Our expatriate Dutch correspondent H. Numan sends this evaluation of the current political landscape in his home country:
The situation in Holland seems to spiral into chaos: the queen took a very political stand — which she is not allowed to do, by convention as well as by law. For the first time, her speech was openly questioned. All thanks to bloggers and the Internet.
The prime minister stands firm behind (the skirt of) the queen. So he should, as he is the chap responsible for whatever she says in public. As the queen is politically invulnerable, it’s his head that will be on the block.
The speech wasn’t too bad, actually. Just the common platitudes, and some sneering from a “have” about the have-nots who should be happy.
It’s rather hypocritical to speak about egoism and lack of solidarity when one earns €8 million, plus bonuses and benefits, tax free. All the more so, since the crown always finds ways to place the tax burden on somebody’s else shoulders: the royal yacht is maintained by the navy, the palaces by the IRS directly, and royal hunts are also diverted to the taxpayer.
The rub was what happened before. The Argentinean wife of the crown prince said in public that the Dutch identity does not exist. This went down quite badly.
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After that blunder the royal family went on a state visit to India where another two blunders were added: first, the fact that child labour is extensively used was neatly avoided. And the crown prince, who specialises in water “something” (presumably management, but he is much better in managing lager) said that Indian farmers should not drink water or wash themselves, but use it to grow crops.
As a kind of penance Princess Maxima was dressed in orange much of the visit.
One might expect some leeway from the queen given the aforementioned bloopers.
What was taken badly in her speech were the barely veiled threats to the PVV (Mr. Wilders’ party, Partij voor de Vrijheid). “Some” forces were rude, brutal and polarising society. Wilders took offense here, although personally I wouldn’t. Because I feel that those “some” forces are the chappies who cannot speak Dutch, and lift their butts in the air five times per day.
The government let out “by accident” the date Mr. Wilders will air his video: 25 Jan 2008.
Already many Muslims voice veiled and not-so-veiled threats against Geert Wilders and public order. If this video is aired… (violence, plunder, chaos) the ‘moderates’ play good cop (“something we cannot prevent”) while the other 99% plays bad cop by publishing pamphlets calling for violence if the ‘noble’ Koran is threatened.
What is good is that the public opinion is changing rapidly. The Socialist Party dropped a massive 50% in popularity. Wilders is steadily rising, and TON (Trots op Nederland, a breakaway right-wing faction of the conservatives of VVD, Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie) polls at least double the size of the VVD. Actually, the first breakaway right-wing faction of the VVD was Wilders himself.
If elections were held now, a coalition of TON (25), PVV (15), VVD (14(!)), and CDA (Christen Democratisch Appèl) would become a right wing majority cabinet. It is almost possible to form a cabinet without the CDA. And if Wilders’ video causes havoc, that is what is likely to happen.