It’s déjà vu all over again — Geert Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, will go on trial early next year for “hate speech”. For the third time, no less.
Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan has sent us some invaluable background material on the situation in the Netherlands, including the “Christmas Crisis” — the reason for the timing of the prosecution against Mr. Wilders — among other things.
Here’s what he has to report:
Those of you who followed the earlier trials of Mr. Wilders will remember the brilliant and successful defense mounted (twice!) by Mr. Bram Moszkowicz, the counsel for the defense. This time Mr. Wilders will not have the superb Mr. Moszkowicz as defense lawyer.
After his complete and total victory in the last trial, and the utter humiliation of the court (by themselves, they didn’t need any support) Mr. Moszkowicz is being taken to the cleaners. He has been disbarred, and cannot work as a lawyer anymore. And now the court is going to bankrupt him as well.
The official reasons are of course perfectly in order and fully legal. But the message is: don’t tread on me! The court hates losing a case, but this was not just losing a case. It was a freak show from a circus. Both the court and the prosecution acted as circus clowns. And that is something no court will accept. Hence their revenge.
What most people (and not just Stateside) don’t realize is the coincidence of this trial.
Two days ago a piece of very important legislature got shot down by the Senate.
The government wants to give insurance companies (all four of them) the power to decide which doctor or which hospital you visit. We only have four insurance companies, so effectively this is an insurance cartel. Plenty of different brand names, but only four providers who do not compete against each other too much — by my lights, that’s a cartel.
Insurance companies like to work with only a few hospitals, so they can negotiate a better deal. That’s why they contract with certain doctors and hospitals. This issue is the sharp end of the wedge: does it matter? Yes, it most certainly does. First of all, the client has to pay the full price if he decides to use a different doctor or hospital. Not the extra cost involved, but all of it.
What’s next? Well, that is fairly obvious. Once this piece of legislation is kicked through both houses, they can do whatever they want. For example: an insurance company may want to contract with just one hospital. The cheapest in the country, of course. If you don’t want to travel across the country, for a fee you can be treated in your hometown. That hospital will no doubt have gigantic waiting lists. For a fee the insurance company can move you up the list.
I went into these details about this piece of legislature, as it is very important for what happens next to Geert Wilders.
The government arranged to this law passed through the lower house, the Tweede Kamer. Not surprisingly, as they have a majority there. But it was shot down in the Senate, where they don’t have a majority. In fact, three socialist senators voted against it, and that’s why the law must be revoked.
Now comes the sleazy part: those three senators are going to lose their comfy seats in March 2015. All three of them find themselves irreplaceable and too worthy to fade away into oblivion.
The Labor Party (PvdA) is doing extremely badly at the moment. From 38 seats in Parliament at the last elections, they would keep just 11 if elections were to be held today. This has some major consequences for the Senate, of course, as elections are due. In March 2015. The three mutineering senators are placed so low on the party list that only a true miracle might see them back in the Senate. The senators don’t believe in miracles, so they voted against this law.
Nobody mentions this out loud, but this really is blackmail, pure and simple: “If you want this law to be passed, give us our comfy seats in March.”
As the law has not been passed, the government will need to find an additional billion euros in 2016. Given the very shaky situation (economic crisis, Eurozone crisis, muslim threats, etc.) it’s not something the government wants. So they try to negotiate a deal with the mutineers. If that deal falls through, the cabinet will have to resign. the current crisis is nicknamed “The Christmas Crisis”.
It’s highly likely the cabinet will fall before Christmas. Even if they can make a deal with the mutineers, that fact is not going to woo voters. Yes, most people would like to have a free choice of medical care, but not because three greedy senators who otherwise wouldn’t give a [bleep] use it to blackmail the government. That fact would kill both the socialist party as well as the liberal party in March.
Which brings us back to Geert Wilders. What better way to divert attention than a nice juicy trial? That’s why I don’t think the news Wilders will be prosecuted right after this Christmas Crisis is coincidental.