Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan reports on the latest political scandal, which comes during the run-up to next month’s provincial elections.
The elections are coming
by H. Numan
We’re off to another election, this time what are normally the most boring, unimportant and uninteresting elections you can think of: the provincial elections. But not this year. It’s looking even better with a nice juicy scandal popping up exactly at the right moment. Let’s start with that one, and look at the elections after that.
A teacher in a secondary technical school (VMBO) in Hoofddorp has been suspended for insulting mohammedanism *. What exactly did he do? Nothing, really. In a class he said that Mohammed was an adult man who married a 6-year-old. In The Netherlands that is considered, by law, pedophilia. A number of his (mohammedan) pupils were of course terribly offended, and complained to the school management. Who suspended him immediately. This incident happened in January, but is now picked up by the media and politics. Not a coincidence; there are elections coming.
What you probably don’t know is that Dutch education is going down the drain, with technical education leading the run into the abyss. VMBO is widely considered a kindergarten for lower-class (read: minority) children who are not allowed to leave school. When you read VMBO think of teenagers who really hate to be there but are required to do so by law. (Raising the education age lowers the unemployment rate. That’s one of the reasons.) It’s a rare VMBO, certainly in larger cities, that doesn’t have a majority of mohammedan pupils.
As with all such incidents, the accuser is always right and the accused is always wrong. Nobody even blinks an eye that pupils can report their teachers for that kind of incident, and nobody is much surprised some of the pupils add something extra. Like saying that the teacher said they stank, or their mothers are haram. Mohammedans never ever lie. Regardless their age. That’s a given. Politically correct as Dutch schools are, the teacher is suspended for at least another three months. The teacher is white and male, and said something politically incorrect. So what do you expect?
Now, in a more sane society this school would have to apologize to the teacher, give him a year’s salary in compensation, and he could start working in another school. Only we don’t live in a sane society. Of course the school board is always right, even if they are blatantly wrong. Dutch schools are all — very, very, very few exceptions — extremely politically correct. Why, they even take schoolchildren to climate demonstrations during school hours with the truant officers looking the other way.
This affair is current; what will happen nobody knows. It comes at exactly the right moment, though. On the 20th of March the Dutch go vote. Normally the provincial elections are the dullest and unimportant elections you can think of. But not this time. You see, our senators aren’t elected by the people. They are elected by the members of the provincial parliaments and the senate (a commission, that is) itself.
So over to the elections, and why the dullest of them all is suddenly exciting. In The Netherlands we have a bicameral parliament, where Tweede Kamer (‘second chamber’ = house of representatives) makes the rules and the Eerste Kamer (‘first chamber’ = senate) approves them. Tweede Kamer members are elected directly in national elections but senators are choose indirectly by the Provinciale Staten (provincial parliament) members. And those elections are on the 20th of March.
The conservatives (VVD) “won” the last national elections. That is, they lost massively but not enough to be ousted. They were capable of forming the current conservative-liberal-Christian-progressive coalition. That’s a mouth full of everything available, and that’s what it took to keep the PVV out. It is also painfully close to a minority government in the Tweede Kamer. The majority is exactly one seat.
It’s different in the senate. There they have — until the 20th of March — a very comfortable majority. That’s going to change. And that makes this election so interesting, not to mention very important. The VVD is going to loose for sure. So is D66 (progressive liberals). The winners are going to be the PVV and the newcomer Forum for Democracy (FvD). That comfortable majority the coalition enjoyed will either be gone entirely or will shrink to razor-thin, as it is in the Tweede Kamer. It’s even possible that the labor party (PvdA) which has 12 seats at the moment, won’t be there anymore! (Now, that’s a sight for sore eyes — a man can dream, can’t he?)
All that has huge repercussions for Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cronies. Anything they want to legalize after the 20th of March must be carefully planned. One correct parliamentarian voting incorrectly, and their majority is gone. Assuming they are able to push something controversial through parliament, it will have to be approved by the new senate, who will shoot it down for sure. In order to get this controversial item that far, it much be considerably less controversial.
To make it more visible for Americans: imagine congress where Hussein has a one-seat majority and a senate that opposes him. Good luck pushing Hussein Obamacare through that lot!
It’s even likely that after this election the cabinet will stumble over something and fall. For example, this little tiff about that teacher insulting the religion of peace. Of course the PVV and FvD are up in arms about it. That’s to be expected. But also the red Calvinists (Christian Union, CU) are angry, and they are part of the coalition. Did I just mention the coalition had one single seat for a majority? The CU has five seats in parliament. If this affair gets out of hand and the CU really means business (don’t worry, they love power too much), that could the end of this cabinet even this very week.
And there are more consequences. Mark Rutte is angling for a promotion. He wants to become chairman of the European parliament or something of that stature. Well, he can easily forget that if his cabinet has to resign beforehand. His promotion won’t be on the agenda before September, and he isn’t the only one digging for gold.
There are signs that dear Mark is preparing for the worst: Alexander Pechtold was the leader of D66 (progressive liberals). After two massive scandals (1: bribed with a condominium, 2: forced his mistress to have an abortion) he had to resign. he’s now comfortably parked in a non-political job. Alex was aiming for something much bigger.
The VVD campaign is lackluster, to say the least. It’s like they already know they will lose and don’t even bother trying. On the other hand, the PVV campaign is pretty good. Normally PVV campaigns focus on bad news (Beware! The mozzies are coming!), but now it’s more positive. With a nice twist: they want us all to be real Dutch together — which mohammedans of course aren’t and abhor. Only they don’t say it in so many words. Bringing a positive message always works better than presenting bad news. No matter how dire the situation is.
Don’t get exited, though. The cabinet won’t collapse as yet. But after the elections the chances are pretty good for that. It’s not a certainty that the PVV will finally get a say in governing the country. It’s a small step in the right direction; that is all.
— H. Numan
|*||You always see me writing mohammedans and mohammedanism. Almost never Muslims and Islam, and never capitalized. There’s a good reason for that. Mohammedans absolutely HATE being called mohammedans. But … it’s the correct word for it. As long as mohammedan is not illegal, I’m more than happy to use it. As for capitals: that is a sign of respect. And respect, folks, is something you have to earn first!