ECOPOP is a Swiss ecological group. Its main objectives are to preserve non-renewable resources and to reduce overpopulation.
IN LATE November Switzerland held a referendum on immigration. As with September’s Scottish Referendum, Liberal Future – the youth wing of the National Liberal Party – found this latest referendum fascinating for two main reasons.
Firstly, we favour a system of small government based on true and direct democracy. As the NLP notes in its Statement of Principles “the personal liberty of a nation’s citizens is vital.” Thus we believe that governments should devolve power, wealth and arms down to the lowest possible common denominator (and to some extent, Switzerland does all of this.)
Currently major decisions are made by elected representatives – many of whom belong to a Politically Correct, metropolitan elite. This elite are well placed to put their own vested interests before those of the nation and people they are supposed to serve. We feel that this represents a democratic deficit and a form of intellectual dishonesty. Therefore, Liberal Future feels that major national decisions should be decided by people – via preferendums and referendums.
Secondly, we found it fascinating that the Swiss green organisation Ecopop (ECOlogie et POPulation, “Ecology and Population”) were the prime movers behind the referendum on immigration. Their initiative proposed two additions to the Swiss Constitution:
• Reduction of net population growth due to immigration to a maximum of 0.2% of total population per year
• At least 10% of Swiss federal development aid is to be invested in programs to encourage voluntary family planning.
Ecopop’s case against immigration was not based on race or culture but purely on ecological and environmental grounds. Switzerland’s population has risen more than 140 percent since 1990 and Ecopop are naturally worried about sustainability, current and future population growth and the destruction of land. They believe that by restricting immigration the environment would be safeguarded by reducing the need for new transport links and new housing.
Those who opposed this view – according to this BBC report http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30267042 - included all the major Swiss political parties who “argued that the proposals would be bad for the economy because business leaders wanted to be able to recruit skilled labour from across Europe.
They also feared that if passed, the measure could put the country in breach of its international commitments and damage its image.”
The vote was held on 30 November, but it was overwhelmingly rejected by over 70% of those who voted.
At face value it looks like Swiss voters put material comforts before their nation, the land, fellow humans, flora and fauna. To us it appears that everything is to exploited and/or killed in the name of mammon. Indeed, our folk seem to be mesmorised by material goods – witness the events of Black Friday!
Given that respect for the environment is a central tenant of National Liberalism, our question is how do we convince our people that long-term green issues should take precedenece over the short-term ‘get rich quick’ scheme known as capitalism? With the current focus on materialism will the earth die screaming?