A New Dutch Referendum

Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan provides an overview of the current political situation in the Netherlands for non-Dutch readers. Surprisingly enough, it’s more optimistic than anything we’ve heard from Western Europe in a long, long time.

A new Dutch referendum
by H. Numan

As we experience massive political avalanches on almost a daily basis in Europe, this one slipped our attention: the Dutch will have a real referendum. In April 2016. Very much against the will of the government and the political establishment.

What happened? Parliament passed a referendum bill on 1 July 2015. Neither the government nor the parliament (well, most of them, anyway) liked this bill a lot. So it’s as meager as they could possibly make it. One needs to collect 10,000 signatures in order to apply for a referendum. Once that number has been reached, 300,000 signatures within six weeks are required to get the referendum. On top of that, the referendum is advisory, not legislative. Mind you, a real and consequently legislative referendum is old hat in Switzerland. Where you need a lot fewer signatures and get much more time to collect them. The Swiss also have no problems changing their constitution via referendum. All it requires is more signatures.

The most popular weblog by far in The Netherlands is GeenStijl.nl. The name is difficult to translate; ‘no class’ comes close. It’s somewhat conservative, mostly but definitely not exclusively, targeting a younger predominantly male audience. They tend to kick where it really hurts. Nobody is spared. Very often the PVV is targeted, so much so that you may get the impression it’s just another Wilders-bashing site. But they are also the biggest open and honest blog reporting bad situations in the country, political and otherwise. They lash out at anyone. No holds barred. Nobody is spared. Several cabinet ministers found that out to their regret. Notably Ella Vogelaar, former minister of Integration and Housing, who had to resign after she completely bungled an interview with GeenStijl. She performed so badly in that interview she was forced to resign the same week.

For example, the Dutch police are very hesitant to put photos of criminals online. One has to protect the privacy of muggers, rapists, burglars and other unsanitary folks. And above all, no photos confirming right-wing suspicions, so no photos of Muslims, blacks or anything politically incorrect. GeenStijl has absolutely no qualms about that. A ‘Sandlandistan’ chap spitting in a bus driver’s face, caught on camera? Smile buddy, you’re now online. Politically incorrect? Absolutely! You have a lawyer writing a cease and desist letter to get rid of your mugshot in Dumpert? That goes online too. With some snippy remarks accompanying it.

GeenStijl started the first real referendum, under the name GeenPeil (peilen = to poll). The 10,000 signatures they got in a matter of days, and the remainder for the 300,000 limit they reached comfortably (341,666 signatures) a few days before the deadline. They met the legal requirements, and the government is now required by law to hold the referendum.

The issue at hand is the association treaty between the EU with the Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia (the former USSR republic, not the US state). According to the EU, nothing to worry about. But in reality very much so. If only because in that association treaty real EU military and financial support will be given to those states. The treaty itself can be found online. If you care to read 300 pages of bone-dry civil-servant-speak written by civil servants who want to hide something in a maze of words, that is.

Keep in mind that the government is not obliged to follow up the results of the referendum. The referendum law only allows for advisory, not legislative referendums. That’s another sign of how much the government (dis)likes the opinion of the people they represent. Just like the first Dutch referendum. When the people with neither political support nor a financial budget to speak of, voted a resounding ‘NO!’ against the EU constitution. The government had a massive budget, control over most media and literally tried to scare the people into voting yes. That was also an advisory referendum. The government, after their massive defeat, rejected the results and duly signed the treaty of Lisbon. Which was the very same constitution under a different name. As they will no doubt do this time. Or try to.

However, this time it’s different. Very different. This cabinet is sailing in troubled waters already. No fewer than four cabinet ministers face a vote of no confidence. Two so far escaped the ax, with two more on the chopping block.

That’s for starters. The party that actually introduced the referendum (way back in 1966) as one of their main focal points, is D66. The other being the election of mayors. They were founded in 1966, and wanted more democracy, hence the name. That party has become a mainstream party, and as such they are against this referendum. Now we finally have a mere advisory, not even a legislative referendum, they are dead-set against it. Their other focal point was electing mayors. That crown jewel they dropped when a D66 politician accepted his appointment as mayor of Nijmegen. D66 is a somewhat left-wing liberal party, focusing mainly on above-average income voters who feel a bit embarrassed by being affluent.

D66 is one of the five big parties, the others being PVV, VVD, SP, CDA, and D66 in that order [for more information on the parties, see the key at the bottom of this post]. D66 has to discover as Volkswagen just did that honesty is the best policy. Dropping your core political principles is usually not a very good idea. The VVD paid the price. The PVV is an offspring of the VVD and almost double in size. The CDA paid that price; the socialists are going to pay that price (currently 39 seats, they are polling at 9) in the coming elections. D66 will be no exception. They’ll have to bite the bullet too.

Far more important is that the PVV has completely recovered from supporting the government as a silent partner in the minority cabinet Rutte I. They dropped from 23 to 13 seats, and are now consistently leading the polls. Currently at 34 seats. Supposing elections were to be held today, a majority cabinet under Prime Minister Geert Wilders is a real possibility. That is the ultimate nightmare for the left and the left-wing establishment in particular.

Dutch politics can be very difficult and complicated; I’ll describe how a cabinet is formed in a separate article. This brings me to a third changed factor: the monarch. Queen Beatrix was a bit of a weirdo: the richest woman by far in Europe, who introduced a very strict court protocol, much preferred the socialist Labor party. She intensely disliked the PVV and Wilders. She made it abundantly clear that she would do everything in her power to prevent Wilders from becoming PM or even a minister. That queen has retired and the current king is new in his job. We don’t know his political ideas — not yet, that is. He might, or might not, continue the line of his dear old mum. We’ll have to wait and see. Under queen Beatrix’s reign the PVV could only expect to govern if they won more than 60 seats. Never, in other words. Right now, it’s a real possibility with 34 seats.

Something else has changed, too: in the past, the queen would appoint an ‘informateur’, usually an experienced politician who would scout what cabinet can be formed. She didn’t have to justify why she appointed someone. That gave her immense indirect power. She usually appointed labor politicians, always trying to form a labor cabinet as the first option. This has been abolished. Now, the chairman of the Parliament will do that. He or she (currently she) has to follow rules and procedures, and is fully accountable as to who will be appointed informateur. This greatly increases the chance that the PVV party will form a cabinet.

And lastly, the situation abroad has changed. Trains loaded with refugees arrive from Greece and the Mediterranean. To return to Greece loaded with money. You don’t hear much about Greece these days, do you? The fact that Tsipras was reelected with a very comfortable majority barely hit the news. We dumped about €500 billion into Greece, with a lot more to come. While all the time Tsipras made it abundantly clear he expected much more money, and has broken every agreement so far.

That insignificant bit of no news is replaced by the current problem, which is the refugee invasion. For a real invasion it is. The battle for Europe has begin without anyone’s even noticing it. As usual: Europe is fast asleep and wants peace in our time. We do have a Winston Churchill in Holland. He hasn’t been elected yet. Exactly the same goes for France, and in other EU nations opposition is growing as well.

Now to get back on topic, that advisory referendum about the EU association treaty. Within six weeks GeenPeil was able to collect 341,666 signatures to start it. The outcome of that referendum will almost certainly be a resounding no. That puts the current cabinet into a very difficult position. Assuming of course that they survive that long. The cabinet has lost the justice minister and his number two, as well as the junior minister for finance. With, as I said, four more on the chopping block. “Let’s keep the cabinet afloat, otherwise Wilders becomes PM” doesn’t work forever.

Until this referendum came up I expected the cabinet to fall or resign and to be succeeded by another ‘boycott the PVV’ coalition. Now I’m not so sure. To me it seems that a Wilders 1 cabinet is not only possible, but even becoming more likely as the European situation massively deteriorates. If that were to happen, it we might be saved by the bell once more.

The last battle of Europe was in progress when Winston Churchill was elected on 10 May 1940. Remarkable how history repeats itself.

— H. Numan

Key to the parties:

PVV   Party for Freedom
    Partij voor de Vrijheid
    Classical liberal, Islam-critical
VVD   People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy
    Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie
PvdA   Labour Party
    Partij van de Arbeid
    Social democrats
SP   Socialist Party
    Socialistische Partij
    Left-wing populists, former Maoists, to the left of communists
CDA   Christian Democratic Appeal
    Christen-Democratisch Appèl
    Christian democrats, center-right
D66   Democrats 66
    Politieke Partij Democraten 66
    Centrist social liberals

16 thoughts on “A New Dutch Referendum

  1. Numan is, as always, a light shining into the otherwise darkened hallways of Dutch politics – dark for us outsiders, anyway.

    He says about the political party, D66:

    Their other focal point was electing mayors. That crown jewel they dropped when a D66 politician accepted his appointment as mayor of Nijmegen.

    As I recall, Mr. Wilders mentioned the point of unelected mayors in Dutch towns and cities. That is an astounding central government overreach. I hope this is changed, for the sake of those living in such over-controlled areas.

  2. Thanks for the article. One small quibble from me, it takes six paragraphs to find out the subject of the referendum referred to in the title, though I do get that the article is really mostly about the political processes itself in Holland.

    Great line succinctly summarizing the present day absurdity of the EU – or more accurately manifestations of the German-Greek political dialogue standing at 0:2 Greece:

    “Trains loaded with refugees arrive from Greece and the Mediterranean. To return to Greece loaded with money.”

  3. I have no doubt going on Queen Beatrix’s attitude to Mr Wilders, that her thinking was influenced by her father, Prince Bernhard, who was also a member of the Dutch Nazi Party during the 2nd World War and whose fascist thinking caused him to initiate the secretive Bilderberg Group.

    I wonder how many other now serving members of Europe’s Monarchies are Bilderberg members?

    Europe’s remaining Monarchies have had ties, in one form or another, with the Nazis, and by implication, the ongoing destruction of the very societies and cultures that have nurtured them and kept them in power – even though that power is now constitutionally based the centuries of wealth creation and political influence those Monarchies have accumulated attracts many useful and treacherous sycophants whose own lack of simple human morality and patriotic values ensures a very bad road will continue for the peasant.

    I wish Mr Wilders well, he is due to arrive in Perth WA on 19 October, to launch the Australian version of the PVV, the Australian Liberty Alliance, a political party that according to my sources is rapidly growing in members, especially since the recent coup in Canberra a few weeks ago.

    Things are changing.

    • Let us pray that they are! I eagerly await the launch of the ALA. There are some good people in the blogosphere, and even the MSM, who are doing their best to distinguish it from parties that are simply xenophobic. If it lives up to promise it will have my vote in the Senate (which is all it will be standing for) next year. As for xenophobes–the principle xenophobic party is led by a woman whose own maiden speech was characterised by a line to the effect that Australia was being swamped by Asians. Fast forward to now, when Mr Cheng, a worker for 17 years in the police accounts department, gets shot by a Muzzie teenager shouting Allahu akbar. It pained my heart to see a photo of the Cheng family in happier times–if they are the Asians by whom Australia was being swamped, all I can say is, ‘Can’t we have more like that?’ To the xenophobes, I say: Mr Cheng was Australian. He was murdered by an adherent to an ideology that has no place here.

      • A friend of mine has his name in for the Senate run. Just waiting to see who ALA will select as candidates. Exciting times ahead.

      • It appears that Mr. Wilders visa has not yet been issued for his visit on the 19th. It was given the ‘green light’ back in August. I have just sent an email to Minister Dutton’s office. I know the ALA wanted all correspondence to be ‘nice’ but I can longer hide my contempt for those who no longer listen to their constituents. I called his delay at issuing that visa, un-Australian.

      • I think I understand.

        Resisting mass Asian immigration is “xenophobic”, but resisting mass Muslim immigration isn’t. Correct?

        Colonization by any insular minority, particularly Market Dominant Minorities, would seem to be a problem.

        Regarding Mister Cheng, I am sure if I looked reasonably hard I could find a Noble, Self-sacrificing, Loyal Australian Muslim, too.

        However, the mere existence of that One Noble Muslim would not change my mind in the slightest about the utter stupidity of inviting millions of them as colonists.

        • A point to note on your comment Big Bill, are the lessons taught, but seemingly ignored throughout the West, as to what happened in Vanuatu and Fiji when their imported colonists became too demanding of the native populations.

          Vanuatu’s businesses became dominated by the imported Chinese and Fiji’s businesses, government and judicial systems, by the Indians.

          Australian Federal Police had to intervene in Vanuatu while Fiji went one better and had a military coup. All in all though, problems solved.

      • You may be correct Anne-Kit. It was after all, the Danish King who rescued Danish Jews during WW2.

        But the Danish royal family are just as complicit within the EU structure as the rest of them.

  4. Sorry, Nemesis, that is not correct. Prince Bernard was never a member of the Dutch Nazi party. He was a member of the Reiter SS, he did write to Hiller during the war expressing his willingness to become stadhouder for him, he was almost certainly guilty of high treason during the King Kong scandal, and later tried to commit a coupe d’etat in Indonesia and accepted bribes from a.o. Lockheed. But he was not a member of the NSB. 😉

    • Point noted H Numan. His founding of the Bilderbergs is proof of his Nazi thinking which is nothing less than an act of treason against his own country and of the West in general.

  5. An interesting article. I did not understand “Sandlandistan” and thought it must be some Dutch pun based on sandlan (Dutch for “sandals”?) + distan (?). But then I realized it is a pun in English: sand+land+istan. D’oh!
    I did not understand “Dumpert” either, but fortunately we have online lookup:
    And did the referendum vote really come out to exactly the ominous number 341,666?
    Off to look up “King Kong scandal” (even the comments are educational) …

    • Pun on ‘sand’ (= desert, i.e. Sahara&Saoudi&Arabia), ‘land’ (= country) and ‘istan’ (= suffix of Afghan-istan, Pak-istan, Baloch-istan etc., i.e. islamic Middle East).
      Sandlandistan = islamic North Africa plus the Middle East, from Morrocco up to Pakistan.

  6. “The issue at hand is the association treaty between the EU with the Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia (the former USSR republic, not the US state). According to the EU, nothing to worry about. But in reality very much so.”

    Oh, realy? Why?

    These countries all have Russian military presence on their territories, and the primary reason for them to sign the treaty is freedom (from Russia), and freedom from corruption, not the EU handouts. I’m sorry to see that people don’t understand this here.

    In Ukraine people have died, fought and died, protesting against a president that was elected to sign the treaty with the EU, and when time came, refused it and jumped in Putin’s wagon. Georgia was invaded by Russia because EU refused to accept it in NATO. Moldova, basically a part of Romania occupied by Russia and turned into a Soviet Republic, still has the 14h Army in Transnistria. Russia has threatened Eastern Europe and Scandinavia again and again, during 2014 and 2015 with nuclear war, tank invasions, with bombs thrown from airplanes.

    200 Dutch died last at the hand of Russian terrorists supported by Kremlin. That was forgotten a few weeks later. This treaty will not only bring closer together European countries that don’t want to live at the hand of a KGB officer, but will weaken Russia, and at least the families of those killed last year should know better. There is not such thing as a cold war with Russia, there is a hot war with Russia, and you people here should know, or say you know, that appeasing criminals never did any good.

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