You have the power to enact a single law. What would it be?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us RULES.
Switzerland loves making laws; it is a pastime of every local government. We have a fantastic system of voting yes and no for every little thing. The official signature-collecting forms are available. Fill in your name, place of registration and when enough signatures are collected, just bring them to the local authorities. Stand in a prominent place in town, or in your village and capture the attention of the people. They just have to sign and register the place where their papers are deposited. One fine Sunday morning everyone in the area will be invited to vote yes or no. You can even vote by post. Not only on a local basis, but being a Federation, something like the states, it can also be done for national decisions. Of course the political parties can be against or for the issue, but every citizen has a write to say yes or no.
Did you know the Swiss have an army? Surprising, but it is true. Every ablebodied male has to serve the recruit school for about three months and afterwards an annual service of three weeks is required, sometimes four according to how important you are. Generally you have fulfilled your duty when approaching the age of 30 and you can forget it. There is naturally more to be explained, but I just wanted to mention this, because signatures were once collected to abolish the national service in Switzerland. It was a voting issue and to the surprise of the government, more than a third of the Swiss population decided it would be a good idea to accept the disposal of the Swiss army. So you see, what a hypothesis might be in WordPress, can even become reality in Switzerland. Naturally we still have our army, although a few changes have been made.
Now to the facts: what would my law be? If you look at the photo you will see two stickers on the window of our car on the right-hand side, as we drive along the motorway from Solothurn to Biel. The bottom symbol is the permission to drive on the private road in our village which surrounds our local castle. This is quite handy for us as it is a shortcut, avoiding a portion of the main road. The other sticker is the one I am talking about. Every person in Switzerland that wants to drive on our super expensive motorway system, known as “autobahn” must pay for this motorway sticker.
Since 1985 the Swiss motorway users pay an annual amount. The first years the cost was CHF 30.00 per year and since it has increased to CHF 40.00 per year. Now our super government, who seem to be in dire straits with their financial situation, have decided enough is enough and it will now be increased to CHF100.00 per year. Being a democratic federation, signatures have already been collected against this “I had a dream” idea and all being well, the Swiss citizen will be able to vote pro or contra. What the outcome will be is anyone’s guess. That we actually have a motorway tax is the Swiss citizens to thank. Some bright spark decided it would be a good idea, it was put to the vote and guess what, we all said yes. It is the curse of every tourist entering Switzerland. At the border his car is examined. Does he already have the sticky label on his window? If not he is obliged to pay his CHF 40.00 at the border already before entering our land of banks and financial advantages.
The labels are made in such a way that if you want to remove it for sticking on a new car, it will fall into four neat pieces and it is not able to be re-used. OK, there are many garage owners that know with a little hot air and care. It can be removed in one piece (but do not tell anyone – this is a Swiss citizen secret).
So here it is, the law I will make is ABOLISH THE MOTORWAY LABELS.
Yes, I have said it at the risk of losing my Swiss nationality, having my personal car number taken away and perhaps even being penalised with a heavy fine.
Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one, not just ripping the tags off your pillows). Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?
Who me break the law? About 70% of me has become Swiss over the years and the Swiss invented the law – at least that is the impression I sometimes have.
You want to build a house or perhaps just a garden shed? No problem, but first of all you have to get permission from various places, which will take some time. It all has to be measured out and planned. When that step is made the new construction has to be shown in the neighbourhood. A drawing, or a plan: forget it. No, not in Switzerland. You have to put up a constructions of the bare bones in wood to show everyone what is planned to be built. How big it will be, where it will be placed and whether it will infringe on any one else’s site, or will hurt their feelings. Something in that way. This construction has to exist a few months before to give everone time to digest the change in the scenery. It might be that Mrs. Smith does not want a garden shed next to her wonderfully planned rose garden. It might destroy the atmosphere. This is just to show how careful you must be when wanting to do something different in my chosen home country. To complicate matters you might be allowed to do something in the Kanton/county/State of Zürich but it might be forbidden in the Kanton/county/state of Bern. What you lot can do over the pond, we have perfectioned it in little Switzerland with a population of only seven million, Just imagine.
So with this to bear in mind, there is not much scope for Mrs. Gerber to break any laws, but I did and sort of got away with it.
Now look at this harmless lovely bushy plant.
It is amazing the wonderful bushy plant a small seed can produce. And if you have more seeds, then you soon have a small plantation. I just love the symmetry of the leaves with their pointed segments. Do you recognise the plant? If you do then perhaps it is better you do not guess, but I will tell you. It is commonly known as Cannabis, or perhaps the name Marijuana might explain more. It arrives in two varieties, masculine and feminine, but the feminine plants are better, more bushy and produce more seeds and have more flavour. For this reason I pulled out the male plants as they were not much use. I found it a very pretty plant for a garden border. They have only small flowers, but produce many seeds that might, by chance, get swept to the neghbour’s gardens which is perhaps not so good.
Of course it is against the law to grow them in Switzerland, as in many countries. Now did I know what was growing in my garden? Well, sort of, but it was more an experiment than anything else. It was a very successful experiment as they were sprouting up all over the place. They did have a peculiar smell but not so bad. Someone gave me some seeds, so not having any knowledge of the plant as such (they are forbidden) I thought I would try it out. I do not smoke, but others do. Ok, we did try putting some leaves into a cigarette, but it seems this was not correct, and we did not get high. I told my younger son and he advised that it would not work like that. You have to hang the leaves to dry. After half an hour I had complete instructions on how to produce hemp for consumption. I did ask my son how he knew all those details and he said everyone knows how to do it. I assumed he meant everyone as old as he was. He was then in his teenage years and it was many years ago.
I did have a few strange looks from neighbours passing bye, but I was reassured by my neighbour living above that it depends on the THC contents. She was a police officer, but I decided if she did not mind, then I must be innocent. I also did not know how to discover the THC content. I did have these wonderful bushy plants growing in my garden for another year and they then suddenly disappeared. I would not say that things turned out for the best as I did not deal with the plants or make any profit. I also remained a free person and was not arrested.
Perhaps I might grow them again, they are so nice and green and fresh looking and really make a nice little corner in the garden.