Since February 2009 , this blog and Huib's 3 other Euroblogs are together at:

- In Europa Zu Hause [DE]
- L'Europe Chez Soi [FR]
- At Home in Europe [EN]
- In Europa Thuis [NL]

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Painful Delivery of a new Dutch Government

Sunday night in Johannesburg, South Africa, one Spanish goal killed the orange coloured Dutch dreams about its Soccer World championship. Frustrating, but not really disastrous. For the Dutch found, like the French in 1998 and the Spanish today, an irrational but very real national, popular unity that includes every marginalised category in their society. This Tuesday night, a million people are expected in Amsterdam to celebrate their national team. A small half of the players are immigrants or sons of immigrants. Some of them, like Boularouch, have even roots in Islamic countries.
The orange national hysteria is a slap in the face of hate-mongerer Wilders. The message of the local, spontaneous manifestations is: "We are all together!" The institutionalised distinctions between people who have "roots" in Judeo-Christian culture and those who have not, that Wilders' PVV party wrote into its election program, are as redundant as can be, at this moment.
Like we predicted here on June 9, election eve, Wilders' party, that got 24 out of 150 seats in the Dutch Parliament, is as of now not a part of coalition negotiations for a new majority Government. The conservative liberal VVD party, who carried the elections with 31/150 seats, just before the Social-Democrats of the PvdA (30/150), could not avoid some days of negotiations with Wilders, just after the elections, with the objective of a right wing Government that needed the support of the big loser of the elections, the Christian-Democrats of the CDA (22/150). Such a combination would have controlled 76 out of 150 seats in the Lower House, but only a minority in the Upper House.
 Even while the fundamentalist protestant SGP party (2/150) offered it's support for such a combination, the new CDA leader, foreign minister Maxime Verhagen (who stands in for long-time MP Balkenende, who dismissed after his defeat), made an unheard-of move when asked to join the negotiations with VVD and PVV. First, he uninvited himself, saying that he preferred to wait for an eventual compromise between VVD and PVV. Then, provoked in a parliamentary debate, he stated clearly, that, in his opinion, a number of core ideas of Wilders were not compatible with the Dutch constitution and the rule of Law.
Verhagen mentioned specifically Wilders' idea of "war against Islam" as "the center of Dutch foreign policy", Wilders' 'kopvoddentax" idea (= making pay a tax by Islamic women who cover their heads) and their propositions for "ethnic registration" of all Dutch citizens.
Wilders, as is his way, avoided a direct debate about those points in Parliament and started "demonizing" the CDA leader, saying that he was playing into the hands of the "treacherous left". Even when VVD-leader Mark Rutte invited Wilders to start direct negotiations with him, Wilders said "no". Thus showing, that he is not really wishing to participate as a minority party in a Government, even if it is right-wing.
A quick and efficient reaction followed from the queen and her main adviser, Mr. Tjeenk Willink. The latter, as "informateur", analysed the situation and convinced everybody but Wilders, that the conservatives had to negotiate with the PvdA and its left-liberal allies of D66 and the Greens. Wilders was furious and demanded that Tjeenk be sent away.
But he was royally ignored and since last week, a VVD-PvdA dual team of "informateurs" is chairing daily meetings of VVD, PvdA and the two smaller parties.
To me, it is unclear, if these negotiations will succeed. An alternative, more centrist, VVD-PvdA-CDA, is explicitly NOT excluded.
Anyhow: Wilders is far from his announced role as PM or vice-PM. Maybe, Wilders has never seriously considered being part of a government at this point of time. Maybe, he is really disappointed. Difficult to know.
At this moment, Wilders is playing the card of "being excluded" by the traditional political caste. He may convince many people with that Calimero tactic. But I see also signs, that people are beginning to get tired of those histrionics. A majority of the Dutch support the effort the make a VVD-PvdA-coalition (Blue-Red-Plus).
Wilders'victory at the elections that got him 23 co-parliamentarians, might also prove a disaster in disguise. At best, his new colleagues are former parliamentary assistants, who never had to fight for a mandate, but who know the parliamentary dealings and wheelings. Most of them, however, are political nitwits, who range from Israeli agents and lobbyists, to religious fanatics of the "rapture" kind.
This whole situation could have been avoided, if more parliamentarians than the D66 and GroenLinks ones, would have spoken out more clearly from the beginning. Many democrats have been (and are still) intimidated by the Wilders speak. They feel (unjustly) responsible for the islamist threats against Wilders. As many among them have no real connections to the people, they tend to believe, that Joe and Johanna are really daily afraid of the Muslims.
It is no wonder, that, in a developed and civilized state as Holland is, the failure of politics is beginning to be compensated by the intervention of Justice (the hate-mongering procedure against Wilders in Amsterdam) and by the highest state councils (Raad Van State President -after the Queen- Tjeenk Willink). But, this odd country has also a very developed civil society. The Dutch are used to mend their own affairs. From ancient times on. Polders were managed by their inhabitants. Church consistories in the same way. Urban neighbourhoods with socio-economic difficulties develop their own solutions.
In the long run, I am sure, nobody will need Wilders' "Israeli" fantasies any more...
Least of all, Israel itself!

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