Swiss life

Lord Robertson (Perspective, 7 February) mentions Montenegro, Estonia and Slovenia, but not Slovenia’s close neighbour Switzerland, which is much more comparable to Scotland.

Switzerland has half the land area of Scotland, is equally mountainous, has a similar population, but only one natural resource, hydropower, compared with Scotland’s coal, oil, gas, wind, wave and tide.

Lord Robertson asks how Scotland could afford a national broadcaster. Well, the Swiss have three: French speaking, German and Italian, each with two channels. As for affording a health service, the Swiss one has been rated second in the world for quality of care though below the NHS for cost effectiveness. Afford a currency? The Swiss franc is arguably the strongest in the world. Lord Robertson worries about influence in the world. But the Swiss have the Red Cross, the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation, Cern and many others.

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They run embassy facilities for all those “influential” countries who can’t talk to each other! For defence, they have more than Swiss Army knives; even Hitler did not attack.

Despite all the above, the Swiss are not impoverished. I know because I lived there for 35 years.

George Shering

West Acres Drive

Newport-on-Tay, Fife