A self-solving problem

One of the major points in Geert Wilders’ PVV campaign is a substantial reduction in size of government and the civil servant corps. With employment law in the Netherlands being what it is, this would seem to be a very costly (severance pay, litigation, retainers) and nigh on impossible task.

However, civil servant magazine (yes, we have one of those) re.Public (NL) reports that more then half of civil servants employed by the national government will refuse to work for a PVV government. Some choice quotes from re.Public:

‘Working for the PVV will result in a problem of conscience’
‘I became a civil servant to do my bit building society, not to tear it down.’
‘There are limits to the loyalty of a civil servant’

Thus it would seem that the problem of a bloated bureaucracy will be solved the day the first PVV minister or state secretary takes office. All those brave souls will no doubt tender their resignation at once and look for gainful employment elsewhere… After all, kicking around responsibility for a decision indefinitely is a skill highly sought after in the commercial sector (!).

If I were a mean and petty person, I would point out to these heroes of conscience that for those five years that the Netherlands were ruled by the Nazis precious few civil servants found the limits of their loyalty trespassed upon, even when the trains from Westerbork to Auschwitz and Sobibor started their regular schedule. But I am not, so I won’t.

But I would like to point out that a civil servant is employed, not by a government, but by the people. The government only appoints them on behalf of all of us. If then the Dutch people by majority want a government that includes the PVV, I really don’t see the moral justification of refusing doing ones duty. A government is democratically elected, after all (unlike the Seyss-Inquart ‘government’ of ’40-’45, who could count on ready co-operation).

Much of this is confirmed by Rinus van Schendelen, professor Politicology at Erasmus Univerity of Rotterdam:

One of the demands of civil servants is loyalty to the boss. It’s as simple as that. There is no legal basis whatsoever on which a civil servant can refuse to work for a PVV’er. That attitude is not of this age. Civil servants must respect the voter.

The PVV has in the mean time asked Interior minister ter Horst if a refusal of duty would breach the oath of office and what options a public administrator has to fire a civil servant thus breaching his oath. Just in case…

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