• Mailbag



Yes to initiative on mass ­immigration 

Mr Blocher has once again used his wealth to force through an initiative in line with his own agenda. It is high time that the parties had to disclose their accounts just like every employee, employer and association.  

Alfred Steiner, Negombo, Sri Lanka

Waiting game 

I can hardly believe that we as a sovereign state allow ourselves to be told what to do by the EU. We are now waiting for the EU parliamentary elections to finish. There are in fact an increasing number of citizens in the EU who no longer agree with the policies of the 4th Reich – the EU.  

Klaus Werner Wegmüller, Chonburi, Thailand

Cringe factor 

The arguments put forward by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) prior to the referendum were once again rather far-fetched. There has been a housing crisis in the major cities for decades. We should not forget the large-scale riots during the 1980s when the slogan “W! W! Wohnigsnot!” (H! H! Housing crisis) resounded through the streets of various cities. Commuter trains and access roads to economic centres have rarely been uncongested. The fact that this situation existed without the free movement of persons and EU treaties is sooner overlooked. What now after this disastrous referendum result? As a Swiss person living abroad, I once again cringe at the ever increasing xenophobia in my native country and hope that the appointed working groups on both sides somehow still find a way to avoid a debacle.  

Marlene Leimbach, Gross-Zimmern, Germany

A majority?

Another perspective for once – with a turnout of 55.8% and a 50.3% yes vote, only around 28% of the Swiss people actually approved the mass immigration initiative. 

Jean-Jacques Baumann, Mèze, France Picasso and the 

prostitutes of Avignon

I had the pleasure to share the admirable work carried out by Hildy and Ernst Beyeler. In your article ­entitled “A summer house for modern art”, I find the part on Picasso’s painting “Les demoiselles d’Avignon” strange.  The “rue d’Avignon” in Barcelona was a street heavily frequented by prostitutes in the last century and they provided the inspiration for the young Picasso. The painting has nothing to do with the Vaucluse region as it is just a street in Barcelona that bears the name of this French town.

Jean Darni, Paris, France

Family policy 

A very good, relatively objective article. The conclusion is nevertheless questionable. One thing has always held true – a state’s survival depends upon a woman! – and a man and children, an income and at least 20 years of care to ensure children survive to adulthood. It is extremely important in a healthy state that the protection of the biological family is promoted. “Working” (today “employed”) mothers and fathers need, as they always have done, a safe place for their children if they work “outside the home”. A society should therefore make it easier to meet family responsibilities. This is also in the interests of the state as this is the only way in which children develop into decent citizens. That is why we need good crèches which are inexpensive (a maximum of 10 Swiss francs a day), like those in Quebec. Good luck!  

Kati Lyon-Villiger, Ottawa, Canada

Ten billion on air defence   

Who are we defending ourselves against? Don’t our members of parliament realise that the world is no longer that of the previous generation? Why not use this money to improve education or to feed those who are hungry? We have to appreciate that we Swiss, some of the most privileged people of all, are part of the human family. It is a question of conscience. 

Marcel Thevoz, Stafford, Virginia

Restricted Immigration ­Initiative 

I was surprised to see that the Swiss Abroad were not in favour of restricting immigration. This is probably because they themselves are immigrants in their country of choice. As a third-generation Swiss Abroad, living in South Africa, I want to express in the strongest terms my opposition to unrestricted immigration. If the free movement of people had led to an overall upgrade in quality of life for all, then I would be unequivocally in favour. This is demonstrably not the case, in virtually all regions of the world. Before allowing foreigners into my house I would always vet them very carefully, and I would never make a permanent arrangement. Extending this to nations, it is terminal idiocy to allow unrestricted access.  

Michael des Ligneris, Port Elizabeth, South Africa