Not in the Torentje, but in the now demolished Houtrusthallen, Prime Minister Lubbers would address a mass of people on October 26, 1985. Thousands had gathered at the closing event of what was then called: the “popular petition Committee Cruise missiles No.“(KKN). After he had first symbolically received more than 3.7 million signatures from opponents of the placement of NATO cruise missiles on Dutch soil, Lubbers spoke. But he was not heard. Because no matter how chairman Sienie Strikwerda and board member Maarten van Traa did their best to calm the room and call for some civilization for the speaker, this was banned en masse. A silly mop orchestra played on during the prime minister’s speech, after which the imperturbably speaking Lubbers were turned away by the audience. The communist daily newspaper De Waarheid had called for that the day before. It was the last time that the anti-cross missile demonstrators would gather with so many. Because of the massive rudeness of all those peace-loving protesters, who only wanted to listen to their own right, the KKN lost a lot of sympathy with the Dutch population. Those missiles were never installed, but that was not due to the self-proclaimed peace movement, but to Messrs Gorbachev and Reagan, who made a deal in 1987 and signed the INF treaty.
Monday evening, the drama of 35 years ago repeated itself. Prime Minister Rutte may be giving the most important speech of his career, while a handful of pot and pan rammers try to dissuade him. Somewhere outside along the Hofvijver, yet clearly audible to the 8.4 million television viewers and to the prime minister himself. Less “in his face” than with his former colleague Lubbers, but with the same effect. What the opponents of the corona measures – despite Lange Frans – still had in terms of sympathy in the country, disappeared with one stroke last night. Stupid, because not all opponents are conspiracy thinkers by definition. But the damage done is evident. Thanks to a sad group of protesters blowing their fairground whistles. It is not bad for Rutte …
How to continue in the coming weeks? We’ll sit that out. My impression is that most of us more or less accept it. It is what it is. We are completely coronamoe together, so the last weeks of this empty year will be chilling under the Christmas tree. Opening another bottle of wine, which we bought from an essential store, boxes at a time. In this column I have sometimes been critical of the fact that the month of December has become the great eating and drinking month, but it is getting much worse this year. The Dutch grand grutters, who are already experiencing an unprecedented top year, will place the “cherries on the cake” in the coming weeks, which is already “extra large” this year.
The supermarkets benefit, the online retailers benefit, the parcel deliverers benefit, but a lot of companies in food and retail do not. Monday afternoon I sincerely felt sorry for the friendly, if somewhat naive, owner of the garden center near me. His parking lot was still full of unsold Christmas trees. And in his greenhouse converted into a Christmas shop, the Christmas pieces carefully prepared by his wife were on display. Doomed never to be sold. So he stayed open until ten that evening. Whether it helped? This Christmas story doesn’t tell that …
retail strategist & partner GUC Agency
(image: collection CB)