As expected Dutch Second Chamber approved the new expanded mandate of the EFSF. Less expected was the embarrassing manner in which it was approved. Via Elsevier (NL) we learn that our intrepid parliament passed ratification of the proposal to enlarge the EFSF without a vote.
This should not come as a surprise because the PM Mark Rutte and Finmin Jan Kees de Jager had already agreed to an enlargement of Dutch guarantees from 40 billion to 100 billion (100 billion ~ 17% GDP, a whopping 1/6th of what we collectively make in a year) back on July 21st.
Both Second Chamber and financial minister De Jager are convinced a formal decision, including a vote, is not needed. There is a majority for the proposal anyhow, so an ‘implicit’ and hence ‘silent’ agreement is all that is needed. According to Elsevier it is unclear what has moved Second Chamber and the government to forego an open and legitimate parliamentary approval, by vote, of the quite substantial enlargement of both the liquidity and the mandate of the EFSF. “Without so much as a dedicate plenary debate or a vote on a facilitating law proposal, the Netherlands takes a far-reaching, highly fundamental and potentially very costly European step”.
Unclear? Really? What we have here is a majority of our MP’s openly abdicating their responsibility, breaking their oath and betraying their constituency. Parliament used to be the forum through which the Dutch people could supervise government, limiting its power curbing its tendency for absolutism. MPs are supposed to be elected such as best represent the view of the people. MPs are solemnly sworn to uphold the constitution, be loyal to the Netherlands and to represent, to the best of their abilities, the wishes, well-being and interest of the Dutch people.
But not today, evidently. Today, a majority of Second Chamber MP’s opted to refuse to vote on an issue that will fundamentally change the balance of power within our border, in favour of Brussels, and our place within the EUnion. The underlying reason presumably is because doing so would show, very publicly, that most MPs no longer serve the people or represents its wishes and interests. Most MPs as a group are just a subset of the same self-selecting political elite our government is made of. It is there, where their true loyalty lies. Rather then the Dutch people, these MPs serve the élite. Instead of supervising government, they have made Second Chamber part of, and subservient to, the government. A government, moreover, that is by no conceivable definition ‘our’ government, but rather the local agency for the alien power that rules us from Brussels. For the Eunion, against the people.
Our MPs, the ones that are constantly insisting they represent us, that ‘representative democracy’ is such a wonderful thing, will not even allow themselves the vote, let alone us hoi-polloi. Evidently, they have given up any idea of democratic control and accountability. They don’t vote, so that we don’t get to see who votes ‘Aye’ (and note their names for knitting). They’ve rolled over and are trying to hide their shameful rolling over by avoiding to publicly display their morally empty, cowardly and worthless existence. This is the day it became undeniable that Dutch ‘representative democracy’, deeply flawed as it was, is dead.
In a way it is understandable. A public vote would mean a humiliating climb down for many an MP who is acting all tough about the new and improved EFSF (yes, I’m looking at you, Ronald Plasterk). But by sparing themselves this humiliation, they’ve shown just what cowards they really are. And do they really think this will fool us? All they’ve done is widen the chasm between them and us even further. By avoiding the public confirmation that we’ve yet again been stitched up they have acknowledged that very fact: We have been stitched up. Again.
And it reinforces once again that ‘representative democracy’ is a oligarchical sham where elections are held, but nothing changes. Essentially, it is a dictatorship by a ruling elite with harmless elections every so many years to keep up the pretence. ‘Representative democracy’ is just one more bit of evidence for the objective fact that elections do not a democracy make.
We’ve argued it before, and we are not alone: What makes a democracy is the power of the people to control those that seek to govern. Democracy is not about electing which candidate should govern us. True democracy is about controlling them once they get in office, managing their will to power and inevitable greed. The way to that power is by giving the people the power of the purse string. Direct democracy over budgets as well as big issues.
But for now we’re stuck with the bunch we have. Two weeks ago, Geert Wilders caused a bit of a furore by calling the leader of the socialists, Job Cohen, a ‘poodle’ of the cabinet, for assisting the cabinet of issues the PVV was dead-set against (rescuing the euro-zone, for instance). As of today, the entire political class of useless jobsworths occupying the blue seats in The Hague can be classed under the same breed of canine pets: Poodles for the Eunion, blue poodles. It is a nauseating, contemptible display to watch.