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Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

This revolution will not be televised

11 January 2016

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A few days ago, war reporter and investigative journalist Arnold Karskens has written a provocative (Dutch) newspaper article in NRC. In view of similar ingredients in the Arab Spring revolution, the article gives 5 reasons why Europe will face a Spring revolution in May 2016.

The 5 reasons for the European Revolution are: 1) a political swing to the far right and a subsequent take-over of command, 2) dissatisfaction with the European economy and its high unemployment, 3) lack of European leadership, 4) a new “incident”, and 5) favourable weather conditions.

To some extent, this article is plain wishful thinking (eg, timing) by someone deeply concerned by the migrant crisis in Europe. To some extent, this article is just shallow (eg, 5th reason) if only given the timing of the impressive Ukrainian Winter Revolution. To some extent, the article is written by someone with a loud and clear political view (eg, 1st reason). Despite its populist right-wing tone, the implicit warning in the article should not be dismissed as utter nonsense.

Something is indeed happening in Europe: several months ago East Europeans started building fences to block immigrants from accessing their countries. Despite the Schengen agreement, some West European countries have recently reinstated passport control at their borders to block immigrants from accessing their countries. Late 2015, Poland witnessed a massive political shift to the right.

To some extent, Mr. Karskens’ reason #4 is indirectly referring to the New Year “incidents” in Austria, Finland, Germany and Sweden which have finally come to light after almost 10 days (eg, DailyMail). Which country is next to lift its political correctness in media coverage??

In 1971, Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011) wrote the classic song “The revolution will not be televised” and I expect the same in this case. The revolution in Poland was already a democratic (and dramatic) one despite all the current protest by Poles and despite the subsequent threats by the EU to the new Polish government that the EU may suspend Poland’s voting rights (eg, Reuters, Telegraph).

On 9 January 2016, the Economist published a rather good article on the Dutch: ‘Early adopters’. Its byline is also quite accurate: “In their coolness towards the EU and multiculturalism, the Dutch were ahead of Europe’s curve”. I do feel however that the Economist is underestimating Mr Wilders and his PVV. Since the German events, his number of projected 2017 seats is 41 (or 27.3%). And I think the Dutch are still ahead of the European curve. A silent revolution might be going on in our country and the Germans are likely to follow once it materialises here.

Most likely, the Dutch political establishment will first try to create a political “cordon sanitaire” against the PVV, just like the Belgians successfully did from 1989-2006. Somehow I think and feel that it’s too late for such a blocking move. The silent majority is finding its way as the PVV surge is from left (PVDAand right (VVD). To a large extent, Mr Wilders is the vox populi.

The Dutch government may still able to counter this trend as long as they express a clear, honest and unified message. The worst the coalition government could do – in view of the 15 March 2017 Dutch general election – is to let Mr Wilders use a divide and rule strategy on them. 

Whatever the future outcome for Europe will be, its silent revolution will not be televised.

Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1971) – lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all bold and italic markings are mine.

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