Political talk from outside of the UK
:sunglasses: 28.6 % :thumbsup: 71.4 %
By Zuriblue
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The Swiss had the last votation of the year yesterday. Three initiatives were on the Federal ballot:

The Ecopop initiative
The Gold initiative
The Pauschalsteuer initiative.

The Ecopop initiative was the latest in a long line of anti-immigrant measures, this time brought by the Greens, that would limit Swiss population growth to 0.02% per year. It was opposed across the board, even by the right wing populist SVP (which normally inflicts the anti-immigrant/anti-foreigner/ anti-Muslim initiatives on us, on average one a year)

It was voted down by a surprisingly large 75% - 25%

The Gold initiative would have forced the Swiss national bank to increase it's gold reserves to 20% and keep the gold in CH (currently some of it is held in the UK and Canada) and was brought by a part of the SVP.

It was also hammered 77% to 23%

Finally the Pauschalsteuer initiative would have banned a lump-sum tax break that is paid by the rich to keep their taxes down. this one came from Switzerland's second biggest party, the SP (Social Democrats)

It was also voted down 60% - 40% but did actually pass one kanton. (initiatives need to get a majority of the popular votes and the Kantons)
By Agnes
Membership Days Posts
Your Greens are anti-immigrant?

I've heard of 'deep greens' obsessed with human population growth but I've never heard of them standing for election - more writing books and blowing stuff up.
By Zuriblue
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For the last 3 years the Swiss National Bank has held a policy of pegging the CHF to 1.20 EUR. That policy was abandoned today and the CHF allowed to float.

It is carnage.

Currently the EUR has dropped to near parity and many Swiss companies (including the one I work for) have dropped 10-20% :shock:


Needless to say companies that export (not just chocolate and watches, a lot of heavy engineering) are incredibly worried, basically our companies products just got 20% more expensive in the Eurozone.
By Kreuzberger
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Because the Franc is a so-called haven and any further strengthening would destroy their export markets. The financial markets are generally shitting themselves at the moment so for the SFB to so this at this present time must be seen as an act of hubris and muscle-flexing in the face of the ECB all-but deciding to fire up the printing presses.
By youngian
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Doesn't the ECB need some kind of treaty change? More bizarrely is the UK in which Tory and Labour going into an election campaign on an auction of defecit cutting and it was left to Carney to explain what the economic landscape is going to look like.
Last edited by youngian on Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
By Kreuzberger
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youngian wrote:Doesn't the ECB need some kind of treaty change? ...
A moot point. Fact is, they are at the gates of QE and it is well on the way to being fully priced in regardless of what might happen in the courts many years down the line. There is a currency clusterfuck on the near horizon which can only be averted by the weekend and a time for clear heads. I don't want to be overly simplistic but the CHF and USD, and also the GBP, because it is a "big one", could be on Ritalin by the middle of next week.

Why? The Swiss SMI fell 9% today and that won't go down well at home.
By Zuriblue
Membership Days Posts
Another vote next weekend, this is the last one before the Federal elections in October.

There are 4 subjects on the national ballot.

Inheritance Tax. This is a proposed 20% federal tax (taxation is normally the province of the Kantons) on inheritances over CHF 2 million that will go to fund shortfalls in the AHV (old age pension). This came from the left, as you would imagine, led by the EVP (Protestant Peoples Party) and the unions, particularly UN1A. Polling shows it falling short, particularly as it's an initiative and thus needs a majority of both the popular vote and the Kantons.

TV and Radio Licence. The Swiss TV and Radio Licence is currently assessed on anybody who has a TV or radio. (no shit, sherlock) If you can prove that you only watch online you're exempt, same as in the UK. The licence is currently CHF 462/year (about £320)

The government voted last year to move this to a household model and include businesses turning over 50kCHF, so you have to pay for the SRG whether you have a TV or watch it on a tablet. The law was challenged and has been put on a referendum. This is a straight yes or no vote, no supermajority is needed as no constitutional change is made. IT's currently too close to call according to the last poll

IVF screening. This will permit pre-implantation screening of IVF embryos as in most of the rest of Western Europe. It's too close to call.

Student Grants.This is harmonising the student grant across the Kantons. At the moment there is a big discrepancy between the Kantons over who gets a grant and how much they get. Again this is too close to call.

As this is the last votation before the Federal elections in October people are also looking at trends to see how the parties are likely to fare. Recent votes have swung slightly to the soft right (FDP) at the expense of the left (SP) and slightly the hard right (SVP)
By Zuriblue
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Wasn't sure where to put this, an interesting piece about a nonogenarian activist member of the Operation Libero movement tackling fuckwits on social media.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/directdemocrac ... s/43298062" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

it makes a few interesting points, in particular about the way the left and the right interact on social media
This form of political engagement has a very low threshold but can have a huge impact. In fact, research with German-language Swiss news sites showsexternal link that people believe the opinions expressed in online comments actually represent the majority rather than the opinions of a minority that is engaging in political dialogue in a very specific way.

Researchers refer to this ploy as “astroturfing”. This is where people create the impression that public opinion is weighted a certain way. “It could perhaps be a single person leaving hundreds of comments. This massively distorts public perception,” says political scientist Lukas Golder from the leading GfS Bern research and polling institute.
A study also shows that those with a rightwing political bent are active comment-writers, while those on the left of the political spectrum prefer to make do with “likes”.

This is the trend that Operation Libero wants to counteract using arguments and liberal principles. Not using clichéd propaganda imposed from above, as is the case with government-backed and/or paid “troll factories” abroad but with tools for arguing. Political discourse should be fuelled by facts rather than spin.
That is very true. The international politics section of the forum where I got this is infested by about 5 or 6 alt-right fuckwits who contantly spEak there brAnes with a deluge of anti-immigrant/(muslim/refugee bullshit. Of course if you call them out they run snivelling to the mods in accordance with Olbermann's Dictum.
By Zuriblue
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And there was me thinking the pound was in the toilet :mrgreen:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41306934" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
BBC wrote:Swiss prosecutors are investigating why tens of thousands of euros were flushed down toilets in Geneva.
The €500 (£440; $600) notes were cut up and found in the toilets of a branch of the bank UBS and in three nearby restaurants.
Thousands of francs have reportedly been spent on plumbing repairs to unclog the surrounding pipes.
By Kreuzberger
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Zuriblue wrote:And there was me thinking the pound was in the toilet :mrgreen:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41306934" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
BBC wrote:Swiss prosecutors are investigating why tens of thousands of euros were flushed down toilets in Geneva.
The €500 (£440; $600) notes were cut up and found in the toilets of a branch of the bank UBS and in three nearby restaurants.
Thousands of francs have reportedly been spent on plumbing repairs to unclog the surrounding pipes.
Those 500 Eur notes are difficult to ditch these days. Most banks will take them but, more than three or four of them, and they ask questions.

That's a real inconvenience, to be honest. Buying a sandwich and a beer at Bern railway station would be so much easier without having to scratch round for loose hundreds.
By Zuriblue
Membership Days Posts
There was another vote yesterday, two federal items as well as the usual Gemeinde and Kantonal stuff.

The first is quite interesting, it is renewing the Federal governments right to raise taxes. Most of the tax here is paid to the Gemeinde (council) and the Kanton with only 20 odd% going to Bern. Most of the tax raised by Bern is under a clause in the constitution that needs to be renewed every 15 years. If it is not renewed the consequences could be pretty drastic.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/directdemo ... d/43943294

It looks like it’s going to pass.

The second is a proposal to abolish the TV license. The year before last the TV license was extended to all households so you no longer had the exemption if you didn’t have a TV. The reaction to that was to collect signatures to put an item on the ballot to abolish the TV license. This was called no-Billag (Billag is the company that collects the license.)

First returns look like it’s going to fail.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/radio-and- ... s/43824266
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By Boiler
There was an article on the BBC about this yesterday: the big issue for Switzerland is the provision of four language services. Who, for example, would provide Romantsch services in the commercial sector otherwise?
By Zuriblue
Membership Days Posts
Major gains by the green parties in yesterday’s Swiss federal elections.

(Switzerland has two Green parties, the Greens who are a normal Environmentalist party and he Green Liberals who are Environmentalists but with a Classical Liberal twist -I’d socially a bit more right wing.)

The losers were the Social Democrats who got squeezed and the People’s Party (right wing populist) who lost 11 seats.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-poll ... s/45196392
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