22 1 min 7 yrs

It’s been another full on week at the coalface of capitalism. Someone must have thought of something to say while DV and I have been keeping UK plc afloat. Have yourselves an Open Thread then, one decorated with a view of Grindelwald in Switzerland, which I have to say isn’t the worst place I’ve found myself.


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22 thoughts on “ATW OPEN THREAD

  1. Pete

    I recognised the view immediately. A few years ago, we stayed in a Grindelwald hotel which had a terrace. The picture may have been taken from it.

    As well as Grindelwald, we stayed in Geneva, Lucerne and Berne. Lucerne is amazing, as is Switzerland in general.

  2. I had a week’s skiing in Murren and often popped over to Grindelwald. It’s not a bad spot is it?

  3. A small country of great beauty where everything works.

    Yes, the trains are amazing. They leave precisely on time. I have a Switch railway watch as a result.

  4. You are showing me a picture of a pile of old rocks. Why ?

    only joking mate 🙂

    Up until quite recently, I was ‘seriously’ considering leaving the UK and becoming a Swiss Citizen. I just had enough !

    It was not the scenery, the low taxes or such, it was the fact that the people there are in charge. ie Direct democracy. Still might go though, but just to work.

  5. Colm,

    That sort of thing happened in the last century and was quite normal at that time in many countries including the UK and not forgetting that haven of social integrity, Eire, where young people ‘in care’ worked in convent laundries to earn their keep, and in Victorian England – just over a hundred years ago, – young boys earned a living sweeping chimneys.

    I agree it all sounds very unpleasant, but as for ‘leaving physiological scars’, life was pretty tough everywhere in the early part of the last century and child labour was not seen in such a horrific light as today. It was certainly a better alternative to being sent on the streets begging.

    The fella in the article seems to have survived the experience in fine shape, it shows that there are always lessons to be learned, even from poverty, perhaps he smells the scent of compensation in the air?

  6. p.s. Working on a farm is surely much better than ‘working on the street’ as seems to be quite common these days in this ‘modern day multi-culti UK’!

  7. Ernest

    Life was pretty tough in the early parts of the last century and yes the horrific exploitation and abuse of the young and weak and poor was endemic and often state organised and in many countries too. You will not agree with me but I firmly believe while we still have many problems today, overall for the vast majority of people at least in first world countries are a damn site better off and luckier to be alive today than 100 years ago.

    As for that man. Yes he may well have survived his enforced childhood slavery but the state and the cruel adults who ripped him and others like him from their homes and families and then abused him had no moral right to do so and if he ‘smells compensation’ in the air, good luck to him, he deserves it.

  8. Switzerland looks so well off simply because it is surrounded by prosperous neighbours: France, Northern Italy, Germany and Austria, for which CH has always been a safe and discrete banking venue.

    It also decided long ago that opting out of global structures and obligations is the best way of staying safe and rich; its small-minded people are more venal than even the Dutch. There’s little that money can’t get you in CH?

  9. Noel Cunningham –

    “Opting out of global structures and obligations” is clearly a necessary prerequisite for staying independent, safe and wealthy. This is now venal?

    We’ve seen what happens when freedomndemocracy comes knocking under the guise of global obligations. I’ll take the Swiss approach anyday.

    The timing of the BBC piece is a little suspicious. The Swiss have a history of being leary of immigration, and they’ll soon vote on whether the Swiss National Bank should hold a significant chunk of its reserves in cold, hard gold.

    It’s not the kind of thing which will have the world’s media flocking there, but it’s very important and the banksters, particularly in the City and Wall St, are dead set against it.

    The vote is on 30th November, and I expect a few more Swiss hit pieces to appear in the next month if the polls stay with the “yes” camp. We saw how Austria was suddenly the treatment of such news items when Jorg Haider was in his pomp.

  10. Mark B –

    It wouldn’t be the worst move. I’ve considered it myself, but the Swiss don’t make it easy, the sensible people.

    It wouldn’t so much be the direct demcoracy for me (I’m not a democrat of any type), but the (relatively) less rapacious state, far fewer immigrants than here, and of course the mountains, but then I love to walk and ski.

  11. Pete

    You think the Swiss state is less rapacious ?. It is one of the most minutely controlled countries on earth with big state and small state petty enforced bureaucracy that would make the most zealous local Brit councillor green with envy.

  12. //they’ll soon vote on whether the Swiss National Bank should hold a significant chunk of its reserves in cold, hard gold.

    It’s not the kind of thing which will have the world’s media flocking there//

    Although if the SNB were to start telling where all that gold came from, I’m sure everyone would be eager to hear them.

  13. Switzerland has a level of planning and practical engineering that other countries, including the US, can only dream of.

    The Zurich and Geneva airports have train stations in the lower level, where you can catch subways into town, or you can directly catch intercity trains for cities in Switzerland or in other countries.

    I understand that travelers can check their luggage -at a local train station- then take the train to the airport, going straight to the gate, the luggage already taken care of.

  14. Phantom

    British Airways and I think some other airlines used to do that in London. You could check your luggage in at Victoria Station if you were flying from Gatwick and it would be taken care off until you arrived at your destination airport. The service stopped some years ago I believe.

  15. // You could check your luggage in at Victoria Station if you were flying from Gatwick//

    You can also do that in several European cities (but not if you’re flying from Gatwick ;-))

    In many cities, you also check in at the train station and your boarding card is then also your train ticket. For example, if you are flying from Duesseldorf, you can check in at Frankfurt station and take the train the 200 or so km straight to DUS airport and go straight to security/gate.

    Flying to NY from Dublin airport, you can also go thru the US immigration formalities in DUB airport; then when you arrive in NY you walk straight thru like a US citizen.

  16. Colm,

    “The service stopped some years ago I believe.”

    Would that be a small aexample of how much better things are today than in times gone by?

  17. The sheer numbers of passengers in places like London may make it a big hassle for the airline. And maybe its a security issue of some kind. The level of security would have to be the same at the outside check in location as it is at the airport.

    United ( Continental, then ) used to let you check bags at the Newark Airport station, which is near the airport. The service lasted about a year, then they just stopped it.

    You’d think that there would be a way for other places to provide this service, but no.

  18. Noel

    That US immigration pre check at Dublin and Shannon is the best thing ever. It can easily save 45 minutes on arrival at the US.

    Bermuda has that also, as do the major Canadian airports.

  19. Ernest

    Yes of course. Commuters travelling home from work each evening at Victoria don’t want to be barging into crowds of international travellers trying to check their luggage in !

    Things can only get better 😉

  20. I see Birmingham has unveiled a new public statue outside their new state of the art library:

    Two sisters and their sons are joining the likes of Queen Victoria, Matthew Boulton and Tony Hancock in being immortalised by a statue in Birmingham.

    A Real Birmingham Family, a life-sized bronze sculpture featuring sisters Roma and Emma Jones, with sons Kyan and Shaye, is being unveiled today.

    The statue has been created by Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing and came after the subjects were chosen out of 372 families who applied.

    It occupies a prominent place outside the new Library of Birmingham and came about after the Ikon Gallery raised £150,000 and scoured the city for the right family.

    The project aimed to challenge the notion of what constituted a “real family” today and represent Birmingham’s cultural diversity.

    It would be more appropriate outside the courthouse to be honest.

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