Friday, 17 February 2006

Handbags at dawn

Political theatre
Our politicians in the Netherlands always seem to do something to amuse us that I find that I do not miss going to the cinema or the theatre.
I cannot remember when last I heard anything from the Minister-President who is supposedly the head of government but hardly a powerful figure.
The headlines and the moral gutter seems to be dominated by other politicians as my chauvinism allows for it all to be referred to as the washing of dirty lingerie.
The government council in Rotterdam seems to be the breeding ground for the politics of separation masquerading as a push for greater integration.
Agreed, the events on Rotterdam were birthed from the activities of certain Muslim leaders who questioned our national values as Dutch and challenged our history of tolerance by calling homosexuals pigs amongst other unmentionable tripe.
The birth of the Fortuyn phenomena
This gave rise to a movement championed by Pim Fortuyn who eventually became the leader of the Liveable Netherlands (Leefbaar Nederland - LN). Some of his utterances lead to his being expelled from LN.
This lead to his creating a party list in his name and all the other circumstances that lead to his being murdered just 9 days before the elections that his party excelled in.
Beyond that nutshell of history, a scion of the LN context dominates the council in Rotterdam as Leefbaar Rotterdam (Liveable Rotterdam).
Rotterdam happens to be the source of the citizens’ code which included the use of Dutch as a common language – this was digested by our Minister of Immigration and Integration (Ms Verdonk) and regurgitated as requiring that Dutch be spoken in public places.
Alas! That kite got caught in low-lying tram cables, the opprobrium it raised had her backtracking faster than a bullet leaves the muzzle of a gun.
Another immigrant saga
More recently, since it is immigration and integration that takes up all political capital; an immigrant girl who was just about to start her final examinations was seized by the immigration police, her family given a sum of money and they were thrown out to their land of origin – Kosovo.
The girl by sleight regained access to the Netherlands and returned to her school to take exams and finish her course. Immediately, she was apprehended again, called a fraud in a situation that might have the minister censored for abuse of process.
It so happens that this girl mastered the Dutch language (model immigrant), excels in her class (model student) [5] but is from Kosovo (model immigrant) and political victim.
Handbags at the cabinet
So, the Education Minister wades into the matter in her blogs indicating that allowing the young girl to complete her education before deportation is a common-sense approach to a bungled activity with the proviso that it was not her call.
I detest somersaulting ministers is the retort that comes from Ms Verdonk who agreed with the point that the issue is not the call of the Education Minister but questioned the logic of her commentary. [2]
Surely, it is not difficult to see the logic, however, just like Pim Fortuyn threatened to slam his handbag on the table; the next cabinet meeting might just draw blood as Gucci bags hit Louis Vuitton bags with the Minister-President ducking and diving.
Even in an elevated state of good conduct, I could easily give up on a show at the Royal Ballet Company to watch these matrons have it out at each other.
Maybe I am just human.
References

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