Thursday 9 March 2006

Dutch Intolerance Incubator brings forth electoral still-born

The benefits of being a European
I count myself extremely fortunate to be a European of British birth and Nigerian parentage.
This is made ever so obviously from the unfortunate events we have had in the Netherlands where non-Europeans have become hapless pawns in the political maelstrom of immigration and integration.
The EU-15 which consists of states in the European Union before May 2004 allows for the freedom of movement of goods, services and personnel to varying degrees.
Come May 2006, I would have been a Netherlands resident of six years standing. It offers me the opportunity to vote in the local elections and generally in the European elections but not in the National elections.
A hard tongue
So much commentary has been placed on integration and it formed the basis of the change in polity in 2002. However, whilst I understand a good bit of Dutch, I still sound like a Martian whenever I open my mouth to speak.
When learning German in the UK years ago, I can still say three months of study had me prattling about in conversational German and more fluently than my Dutch after almost 6 years sojourn.
Another benefit is the opportunity to become a Dutch citizen having passed the integration tests and also attained language proficiency. The statute books even include an old-time Napoleonic clause that allows a one-way conversion to French citizenship.
Aspiring for a better prize
Besides being able to vote in national elections or join the army, I think my British passport gets me into more countries than any other passport apart from being a member of the global diplomatic corps.
This Dutch citizenship is considered the “main prize” by my most popular copy-inspirer Mrs Rita Verdonk (VVD) the Minister of Immigration and Integration, an assertion that has been debunked by one of the pawns who in a World Cup year could have helped bring much glory to Dutch football.
The most irksome activity sometimes required but not compulsory is obtaining the resident’s permit which consumes time and energy, in some cases, certain services can be denied without it.
Once, I went out there for the resident’s permit and we were all lumped together as all the citizens of the world such that until you got to the counter 5 hours later, the EU membership counted for nothing.
The people have spoken up
Anyway, we had the local elections on Tuesday and the results were out by Wednesday morning taking a few scalps with it; the leader of VVD for instance, having lost just a few seats and a lot less than the main governing party.
The coalition of Christian Democrats (CDA), Liberals (VVD) and Social Liberal Democrats (D66) lost some ground; that was to be expected because they had become a triune of what is most illiberal and unDutch about the Dutch. See Political Parties.
More to the point, Leefbaar Rotterdam (Liveable Rotterdam) which was first made popular by Pim Fortuyn the assassinated firebrand of 2002, lost the controlling majority in Rotterdam to the Labour Party (PvDA).
The intolerance incubator
Leefbaar Rotterdam happens to be the incubator, if not the nursery of ideas that Mrs Verdonk then flies as kites to gauge national opinion before back-tracking speedily, like speaking Dutch in public.
The idea of forced contraception and socially-assessed abortions also came from Rotterdam, but a lot more can be read from the local election results even though the losers would bore us to death about these not having a shade on the more society-changing national elections, politics grows from the grassroots as people want to have a bigger say in how they are governed.
Many independents took part in the local elections and their number increased coming second only to the Labour party and pushing the ruling parties into lower positions.
The main result from this election is that the Dutch have rejected the demagogy of Liveable Netherlands with its right-wing agenda that excites the fear of immigration and the loss of Dutch identity.
Back to tolerant Netherlands
Indeed we all want the Netherlands to be "liveable" land, but not to the exclusion of others who live here who might not be indigenous.
The Dutch have a tradition of tolerance, acceptance and freedom of expression has for the past 4 years been hijacked by unscrupulous politicians and commentators that have focused the public on the divisive rather than the inclusive.
We have all woken up from that nightmarish existence and the countdown has begun for all those who promote a cause that does not fit well with a Dutch history and culture that goes back many centuries.
Come the next election, it should be “all-change”, from getting effective leadership to people in government who speak up for all and promote what we know the Dutch have given the world in justice, liberty and freedom.
Mrs Verdonk has had a change of heart; well if you have a heart of stone, any other stone would do - she has temporarily suspended the deportation of Iranian homosexuals and apostates. She has done the right thing regardless of what lead to this change of heart.

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