Friday, June 03, 2005

The Dutch double it: Non and Nee

So nearly two thirds of the Dutch electorate who voted (and nearly two thirds did vote) have joined the majority of French voters in turning their backs on the European Constitution. As a result, the UK is now unlikely to hold a referendum, confirming that the constitution in its present form is dead in the water. This despite the fact that several country's parliaments have already ratified the constitution.

This adds support to the theory that there is a massive disconnect between electorate and politicians. I am sure that the governments of both France and the Netherlands believed that their referenda would be simple rubber stamps. That the electorate saw otherwise demonstrates the disparity. Politicians no longer serve the electorate in many (most, all) European countries.

If the powerful Euro-elites really believed in democracy, they would have proposed a Europe wide referendum on the same day when all would vote without reference to what might happen before or after in other countries. This would have brought about a feeling of uniformity without the option to blame other countries for their actions. Clearly the elites are either stupid in not thinking of this or they are so arrogant that they didn't expect the outcome they now have.

One British europhile (UK Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, paid a handsome salary plus expenses to live in Brussels) stated that the French and Dutch need to rethink their position with regard to Europe. A good example of both arrogance and stupidity (for saying aloud what was best kept silent). It is time the highly paid and in most cases unelected Eurocrats rethink their positions with regard to Europe.

So, what would I recommend? As an outsider I have to say that I liked the original EEC a lot more than the current EU. All about trade, much less about politics. And I think that is what the French and the Dutch people were thinking, as well. As founder nations they have been through the entire gamut and therefore have experienced the changes better than those who joined later.

The Euro has taken a bashing and Italy is now talking about reverting to the Lira. I like the concept of a common currency but it clearly doesn't work for everyone (Britain's economy would be in the toilet had it joined the Euro, as it is it is doing quite well). In retrospect the Euro was a grand design of the Germans and French to merge their future crises with the rest of Europe - it gave their politicians a breathing space. But now Chirac and Schroeder are gasping for air and a lack of oxygen will cause more bad decisions before it is all over.