Geert Wilders is breaking out of the blue-collar ghetto.
Support for the Freedom Party is no longer confined to ignorant bigoted working-class voters. Even fairly well-educated people are now saying that they will vote for Wilders in the next election. In other words, people who should know better.
That’s the not-so-buried subtext of the following MSM article, taken from Radio Netherlands:
Wilders’ party on the brink of acceptance?
“I’m going to vote for Geert Wilders.”
Be careful where you say those words. Geert Wilders has had more media coverage than any other Dutch politician in the past two years. His Freedom Party could be the largest party in the country, at least according to some recent opinion polls. Nevertheless supporting Geert Wilders is not universally accepted.
With elections to the European parliament coming up next week, it is the first chance for the Freedom Party to capitalize on its recent increases in the polls. Is Geert Wilders on the brink of becoming socially acceptable?
The core of Wilders support comes from working class voters who feel left out of the political system. But his popularity has spread beyond this core group of supporters ever since the United Kingdom barred him from entering the country in February, and the recent decision to prosecute him here in the Netherlands for hate speech.
Even a well-known sports commentator said he would vote for the Freedom Party, and polls have shown increased support for Wilders among those higher up the education scale. Political Scientist Andre Krouwel is not impressed with Wilders’ new emphasis on freedom of expression.
“I think a lot of people see through that. A lot of people see that he is hypocritical when he says, I should be able to enter the UK when I want to, I should be able to travel freely, but then he says, people can’t enter the Netherlands. And he argues that he should be able to say anything, but at the same time you can’t read the Qur’an and you can’t say anything about Islam.”
Freedom of expression
But hypocritical or not, the issue of freedom of expression appeals to many people with a higher education. Sociologist Dick Pels says Wilders has a point.
“Wilders of course successfully claims that he’s a victim of the narrow definition of freedom of speech in the Netherlands. And he’s right in that, I support this notion that freedom of speech is too narrowly drawn in the Dutch constitution. I would never vote for Wilders but there are a number of people who just on this issue are thinking maybe he is the most visible representative of this idea that freedom of speech should be defended.”
“I would never vote for Wilders”.
No, of course he wouldn’t. No one in elite Dutch society would admit doing so, not if he wanted to keep his state-funded job. But the interesting thing is that this guy is admitting that there might be some people, real people, people who aren’t slack-jawed Neanderthals, who are planning to vote for the PVV.
The article continues:
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And that has helped Wilders become somewhat more acceptable. But Andre Krouwel says asking whether Wilders himself will ever become socially acceptable is the wrong question.
“What is more important is not what Wilders does, he doesn’t matter. He will never be important enough, he will never be in government, or if he is, the party will collapse. What is important is what the two other major right wing parties, what they do with him. If they start copying his agenda, then everything changes, because then he is actually taking the other two parties with him to the right, and to a level where they would limit the rights of a certain group of people, namely Moroccans and Muslims.”
This is Wilders acting as a catalyst, getting extreme ideas accepted in mainstream political debate. However far Wilders gets in the future, he’s already succeeded in shifting the contours of the debate.
This article is a sign that the Dutch MSM is whistling past the graveyard.
“He will never be important enough, he will never be in government, or if he is, the party will collapse.”
How does this guy know that?
What happens if the PVV is by far the largest party in parliament after the next election — which is not at all implausible?
Can the existing power structure in the Netherlands rig a constitutionally legal way to nullify the election or suspend the PVV?
Or are they counting on Mr. Wilders getting the Pim Fortuyn treatment?
Hat tip: TB.