July 20, 2010

Big Switzerland, anybody?

Grande Suisse

Small countries can actually be interesting - and may even try to become big.

The rightwing populist SVP or Swiss People's Party, which happens to be the largest Swiss party, has submitted a parliamentary motion to introduce such constitutional changes, that would allow neighbouring regions to join Switzerland as new cantoons. They mentioned, as potential candidates, a number of regions for a total of 17m people (as against 8m inhabitants of the current 'small' Switzerland). Look at the map to see the cancer-like shape of the future country.

Canton Como, with Canton Ticino on the horizon

This happened last month and don't worry: nothing to fear. But what is interesting is that having had a look at dicussion fora from the neighbouring countries, the self-selected population commenting is overwhelmingly in favour of the idea and seems to long to swap Roma/Wien/Berlin/Paris for Bern. Vorarbelg, after all, had actually tried to join Switzerland in 1919, Südtirol's identity is most definitely not Italian, Alsace's not-so-French. And, from a SVP point of view, the candidate regions, while differing in the federal language they speak, share a strong inclination for the populist Right, whether the Lega Nord, die FPÖ, die Republikaner or Le Front National. In prospective Canton Como some look confused, though (picture).

In 1866, the First Workingmen's (sic) International Association held its first Congress in Geneva. Now in the same country internationalism is promoted by bankers and somebody shouts Populisten aller Länder, vereinigt euch...

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