Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan has the latest on the endless political crisis in The Netherlands, which is exacerbated (or augmented, depending on one’s preference) by the endless coronavirus “pandemic”.
Covid-19, a gift from the gods
by H. Numan
You know who owes his position to the curse of China? Joe Biden. Without the Covid-19 pandemic he hadn’t a hope in hell of getting elected. The DNC smelled an opportunity and ran with it. By now Joe probably lacks the cognitive abilities to realize that. The man is declining rapidly. He isn’t the only one to benefit massively from the Covid crisis.
In Holland we had elections in the beginning of March. After that… nothing. Do the math: those elections were nine months ago. If you impregnated your wife on the eve of the elections, you’d be a proud father by now. I’m pretty sure we won’t find a new cabinet in our shoe on 5 December, and Father Christmas isn’t going to bring one, either. Why?
dearly beloved prime minister Mark Rutte ran three cabinets. It has never happened that a PM chaired four cabinets. He wants the distinction of becoming the longest-ruling Dutch PM ever. No matter the consequences. Like Biden, it doesn’t matter at all to him if he were to be rated the worst PM ever. As long as he gets the distinction of being the longest-ruling.
For him, the Covid-19 crisis is a blessing. He is ruling the country as demissionary PM, but with emergency powers, due to the crisis. Rutte openly said that he didn’t mind at having his cabinet resign. You can’t fire a cabinet that has already resigned. Now he can do more or less what he wants.
Negotiations are dragging on. Of course the results of the elections were almost impossible to work with. There was no clear winner. Rutte’s VVD party won, but that is looking at the numbers only. In reality he lost two seats. Not a lot, much less than the VVD deserves. The winner was the D66 party with Sigrid Al Qaq-Kaag. She did everything possible to become the new PM. Again, look at the numbers. Her party stands at a total of 24 seats. That’s much less than Rutte with 34 seats.
Her tactic was to gain a majority within the cabinet by inviting two socialist parties, PvdA (Labor) and GL (GreenLeft, ex-communists). That way D66 could form a block with PvdA and GL, outvoting the other coalition partners. In such a cabinet the VVD would be a minority party, despite having the most votes and the PM. Of course Rutte refused that; it just took many months before he did so.
Now they are muddling along to see if the present coalition can be extended. Why? Because nothing else will work. Geert Wilders did all right, but not overly so. He stands at 17 seats. A real conservative cabinet would require no less than seven parties, and that is simply not going to happen. So we will enter the new year without a new government. Rutte happily muddles along.
There’s another reason why Rutte is very happy with Covid-19: now he can ban fireworks. For decades this has been a hot political potato. A growing majority wants fireworks to be banned. A very vocal minority doesn’t. That very vocal minority ran amok in Rotterdam a week ago. Who? According to the police mostly hooligans. Add to that, juveniles with a phobia for pork and beer. Something the police forgot to mention.
Fireworks in The Netherlands can only be bought legally by anyone over 16 years from 12 December until 31 December. You can’t let them off; that is only legal on 31 December from 2pm until 1 January at 4am.The problem is, nobody abides by those rules. Lots of kids (usually boys) roam the streets during their Christmas break having fun with fireworks. Every year insurance companies have to pay out 30 to 70 million euros in damages. Every year all emergency services have to do overtime with every officer available to minimize havoc. Every year houses are burned to the ground and lots of people loose eyes and hands due to mishandling fireworks.
Every year lots of sellers are penalized for storing tons of unreliable fireworks insecurely. Very often a garden center or tobacconist makes some extra money by selling fireworks. Not outright to minors, but hey. If a bloke of 18 comes in surrounded by a bunch of kids of 10-12, what do you think? Storing a couple of tons of explosives in the attic or basement is pretty much standard.