Monday 15 May 2006

A short weekend in Dutch politics

A week, they say is a long time in politics, where expediency to populism matters, days are like an eternity.

Just as we are absorbing the news of the already well-documented terminological inexactitudes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one cannot say if this occasion provides opportunity or catastrophe.

Only on Friday, Lady Oddjob, the Minister for Disintegration and Emigration (tongue in cheek) who at this time is running to the leadership of the Liberal Party, said, Ms Ali has nothing to fear regarding the lies she told 14 years ago. [1]

Iron Lady Jelly Backbone takes pressure

However, this works against the grain of Dutch culture, which allows for people to break the law with impunity as long as they do not get caught and then imposes the entire weight of the law in exacting sanctions on those caught. This part of a group of other attitudes called gedogen.

Besides, this has generated so much commentary from the press; experts and some personnel who were part of the hoodwinked assessors in 1992, that it now appears the minister in the person of Lady Oddjob cannot be seen to be doing nothing about it. [2]

In fact, you cannot be running for leadership of a party and be prospecting to become the first female Prime Minister and then be found condoning the submission of false material for asylum – this is beside the point that that false pretence has created a useful and commendable member of the Dutch political society.

About face in turn about

So, in an about face typical of those who watch the polls and have a weekend to think about it, Mrs Verdonk, the minister has now instituted an inquiry to investigate the claims of Ms Ali probably leading to the toughest sanction of withdrawing her Dutch citizenship. [3]

We all need someone who has an open mind, a resolute perspective and can make tough decisions, between Friday and Monday morning, I think the weekend should have helped Mrs Verdonk consider pulling out of the leadership race too.

If we are to move from a Prime Minister who cannot sail no matter how the wind blows to one who lists wherever the wind blows, then we have definitely mortgaged our futures to the kind of populism that would make Chavez and Ahmadenijad look like students in Populism 101.

A middle finger leap to the States

Whilst Ms Ali might be under pressure about lies she has already revealed many times before apart from some minor disputed facts, she is about to give the middle finger to all this brouhaha.

She has been offered a tenure with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in the United States from September [4], an offer that might come with a green card if the Dutch sell her up, just as they exchanged Manhattan for Suriname.

My views about think tanks are probably already well known, and the Bush administration has been infiltrated with AEI alumni, ideas and policy initiatives – the neo-cons find their oxygen in its tents.

Celebrating Opportunism as Concern

You have to give Ms Ali credit for wending her way through the storms of life as other politicians try to catch the fallout for some pecuniary advantage – despicable does not begin to describe my utter disgust for opportunists – but who is a politician but one who can represent opportunism as concern?

Now! I am really sick to the stomach as the voice of my congratulations to Ms Ali is drowned out by the spasms of violent regurgitation.


[1] Liberals don't care Hirsi Ali lied to get asylum in 1992

[2] Lying can lead to loss of asylum - expert

[3] MP Hirsi Ali faces inquiry over naturalisation lies

[4] Hirsi Ali to leave Netherlands for job with US think tank

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