But life goes on

Two rather major news items from Dutch politics today:

1) The Council of State has decided in its wisdom that a referendum on the Turnip (I mean: the new EU Reform Treaty) is not necessary. You see, by getting rid of the flag, the anthem and the motto all constitutional elements have magically disappeared (not!) and the need for a referendum no longer applies (Oh, but it does). It is as we predicted in June:
So, basically the substance of the constitution stays intact. We just got rid of the form. If a king sees his crown and ermine taken away, but not his powers, ceases he to be an autocrat?

What we're seeing here is the outline of the shape in which the discussion will be framed: The anthem and flag are off the table. Thus, the government claims victory to the people back home and will manouver to get the 'amending treaty' ratified in parliament, without the nuisance of a referendum. 'We averted the danger of the EU becoming a super-state', they'll claim, pointing at the flag and the anthem that are not to be, hoping the population at large will not notice when the permanent EU president and the EU foreign minister are still in the 'amending treaty'.
The decision on a consulting referendum now rests with parliament. There is a slight majority in the Second Chamber that is in favor of a referendum. But that majority is a shaky one, since the PvdA (Labour) is in it. The latter, part of the coalition, have always said there'd be a referendum in any new treaty. However, the governemnt accord, the paper on which the coalition partners agree of terms, says there will be no referendum. The PvdA have already indicated they will wait and see how the flag hangs before making their decision (a good socialist is a good opportunist, if nothing else).

It is really a bitter irony that in the Netherlands, as in the UK, the fate of a referendum rests squarely with the one political ideology that has given us the EU in it's current non-democratic, corporatist, repressive form to begin with. All the more so, since in both cases Labour has to either renege on promises made during election time, or face the wrath of the 'colleagues'.

2) Ex-minister of Integration Verdonk was kicked out of the VVD (liberal conservative party) today, after one too many comments on the leadership of the party.

The woman who is almost single handedly responsible for finally throwing Ayaan Hirsi Ali out of the Netherlands will now 'contemplate the future'. Which may or may not include her starting her own party. God help us!


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