Forming in the Netherlands: the art of the impasse. There is no rush. On the contrary. Not the informer, but let time do its job. For example, VVD and CDA are slowly but surely growing away from their recent defeats and scandals. The Benefits affair, Rutte’s lies, Omtzigt’s awareness, the Great Covid Robbery of CDA member Sywert van Lienden and the influence of moneylenders on the course of the Christian Democrats – the further the affairs are pushed to the edge of memory, the better they are. Rutte IV is conceived during a swampy mating in a lukewarm swamp, and gives birth after the longest possible incubation period.
Rutte and Hoekstra expertly suck the life out of the formation discussions. Everything to prevent a coalition with PvdA and GroenLinks. They don’t want to, they won’t. “These two parties are politically far removed from us,” Rutte said at the beginning of this month, with his active memory failing him again. His second cabinet was one with the PvdA; was established in no time at all, it became the longest-serving post-war cabinet, and the only one that served its term in full. For Rutte III he invited GroenLinks twice, the second time more like begging. So much for the parties that are politically miles away from him.
“There is no light between me and Hoekstra,” Rutte continued. A creepy phrase, if you think about it a little longer. Here darkness is evoked, the absence of light and happiness – Rutte and Hoekstra as the Dementors of the Binnenhof. By invariably presenting PvdA and GroenLinks as a left-wing cloud, even more light is taken away.
A group of VVD members who call themselves ‘Classical Liberal’ expresses itself even more strongly in its petition ‘No coalition with GroenLinks’. GroenLinks poses a ‘threat’ that is ‘opposite to our liberal values’. The signatories do not want to get involved with the ‘climate dramatists’ and ‘communists’ of that party. Reflexes from the last century; Of course, GroenLinks has no more anything to do with communism than the liberals of the VVD have with John Stuart Mill.
That so-called left-wing cloud represents seventeen seats, just enough for a breeze in the marshland of Rutte and Hoekstra, who cling to each other just as tightly as Klaver and Ploumen.
Perhaps, imagine, PvdA and GroenLinks could mean something for education, culture and the environment, areas that are regarded by the VVD/CDA as balancing item, hobby and headache file respectively. They could outsource it to them and dedicate themselves to further stripping the care, deepening the housing crisis and perfecting the tax haven of the Netherlands for foreign companies.
“Your party is a big mess,” Hoekstra said in a debate with Geert Wilders this week. You just have to dare, in the month in which both the conscience and the nestor of the CDA left the party. First Omtzigt, then Van Agt. The latter with a classic Van Agt formulation that still echoes the seminar: “I bid you farewell in sorrow.”
In a digital meeting with 350 members, Hoekstra strategically let slip last week that Omtzigt had confided to him that he would seek ‘medical help’. A low area. Omtzigt is gaga, cuckoo, in other words – and why should we heed the warnings of a madman? Corner Streets slip of the tongue was a neat variation on the words ‘psychopath’ and ‘tering dog’ that Omtzigt had previously heard from his colleagues. In this way a party distances itself from its conscience.
The CDA is the sick man of The Hague, and Rutte the stick that keeps the sick man upright. Everything for a cabinet in the same composition as the previous one. The same bastards, the same visionlessness. Rutte III giving birth to himself as Rutte IV. Hell is the repetition.
Tommy Wieringa writes a column here every week.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on 26 June 2021
A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of June 26, 2021