“On Constitution Day we are not afraid to say – for better or for worse – we love our country. ” (photo: iSotck)
Last Sunday was the day when leading politicians took to the rostrum in parks and gardens to make speeches to small crowds of supporters.
This year it was a sunny day. Most Danes have little or no off-hand knowledge of the content, but they like sunny days and celebrities.
They know that queen and monarchy are established in the constitution. With the changes in 1953 came a one chamber system and female succession to the throne, and 100 years ago, women got the right to vote.
They are less comfortable with the politics going on outside their borders, however. With its membership of the EU comes a number of decisions on which Denmark holds a very modest influence, and the Danes are by nature sceptical when it comes to supranational competence being exercised.
Several referendums have illustrated the divide between the people and the politicians. The latest concerned the Danish justice opt-out, before which the nay-sayers argued that a bilateral structure would come in easily.
However, Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, warned the other day that they may have been overly optimistic, and the best we can hope for is an informal co-operation.
The Danes need to realise that the perilous nature of a ‘No’ vote to teach the politicians a lesson will have serious consequences – particularly when we have other issues such as quota of refugees, defense of EU perimeter and EURO zone challenge to worry about. Do we want influence or to just sit on our hands and wait?
The prime minister in his address said that the Danes are a mix of megalomania and minority complexes.
It is, he said, not compulsory to love the government, but important to love your country. The constitution, he reminded us, is a solid foundation for democracy and equality.
On Constitution Day we are not afraid to say – for better or for worse – we love our country.