Sunday, June 05, 2005

Politics of Fear - Swiss Version

Schweizerische Volkspartei SVP (Homepage). Union D�mocratique du Centre UDC (page d'accueil).

Today there is a referendum in Switzerland primarily on the treaty that would make it possible for the country to become part of the Schengen area of free travel in Europe.

You would think that this would be fairly uncontroversial.

But it's not. The backward-looking Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP), which has been growing visibly during the latest election, is conducting a campaign of fear in order to get voters to say No.

Posters depict a woman screaming in horror over the prospects of losing both her security and her job if the treaty is approved.

In the rest of Europe, Schengen is today a normal part of daily life. Even non-EU member Norway is part of the arrangement. Few would see it as a threat - most would see it as one of the gains of European integration that is now a normal part of our societies.

But these are field days for the politics of fear. Even in Switzerland.