Take the 'smart energy meter' we reported on yesterday. From the coverage we got, what little there was for this, one would be forgiven to get the impression that the entire misbegotten, 2 billion euro costing, privacy destroying scheme came from the hats of the members of our Majesty's cabinet. Indeed, the articles in Trouw en Elsevier (to name just two) mentioned only the desire of the cabinet at large, the ministry of Economic Affairs in particular, and the energy industry that we, wasteful citizens, become more aware of our energy consumption.
It was only when minister Maria Verhoeven (p) was confronted by the Radio One interviewer today about the resounding defeat of the original proposal for a compulsory introduction, that she let the cat out of the bag. Presumably this was a matter of 'I will have the last laugh, don't you know' when she gloated that by 2020 the 'smart energy meter' will be compulsory anyway. Today's rejection of the proposal was, she implied, a temporary reprieve.
And speaking of temporary reprieves: Judges in Breda last Friday ruled the smoking ban in bars and cafes in breach of Article 1 of the Dutch constitution. That would be the non-discrimination article. In the case at hand, the owner of the Victoria cafe in Breda was found not guilty of breaking the ban on smoking.
The court in Breda said the smoking ban treated the owners of cafes with and without additional personnel differently.This of course flies in the face of the original blanket ban on smoking. And what makes it even more delicious is the fact that the judges used the one article in our constitution that has been used over and over again to throttle Dutch identity, the existence of which our 'betters' deny to begin with.
Cafe owners with additional staff had to ensure that workers had a smoke-free working environment, the judges said. This could be achieved, for example, by a ventilation system, the Telegraaf quoted the judges as saying.
By contrast, cafes without personnel have to completely ban smoking on the premises, the judges said.
In addition, bars without other staff are being harder hit by the financial effects of the ban, the Telegraaf reported the judges as saying.
The public prosecution office had demanded the owner of the Victoria cafe be fined €12,000 for allowing smoking on the premises.
However, we have argued before that Health minister Ab Klink is in no position to lift or slacken the ban.
Minister Klink finds himself in a bind. Even if he was inclined to do so, he can't revoke or change the smoking ban. The ban is EUnion law and minister Klink has no discretionary powers in the matter.And today he does what his overlords in Brussels demand of him: Klink firm on smoking ban.
Health minister Ab Klink said on Tuesday he had no intention of amending the ban on smoking in cafes and bars, despite last week’s court ruling which said bar owners without personnel were being unfairly hit.An appeals court that will undoubtedly have received guidelines from the Justice department, pointing out the treaty obligations we as a nation have in implementing every brain fart emanating from the hallowed halls of Brussels, by the time the appeal hits this august body.
Nor would there be fewer inspections to make sure the law was not being broken, Klink said.
Klink pointed out that last week’s ruling by a court in Breda was totally different to a similar case in Groningen. He said he would wait for the appeal court’s position before taking any further action.
And to hammer home the point of this post: today we heard that the EUnion in all it's magnanimity has seen fit to approve Dutch plans for 'fine particulate concentration' reduction. This means that the Dutch government itself gets a reprieve from the EUnion 'standards on air quality' until 2015. This waiver was necessary because, if not, a number of large and important housing and infrastructure projects would not be possible, adding, as they do, to the 'fine particulate concentration'.
Even if the reporting by Radio Netherlands (in the link above) has the air of joyful relief, it does speak volumes for the extent of sovereignty and freedom we have left in this country when our own government has to go hat in hand to Brussels to humbly ask for permission to start these projects. And to put insult to injury, the people granting the permission haven't even been elected for the job.
This is the true nature of how we are ruled. The democratic theater is still in place. It's actors are still pretending they busy themselves in a meaningful matter. But the decor is creaking, the make-up is fading. And anyway, the directors of the play are about to drop all pretence anyway. In Brussels the wheels have been set in motion to usurp member state seats in important international fora such as the IMF , the World Bank, NATO and the UN Security Council (nobody is telling us that either, are they?).
We have ministers (and a PM) in name only. The same goes for parliament, if Maria 'the EUnion will do it anyway' Verhoeven is to be believed. Our government plays what the EUnion requests. Real power to affect what goes on within the borders of this wet, swampy corner of the world has long fled The Hague in favor of Brussels. The conclusion that becomes more inevitable with every week passing, is that what we're left with, is a group of over-paid gophers, dashing hither and yon for the EUnion Commission. Not a government in any real sense of the word.
So why do we tolerate them?