Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
While referendums approving tax increases for investment in the public good (like for S-Bahn Zurich) are positives of Swiss direct democracy, there is also the dark side, especially the referendums won by xenophobes, whom I have a little story about.

The main instigator and beneficiary of the current xenophobia wave in Switzerland is the right-populist and neo-liberal SVP party, led by billionaire demagogue Christoph Blocher (a mix of Austria's Jörg Haider and Italy's Silvio Berlusconi) and supported by a network of indirectly-owned or friendly tabloids. (A Swiss speciality pushed by these tabloids is to change the SVP's adjective from ausländerfeindlich = "foreigner-hostile" into ausländerskeptisch = "foreigner-sceptic".) So when someone left a tabloid paper in an S-Bahn train I rode with a headlined article on a guy leaving the neo-Nazi scene, it caught my eye and I read it.

I felt the article was quite sinister, though. The initial narrative was of a mother fighting to get her son out of a dangerous subculture. But it transpired that the ex-neo-Nazi merely went through a sort of coming of age: he was no more hot on the outward things and the direct violence and could entertain the thought that some foreigners were decent chaps, but by no means did he ditch his xenophobia (merely moved on from ex-Yugoslavs to Muslims) and was unrepentant vs. his former victims ("arguing" that most of them were militant leftists just as much out for a fight as he was). What's more, the reader is supposed to applaud that he moderated his views from seeing the SVP as too soft to positioning himself a bit right from the SVP and supporting their referendums.

(Of course, let's not forget the near-50% who voted No on the referendum or who treated me well as customer and not like Oprah.)

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In the next comments, I post my usual extra photos without trains.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 21st, 2014 at 07:05:15 PM EST

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