Provincial elections were held in The Netherlands on Wednesday, and the newly-emerged farmers’ party scored an upset victory. Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan sends his analysis of the results; to help you understand the confusing political factions, a key to Dutch parties is appended at the bottom of this post.
BBB won a (useless) landslide victory
by H. Numan
A few days ago I reported about the upcoming elections in The Netherlands. Those elections took place on Wednesday. Official results are not known yet, but the known results are promising. The cabinet got a black eye, to say the least. Farmers’ boots are marching into the senate!
To give you a quick recap: we have a coalition government, surviving on a razor-thin edge in both parliament and the senate. They suffered a minor defeat in the senate during the Wednesday provincial elections. Now they have only a razor-thin edge in parliament, and a lot of questionable legislation that has to pass the senate. Sitting senators (soon to be replaced) are trying to rush it through, while they can. Which won’t be a problem, as you’ll find out.
The results are quite surprising. BBB, the farmers party didn’t exist four years ago. Now they gained 15 seats (out of 75) in the senate. Talk about a protest! From zero to the biggest party in the senate. Other more conservative parties did okay, but not nearly as spectacular. Some lost a lot.
The PVV didn’t do well. They lost a seat, from 5 to 4. Forum for Democracy (FvD) nearly went extinct, from 12 to just 2 seats. Do remember that its leader, Thierry Baudet, is an expert in finding very controversial topics and then debating complots around them. Don’t get me wrong; he does have a point sometimes. For an academic who gave his maiden speech in Latin, he should be more careful with his words. Ja21, a split from FvD, went from 0 to 3 seats. They represent more or less the same position as FvD, but without the conspiracies.
Left wing parties paid a small price. The Christian Democrats went from 9 to 5 seats. That was expected. I personally expected them to lose more. D66, at the moment the least popular party among the common voters, lost only 1 seat. The same goes for other progressive parties, they lost or gained one seat each. That’s one of Rutte’s other knacks: he can always put the blame on someone else, and everybody believes him.
The VVD did much better than expected, which is exactly what I expected! They only lost two seats, from 12 to 10. Let’s be honest. I’ve seen too many elections where the VVD should have lost massively but didn’t. I’m not saying voter fraud, far from it. The reason why the VVD didn’t lose much is that they hold — or claim to hold — the coveted center position.
That vital center position was for generations under the control of the Christian Democrats (and the parties that later merged into the CDA). They governed ‘over right’ or ‘over left’ with anyone. Like the proverbial whore of Babylon, sometimes both ways. Next in line were the socialists (PvdA). When the CDA had to give away the center position, the socialists tried to take it over. They failed. The VVD (used to be conservatives) took the center, and hold it until today. However, their rise to prominence is over.
Every cabinet led by Rutte costs the VVD votes. Not a lot each time, but consistently. This election is no exception. The only reason why he didn’t lose much more is because of his center position. No matter what happens, the country still needs a government. Preferably not too progressive and certainly not too right. You know you have a safe pair of hands with Rutte. Who knows what Wilders will do? Heaven forbid! That’s not exactly what most people think, but it most certainly is what the elites think. Like it or hate it, that is what matters. In America, the UK, Russia or The Netherlands. That’s why Brexit is a failure. The common people want it, but the elites hate it.
If you look at the results, the coalition shouldn’t complain. They did much better than they deserve. Mrs. Al-Qaq (Sigrid Kaag) is at the moment the most despised politician in the country. Yet, her party lost only one seat. Talk with anyone you want in the streets about Mark Rutte. You won’t hear much good about him. Yet, he only lost two seats.
BBB won massively. However, FvD lost nearly that much. FvD is a protest party; so is BBB. Just a different protest. Most of the BBB seats come from FvD. It is likely Rutte will get support from Labor (PvdA) and GreenLeft (ex-communists), to continue his cabinet. How did he became the longest ruling premier ever? By being able to compromise with the impossible. He prefers working with progressive parties, but has no problem working with conservative parties. François Blanc, the founder of the casino of Monaco, said: red wins often, black wins many times. But Blanc wins always! Mark Rutte can say the same.
So what will happen? Many experts think that the cabinet will collapse before Christmas. That’s certainly possible, but they underestimate Rutte’s ability to compromise.
Let’s assume Rutte ‘goes over left’ and compromises with Labor and GL. His biggest problem then is internal. Any dissenter will quietly jump ship, before it is too late. The VVD will get nuked at the next general elections. That’s not a problem for Mark Rutte. He knows he won’t be the next premier, no matter what he does; he is already the longest-serving premier in our country’s history. All he can expect is a nice comfy prestigious job until he retires. Which he’ll get anyway.
Working with Labor and GL — who incidentally decided to form one combined faction in the senate — would sit very well with Sigrid Al-Qaq and the CU (communist Calvinists).
Going ‘over right’ is asking for trouble. Both D66 and CU won’t accept that. BBB can give exactly as much support as the combined Labor-Communist faction can: 15 seats. So why bother? Especially since BBB is the diametric opposite of what the coalition wants.
Rutte is very capable of making the most of a bad situation. My guess is that he will choose to work together with the Labor-GL faction, and save his cabinet for the moment. Wait for something unexpected to happen, which changes his predicament. It has happened before, several times.
In Holland we have an expression: de heren drinken een glas, doen een plas, en alles blijft zoals het was. (The gentlemen drink a glass, piddle, and everything remains the same.) Often shortened to glas, plas, was. This is an example of it. It looks like a landslide revolution, but in reality: nothing will change.
— H. Numan
Key to Dutch parties:
|FvD||Forum for Democracy|
|Forum voor Democratie|
|Conservative, populist, Euroskeptic
|VVD||People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy|
|Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie|
|Partij van de Arbeid|
|PVV||Party for Freedom|
|Partij voor de Vrijheid|
|Classical liberal, Islam-critical
|Left-wing populists, former Maoists, to the left of communists
|CDA||Christian Democratic Appeal|
|Christian democrats, center-right
|Politieke Partij Democraten 66|
|Centrist social liberals
|Christian Democrats, left-wing, only “conservative” in being ostensibly religious
|Environmentalism plus hard left
|SGP||Reformed Political Party|
|Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij|
|Christian right, advocates a Christian theocracy
|PvdD||Party for Animals|
|Partij voor de Dieren|
|For The Netherlands|
|Classical liberal party
|PPNL||Pirate Party of the Netherlands|
|Anti-copyright, transparent governance
|JA21||Right Answer 21|
|Juiste Antwoord 21|
“It looks like a landslide revolution, but in reality: nothing will change.” My suspicion as well. When Gab and Gateway Pundit proclaim the Second Coming from any small victory…
I think those are pinnacles on the church in the picture. Does the conical one have a lead roof? Is that not an environmental hazard if it is? It looks like a fancy pencil. I really am curious about the roofing on that one. I assume the other is slate.
That’s the Ridderzaal or Knight’s Court, not a church. It’s the heart of the Binnenhof (Inner Court) complex which is where our parliament is housed.