Why I voted No

For some reason, a lot of the foreign press and a lot of the Dutch politicians had their answer ready as to why the majority of the Dutch voters voted against the treaty for the constitution of the E.U., although hardly* any of them had actually bothered to ask those same voters.

That does not bode well for the future of the E.U.

If our politicians want to shape the E.U. in such a way that it becomes a people’s union, and if the press wants to play a role in that, a smidgeon of honesty might be desirable.

I had many reasons for voting against this treaty. For one thing, it wasn’t good enough. Too little change for the better, and concessions on points that do not really matter anyway. I was (and am) afraid that if we had said Yes, this would have been it for the next ten, twenty, fifty years.

For another, I don’t like being told we can order any car we want, as long as its black. Ford can tell me that, because I can take my money and go to another car manufacturer. Not so with politics. If I need to make a choice, it must be a real choice. The Dutch government has been painting the No vote as one of anarchy, of chaos, of terrorism, of idiocy. If they really, truly believe that, then why ask us for our opinions?

Third, this “constitution” did not deserve that name. A constitution is a list of the very basic premises upon which a people form a political union. Ignoring for a minute the question of whether the E.U. should be more than a market: a book of 450 pages is not a small list. The “constitition” of the E.U. was a wish-list such as a child might present Santa. “Who likes strawberry ice-cream,” the E.U. asked of its citizens, expecting to hear only mindless “me”s.

And finally, yes I did want to punish certain politicians. This Europe is squarely opposed to software patents, yet for some reason the council of ministers pushed their will through, often against the explicit wishes of their local parliaments.

I looked up the treaty to see if anything would change in the procedure for voting in E.U. directives, and in particular in the role of the Council of Ministers. Hardly anything would have changed.

In short: we can do better than this.

*) A positive exception being BBC Online, with excellent coverage. For one thing, they asked real voters about why they voted what.

One response to “Why I voted No”

  1. […] Dutch voters who voted against the European constitution, voted for Europe. It’s really not rocket science, but at the time the media seemed to have great difficulty grasping the concept. […]

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