Some are whispering that it was the biggest haul since the Brink’s-Mat gold bullion robbery of 1983. Others say that compared with the Graff swag of last week, the Great Train Robbery was a mere bagatelle. Nobody knows nuthin, and while the fuzz are keeping schtum, the on dit is that it was the greatest robbery since the Louisiana Purchase, the trouble being that those who say such things think the Louisiana Purchase is a handbag sold by Dior.
One thing I love about the Swiss is the reluctance of the police to give out any information to nosy journalists, thus keeping their own embarrassment to a minimum and the criminals off balance. When I called the local fuzz and asked about the Graff robbery, the answer was predictable: “What robbery?” I think I recognized the cop’s voice because he and I have a past. He once asked me if I knew what two minutes meant. (A grace period of two minutes is extended before a ticket is issued for illegal parking.) I told him that I could measure two minutes better than him because 120 seconds is a round in amateur boxing. I then shoved my face up to his ugly mug and was issued with a ticket for 100 Swiss francs for using the F-word in English. How was I supposed to know I was up against a polyglot? As a result, my love for the Swiss fuzz has slightly dimmed.
It gets worse. Back in 1971 Swiss men voted to give Swiss women the vote. The smallest canton in Switzerland, Appenzell Innerrhoden, held out on full voting rights for women until — horror of horrors — Bern intervened, imposing its will on the freedom-loving male citizens. It was an outrage, and many female voters in Appenzell who were not allowed to vote agreed with the men. But Bern insisted that women should have the right to vote, and it’s been downhill (according to male sources in the canton) ever since.
Then came the greatest outrage of all: pressured by successive gangster American administrations, the Swiss spilled the beans, giving up its most precious possession: banking secrecy. It was the equivalent of Italy giving up pasta, France outlawing cheese, or Greece forbidding olive oil. Banking secrecy made Switzerland rich, famous and absolutely necessary; not even Hitler dared challenge it.
But under constant Yankee pressure — they couldn’t win in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan — the Swiss caved in and Uncle Sam finally achieved a great victory. American slob civil servants celebrated by drinking rum and coke on the Treasury’s lawns in Washington, declaring to everyone within earshot: “We showed those Swiss peasants what we’re made of.”
I remember it well. I think it was the last time I openly cried, not for myself, of course, but for all the men and women who had made it honestly or otherwise, and had tucked it away safely in a Swiss bank while giving the finger to the bully Uncle Sam, who is obviously suffering from a mind-altering venereal disease. It was not Switzerland’s finest hour by a long shot. Here is a country in which Mussolini, a few years before becoming Duce, chose to work as a waiter and then a butcher’s assistant. This is the same country that, at the Yalta conference, Uncle Joe Stalin proposed the invasion and occupation of — ostensibly to foreclose the German option of using it to stage a final defence. And the nation that Hitler called “a pimple on the face of Europe that cannot be allowed to continue.”
What I’d like to know is how the Swiss can defy guys like Hitler and Stalin but give in to hamburger-chewing Coca-Cola-guzzling American banker-slobs? I suspect it is the result of elitism, a fatal disease that has ruined America (Bezos, Zuckerberg and co.) and is doing a good job in Britain, too. When a group of elites, Swiss or otherwise, used to discuss, in contemptuous terms, the Swiss system of referendums — in other words, direct democracy — it was with a fear that it might spread. When passing laws that benefit themselves and never the people, EU and US elites always refer to “the people” in order to obscure their true motives. In good old Helvetia the people actually had a say.
It is no secret that in the West folks are expressing rage at the system’s immobility and the fact that democracy is unresponsive to their concerns and frustrations. Woke and BLM have turned white Americans into frightened, drug-addicted apologists, criticized daily by a leftist media that allows no dissenting opinion.
I give you two guesses as to how the Swiss would vote on the question of whether ten-year-olds (as is the case in America) have the right to decide their gender. Or the fact that fringe radical groups of transgender activists claim that any dissent is invalid.
Well, there’s still direct democracy in Switzerland, but it’s under attack at all times by the left that wants to control our lives. Even the robbery has now been politicized by so-called elites who claim that Bern should be involved. I say to hell with Bern; Gstaad and the Saanenland can take care of themselves as long as the fuzz doesn’t take two hours for lunch. Next week I will tell you about two grand dinners and some rather disappointing results after kick boxing in the not so rich mode.
This article was originally published in The Spectator’s UK magazine. Subscribe to the World edition here.