Thursday, September 30, 2010


Circumstances and lack of time prevented me from ever putting up a decent post about this years' parliamentary elections in The Netherlands, which took place on June 9th, and resulted in a clear shift to the right. The big winners of these elections were the VVD [the liberal party, but note that in Europe 'liberal' is considered center-right - MFBB] and the PVV, Geert Wilders' Party For Freedom [Partij voor de Vrijheid - MFBB]. For a host of reasons the clear outcome did not immediatey result in a government, not least because of the machinations of the leftist parties which were understandably totally upset because of the PVV's ascendance. All through summer and early fall the negotiations dragged on. But yesterday, Thursday September 30, the soon-to-be Dutch PM Mark Rutte (VVD), announced the formation of a minority government consisting of VVD and the christian-democrat CDA, with, and this is important, gedoogsteun (conditional support) from the PVV. In short, Wilders' PVV is not part of the new government. He will however support it as long as it implements the far-reaching measures the PVV has been asking for for years. The formula is not new, and has been tried succesfully in Denmark, where Pia Kjaersaard's Dansk Folkeparti (DF) has in the same manner supported Anders Fogh Rasmussen's center-right minority government for years. As a result, Denmark is now far, far better off than most European countries.

From left to right: Verhagen, Rutte and Wilders

The Danish Option. "Rechtsaf" means "to the Right". From left to right: Maxime Verhagen (CDA, a former Foreign Secretary), Mark Rutte (VVD, the future PM) and Geert Wilders (PVV, he will offer support for the minority government VVD-CDA).

The guidelines Rutte wants to follow are:

a.) Cutting government spending
b.) Cutting the number of government employees
c.) Reducing the size of House and Senate, which in The Netherlands are called the Eerste en Tweede Kamer.
d.) Reducing the EU contribution
e.) Slashing expenses in child allowances, the public broadcasters and the army (the latter point is a bummer of course)
f.) Implementing a more severe immigration and asylum policy.
g.) General prohibition of the burqa
h.) More means for domestic security
i.) Raisin the retirement age to 66, with an option of raising it further in the future if life expectancy allows it

The motto of the new government is "Freedom and responsibility".

Geert Wilders, PVV chairman, is pleased with the accord. In an interview yesterday he was quoted as saying 'Your voice has made that a new wind will be blowing. The country becomes safer, the number of asylum seekers will drop, and there will be investments for elderly care'.

It is indeed true that one of the focal points of Wilders' campaign is enhanced portfolios for taking care of the elderly. This is not so strange as it may seem. Due to The Netherlands' catastrophic demography 'dynamic', which it shares with basically all western countries, it will be confronted, two decades hence, with an enormous block of 65+ voters. Wilders' emphasis on more means for them is meant to placate them and avoid a Catch 22 scenario, in which disgruntled retirees would block necessary reforms, thus making future reforms ever more necessary. How this is all going to pan out is still unknown, but it seems to me the PVV's preoccupance with the elderly is more about psychology than actual welfare.

Wilders also claimed that if the proposed measures to cut down immigration are applied in full, they will result in a reduction of 50% in the number of non-western immigrants.

All in all, I think there is cautious reason for optimism, but this should only be a beginning. I do not want to sound like an incurable pessimist, but I see nowhere concrete measures to stop islamization. Nevertheless, this new Dutch center-right minority government is a step in the right direction, and further confirmation of what I have been predicting for years, namely Europes shift to the right - even though 'right' in Europe obviously still means something quite different from what it means in the States.


P.S.: See also this excellent post over at Gates of Vienna.

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