In the hours after his far right Freedom Party (PVV) won the most seats in the Netherlands’ general election, Geert Wilders promised “a referendum about the Nexit” as one of the first orders of business should he be able to form a government.
Though the populist will struggle to form a government, he could attempt to make the idea of a Dutch referendum on leaving the European Union a condition of his support for one run by, say, Dilan Yesilgöz of the right wing People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).
Yesilgöz is against leaving the EU, as are most Dutch voters – the last major polling on the issue, in June 2020, showed a 75%-25% split for Remain, and a smaller poll earlier this year showed support for leaving down to just 13%. Yet the VVD could be tempted to offer an in-out vote as a means to close down the issue and get Wilders off their back – though we all know how well that worked out for David Cameron in 2016.
Perhaps the victor himself might have second thoughts about pushing for a poll now, when the failure of Brexit offers such a salutary lesson on what can happen to a country that makes a leap into the dark,
Since Wilders was once refused entry to Britain because of offensive remarks about Muslims, he will be wary of another trip to these shores. But since being Islamophobic no longer gets you banned by the Home Office and in some cases can actually see you running the Home Office, he is free to pop over and check how leaving the EU is going for a country in which, over the last few days alone…
- Britain’s dismal growth since Brexit and the lack of parliamentary scrutiny of new trade deals (“weaker than the country had when we were a member of the European Union”) have been slammed by Lord Frost, one of the actual architects of Brexit.
- A report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research says Brexit is already costing each person in the UK about £850 a year, and that is set to rise to £2300 per person per year over the next decade.
- The Office of Budget Responsibility confirmed that Brexit is on course to reduce the UK’s trade intensity by 15 per cent in the long term, while the Bank of England said Brexit had “chilled” foreign business investment in Britain, now just 6% higher than when the referendum was held while US business investment has grown by 25% in the same period.
Oh, and of particular interest to Geert and his plan to cut immigration to zero:
- Four years after Boris Johnson pledged that Brexit would help the UK cut net migration to below 250,000 per year, it’s been revealed that the figure has actually risen to a new record high of 672,000.
In short, Brexit is enough to turn your hair white with fright – perhaps explaining why Wilders, who has confessed his unnatural look is the result of hair dye, seems so attracted to it.
But peroxide is one thing. Economic suicide is quite another.