In the Netherlands the government, by way of our intrepid PM Jan Peter Balkenende, keeps up a cheery face, declaring 'there is no EU crisis at all!' (NL) after the Irish 'No!'. But down among the grey huddled masses things look a little grimmer.
In a childishly transparent case of 'consultation after the fact', leading members of our own parliament, having voted themselves out of a real job, are doing a round of 'accountability meetings' (I kid you not) in which they try to explain to citizens why giving up our sovereignty is a good thing. And meeting considerable resistance, scorn and outright cynicism (NL) along the way (excerpts translated from Dutch text in the link).
Parliament has taken into account the views of [ordinary citizens], VVD MP Ten Broeke maintains."You have to trust us in this." The role of national parliaments in European decision making has been "reinforced considerably", exactly as people suggested. Europe has become more democratic, PvdA MP Blom adds.Are these people even aware there is such a thing as the internet? And sites like EU Referendum, Umbrella or Brussels Journal? Or Het Vrije Volk or Willem de Zwijger? If you're going to lie, at least try not to be obvious about it!
But the average citizens proves more resilient to political sweet talk then many an MP expected.
The room is not convinced. "You have done very little of what we wanted", a man says to increasing applause. "We asked for a referendum and it hasn't been held." Another person calls the night "mustard after the meal." (1) The parliamentary debate on the EU treaty has already been concluded. "I am glad that Ireland said no to the treaty, so that this night may turn out to be mustard before the meal after all."Democracy is difficult, especially a democracy with citizen voters...
Ten Broek tries again. "In a normal situation", he states, there is a relation between what parliament decides and what the people want." Scornful muttering is his reward. "The Dutch people said no to the EU constitution", someone reminds him. "The new treaty has been adjusted for only 5 percent. The people are asked nothing about it any more. Parliament goes on without consulting. That scares me."
The most memorable quote however, came from socialist PvdA MP Blom. Faced with the barrage of criticism from the plebs, he became irritated enough illustrate his own deepest held convictions, the rotted state of the PvdA and the anti-democratic nature of the entire EU project.
We don't listen? That is correct. I don't listen to people I don't agree with. Because I am of the PvdA. I represent the ideals of the party, not those of the people.And with that one quote the totalitarian and creepily fascist nature of the entire affair has been laid out for all to see. People do not matter, nations do not matter, history does not matter. The only thing that matters is the Party, whatever it may be.
In a way that may be THE emblem for every member of parliament in every EU member state, every member of government and the entire elite of the EU apparatus:
We don't listen? That is correct. We don't listen to people we don't agree with. We represent the ideals of the party, not those of the people.
(1) A Dutch saying meaning doing something potentially useful, but doing it too late to be actually of any use.