Having made ones bed………

….one has to lie in it – as the old adage says.

Back in November 2010 the Swiss people, in a referendum, decided that they did not want foreign criminals held in their jails and at their expense, deciding that instead criminals should be deported. The Federal Government has been accused of ‘dragging their feet’ in implementing the result of the peoples decision, the implementation being something that the Federal Government has to do. The Local reports that the SVP has brought forward a new popular initiative, signed by 154,982 people, calling on the government to honour the result of a referendum held in November 2010, The new initiative is far more detailed than the original, and if passed would give the government less room for manoeuvre. The text specifies that expulsion of foreigners who committed murder, robbery or rape would be automatic, even on a first offence. Others facing expulsion would include “notorious and incorrigible” offenders whose actions “seriously affect order and public safety,”

The problem the Federal Government now has is the job of unpicking various treaties and agreements to which they signed Switzerland up, something which presents the Federal Government with what could be termed a severe headache. Oops.

What we are seeing here in action is “people power” – politicians doing something which the people are dead set against and the people saying”nope”, we’re not accepting that. Would that we in the UK had similar power – which of course we would were we to adopt the 6 Demands of the Harrogate Agenda.



5 Responses

  1. Pogle's Woodsman says:

    The international treaty ‘bed’ is made by several partners tho’.

    A Government which actually cared about the people it served would be sufficiently alert to advise the other signatories of this little inconvenient truth.

    That they were signing a Treaty with a nation which might – at some future point – elect to reverse several of its articles. The other partners to those treaties cannot claim innocence or ignorance in the nature of the nation they were negotiating with?

    • Antisthenes says:

      You cannot have unilateral get out clauses in treaties nobody would sign them. You can renege on treaties but then nobody would trust you.

      • Pogle's Woodsman says:

        You’re dealing with theory however. The article above is based in the manifest reality.

        Switzerland possesses tenets of political representation which obviates to signatory parties that a decision of the Swiss electorate may compel revision of treaty articles.

        Those are the facts. Signatory parties must be aware of it, and if not, they should scrutinise the situation with the Swiss electorate with a deal more diligence.Whether it is desirable or problematic must defer to the actuality. The actuality is that the Swiss voter may direct to their government the overturning of international agreements. Signatories to an international convention or treaty will have to remain aware they have no right of veto with regard to internal electorate decision. The similarity is there with regard to the (theoretical) sovereignty of the UK Parliament. Any international negotiation with the UK Government will still remain subject to the notion that the Westminster Parliament can, and may, invoke sovereignty over the articles of any treaty. Again, those are the facts, and associate signatories to such matters must bear that in mind.

        • Antisthenes says:

          I am not against the sentiment that the sovereign right of the people is paramount I only point out the practical difficulties involved. So I look for thought and debate as to how to best achieve the goal of people power and at the same time preserve the integrity of government and nation. Without which no nation can trade and converse with other nations as trust is lost because it will be known that at capricious whim of the people anything can be destabilised, reneged upon or overturned.

  2. Antisthenes says:

    Here you highlight a problem with people power in that what the people want and what can practically and/or sensible be delivered are at odds. Deporting foreign criminals involves treaty changes and in some cases severe breaches of human rights (I am not talking about the ludicrous right of family life here but exposure to torture or even death). In this case the government is between a rock and a hard place as much as they may want to what the people want they are powerless to do so much of the time. I am an ardent advocate of people power but here it is demonstrated that having it it comes with problematic unintended consequences. People power also needs checks and balances so that good intentions stay good. How that particular circle is squared, as this will not be an isolated case, will need a lot of thought and answers sort. Perhaps you have the answer but as yet I have not observed that you have or have even considered it? I want people power but I want it in a way that it works better than what we already have.

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