Monday, 10 April 2006

Lady Oddjob is at odds with her circumstances

Learning what you should know
Following on from Lady Oddjob throws her hat in she seems to be at odds with events around her.
No one hugs our headlines as well as my bestest (sic) Dutch minister, the Minister for real dis-Integration and Emigration – barely Integration and Immigration.
We have a Prime Minister who lately was in Australia trying to learn lessons about handling immigration and the issues from the Australia. During which time he visited the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit met with Michael Schumacher who as the papers reported was the Prime Minister’s hero.
Maybe I am being unnecessarily hard on the man; Dr Jan-Pieter Balkenende would be 50 on the 7th of May, Mr Michael Schumacher however was 37 in January, the older having a protégé is understandable, the younger being a hero of the older? Go figure!
A brief tour down history lane would show that the Dutch need not lessons in handling immigrations, they have been deeply involved in slave trade before becoming leading abolitionists and a scion of the Dutch makes up the Afrikaner nation of South Africa which purveyed Apartheid until recently.
Oh Golly! The campaign is off to a roaring start
Anyway, Mrs Verdonk having indicated her intention to run for the leadership of the VVD (Liberal Party) has had a number of news items come up that involves her and does not bode well for she who would be leader and consequently Prime Minister.
First, it appears she casts aspersions on the character and eligibility of her opponent in the leadership race – well, what is new there?  “Handbags at dawn” is a case in point in how she has dealt with fellow ministers.
Then she is censured, well almost, but MPs for a repeated offence of withholding information or feeding “terminological inexactitudes” dissembling to MPs about matters in her ministerial remit. [1] [2]
  • If we cannot rely on a mere minister to reveal the facts as they are and speak the whole truth with dissembling, how can leadership be a suitable promotion?
Somehow, MPs never seem to be able to muster enough votes to call the executive to order such that every minister who has been dragged over the coals has almost resigned, then weighed the options about self-preservation and decided to stick it out.
Many of which include revealing information that should be confidential on matters subjudice, allowing deportees to be interrogated by agents of their home country without supervision, furnishing home governments information about refugees which might lead to their being persecuted when deported.
  • If matters of fairness, justice and discretion are handled with reckless disregard and lack of concern or discernment, then acquiring more responsibility would only provide greater opportunities for these failings to shine.
Broken promises
Then, we return to the matter of the refugees roasted in the holding facility at Schiphol; having promised along with the Minister of Justice to keep the witnesses in the country for interrogation; it has now transpired that the head of the investigation never got to get them to testify and it is now impossible to contact those witnesses. [3] [4]
This is convenient considering both of them had already concluded that staff had done all that had to be done to ensure safety long before the investigation commenced. [5]
When the local government council demanded closure of the detention facility on grounds of safety the Justice Minister invoked an extra-ordinary decree to overrule those concerns.
  • If a simple promise like that cannot be kept regardless of the fact that it involves despicable refugees and deportees, I wonder what future promises to the the party and the Dutch would be broken?
If I scent a whiff of hubris, no one is telling, but for all the credit to Mrs Verdonk’s forthright determination to hold her brief to the letter; being a good minister who can manipulate populist opinion requires a different set of virtues compared to that of leadership – she has the former and almost definitely not the latter.
I earnestly hope people see through this lot and make decisions we would not live to regret. Having once voted VVD, this is not the leader I want to see in charge of that party as a possible contender the Prime Ministerial post in a few years time.
Just like the works of the famous Oddjob hat, I just hope this quest gets decapitated PDQ (Pretty Damn Quick).
Reference

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