May 27, 2005


A many-headed monster (Rob Greene, Radio Netherlands, May 28th, 2005)

There seems to live, among the political elite, a notion that voters can sometimes be right (as when they vote for me, or say Yes to the Constitution) but that, more often than not, they are wrong (as when they don't vote for me, or against the Constitution, or against the war, or not at all).

This is a fallacious suggestion. Any voting behaviour, in or away from the polling station, is right and legitimate, so long as it stems from genuinely held feelings about the state of the nation, our personal well-being, high-minded principles or - and why not - from plain bigotry.

In a democracy, if you give people the vote then let them use it as they will and accept the result with a smile. Democracy emphatically does not mean calling a referendum and then telling voters that they must vote Yes or else be despised as wreckers of the economy, our standing in the world and, ultimately, the EU itself.

The Dutch would do well to remember, on Wednesday, that the European Union we now inhabit took 53 years to build. Begun as the European Coal and Steel Community (founder-members West Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg) when the Treaty of Paris came into effect in 1952, the Union now, nine treaties later, is a many-headed monster - 25 heads, in fact - and with more heads to come.

Hundreds of regulations and directives not of our own making control almost every aspect of our lives. Not one of those nine treaties, by the way, has in the Netherlands been the subject of a referendum; nor has the perhaps most crucial change: that of abolishing our currency in favour of the euro. The Dutch have simply never been asked a single thing…….until this Wednesday.

It is an opportunity not to be missed. Anger about the euro and the effect its introduction has had on our living standard flared up anew recently when it was revealed -by the President of the Dutch Central Bank, no less - that the Dutch guilder was converted into the euro at roughly ten percent below its real value. In other words: everyone's savings dropped in value by one-tenth overnight.

We keep hearing how the “no” camp is composed of irrational extremists and know-nothings voting in a spirit of misdirected, nostalgic ressentiment. In fact, it is the “yes” camp that has lost its marbles and has so mindlessly embraced a fairy tale that it has come to believe it is right and proper to secretly rob entire populations to keep the myth alive.

Posted by Peter Burnet at May 27, 2005 1:14 PM

Well said. And savor the cosmic irony of the French electorate, of all people, diverting the Nations of Europe from the graveyard of freedom.

Posted by: Luciferous at May 27, 2005 1:37 PM

C'mon, "irrational extremists and know-nothings" are our base.

Posted by: oj at May 27, 2005 1:39 PM

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. Individuals make choices as to the degree of exertion and discipline they wish to impose upon themselves. There is more. Cultures and subcultures differ as to their tendency to practice these qualities

It is manifestly unjust to hold that the industrious and rigorous are to be exploited for the benefit of the indolent and the casual. I fear that John C. Calhoun may have had this rightly.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 27, 2005 2:12 PM