The Dutch general elections should have been about issues. But instead they were about, personality, a someone. Or two someones, as it turned out.
Beforehand it looked like the elections would dominated by issues concerning the EUnion and the Dutch part in it. Wilders’ PVV had already announced they would make it an issue. And props to them for trying. But the EUnion and related issues were a little too touchy for those that deem themselves the stewards of our small, damp corner of the world. And lo and behold: The elections became a popularity pageant, a battle for the prime-minister.
The Dutch left and what passes for the right in Holland were in a dead heat. The contest became one of who will rule: the left or the ‘right’ (the not-so-left, actually). Many voters voted ‘strategically’ (mrs. KV among them) either for the PvdA (labour) or the VVD (supposedly liberal-conservatives). This explains the huge number of seats for both PvdA and the VVD, as well as the hits taken by the CDA (christian democrats, PVV and SP (socialist party).
As a result we will in all likelihood get, not one or the other, but an unholy alliance of both of them. Unholy, because the natural constituency of the VVD are the 1%-ers, while the PvdA constituency these days is all those who depend on government hand-outs. When these two come together you just know the middle-class, those of us who actually work for a living, while raising the future of our country, will be squeezed for all we have. I, for one, am not looking forward to the next four years.
It is said that in Brussels the champaign was broken out, because the Netherlands had voted ‘pro-Europe’ (meaning pro-EUnion). It was nothing of the sort. The EUnion, yet again, did not figure at all in the contest, except maybe as an extra.
All the scorn the Dutch generally lavish on, for instance, US elections, because they supposedly are ‘beauty pageants’, has proven itself void and ridiculously hypocritical. Because these elections were exactly that: A contest of personalities. Who do I like better, Mark Rutte or Diederik Samsom? And we should hang our heads in shame that we’ve allowed ourselves to be seduced to this.
(With a thank you to reader Lorne)