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POLITICS, BUT BEAR WITH ME

09 June 2010

It’s that time again! Dutch elections for the House of Representatives are coming up and that’s always pretty exciting. It’s an election spectacle that feels like foosball championships must feel like for the people who like that sort of thing. Believe me, it took several rewrites before I was able to remove all the low insults and snide remarks about the intelligence of soccer-lovers from that last sentence. It’s a gut-reaction that will never truly leave me.

So, elections! At the moment it appears as though the progressive right (VVD under Rutte) is going to win big. This in itself is good as it means that the forces of Old and Conservative (not to mention Christian) that ruled over our country for 8 years are finally through. Delicious. Myself, I’m voting progressive center: social liberalist D66. Along with the party’s own desires and many citizens I’m hoping for the return of ‘Purple’, a coalition that governed us in the 90s to great success, consisting of D66, the aforementioned VVD and our labour party PvdA. That would be the most excellent outcome of these elections, since it gives a strong signal that we want neither the left-wing nor the right-wing extreme (though in our country real extremes don’t exist politically). Instead, we should find a balance in the center and that’s what social liberalism is all about.

The big joker card in these elections remains Geert Wilders, which even our non-Dutch readers might have heard about. He’s been making an upheaval with his anti-Islam politics and campaigning. His rhetoric in itself is fraught with errors and hypocrisy - he obviously generalizes the entire muslim community, but he also wrongfully links Islam to the rise of immigrant street crime in our cities, while they have little to do with each other. But what is more concerning is that his political tone is appalling and undesirable: he divides people, screams for attention and only speaks in snide oneliners. We shouldn’t want that in our politics.

Today we’re all voting here in the Netherlands. It’ll be interesting to see who wins and what coalition might arise from that. I’m sure it’ll be a good day, especially should Purple rise from the ashes after eight years of political stagnancy.

Roderick