The Dutch government has made it clear that it is having serious thoughts about the referendum. In particular, they have suggested, there will be no need for one in the Netherlands if the result of the French one on May 29 is a resounding or even a whispering non.
That leaves open the question of what will happen if the French oui scrapes through à la Maastricht. Well, then the Dutch government will have to fight the battle and in not very auspicious circumstances. The pan-European malaise of disgust with an establishment that seems to have lost any contact with the reality of life as it is lived by the vast majority of the people, has overwhelmed much of Holland as well, particularly after the murder of film-maker Theo van Gogh.
Now they have something else to worry about. A new Vote-No campaign has been launched in the Netherlands and this is a serious one. My colleague and I are very proud of being among those on its advisory board. We intend to give it all the support we can and urge our readers to do the same.
Looking at its website, even our rudimentary knowledge of Dutch (helped by a separate e-mail from one of the leading lights of the organization) informs us that the campaign will revolve round ten basic issues:
1. Loss of national sovereignty
2. Incomprehensible constitution (the French, as we know, have as good as acknowledged this officially)
3. Greater abuse of power
4. Even less democracy
5. Loss of veto rights
6. More bEUrocracy (clever, that)
7. More money into bottomless pits (the Dutch is fairly clear: Meer geld in bodemloze putten)
8. More terrorism
9. One European army
10. All power moving to France and Germany
We wish them luck and shall do our best to help. We shall also keep our readers informed about further developments.