Tuesday 4 July 2006

No to Balkenende III

Balkenende III must not be conceived

The whole idea that the Queen of the Netherlands has assigned the task of reviving the dead duck government of Jan Pieter Balkenende in a reincarnation that would be known as Balkenende III fills me with uncomfortable dread.

The whole premise of the fall of this government seems to have been lost in some royal prerogative which one thinks should have better exercised in ridding the government of the bale of Mrs Verdonk rather than seeking a view to create a minority government.

If Ruud Lubbers, a former Prime Minister of the erstwhile ruling CDA party, whose most recent public showing was a resignation from a high profile UN posting on alleged charges of sexual harassment should succeed, I would expect the parliament to accede to a vote of no confidence in Balkenende III - We desperately need change, not a stitch-up.

Lacking in judgment and relevance

My primary concern surrounds the general belief in consensus politics in the Netherlands where it is difficult, if not impossible, for politicians who exact greater standards of their electorate to claim responsibility for their faults almost to the point of being unaccountable even though they are quick to earn accolades for “success”.

Mrs Verdonk has at least 6 times had to appear before parliament to explain her actions in the controversial and volatile portfolio of Minister of Integration and Immigration. She has allegedly abused her office and over-reached her remit in ways that have brought serious concerns though difficult to assess objectively because of the populist nature of some of those actions.

However, the simple case for consideration is that this Ms Ayaan Hirsi Ali was inadvertently removed from parliament by someone with ministerial powers but has never been validated by an electorate.

A travesty of Democracy

The government which also has an electoral mandate till May 2007 also allowed itself to fall on a consensus that does not a represent an equality of partnership. Mrs Verdonk is a junior non-elected minister in the Justice Department, no matter how high-profile immigration has become in Europe.

What Mr Jan Pieter Balkenende has allowed is a travesty of democracy by not selecting ministers that can have the magnanimity to assume responsibility and take the rap on the one hand, and by his not having enough leadership acumen and disposition to address the issue in the broader context of our electoral franchise and Mrs Verdonk's insignificance in that respect.

This government is supposed to have a major legislative agenda concerning Afghanistan and the budget, but all that paled into quagmire of the irresolute apology for governance that Balkenende I & Balkenende II have come to represent.

A centre-right government that is soporifically docile, every news item of importance sits in the realms of extremists - they were precariously aided the lurch to intolerance that was becoming evident in the Netherlands.

To imagine that the CDA/VVD partnership can go back to the electorate and be rewarded for this utter lack of sense of occasion and responsibility would be too hurtful to contemplate.

Only one thing would suffice a caretaker government till November when we can really reward these legless leaders with a worthy retirement.

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