Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan sends this summary of the multiple political dramas currently unfolding in the Netherlands.
by H. Numan
What’s going on behind the dikes? A lot. Most of it pretty bad. Hansje Brinkers (PM Mark Rutte) is riding a bulldozer demolishing the dikes as best as he can. I’ve got a tiny bit of good news, and mostly bad news.
Let’s start with the good news. The PVV (Geert Wilders’ party) is on the rise. For almost a month the PVV has been polling as the largest party in the country. Supposing elections were called for today, a conservative cabinet is possible, with Geert Wilders as prime minister. That’s the first time ever, at least in a decade. However, it’s not that the PVV is suddenly running far ahead in the polls. Yes, they have gained some ground, ever so slowly. At this moment a one-seat advantage over the VVD (Conservatives). It’s the other way around. VVD and D66 poll consistently lower.
Still, it is good news. Because in March of next year we have provincial elections. It’s dead certain the coalition will lose their majority in the Senate because of that. Let me explain why. We Dutch have a weird electoral system. Yes, we elect parliament directly. But not the Senate. That is too difficult and delicate for ordinary yokels and bumpkins like you and me to cast the right vote. Our Senate therefore is elected by provincial parliamentarians, after the provincial elections. The provincial elections (almost always as interesting as watching paint dry) will be in March of 2023. After March, we’ll see a reversed situation, compared with America: a cabinet majority in Parliament and a cabinet minority in the Senate. Supposing the cabinet hasn’t resigned before that, and there is good reason to look forward to national elections.
First of all, Mark Rutte, our prime minister got what he wanted. He’s the longest-ruling prime minister in Dutch history. The price he has to pay for it is small. After the next elections his party will be decimated. Which is not his problem. He’ll slither into a nice comfy job somewhere else. During an interview he explained how he went into politics: after his studies, he had to choose between joining the conservatives or the labor party. He thought he had better chances with the conservatives, so he joined them. Not exactly a man with principles. Probably good in business, but in politics, some principles are required. After 12 years, it’s showing.
Mark Rutte doesn’t rule this cabinet. His heart (or stone) isn’t into it anymore. Vice premier Sigrid Al-Qaq — Kaag is the real power behind the cabinet. She rules with an iron rod. She is quite popular within her party, but not with the electorate. D66 is dropping like a stone in the polls. Why? Because D66 — together with all other progressive parties — don’t remember 1792. She literally said we have to work harder, longer, for less pay and retirement later on. But her climate goals are sacred. D66 actually want to spend a lot less on people and much more on climate goals and refugees. Currently +100,000 very questionable refugees are expected for this year alone. There already was a housing crisis. Progressive parties have the gumption to openly say: we give refugees preference in social housing. They get social housing immediately. Ordinary Dutch have to wait twelve years. That’s what caused the French Revolution. The elites partied on, wanted more parties, and made the people bleed for it.
We are blessed with a benevolent king, his majesty William-Alexander. Who has the intellect of a common garden snail and matching empathy. His wife, the queen-consort, is a different story. She could have been the example for Megan Markle. She has as much empathy as her
prey husband, but is ruthlessly ambitious. In Holland we have a constitutional monarchy. That means that king is required to keep his trap firmly shut. Given his preponderance for gaffes, he’d better. His consort don’t quite understand that principle. She very openly took a position in favor of a cashless society. That’s an absolute no-no. In fact, parliament can order her to apologize for it. If they have to guts to go that far, that is. See it like this: if my tap leaks, I call a plumber. What I don’t want is the CEO of the plumbing company giving his opinion about my house. Even less so if his wife starts to give her even more unwanted opinions. How this will play out, we’ll have to wait and see.