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Hell No!

Posted by Richard Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Last update: 5.10 pm - new material in bold. (We will keep this post at the top for the time being, to track developments in the Dutch referendum as they occur - today's other posts, here and here, are immediately below.)

With thanks to our Dutch correspondent Marcel de Vries who tells us he voted early this morning. Of course I voted "NO", or rather "HELL NO", he says.

Early reports, he tells us, from several voting districts suggest that turnout is significantly up compared with last year's Euro-election (39.1 percent). At 11 am, it had been 12 percent (3 percent higher than at the Euro-election). By 2 pm, it was 24 percent (up 9 percent from the Euro-elections at the same stage), suggesting a minimum turnout of 50 percent. By 4 pm (local time) with five hours to go before the polls close (8 pm our time), the magic 30 percent turnout had been secured. Predictions of a 50 percent overall turnout remain.

The last little straw of comfort – that the turnout might fall below 30 percent, thus invalidating the referendum – has been stripped away. They can't even rely on the Wayampi-Parisian alliance (worth a read).

Marcel provides a link to an on-line news report although, unfortunately, this is in Dutch. The only word I can understand is "mediacircus", which perhaps says all you need to know. Time for babelfish I suppose, although that does rather spoil the fun of trying to guess what "slaap" means.

A Belgian blogger, studying in Vienna, Pieter Cleppe, tells us that a poll broadcast yesterday by the television programme Nova gave a 54-46 percent split in favour of the "nee". The "undecideds", according to this poll, were leaning towards "ja" although seven percent said they would only decide at the last minute.

However, according to Euractiv.com - which also offers a comprehensive analysis of the Dutch referendum - the most recent NSS poll indicates a "no" vote of 51 percent with 37 percent voting "yes". Another poll by TNS-NIPO puts the "no" vote at 60 percent. Any advance on 60?

Tim Franks, reporting for the BBC on the PM programme this evening (5 pm), ran a number of interviews which seem to indicate that sentiment is hardening against the constitution by the hour.

Incidentally, the soggy brain caught a Dutch "nee" campaigner being interviewed on this morning's BBC Today programme, telling the interviewer that the internet had played a surprisingly large part in the campaign. We are not surprised but it was rather funny how quickly the interviewer changed the subject, as if someone had just spat in church.