Bribes, bastards and paying bugger-all in tax: Long live the Royal family!

Youp van ‘t Hek is surprised: cheering a family known for its bribes and bastards is fine but saying it should go will get you arrested.

Wasn’t it touching to see mayors Van der Laan and Wolfsen squirm as they forced out their Byzantine explanations as to why a person waving a small piece of cardboard with a barely legible scrawl on it denouncing the monarchy should have been arrested. White noise on the walkie-talkie, the wrong photographs, nervous provincial plods and other such BS pretexts were glibly followed by the assurance that freedom of opinion was, of course, the highest good. Pathetic lackeys both, and Labour, too.

Dimwits dressed in orange cheering a predominantly German family with a penchant for bribery, bastards and tax avoidance are left entirely alone while people carrying pieces of cardboard are locked up. Once it’s all over the apologies begin: it shouldn’t have happened. It was a stupid mistake, sorry, it won’t happen again. Until it does.

Of course the royals are harmless folk who wouldn’t hurt a fruit fly, but that doesn’t mean people who want to inform the king and his wife they are obsolete are any less harmless. Why am I allowed to write in this paper that the monarchy is something for people who still believe in fairy tales while people who write it on a piece of cardboard and wave it around in public are forcibly removed? And I’m getting paid for it as well.

I’m a democrat and as such I respect that a majority in this country wants to hold on to the monarchy but surely democracy also means I can say it is a pile of manure.

Gerard Spong is a lawyer and, according to some, he’s a very good lawyer. During the trial of the men who kicked the linesman to death, Spong produced a so-called expert witness who claimed the man may have died from natural causes. That, I think, classifies as another kick but this time aimed at the victim’s family. Spong and the expert have not been arrested. Of course not. Then why arrest a person with a clear opinion on something as medieval as the monarchy? And how come freedom-touting VVD and PVV aren’t foaming at the mouth at such a flagrant invasion of it?

Parliament should be up in arms. Anti-gay marriage protesters are free to take to the streets in France, farmers who are covering the country in a thick layer of manure are free to block the roads and protesting prison warders aren’t put away in their own cells. But we can’t have the two remaining republicans waving their bits of cardboard around. And why were sad sacks Van der Laan and Wolfsen trying so hard to justify it?

I can sort of see why Wolfsen would. He’s not a democrat. Once upon a time he had a whole edition of a local paper pulled from the news stands because it wrote something about him he didn’t like. Not long ago he put pressure on the editor of the Utrechts Nieuwsblad because of another presumed slur. Aleid is leaving. He should have left a long time ago. How things change. In an earlier life Wolfsen was a left-wing lawyer who sympathised with the squatter movement. He was also the chairman of the ResistanceMuseum. I repeat: the ResistanceMuseum.

In the next few weeks our king and queen will be whizzing past a couple of villages, waving, as per instruction of the previous incumbent. The people will wave back like good little children and the Nos will film the festivities like a good little public broadcaster. Nothing wrong with a bit of harmless folklore. But saying the whole thing makes you want to puke should not cost anyone even one second of their freedom. So I’ll say it again: the monarchy is obsolete. I’m not telling Trix, Lex and Max anything they don’t know. They’ve known for years. But it’s far too profitable a racket.

Youp van ‘t Hek is a comedian and writer.




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