What do Switzerland, Norway and Australia have in common?, Alexander Boot asks:
Oh, several things.
First, they’re all small, in population at any rate. Australia is the most populous of the three, and it only has about 23 million people. Switzerland has about eight million and Norway five.
Second, none of the three either is or, more important, aspires to be a great power. They are happy to mind their own business and aghast at the very thought of having to mind other countries’. Not a single one of them is trying to expand her territory, even though Switzerland, for one, could do with a bit more space.
Third, all three jealously guard their independence. Australia is of course part of the Commonwealth, but she doesn’t rely on the metropolis to tell her how to run her affairs. And both Switzerland and Norway stubbornly refuse to join the EU.
Fourth and most important, they occupy the top three places in the list of countries with the best quality of life.