There is only one image fitting for this post. It is the image reproduced here of our proud Dutch flag at half mast. Together our PM Jan Peter Balkenende and our FM Maxime Verhagen (both CDA) signed away the sovereignty of the Netherlands to a burocratic system of unelected and unaccountable functionaries. And perversely this occasion was held in the 16th Century Jeronimos Monastery. Betraying their flocks in a house of the Lord.
In the American Thinker there’s a good overview of reactions, calling it as it is:
“With the signing of the Lisbon Treaty on December 13, 450 million people are now under a new, single government, called the European Union, headquartered in Brussels. Individual countries like Britain and France are yielding their national sovereignty to a new Über-nation. Without ever putting it to a vote of the people, the ruling classes of Europe have pushed through a constitution under the heading of a “treaty,” because it was voted down in the form of a Constitution by the people of France and the Netherlands two years ago.”
Democracy in the Netherlands (and the rest of Europe) may not be dead yet, not in a technical sense. But the patient is on life support and the very ones that were elected and sworn to protect it are actively euthanizing it.
Reactions in the Netherlands to this ultimate act of betrayal were hostile, to not put too fine a point on it. Items about the signing of the Turnip saw many comments referring to betrayal and treason, impending civil war and bloody uprisings. And no small amount of talk of emigration. Besides those, many are the comments wondering what lucrative positions Balkenende c.s. will get personally in return for their treachery.
MEP for the VVD Toine Manders saw fit to urge city councils around The Netherlands to fly the EU flag (NL; you know the symbol we were supposed to be rid of) on this ‘joyous’ day. This initiative was met with comments of a tone that is best summed up by one of the more succinct: ‘Sterf maar met je EU vlag!’ (Die already with your EU flag!). The majority of the Dutch seem to sense that this is anything but a ‘joyous occasion’, no matter the vacuous optimism of the political elite.
The latter still believe we do not get it. And so they have decided to spend yet more tax payers money on a EU Roadshow (NL) to explain to us why we have it all wrong.
The cabinet uses [todays] ceremony as a staring point for a new ‘Europa communication’ with citizens. The Treaty will become available (why wasn’t it before, btw? – KV) as will be a friendly-to-the-public explanation why it is a good thing for the Netherlands. there will be a road show that will visit cafes and clubs aroudn the Netherlands. The NOS was also requested to spend more time on the EU.
Up to four times the cabinet stressed that the new strategy will not be a ‘propaganda show’. It will have the goals of making Europa an everyday topic of conversation: not something one is either for or against.
See also here for an EN report on the EU Road show. Especially that last sentence is a bit puzzling. What does the cabinet want? That we casually talk about the EUnion but not have an opinion in it?
On the other side of the little pond, EU Referendum is reporting on the what may be described as the last meaningful session of the House of Commons. In the Commons todays signing was evaluated for what it was. Said MP Austin Mitchell:
What is the use of discussing something that we cannot change? It is important to amend this constitution, because it will be our constitution if it is passed – it will say what we can and cannot do, and it will take powers away from this place. It is thus important that we are able to have our say on it. It will make us part of a larger entity – a larger state – and it will close the door on that. That is what it is about. If we cannot change that and if we cannot put it to the people, we are futile and useless.
Yes, that will be the upshot of it. For all parliaments around the EUnion: futile and useless. A costly theater, playing scenes of pretend democracy. Having said that, at least the UK House of Commons did devote a ‘farewell session’ to the signing of the Turnip. Something that cannot be said of the Second Chamber of the Dutch parliament, who’s agenda these last weeks (NL) cautiously navigate around the subject.
Tragic and infuriating as today was, there is still more to come. Undoubtedly we will have more to say on teh subject at tehse occasions. Ratification of the Turnip is scheduled for Spring next year. And if everything goes as planned the Turnip will enter into force in 2009. And then, when it finally does, I will fly a flag. Not ‘virtually’ as I did above, but a real flag of actual fabric. It will not be the EU flag. It will be the Dutch flag, that once proud symbol.
It will fly half mast, because much that means something to me will have died then: Democracy, sovereignty, even true freedom. And I have this feeling I will not be the only one. At least it would be a fitting send off of what used to be OUR country: Scores of silent Dutch flags hanging half mast.
One thing I personally did get out if this ongoing episode of history: I finally understand why the tragic regimes of the past (the Bolsheviks, the Nazis, the French revolution and its subsequent terror) happened. It has nothing to do with ‘heroic revolutionaries’ or the ‘will of the people’. As our present predicament shows: Unfortunate changes of regime happen because the silent majority withdraws from the political process, for whatever reason, leaving a vacuum to be filled by whatever malignant movement hungers for power. Freedom demands constant vigilance. And we have collectively let our guard down.
But all is not lost. EU Referendum in the post linked to above refers to Kiplings ‘Norman and Saxon’, part of which reads:
The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow–with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.
You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears;
But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.
Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.
Say ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘ours’ when you’re talking, instead of ‘you fellows’ and ‘I.’
Don’t ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell ’em a lie!“
Being from Lower Saxon stock I can attest to the truth in these words. And it is just a matter of time before those that placed their signatures on the most abominable treaty since the Munich accords will find out the veracity of Kiplings poem: Beware the Saxon! He may not be easily angered, but when finally he is…
We are not your citizens!
Protesting at the heart of EU power
These Boots Are Gonna Walk All Over You
Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship
Two Fingers to the Little People
Fear The Silence