Sunday, 18 February 2007

Verdonk disintegrates bill

Slow and sedentary politics

Dutch politics is based on a consensus, compromise and collaboration model simply called the Polder Model. This is understandable because it does take time, effort, negotiation, horse-trading and resources for rival forces to band together to create infrastructure to reclaim land from the sea, seeing that a third of what is the Netherlands land mass was once the sea.

The national elections took place on the 22nd of November 2006 and we are just about to get a new cabinet; a coalition of the CDA (Christian Democrats), the PvDA (Labour Party) and Christian Unie (Christian Union), leaving us with a right-leaning government with a social bias.

Expect, abortion, prostitution, drugs, euthanasia and immigration to get a new looking at especially where certain right-wing politicians have carved a representation in the Dutch parliament, ready to cause upheaval and controversy on any issue to gain media prominence.

Disintegrating our peace again

Talking of immigration, Mrs. Rita Verdonk, got elected for the very first time and retained her ministerial portfolio as part of the out-going cabinet, however, within days of the new parliament being sworn in, Lady Oddjob who has done much to upset the applecart of Dutch politics was relieved of the immigration part of her Integration and Immigration ministry as a sop to the parliament.

In my mind she has been more about disintegration and emigration, but despite all attempts to censure her for activities inimical to societal cohesion, these have failed and rather brought Jan-Pieter Balkenende's cabinet down to its knees leading to a fall of the government and an election, all in the name of keeping the polder together, the Dutch way - other democracies would have summarily sacked her to save the government their blushes.

Anyway, a bill Mrs. Verdonk had submitted to parliament for consideration in her ministerial capacity as one of the last acts of this cabinet had suffered extensive amendments that it did not look like what the strict matron ordered. The story.

After intemperate language and high jinx, rather than have the bill voted on, she created enough discomfort in parliament as she tried to withdraw the bill and then all settled for not voting on it all.

Not really as the Dutch intended

Living in the Netherlands, there are quite a number things I have to adjust to, one of which is, people can express an opinion but must not obstinately stand their ground regardless of the rightness of their views, it is considered disruptive.

What is then termed tolerance becomes a situation where your view is noted and if not acted upon, you allow things to happen.

Some politicians are deviating from this Dutch norm; the premise of the Polder Model is attacked with extreme pronouncements and controversial positions which portend to celebrate the adherence to rules. Mrs. Verdonk comes to the fore on this, just as much as Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali who is now resident in the United States.

So, the parliamentarians resolved this debate by first trying to stop the bickering and then passing the bill on to the next cabinet to consider.

As one Member of Parliament said, of Verdonk, "Everything she does is one big power play. When she used the term "unacceptable," we had no desire to continue with the game any longer."

The power plays would not end here when she reverts to an ordinary member of the parliament, she would still be gunning for the leadership of the Illiberal Party (VVD) and making waves to topple Balkenende's fourth cabinet in as many years.

If I had tears to shed, they would be for those whose lives have been dehumanized by the mechanistic adherence to immigration rules to the detriment of humane consideration of their circumstances.

It is not Good Riddance, but Good Bye and thanks for your service to the country; hopefully, there would be no other opportunity to require your services again.

References

The Verdonk Blog trail

The Lady Oddjob Blog trail

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