Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan sends an update on the interlocking political scandals in The Netherlands.
A new Dutch cabinet? Don’t hold your breath.
by H. Numan
I’ve reported about the Dutch elections in March. How’s the cabinet formation going? Not quite well. And it won’t, for the foreseeable future. A game changer event happened: Pieter Omtzigt resigned from his party. His resignation makes an extreme left-wing minority cabinet inevitable. A crazy left-wing cabinet, as the biggest party in it will be the “conservative” VVD party. So, what happened?
For many decades Dutch politics were ruled by religious parties. Our first real political party was the ARP or Anti Revolutionary Party. They were staunchly protestant (Calvinist). What revolution they were against? The French revolution! Yeah, I never understood why either. Vive le roi! In those days Dutch society was strongly pillared. Everything was segregated according to religion or political affiliation. I’ve told you that many times. You were born into a (in my case) Catholic family. That means an RC nurse delivered you. Your mum would visit the RC baby-care center. You’d go to an RC kindergarten, primary school, secondary school, get a job in an RC company, date and marry (in that order) an RC girl, if necessary go to an RC hospital, retire to an RC nursing home and eventually be laid to rest in an RC cemetery. You’d listen to the RC radio KRO, and vote for the Catholic KVP party. I experienced the last remnants of that society.
That changed completely in the ‘60s. The pillars disappeared, together with confessionalism. Religion was no longer a focal point in one’s life. Two protestant and one Catholic party realized they would no longer be able dominate politics. From now on, a cabinet without any religious parties was a strong possibility. They decided to merge, and formed the CDA or Christian Democrat Appèl (Appeal). That way they could still rule over Dutch politics for decades, which they did.
Like the proverbial whore of Babylon, they did it with anyone in any way. Usually with the — then — conservative VVD. A progressive cabinet was no problem for the Christian Democrats. We’ll do any trick you want, big daddy! They positioned themselves as the inevitable and unavoidable center party.
It was a smart move, but nonetheless a rearguard action. Because the trend in western Europe is secular, definitely so in Holland. For many Americans probably a rude awakening, or a refreshing shower, depending your point of view. In Dutch politics your sexual preference doesn’t matter. We’ve had plenty of gay politicians. You can be openly gay in America, but you’d never be in the running for president. Likewise, we have plenty of openly atheist politicians. When an American politician admits he is an atheist he just told you he’s not interested in a higher office. Your evolution vs creation politics are for us laughable. Or hilariously ridiculous. No European politician would be crazy enough to admit he’s a creationist. In America he’s taken seriously. In Europe, and particularly in Holland, he’d be the village (or a real) idiot. Religion does play a role, but nowhere near the way it does in America. Home schooling, for example, is not even possible.
Understandably, that had consequences for the Christian Democrat Party. They were — and are — in a sort of limbo. What to do? With the resignation of Pieter Omtzigt, the last shreds of credibility went with him. Everybody knows the CDA is now a wishy-washy party only looking for political power. CDA stands for Christenen Dienen Allah, or Christians serving Allah. Literally, as they accepted many mohammedans in the party and promote them to influential positions. When mosques want to broadcast the adhan over loudspeakers, it’s not only progressive parties that support it. The CDA also does that. Much more so than other parties. Because they want to show they are still a religious party. Yup, including that religion. Corruption scandals are standard in every political party. It’s just that the CDA top seems to think that the C stands for corruption. They eventually lost power in 2010, when premier Balkenende had to resign. He was at that time too religious and far too Calvinistic for the electorate. The CDA went into decline. Right now, that decline is terminal. Nay, they are dead. No resurrection over the weekend. Dead as a dodo.