Harsh but fair, harsh but fair

These are just some of the questions Switzerland is puzzling over after a 25-year-old failed the notoriously tough Swiss citizenship requirements – even though she has lived in the country all her life, speaks fluently in the local dialect and had passed the written part of the exam with full marks.

Well, OK, maybe not entirely fair but this is indeed what localism means:

Since the case emerged, there have been several calls for a reform of the naturalisation process, which is decided by municipal juries comprised of local residents rather than a centralised agency. “The arbitrary nature of the official process has rarely been so visibly on display,” wrote the Tagesanzeiger newspaper.

Given the cantonal and intensely local nature of the country why shouldn’t locals get to decide who becomes, legally, a local?

In February, Switzerland voted to make it easier for third-generation immigrants to become citizens, rejecting the complaints of rightwing politicians that the proposed measures would pose a security risk.

Restrictions on third generation? Wow!

And in May 2016, a Kosovan family who were long-term residents of the canton of Basel-Country had their application for citizenship opposed by the residents’ committee, in part because they wore jogging bottoms around town.

Now that is fair and it’s not even harsh.

25 thoughts on “Harsh but fair, harsh but fair”

  1. This is going to spread to other places. Not for a while, not until there is an openly hostile and violent response towards immigrants, but it’s coming. People’s fury at what is being done to their communities is not going away.

  2. You shouldn’t change laws because of the odd failure. Laws aren’t about the effects on an individual, they’re about the general incentives.

    The alternative process to this is far too easy to game. Citizenship tests. But because of things like Freedom of Information, everyone can get hold of them and rote learn them. An arbitrary test works precisely because you can’t swot up for it. You have to have lived in the place.

  3. Whatever you think about immigration, leaving it to the locals to decide, rather than a national bureaucracy, seems a far more sensible approach. It is not so much “arbitrary” (but one can see why The Guardian would see anything other than government check-boxes as arbitrary) but nuanced. Who else is best place to help and decide on level of assimilation than the people who have to live with the new immigrants? The criteria to decide as such are not going to be consistent village-to-village but that’s rather the point!

    I speak of all of this as someone who may well be moving to Switzerland. Despite my “skin-in-the-game” I think the Swiss are closer to being right on this than others.

  4. Your citizenship actually derives from the municipality – you have a “place of origin” which is normally inherited from your father, but you can adopt your husband’s upon marriage.

    I hate to say it, but it seems typical to look upon people from points duskier than Western europe with more skepticism.

    But in every case, there’s normally something else behind it that the Graun won’t have seen fit to report – the Dutch woman referenced was basically a complete pest in her campaigns to save the cows from their traditional bells, and ran off to the left-wing press at every opportunity to whinge. She got her citizenship on appeal.

    The “tracksuit” family were apparently somewhat antisocial.

    This lady is of Turkish origin (which I hate to say will have counted against her) and if she didn’t involve herself in clubs or the local community that will have massively counted against her.

  5. The other thing that’s not commonly mentioned is that your legal status in CH as a “settled immigrant” is not significantly different to a citizen – you can’t vote and you *can* be deported, but otherwise you’re basically legally equal.

  6. No migrant ( or rather the migrant’s family) should be eligible for citizenship for 100 years.

    They can work, trade etc–and would have to because no benefits–but no voting until a 100 years family review. If they have been hard-working , non-disruptive and esp non-leftist then they are in. Bad behaviour, political agitation–esp for the left–they are out 100 years or not.

  7. The Swiss understand that Turks are not transformed into Swiss by some magic process and are prepared to prevent the destruction of their country. How long they’ll be allowed to continue to resist remains to be seen.

  8. “She didn’t involve herself in clubs” –
    Is this a dog whistle for – “Didn’t want to own and shoot guns.”

  9. Sounds great (the case of the Albanian terrorists being denied citizenship is even better).

    But I suspect the system may have already failed in the case of her husband, who is a citizen.

    Also, how is this supposed to work in large cities? I can’t see how some deracinated council of individualised urbanites can be expected to display this level of judgement.

  10. To add to what abacab said, I think the process deliberately provides some ‘fuzzy’ criteria which can be invoked to refuse nationality to people who don’t “feel” right. So yeah, that’s evil and arbitrary, but it is quite possible for people to tick all the boxes of fixed criteria, but fundamentally not have the slightest affinity with Swiss society and culture.

    You want to stay in Switzerland because it’s a nice place to live? Apply for a residence permit and you’re all set. You want to get involved in local politics? You can do that too. You want to really get involved, in national politics, be able to vote in referendums? Sounds like you should think about naturalisation.

  11. Does this kind of collective decision-making only apply to naturalisation in Switzerland, or in other areas too?

    There’s an obvious danger in making it apply more widely. Imagine what rule-by-committee would have done to Sir Philip Green. Who would want to invest in a country governed by kangaroo courts?

  12. By effectively having different levels of citizenship the Swiss are providing greater flexibility than other countries. If, say, a rule was forced upon the Swiss that all who had been resident for 10 years would become a citizen automatically, then, guess what; no more residence permits!

    I too have pondered moving to Switzerland if it wasn’t for the teeny problem of getting a job there.

  13. Since our numbers of immigrants is entirely out of control we can’t possibly leave it to locals. Who would Bradford admit, do you think?

  14. Tim said: “Given the cantonal and intensely local nature of the country why shouldn’t locals get to decide who becomes, legally, a local?”

    What happens when a canton goes rogue and naturalises all and sundry? A quota might, I guess.

  15. TQ

    And I don’t believe that “foreign born mothers” includes UK born mothers born to foreign born mothers (for example)…

  16. The fantastic Mr Ecks says,

    …a 100 years family review. If they have been hard-working , non-disruptive and esp non-leftist then they are in. Bad behaviour, political agitation–esp for the left–they are out 100 years or not.

    A couple of years down the line with this train of thought and you’ll eventually have a final solution.

    What the fuck is “bad behaviour”? No “political agitation”?

    I’ll raise your “leftist” with; you’re a cunt.

    The Joy of Ecks. (someone must have used that before?).

  17. Jesus=Meiac=nutcase.

    “A couple of years down the line with this train of thought and you’ll eventually have a final solution.”

    You said it so it must be true psychobaby. Tho’ you couldn’t tell the difference between the final solution and cleaning solution. One of numerous reasons you are creepy enough that even the Bates Motel would turn you down for employment.

  18. I notice you haven’t answered the questions again.

    It’s almost like you write something and then immediately forget what you’ve written so that any questions about your post become mystifying enough for you to think people are thick for asking them.

    “even the Bates Motel would turn you down for employment.”

    What a dick.

  19. “What a dick”

    Don’t be so hard on yourself Meiac. It’s just that you are not well–that’s all.

    “I notice you haven’t answered the questions again.”

    What is bad behaviour?

    Being an internet stalker and mental case is in there for a start.

  20. Being an internet stalker and mental case is in there for a start

    So for this reason, in your world, I’m

    …out 100 years or not.

    It sounds like you have a problem with people with mental health issues. Are they out? What about agitated paraplegics?

    How will you drive out all these badly behaved agitators?

    Are you well-behaved?

  21. Hey– you’re the bloke who abandoned that French Chateau.

    You must have be living there trolling and sending mad questions to all and sundry until one day the idea that you’re Jesus Christ popped into your damaged brain. You took up your duvet, arose and followed He who dwells in the Cloud (of Unknowing).

    It could only be something like that.

  22. You need to provide a dictionary and or gloss to try and attempt to bridge the gap between the sane majority and an unusualist such as yourself.

    The article about Beebucket doesn’t specify what the Chicoms regard as bad behaviour.

    Should JBB have been engaging in anti-socialist activities I would welcome that despite being as astounded as I would be by you saying anything with even the slightest connection to reality or sanity.

    You can you understand therefore that bad behaviour would include both ordinary crime and the promotion of socialism and or dictatorial viewpoints.

    Now there is an argument that acting against those who promote tyranny is a tyrannical attitude. And in times of peace and plenty that may be so. But in times of gathering war and disaster–times such as are heading our way rapidly–allowing evildoers into your nation to freely preach, endorse and promote tyranny makes as much sense as would have knowingly allowing the free import of Nazi agitators in to the UK during WW2.

    Now that is as much sense as I am willing to waste on you and probably a lot more than you can cope with. I’d tell you to slurp some bleach yourself but better not as a nutter like you just might.

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