurs in Switzerland who are now switching their installations off. It turns out that if they make anything more than a small profit on their product they have to pay back the subsidy they have received so far. Condemned to make profits from the current astronomical electricity prices, the owners are choosing to switch off their panels rather than repay the subsidy. Result: zero electricity from commercial solar. Neither side of the deal expected a situation such as this to arise, so it's always fun to watch the window dressing plans of the mercantilist green minds running Switzerland go so far askew.

In the coming winter, when energy is scarce everywhere, who will send some to Switzerland, now it is decommissioning its own nuclear power stations? French nuclear power stations? German coal burners?

Our conclusion: Switzerland is a small country in terms of area and population (c. 8.7 million). It is completely surrounded by EU countries – Unlike other low population countries in the region, it has no coastline, not much productive land, no mineral or fossil fuel resources. The mountain chain running across most of its middle is a transportation nightmare. Nothing it produces is cheap, especially with the expensive Swiss Franc.

Rudolf Koller (1828-1905), Die Gotthardpost (1874)

Rudolf Koller (1828-1905), Die Gotthardpost (1874).
In Koller's magnificent painting, is the terrified calf fleeing the madcap race of the modern world a metaphor for the plight of plucky little Switzerland, about to be trampled by the traffic on that symbol of European domination, the Gotthard Pass?
Image: Kunsthaus Zürich

In today's globalised world Switzerland is simply too small and too powerless to support an independent existence. We have seen many examples of the EU, the dominant trading partner which entirely surrounds it, telling Switzerland what is expected of it. If it makes the odd squeak of defiance, its banking system is hit, its financial trading is disadvantaged, its participation in EU spendoramas such as big science projects restricted.

Plucky little Switzerland fell long ago below the critical mass for independent national existence. It can do nothing else but join the EU, which has had it by the throat for several decades now. Better stop pretending and get it over with. The red-green statists in Brussels are not much different from the red-green statists in Bern, so what difference will it make?

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