Thursday 4 March 2010

The Netherlands: Elections grant the freedom to assail

Moderates depart for the extreme

For long I have lamented the docile and cuddly nature of the moderate leaning politicians in the Netherlands who have for the past 8 years given ground to the voluble, garrulous extreme representatives of populist agendas.

One area that seems to excite the electorate without the necessary proof is that of immigration, that in the sense of immigrants who do not have much as opposed to wealthy and prosperous immigrants.

In the Netherlands, the fault lines have been drawn on the anti-Islam rhetoric fronted by The Freedom Party – as an aside, I have never seen a party with “Freedom” in its name ever espouse the real ideals of freedom.

They usually exercise the freedom to be nasty, rotten, atrocious and reprehensible and claim every attack on their positions as an attack on their freedom of expression.

The populists have the field

The middle ground of the moderate, the reasonable and the consensual could easily have consigned these extreme elements to the scrapheap but the traditional parties and the age-old civility of discourse have been mute, blind, ineffective and scared to tackle hot-button issues that populists thrive on for mass hysteria.

This populist activity warps our democracy and the dividends end up with parties whose singular and narrow agendas is the equivalent of giving control of a cruise liner to someone can hardly float a canoe.

Yesterday, we were at the polls for the local government and council elections and we chose representatives for our local councils and cities in two separate sets of lists that were the perfect confusion for the ballot box.

In the end, I had to go for broad party policy rather than particular party representative balancing the issues of the party I thought was better for my local government which surprisingly was quite different for the one I considered better for the city council.

They are gathering pace

The Freedom Party fielded candidates in two cities, Almere which was reclaimed land – a polder, and Den Haag (The Hague) which is the administrative capital of the Netherlands – they would probably be the biggest party in Almere and the second largest in The Hague.

With the general elections coming in June as I had surmised at the fall of the last cabinet in February there is every possibility that the Freedom Party might well sweep the board and we would be lead by an extreme wing of reactionaries pretending to have the interest of the Netherlands and the Dutch at heart.

Host-Guest dichotomy

It is not like the Dutch can with their Calvinist and Catholic heritage say that in the 21st Century they are anything like a Christian nation and the increase in foreign nationals from Islamic nations has resulted in isolated communities rather than fully integrated adherents to the Dutch ideal.

This was not helped when certain Muslim leaders of thought began attacking the liberalism and tolerance of the Dutch that developed a gathering irritation of guest dictating to host.

The need to crowd the centre

But we need great objectivity in these times not to lose our heads in the hazy cloud of our differences that could bring upon us a government headed for ruin and the destruction of our country but seek the common ground of consensus and commonality that brings out the best of all of us.

The results from Almere are unfortunately a dyke-break, if a polder can vote in the extreme, one can begin to fear the worst but hope that the victory of today just creates the indiscipline and arrogance that would make the people move back to moderation and core Dutch values by June – a long shot but a very hopeful one.


BBC News - Dutch anti-Islamists makes key gains in local elections

Party for Freedom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fitna - The irresponsible movie []

The amazing prospect of Balkenende V []

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Dutch cabinet falls over Afghan row

Polder Model - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Geert Wilders - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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