Monday, 20 October 2014


Nothing small town about Vaduz
We were told during the referendum campaign that if we left the mighty United Kingdom, we would be nothing more than a tiny insignificant place in the North of Britain. 

Well, I was reading about this little country today and I thought... you know, being small doesn't seem to be that bad. 

Liechtenstein, officially the Principality of Liechtenstein,  is a landlocked German-speaking country in Central Europe bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east and north. Its area is just over 160 square kilometres (62 square miles), and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Shaan. 
Central station
Liechtenstein has the highest gross domestic product per person in the world when adjusted by purchasing power parity. Liechtenstein also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world at 1.5%.

Liechtenstein is the richest (by measure of GDP per capita) country in the world and the only country to lie entirely in the Alps. It is known as a principality as it is a constitutional monarchy headed by a prince.

Liechtenstein is divided into 11 municipalities. Much of its terrain is mountainous, making it a winter sports destination. 
Border with Switzerland
Many cultivated fields and small farms characterize its landscape both in the south (Oberland, upper land) and in the north (Unterland, lower land). The country has a strong financial sector located in the capital, Vaduz. It is a member of the European Free Trade Association and part of the EEA and the Schengen Area, but not of the EU.

I'd not mind being that small and insignificant.


  1. I wish they would compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. :)

    1. I wonder why they don't?

      They seem to manage everything else including an international football team which has beaten a few bigger countries, and nearly held scotland to a draw, but for a last minute goal, if I remember right.

      Be nice if they won the Eurovision...


  2. Can we not keep pressuring for another indyref? I'm still exhausted from the last one! Three years of endless debates...quite enough for a while don't you think?


    Someone please think of the tired, exhausted young activists! They need to get back to ... 'studying' at university! :P

    1. You've got two weeks' holiday, Dean. Then we are back on it.

      Seriously, the job now is for all of us, or at least all of us who want the changes that were promised by Brown, Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, to ensure that this time, the promises are kept.

      And we really aren't going to be satisfies with income tax being devolved.

      If they stick to their promise of "as near federalism as you can have in the UK", then there is no need for any further action.

      If they don't, then we have a choice. Either we tolerate the fact that they have lied, again, or we take some sort of action. And the best action is activism; political engagement.

      It is clear to me that Cameron (or rather his advisors) and possibly Clegg and even Miliband, have taken Brown for a numpty and had him make promises on their behalf. It's also clear that from the very first day Cameron has tried to pull back from these promises, and Labour are desperate not to have English votes for English matters, as it would make their Scottish MPs part time, and remove them from any possibility of senior office in the future, because the bulk of the work of Westminster is English laws.

      I think Cameron was hoping that once it was over, he could renege on everything, or complicate it by promising EVEL, knowing Labour would NEVER accept that, and generally kick the whole thing into the long grass so that he won’t go down in history as the man who wrecked the UK

      He can forget it!

      So enjoy your fortnight off and then nose back to the grindstone!

  3. Tris, you MUST be wrong! A wee tooty country that doesn't have any oil, a success? Nae chance!

    1. Yes, silly me.... I know. In reality they live in abject poverty and they take photographs of life in a big important country and show them to people.

      Fortunately the country is so small no one can find it when they go looking, so they never find out the truth.

      Sorry for trying to pull the wool over your eyes :)

    2. Benefit of being so small that you do not figure on many maps is who is going to find you to bomb. Here we are today right in the middle of another war with a country or countries so far away from us that we sometimes cannot find them n a map, but then the rich have to protect their investments in armaments and rebuilding said countries once the war is over. Devil cares about the poor service men, now referred to as heroes, well it is cheaper than actually paying them and looking after them wel and their families once they are no longer here.

    3. It seems to me that the UK, and really England, has a massive armament business, and it also seems that the UK government supply all sides in these wars.

      What worries me more than anything else is that if you bomb the hell out of a country, pretty indiscriminately, killing innocent civilians, wrecking people's lives, and at the end of it all, many years in some cases, you walk away from it, leaving a far bigger mess than when you arrived, you also leave some very very angry people who are filled with hatred for you.

      I'm amazed when people are outraged by folk who want to take revenge.

      Wouldn't you if someone came along and bombed your house, killing your kids and making your partner, ruining all your worldly goods and leaving you a pauper? I know I'd want revenge.

      Yes, I think the country is a bit like someone's country estate. It would be fun to live there adn with only around 40,000 people, wouldn't it be much easier to get hold of the politician that was messing up... or even the Prince?

    4. Have to agree Tris, one of these days the UK will become a hell hole and it is all the fault of the greedy so and so's who are happy to sell weapons to just about anyone and use them and then charge the same folk they were bombing for rebuilding their country. I was sort of hoping we would have been independent before that.

    5. We probably will be, Helena.

  4. Liechtenstein does have some merit as a successful small country but I would hesitate to hold it up as a model in any shape or form due to a deeply shady banking sector that underpins its economy. Also a well known tax haven for multi-national corporations.
    Added to this is a retrograde monarchial government structure and there is not a lot to appeal or compare.

    1. Hi Paul. In fairness you make some good points.

      Rather like the Channel Islands belonging to the Queen, the Principality is a tax haven, and rather like the City of London, the banking sector probably leaves much to be desired, although in fairness they didn't seem to need the country's government to bail them out while they made obscene bonuses.

      And of course, rather like Britain they have an hereditary head of state, a ridiculous anachronism in the 21st century.

      I believe the people recently curbed his power. I wish they would do the same to the bloody Windsors here.

      The difference seems to be that all the corrupt processes of government in Liechtenstein seem to benefit the people as well as the aristocracy and top businessmen. Whereas here the poor just get poorer to pay for the rich getting richer.

  5. Do you know if they have a shortage of bricklayers? I may emigrate, if they'll have me.

    1. Ha ha... I'm not sure, but I believe that, as they are a member of EFTA you do have the right to live and work there.

      Sprichst du Deutsch?