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Dutch Austerity 2.0

by Nomad Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:32:26 PM EST

A rather unique political tour de force is coming to a (first) conclusion in the Netherlands the past Thursday evening.

Was the country quickly heading to become the laughing stock of the Eurozone at the start of this week, a breathtaking manoeuvre by the political parties in The Hague has now saved the face of the caretaker cabinet of Mark Rutte and co. Dutch austerity is on its way, Merkel and Brussels can release a tiny sigh of relief, the budget deficit will be cut towards the three percent limit.

Sore losers and ebullient winners have emerged in just a few days. A quick overview.


As briefly introduced in October 2010, the Dutch government was comprised by a monster alliance of political parties swung to the right. The ministers in office were shared between the economic marketistas of prime-minister and pernicious boffo Mark Rutte and between the leaderless brethren of the Christian party CDA, turning hard right under the guidance of Maxime "Rat" Verhagen - who became deputy prime-minister. Laughing third was the party of Geert Wilders - or better, Geert Wilders, because his ragtag collection of MPs could hardly be considered more than voting drones. Wilders was the third leg propping up the minority government - and it showed in the formal government accord in 2010 that bore some notable greasy fingerprints of Wilders - particularly on demands to reduce foreign immigration at the European level.


In this constellation, the Dutch politicians were confronted early March with some dismaying news - the economic outlook of the coming years had just come in, and they were wafting with south European premonitions. Without interference - and the government was already merrily cutting away billions in healthcare, arts and education - the Netherlands were heading for a 4.6 percent deficit next year. A disaster in the making, considering it was Rutte himself and his fairly capable minister of Finance, Jan Kees de Jager, had stamped their feet in Brussels that the three percent deficit had to be met, at the cost of severe financial penalties.

Oops.


De Jager

Drastic measures were needed. An extra 14 billion Euros needed to be trimmed off the budget. A rightwing's delight - were it not that Wilders was never Brussels best friend. The three parties went into lockdown, searching their billions in their own ideological visions.

I will spare you the seven weeks - seven! - of the increasingly ridiculous situation that our prime-minister blithely cycled away, smiling knowingly, saying nothing, while the limousines with Wilders inside slipping out elsewhere.

I will spare you the details during that time of the widening cracks in the Wilders party with dissidents branching off, undermining his negotiation powers.

But last Saturday, the parties had it made. The numbers were there. Austerity was here to stay, blowing with a chill, right gale. Increase in value added taxes, harsh cuts in student loans and developmental aid, the retirement age be raised more quickly, collective wage increases to be frozen. All individual decisions had been weighed and agreed upon - the one thing missing was the signature under the whole package.

And that's when the ugly face of Wilders reared. He refused, claiming the package was 'unacceptable for his elderly voters'. Apparently, he rose from the small circle of negotiators, exited without shaking hands and left. Not just out of these negotiations, but all he had made with Rutte and Verhagen. Wilders, the great isolationist, returned to his favourite spot: the outcast.

And with that act, the political gamble made in 2010 by Rutte and Verhagen crashed and burned, the defeat evident. Particularly for the Verhagen faction this must come as a bitter pill - in 2010 nearly a third of the CDA-party voted against an alliance with Wilders. Verhagen insisted nonetheless and pushed through, with tears in his eyes and a quaver in his voice. He now pays the price in full. Today, he's the least favourite politician of his party, with a mere 2 percent of his members favouring him. Furthermore, the party is effectively without a figurehead ever since Balkenende called it quits, and the party is trailing low in the polls. With elections today, the party that nearly always governed would be effectively marginalised. Verhagen has already announced his departure from politics.

Rutte, however, will persevere. He handed in his letter of resignation on Monday, and elections are expected to be held early September. It is testimony to the instability of Dutch politics since the emergence of Pim Fortuyn ten years ago - the fifth consecutive government folding before its time.

But this time, it left the country in a position worse than before. Brussels expecting a 2013 preliminary budget in a few days, our Dutch budget spiralling increasingly faster into larger debt, and now with no one at the helm. Headaches galore. The butt of the joke in the Eurozone, the prime-minister without clothes, the rating agencies rattling their sabres, the market traders getting fidgety, Merkel writing hate-poetry about Holland and Hollande.

And if nothing else had happened, I would've harped a bit on the ineffectiveness of the political Dutch parties embracing their election rhetoric and pruning their best-looking quotes for television camera's. I would have swallowed some more aspirin, punched out my diary and that be the end of it.

Yet these are interesting times. Past Tuesday, after Rutte swallowed chunks of humble-pie in Parliament, several opposition parties took the lead for finding a solution. It was their chance - with a demise of the cabinet, parliament governs - to both dismantle the half-baked proposals of the Rutte-cabinet and they seized their piece of the budget pie.

An unprecedented situation emerged the past 48 hours. The minister of Finance moved incessantly through the Parliament from party to party, not as someone giving marching orders but as a facilitator and crunching the numbers. Meanwhile, opposition parties chipped in their own plans and negotiated at breakneck speeds on their terms.

What anyone would've perceived as impossible with elections on the way, a new accord was presented Thursday afternoon and approved, with a tiny majority, the same evening. What Wilders could not do in seven weeks, was signed into agreement within two days. Particularly the Greens have taken a gamble by providing the necessary final votes.

That does not mean all is well. As it always had to be a compromise between the coalition parties and the slightly more progressive, it ended not unexpectedly as a mixed bag - Dutch Austerity 2.0. It won't be sugar and spice.

Far too much of cost-saving is on short-term gains, and keeps structural reforms at distance. Much of the initial package has been copied into the new accord, with an additional flourish - value added tax will be increased for luxury products only, the retirement age will still be raised more quickly (thereby breaking a collective agreement with the unions) and collective wage increase are still frozen for most. The bulging health budget will hardly be addressed. Only a tiny modest reform with the increasingly problematic means how the government props up the Dutch housing market. And so on.

On the upside, there will be more funding for the environment, the budget of developmental aid will be untouched, and some of the most harsh and controversial proposals by the Rutte cabinet have been killed off. Because his cabinet folded, many of the laws in preparation will be shot down.

In the meantime, Rutte had his face saved, and he went into overdrive to compliment his new alliance. I expect him to come out remarkably unscathed. Not unpleasant for him, as his party remained leading in the polls.

There is a tentative feeling of a national sigh of relief now that some parties in The Hague actually got to their senses. It is as if politicians wanted to show to themselves: we don't want to end up as Belgium, left in the lurch for months on end. And it'll be interesting to see if the rescue-operation will reflect badly on those parties that couldn't come to terms with the new accord. There are several. Wilders, unsurprisingly. The Socialist party and also the biggest opposition party, Labour, whose new leader is taking back the party to the left flank faster than you could sing 'the Internationale'. We'll see if they are set to gain or lose by their choice, electorally.

Biggest loser in the political fray, and not just because I delight in writing it, is Geert Wilders. And he shows it - after ranting on the pervasive hold of Brussels, he slumps in his seat and pouts like a schoolboy that got stuck on the losing team. The opposition parties not only killed off many, if not most, of his proposals of the past 18 months, also the two government parties are making hay with his previous input. A proposal to choose for only one national passport, pressuring Brussels for tighter immigration limitations, a burqa ban in public spaces, no party gives these ideas merit any longer. He has nothing to show for and the stranglehold he had on Dutch government is gone. Things have moved to a slightly normal balance - for now.

Display:
Will filter for grammar errors and others the coming days and add the additional picture when I can.
by Nomad on Thu Apr 26th, 2012 at 07:37:05 PM EST
Some additional comments woven through the text - no more additions from now. I put up the rough draft yesterday, something I generally don't do.
by Nomad on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:14:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's a lot clearer.

Disappointing in the short term, insofar as the emerging narrative "even the self-righteous Dutch can't actually deliver austerity" was a powerful one.

But what's next? Are we are still on track for elections in September, or will a new coalition emerge? Are the left campaigning against austerity? Are the three bigger parties of the left capable of governing together?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:07:14 AM EST
I think what's next is that the target is missed all the same because austerity in a recession cannot work, to the benefit of the Socialist, Labour and, yes, Wilders.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:11:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I understand there will still be an election on September, 12th. And what do you mean the three bigger left parties? PdA, the socialists and who is the third?

 I assume neither D66 nor the "greens" (what greens surely not groenleft?) can be plausibly a part of a left coalition now after voting for the budget.

Failure of austerity: Isn't between now and the elections a bit short time period to get any results if austerity works? They will discuss July numbers in early September.

by IM on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:28:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I assume neither D66 nor the "greens" (what greens surely not groenleft?) can be plausibly a part of a left coalition now after voting for the budget.

In this kind of crisis, it is the Social liberal corner that suffers the most from the contradiction between its principles and reality.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But yes, GroenLinks:

DutchNews.nl - Crisis averted? Five-party coalition agrees austerity package

Finance minister Jan Kees de Jager has succeeded in making a deal to cut the deficit together with the D66 Liberal democrats, green party GroenLinks and small Christian party ChristenUnie.

I'm really curious about their justification.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:38:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"for the good of the country we have to be responsible"

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:40:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they voted for it after winning significant concessions, as told in the press release: crisis tax on the wealthy, crisis support for those on minimum wage, annulment of cuts in education, culture, public transport, elimination of coal and gas subsidies, support for solar power. But I find nothing on how they explain choosing to extract these concessions from the outgoing Rutte government rather than its successor elected in the next elections, or on how propping up Rutte will influence Rutte's chances in the next election.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 05:13:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes groenlinks. But I always thought that they were more leftwing then your usual european green party. My political knowledge of the Netherlands seems to be out of date.

Perhaps they imitate switzerlands were one of the green parties call themselves grünliberale, that is green-liberal. Seems a more fitting name nowadays.

by IM on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:52:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the European level only the Nordic Green Left caucuses with the "European United Left". The rest of the Green Parties are with the European Free Alliance (of non-ALDE liberals and regionalists).

That has to be telling us something...

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:55:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always had the impression that groenLinks - because of the "Links" and after all the communist party of the Netherlands was one founding elements - was to the left of say the German greens or the French greens.

But I should leave my early nineties impressions behind. Time and tide wait for no man and not for political parties either, t seems.

And the name is The Greens - European Free Alliance so I am not that surprised it is the first choice for green parties.

by IM on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 05:09:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the name is The Greens - European Free Alliance so I am not that surprised it is the first choice for green parties

No, the question is why The European Green Party_ decide to form a European Parliament Group with the EFA instead of other forces, or to group by themselves.

The EFA, after all,

>generally limited its membership to progressive parties, and therefore, not all European regionalist parties are members of EFA."
Also, the alliance of the European Green Party with the European Left Regionalists explains this spat.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 05:17:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Communist parties, despite their theoretical adherence to internationalism, generally seem to turn out to be nationalist, anti-regionalist and anti-federalist in European terms.

Greens, on the other hand, are in favour of both localizing and internationalizing decision-making, and in general, tend to regard the nation-state as the most counter-productive decision-making level.

And I would put it the other way round with respect to the spat.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 05:49:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the spat has nothing to with the party groups in the european parliament, who are all a bit unusual on the fringes. The question identity as citizen - identity as member of a cultural group - language as technological and administrative tool versus language as part of heritage and identity are much deeper.

And It can be argued that the still centralising french left is the outsider here.

And is doubtful if dwindling languages can be revived: Just look at Irish. On the other hand look at welsh.
Our communists were quite supportive to the sorabians by the way: Didn't help them much, though

And no I don't think the current position of GroenLinks on the budget has a connection to their position on frisian. (Whatever that position is)

by IM on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 06:12:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the spat has nothing to with the party groups in the european parliament

No, I think it illustrates quite nicely why european greens feel more comfortable caucusing with progressive regionalists than with communists. I hope you are right about the French left being the outlier with respect to the centralizing state, in which case there may be hope for future co-operation, insofar as they are, belatedly, greening their views.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 07:11:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with regionalism and European federalism is that in contemporary political reality that means deregulation and privatisation, because in contemporary European political reality, the only entity powerful enough to police business is the state.

Devolving power to the regions and ceding it to the EU is to place the cart before the horse: Those institutions need to actually be useful before they can be entrusted with additional power.

tl;dr: Bring the ECB decisively to heel and we can talk about a federal Europe.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:52:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well. The "Nordic Green Left" group only includes two parties which have "green" in their title : the icelandic "Left-Green movement", and the Danish "Red-Green Alliance". Between them they have one MEP. I don't know enough about the other member parties to say whether the group's title is a case of greenwashing or not, but the member parties all seem to be of communist origin.

The European Green Party forms a group (47 of the total 58) with regionalists of progressive stripe (with an embarassing Flemish exception), and various colourful independents. I'm not able to identify the "non-ALDE liberals", who did you have in mind?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 05:41:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The "non-ALDE liberals" was a brainfart on my part. It's actually the "non-progressive regionalists" that end up in ALDE.

Regionalist parties appeal to the social-liberal streak in their political allies, be it the European Greens or the ELDR. As IM points out, the traditional Communist left tended to be statist and illiberal (seeing both individualism and regionalism as bourgeois or reactionnary). Right at the core of the spat, if you ask me.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 07:12:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Elections are still on the way. Final date will be decided today. Tentative date: September 12.

Principally, it would've been possible for Rutte to start looking for a new working coalition. But giving the lengthy mess it took in 2010 to form a working coalition and the resounding failure to cooperate with Wilders, are some  reasons to hand that decision to the people.

Left unsaid in the diary that over the past 1.5 years several political 'coalitions of the willing' had emerged that kept the government going. For European affairs, Rutte's cabinet could never rely on Wilders, but still found support in opposition parties, particularly Labour often plugged the gap. For the extension of, say, military missions in Afghanistan, the cabinet relied on the same political alliance that now hammered out the new austerity plans.

The bigger left parties - SP and Labour - have already announced they don't see the need for jumping through the austerity hoops in times of economic recession. I'd guess this will become part of their political campaigning. In this regard, they will be joined by the biting anti-EU rhetoric of Wilders.

The larger left-orientated parties - SP, Labour, Greens - have not formed a majority for decades, and this still applies today. Also note that the Greens, moving more and more to the economic right, have signed up for austerity measures.  

by Nomad on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greens continue to confuse monetary austerity with environmental conservation.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:42:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Confuse and confuse... if they want people to inhabit caves in a preindustrial society, austerity is the right policy.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 02:37:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The larger left-orientated parties - SP, Labour, Greens - have not formed a majority for decades

Political incompatibility? Where are the red lines which prevent coalition? Are they still inviolable in the current situation?

On paper, it looks as if the left, fragmented as it is, ought to get a majority. Does this leave us staring at a (disastrous) centre-left/centre-right coalition, in the German style?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:49:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Dutch society is in principle very bourgeois, left wing parties have only been able to form a majority government by ruling together with the centrist christian parties, either protestant or roman-catholic.

Furthermore the socialist party portray themselves as the true left wing party, the greens are confusing liberalism in society with liberalism in economic policy and Labour is somewhere in between. Also the greenleft party usually derides the socialists and Labour as old-fashioned and like now does not want to co"operate with them, because they themselves are the only true progressive (tm) party.

Or to exaggerate a little, the greens are the student city dwellers, labour the old poor people on the country side, although only in certain parts of the country admittedly, and the socialists the new working poor.

And yes, german politics is kinda like dutch politics.

by Wilfred on Tue May 1st, 2012 at 07:36:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A depressingly familiar picture.

Last Thursday I attended an event with the Danish greens, where it was explained to them, using small words, that the left needs to have an industrial policy if we are to have a prayer of countering right-wing populism.

Based on the Q&A session afterwards, I would be pleasantly surprised if a third of those present understood anything of what was said. Based on the discussion in the audience following the Q&A session, I would be pleasantly surprised if half of those who understood what the talk said did not know it when they arrived.

Lots and lots of nice people and good will there. But no economic analysis worth the paper it's written on.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue May 1st, 2012 at 01:53:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots and lots of nice people and good will there. But no economic analysis worth the paper it's written on.

Been there, done that. You are a true hero Jake for actually trying to educate people. It's more than I usually have the energy for. Keep up the good work!

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed May 9th, 2012 at 07:56:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.
See map for geographic presentation of Election Results 2012. Labour party (PvdA) is well represented in all large cities: Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Utrecht and even in Maastricht. In the rural area, the two northern provinces Friesland and Groningen are very strong Labour (in the past Communist).

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Tue May 1st, 2012 at 05:50:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wilfred:

Or to exaggerate a little, the greens are the student city dwellers, labour the old poor people on the country side, although only in certain parts of the country admittedly, and the socialists the new working poor.

Often, I find a description of the groups involved has more predicative power on what a party will do then an analysis of the stated ideology.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 02:22:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Biggest loser in the political fray, and not just because I delight in writing it, is Geert Wilders. ...A proposal to choose for only one national passport, pressuring Brussels for tighter immigration limitations, a burqa ban in public spaces, no party gives these ideas merit any longer.

Hopefully. Just on the same day came this, which gives opportunity to undo more of the anti-immigration measures:

DutchNews.nl - The Netherlands criticised for high residency permit fees

The Netherlands charges non-EU nationals too much money for a residency permit, the European Court of Justice said on Thursday. The case was brought by the European Commission.

While legislation allows member states to set their own fees, the cost should not be so high that applicants cannot afford a residency permit and therefore don't apply, the court said

It described the Dutch fees - currently between €188 and €830 - as 'excessive and disproportionate', pointing out that even the cheapest permit is seven times the price of a Dutch id card.

The Netherlands must now take action to meet the Commission's objections or face a fine, a statement from the European Court said.

(The comments point out that the fees were raised to €350-1250+300 since the start of the litigation.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:36:13 AM EST
Increased fees for residency permits were also part of the 2010 political pact with Wilders. Any sensible person would have known it would never have held at the EU-level. We'll see if the fees will be quickly and silently dropped; it wouldn't surprise me too much, the Dutch government has already built up too much political debt in Brussels.
by Nomad on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:49:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Increased fees for residency permits were also part of the 2010 political pact with Wilders.

The ruling was, however, based on the pre-Wilders levels, which were at that level at least back to 2008 from what I could find. Were they raised sometime between introduction and 2010, or was it €830 max from the start? (I do remember that the fees were one point of criticism when the mandatory tests were introduced, but I wonder whether the EU's 'excessive and disproportionate' judgement applies to the original levels.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 05:22:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And very surprising events...where did the SP sit in all of the negotiations? I'm reckoning that they sat out...

...and therefore improved their chances at coming out on top in September.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 04:43:52 AM EST
Considering the concessions claimed by the three small parties: can you find a rundown (in euros) of what the planned budget measures (taxes and cuts) consist of now?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 05:24:07 AM EST
Here the latest poll from a dutch pollster:

https:/n6.noties.nl/peil.nl

April 22, and they tend to show expected seats in the second chamber, not percentages:

Party  
VVD                 33 Seats (+2)    
PVV                 19 Seats (-5)      
CDA                 11 Seats (-10)
VVD+PVV+CDA         63 Seats (-13)
PvdA                24 Seats (-6)
SP                  30 Seats (+15)
D66                 15 Seats (+5)
Groen Links          5 Seats (-5)
ChristenUnie         6 Seats (+1)
SGP                  3 Seats (+1)
Partij voor de Dieren 3 Seats (+1)
50Plus                1 Seats (+1)

So PVV and PdA suffers, but CDA who already lost the last election, loses most. ChristenUnie and SGP, who are fundamnetalists - I think one protestant, one catholic -, are fine, also PvdD - animals!. GL and D66 seem so swap voters and the SP wins from PdA, CDA and PVV.

The combined left gets 74 seats (PdA, SP, D66, GL), two less then needed.

by IM on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 05:33:34 AM EST
SP almost as big as VVD!? Would be nice if it holds until the elections (sadly I doubt it).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 05:59:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that this poll precedes the budget negotiations, I wonder what Groen-Links are being punished for?

Is it a case of green concerns being squeezed out by the crisis?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 05:59:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Leadership swop. Much of the 2010 wins were carried by charismatic leader Femke Halsema, she handed over the torch last year to her acolyte, Jolande Sap.

However, Sap quickly lost credits by poor media performance and was key to realising the government's aim of military trainings in Afghanistan - much to the chagrin of the party's members.

by Nomad on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 06:08:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which shouldn't have been surprising to her considering that there are still a few people left from the old cold-war pacifists in her party.
by Wilfred on Tue May 1st, 2012 at 07:41:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The animal-party is also heavily at the left flank, toss them in and there is a razor thin left majority. But if the VVD/liberals come out as the largest party, it'll never happen.

Numbers are not too surprising yet. CDA and Labour were already polling lower than their current seats, SP was already high. Wilders was already trending lower, but has now decreased further. No visible gains for the Greens.

by Nomad on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 06:03:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They have a chart. Looks like SP even led the polls recently:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 06:04:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ChristenUnie is mainstream Protestant and fairly centerleft on economic issues (though quite conservative on social issues). SGP is hardcore "women belong in the kitchen, being gay is a disease" protestant fundamentalist. The religious Catholic votes used to be part of the CDA and is now one of the main electorates of the PVV. A leftwing coalition with the ChristenUnie might be feasible.
by Anspen on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 12:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Next victim of neoclassical disaster. Debt deflation is "treated" with economic suicide. Next Denmark, then Sweden and Finland.
by kjr63 on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 11:47:08 AM EST
Alas, it seems the Dutch as are crazy as the rest of the world.

Thanks. This requires more reading to assimilate.

Can you, for those of us across the waters, identify the three nattily-clad gents doing the Cameron walk in your first picture?

by Mnemosyne on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 08:25:42 PM EST
shem, moe, curly. I don't know the dutch translation.
by rootless2 on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 09:28:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Left is Wilders, center is Rutte, right is Verhagen.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 02:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.
To Nomad's excellent analysis of Dutch state of affairs. As to Geert Wilders' one-man party, his "foreign-policy" in one-issue only and combines this with his Islamophobic rhetoric and won't divulge who his financial backers are. On the domestic issues Wilders is a socialist and on the left of the political spectrum because that's where a major part of his voter base is. Wilders hopefully has success with his new book in the States and follows Ayaan Hirsi Ali to a right-wing think tank soon.

Particularly interesting the fact that the minority cabinet of Rutte to push through his EU austerity measure had only 63 seats over according to last week's polls. The 48 hour coalition in parliament has a majority both in the Tweede Kamer and the new polls.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

by Oui on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:56:26 AM EST
Good to see you again Oui.
by Nomad on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 05:00:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 01:06:56 PM EST
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