Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Good counter-point to Oui. Okay, so what would Balkende have to do to stay in power. Or, what does the Middle left have to do to win the next election (you may have said this in your other post...I'm brain-dead tonight..)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 02:08:15 PM EST
Balkenende has to convince the centre to vote for him. And hope that the VVD(Libs) don't implode. But I think the only scenario in which he will survive as PM is that he wins/keeps the same amount of seats while Labour loses seats. It might happen if voters vote Socialist & Green in large numbers instead of Labour. When these parties won't have a majority, and Labour loses (gets smaller than CDA), the CDA-Labour coalition might be the only available option. In this scenario, he might stay PM.
by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 02:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... is in that 20% (I think it's less) of folks in the Netherlands who approve of Balkenende.

Hmm, well, I guess he likes to be different ;-)

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 03:28:45 AM EST
Really didn't expect to find me in mainstream of opinion, did you?

Just too crowded for people to listen, understand one another or be creative in their thinking. I prefer to be the border collie, perhaps even the black or stray sheep. Get to see much more of the beautiful landscape and surroundings.

Sorry if I wander off again ...

  «« click on pic for photo gallery

But Page you were right, the answer lies in WMD's - thanks.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 09:49:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  • how has the housing bubble been discussed in the Netherlands (created the boom in the late 90s, and the nasty recession since, by inflating consumption before and depressing it after)?

  • is the issue that a staggering portion of the population is on disability benefits (and thus not counted as unemployed despite not working) discussed at all?

  • how is part time work seen in that context? (as imposed or as a lifestyle choice)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 06:58:57 AM EST
Quick answers:

-in the netherlands we have mortrage reduction on the taxes. This means that you can subtract the amount of money you pay on your mortgage from the taxes. This was devised to help people buy houses, but it's much more profitable for the rich than for the middle class (it works regressive).

The bubble itself isn't that big a deal here- the rise of prices has flattened, but because new supply is isn't coming to the market(not enough space, very tough to get permits to build) and more and more people want one-family homes, prices for middle-class houses will probably stay high (unless something happens with the mortrage reduction, then prices will drop).

I'm actually not sure the recession in the Netherlands had to do with housing- because the Dutch economy is so open and dependant on world trade, we got pulled into recession by other countries. But it might've played a role.

-Governments have been trying to get people out of the benefits and into work since Purple-II. Benefits have been significantly reduced and it's harder to stay into WAO. The big problem is of course that when they stay unemployed/disabled, the state has to pay benefits and senior's pension while they don't contribute. This has been an issue, and they're working on it- though not in the right way IMO(instead of just cutting benefits they should also help the people more to get work/retrain etc.)  

-Actually, in the early 80's, unions traded the 36 hour work week for low demands in wage negotiations. This created a situation where young workers could find new jobs, older workers had to work less and employers had a lower wage bill. This was one of the big reasons why the dutch economy rebounded in the 1990s (the competative price advantague due to lower comparative wages). Woman often work part-time due to their kids- they want to be more at home and kindergartens etc. are so expensive that they nowadays can't afford it. For every labouryear in the netherlands, 1.25 people are employed. So labour participation is pretty high, but the hours worked isn't. People on WAO also work part-time, they are often partially disapproved, so have to work part-time and get for example 40% wao (not many people get 100% anymore).

by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 08:15:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm actually not sure the recession in the Netherlands had to do with housing- because the Dutch economy is so open and dependant on world trade, we got pulled into recession by other countries. But it might've played a role.

One thing many people don't realise about the sizable German outside-EU trade surplus (at 30-35%, larger than the c. 25% with the rest of the EU) is that Germany imports a lot via the Netherlands (and Belgium) - and has a bilateral trade deficit.

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

by DoDo on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 09:34:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they did preside over a huge economic boom, and they didn't destroy it.

Well, the jury is still out whether a government can actually destroy an economic boom, but surely Purple II behaved short sighted: the money that was boosted into job-creation came from the surplus of money generated by the economy, and was therefore unsustainable. When the markets started collapsing, the Netherlands suffered a double whammy, since the funds upholding these jobs dried up as well and this resulted in extra job losses.

Under Balkenende II, Zalm's Bust-and-Boom policy actually exacerbated matters further. Only now, as we enter Zalm's Boom period, we see economy starting to pick up, but marginally. The Economic Council clearly condemned both the Purple II money throwing as Zalm's counter-productive saving spree. I just barely understand Economics 101, but even I understood this. It's simple book-keeping: Purple II was spending money on projects that wasn't coming from a self-sustaining source. I'd label that with "Beware!"

And well, we can discuss long and wide about Iraq. Let's just say I'm glad they have been pulled out before the scandals really starting to break about the US and Bristish army. But why Balkenende et al. still isn't renouncing the US government just beats me...

Anyway. Another well detailed diary.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 09:03:40 AM EST
"Now, the Dutch Army is withdrawing from Iraq. Great. But they shouldn't have been there in the first place! In spite of massive opposition Balkenende followed Bush and joined 'the coalition of the willing'. He was very eager to show his support and destroy the chance for a European front."

Nevertheless, great diaries and good insight into Dutch politics - appreciated!

See full comment at my diary :: I'm A Fan of Jan Peter!


Year   1998   2002   2003
PvdA     45     23     42
VVD      38     24     28  
CDA      29     43     44

Coalition talks started in February 2003 between Election winner CDA Jan Peter Balkenende and new Labor leader Wouter Bos who made a great recovery for PvdA with 42 seats in parliament. On the agenda was the likelihood of an Iraq War and whether the Dutch should be part of the U.S. and U.K. coalition. As the present administration was not permitted to force a decision due to their post election status, Jan Peter Balkenende needed to have the 2nd largest party PvdA support for Iraq action.

Wouter Bos flip-flop

Read on »»

My diary @dKos ::
Dutch Aid to Iraq leads to Fatwa by Ali Sistani
Sun Dec 12, 2004 at 12:30 PM PDT

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 09:28:42 AM EST
That wasn't one of his finest moments!

But it was understandable- the war started in the middle of coalition negotiations that would've ended directly if Labour had opposed the war. This was the reason they supported it, they didn't like the war or thought there'd be WMD. This is another reason why many left-wing voters currently reside with the smaller left-wing parties in the polls.

by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 10:30:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes you just have to sit out of government on principle.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 10:34:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely, and that is why there are some doubts about the leadership abilities of Bos. He hasn't done that much in the last few years, and this certainly doesn't look good on his resume (though it was viewed as necessary at the time as it would be a stumbling block to form a coalition).

Bos also didn't really want to govern- he wanted time to 'purge' the party of  'bad' member before he wanted to enter government. But then he scored a homerun on election eve. So not entering government might've been the best for Labour (though not for the country)

by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 10:48:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He never supported the war.. although the "political support" compromise attempt in parliament was confusing and dumb.

For the story from his side, as stated on March 19th 2003, see here (in Dutch).

by Frank (wijsneus-aht-gmail-doht-com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 05:04:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As elder statesman and former FM in cabinet Den Uijl and van Agt -dutch- , has great esteem by all politicians at Binnenhof, Parliament and Senate.

Mr. van der Stoel has done excellent reporting on Human Rights abuse during Greece dictatorship Colonel's Regime and Saddam Hussein's Stalin dictatorship during the nineties. His UN report is exceptional and of influence to consider Dutch participation in the Coalition of the Willing. The Kurd massacre played a role as well. The PvdA was divided after meeting with Max vd Stoel to formulate policy during coalition talks in March 2003.

OSCE - Max van der Stoel Award 2005
Max van der Stoel Raad van State -dutch-
RISQ - Iraq & International Social Questions

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 03:17:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair: they didn't support it. They waffled on the issue a bit, because of being in the negotiations. However, they actually did come out against it if it wasn't done within a UN mandate. Which it wasn't.

The government stance at the time wasn't very firm either: "moral but not military support". Which was also a consequence of the new government negotiations going on at the time.

by Frank (wijsneus-aht-gmail-doht-com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 04:49:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To correct myself: it was "political support", a rather vague compromise concept that was used by the (lame duck) government in an attempt to prevent a CDA-PvdA (who were in negotiations) clash on the issue.

Unfortunately, multiple people gave multiple explanations for it, etc.

by Frank (wijsneus-aht-gmail-doht-com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 05:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series