It’s back! So much has been going on lately over on this side of the Atlantic, it would be irresponsible to keep you all in the dark. Most of it is pretty scary/annoying stuff, but there might be some mild comic relief waiting right at the end. So let’s get on with it.
On Sunday, a referendum on “mass immigration” saw the Swiss vote for restrictions on immigration. This will mainly affect EU citizens and sees one of the EU’s most important principles — that of free movement — compromised.
It’s too early to tell what the new legislation will look like in detail, but it’s another indicator of a worrying trend of anti-EU sentiment all over the continent. In Britain, it’s not only right-wingers like UKIP who will gain support on the back of the Swiss referendum; the Prime Minister himself is probably doing a little happy dance right now. Immigration is everyone’s favourite election topic this year, but is it the right one? And what will the EU do about it? Here’s an interesting interview with political scientist Florian Hartleb, alas, it’s in German. I’ve read it, so you don’t have to, and Hartleb’s most interesting point is that those who vote for right-wing policies and against immigration tend to be economically secure, middle-class individuals who don’t want to share their accumulated wealth. Nice.
On a more personal level, here’s what the current trend means for those who have moved around in the EU. “It is a dangerous time to look foreign, it seems, anywhere in Europe.”
Author Zadie Smith has lent her voice to a campaign that wants to close a notorious detention centre for women in England. Officers at Yarl’s Wood, which is run by a private security firm, have been accused of sexual abuse and pretty much every other human rights infringement you can think of. The question remains why this is run in the literary section of the Guardian, and not the main news…
Meanwhile in Southern England, thousands of homes are flooded, and politicians are doing what they do best: argue. The weather continues to bring misery, with record storms hitting on Wednesday. It’s pretty scary out.
In Italy, the man who won’t go away is on trial again. The Italian justice system sure is busy lately.
And we’re back with the EU, whose motto should be “Never Far From The Next Controversy”: This week it’s about genetically modified maize and cancer drugs for children. How hard can it be to govern 28 sovereign nations? Oh.
Another WWII movie is coming to the U.S., and this time, not all the Germans are baddies. What the what?
And, finally, my personal highlight from Sochi: Son of Russian immigrants wins gold for Switzerland. How timely. Join me in a round of ironic slow claps in the general direction of the Swiss.