We Won!

Just came back from the SP election party. As it looks now, we’ve more or less doubled our seats in Parlement, from five seats in 1998 to at least nine, possibly ten now. In Amsterdam we got just short of eleven percent of the votes, which was incredible.

Apart from us, the other big two winners were the Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF) who got 26, setting the record for most sears won by a new party in an parlementary election and the CDA, who went from 29 to 43 (!) seats, becoming by far the biggest party, followed by the LPF. The big losers were the three government parties PvdA, from 45 to 23, VVD, from 38 to 23 and D66, from 14 to 8. The other left wing party, Groen Links also lost one seat, going from 11 to 10 seats. Also “losing” big was Leefbaar Nederland, who once were thought to win as much seats as LPF did now, but who now got only two seats, the result of their principled decision to kick Fortuyn out of their party.

So what does this all mean? Is this a move to the right, as television pundits repeated constantly? Or is there more to it?

I think there is. This was not as much a move to the right as it was a punishment of a coalition which managed to lose almost all voter sympathy over the last two years or so. People were sick and tired of Paars, of the way the three coalition partners stifled debate and wanted something new and exciting, something that would break open debate again. At first this was Leefbaar Nederland, but with the entry of Pim Fortuyn, he became the crowbar which forced open Dutch politics. In my opinion, only he was able to do it, because the other alternatives, like CDA were seen as part of the Den haag establishment or like my own party SP and Groen Links, but also the Christenunie too much of a fringe party. There has always been a tradition of new parties doing well in elections when established parties became too arrogant (D66 started out that way) and LPF fitted in nicely. What is new is the margin with which they won, probalby explained by the combination of revulsion of Paars, the charisma of Fortuyn as well as the populistic message he brought of simle answers to complex problems.

It’s tempting to ask what would’ve happened if Fortuyn was still alive. Personally I think his party would’ve become even bigger as I think a lot of people who would’ve voted for him saw what a nitwits the rest of the party were and voted for others. The CDA, the christendemocrats profited from this, picking up Fortuyn voters as did the VVD perhaps, not as much in winning voters from them as in stopping losing voters to them. PvdA otoh and also Groen Links were I think damaged by the witchhunt against the left after Fortuyn’s murder, losing votes to CDA and LPF. For the SP, it mattered less, we stayed mostly out of it. The fact that we nearly doubled is also a sign that it wasn’t just a battle of left versus right wing parties.

I had intended to speculate about possible coalitions now as well but a) it’s late and b) I’m not
entirely sober anymore so I’ll save it till later.

Election Day

It’s finally election day and the polls are predicting that 90% of the twelve million people who can vote, will vote today. Which is an unheard of turnout. The previous two parlimentary elections, in 1994 and 1998 had an turnout of about 78 and 74 percent respectively [1]. According to News Planet at 15:45 42 percent of the voters had already voted, compared to just 38 percent in 1998. This included your humble narrator. I of course voted for the party I’m a member of, the SP and will be at the election party later this evening. How much of a party it will be after everything that happened this week is anybody’s guess.

And the same goes for the results of the election. With Fortuyn’s death it’s uncertain of the people who said they were going to vote for his party will still do so. On the one hand, some people may do so as a sign of respect, of grief and sympathy. On the other, many people are wondering whether voting for the Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF) without Pim Fortuyn is a sensible idea. Since Fortuyn’s death, the other LPF parlementary candidates have emerged from the shadows into the full glare of the media and are now seen for what they are.

I posted yesterday about how Peter “chairman-for-a-day” Langendam ranted about the leftie conspiracy against Fortuyn, but his is just the tip of the iceberg. Two other parlementary candidates made even worse remarks:

First there was porn king Eberhard who said the following in an somewhat incoherent
rant [2] about immigration:

“In 2015 is Amsterdam een negroide moslemstad, dan is de laatste oorspronkelijke bewoner neergestoken op de Zeedijk door iemand met een getinte huidskleur”.
(“In 2015 Amsterdam will be a negroid Muslimcity, with the last original inhabitant stabbed on the
Zeedijk by somebody with a tinted skincolour.”)

Then there was the horsebreeder Wiersma, whose views [2] were just as nuanced:

“Het biologisch fenomeen doet zich nu voor dat de meest succesvolle ondersoort bij de mensen;
het europese ras in aantal met rasse schreden achteruit gaat.”
(“The biological phenomenon now occurs that the most succesful human subspecies; the european race declines rapidly in number.”)

Not good for a party already suspected of being a platform for extreme rightwing, even racists views. No wonder both are already chucked out of [2] the party and will leave after the elections.

[1] Source: http://www.sp.nl/nieuws/kamer98/uitslag.stm
[2] Link leads to a Dutch language site

Lobsters

Charlie Stross is a hacker (in the respectable sense of the word), computer journalist, weblogger and science fiction writer. It’s because of the latter he just fried my brain. If Neal Stephenson was the Bruce Sterling of the nineties, Charlie is the Neal Stephenson of the noughties.

You see, Charlie’s short story Lobsters has been nominated for the 2002 short story Hugo Awards which inspired Asimovs to put it online. Charlie linked to it in his weblog as a bit of shameless self promotion, so I read the story during my lunch break.

Whoa.

That was … weird. Weird and dense and wonderful. Exhilirating in a way I only get from good science fiction, the sort of science fiction where you actually feel your neural pathways expanding because the writer is throwing so much new stuff at you, the sort of science fiction that gives you a bigger sugar buzz then a crate of Jolt cola, the sort of science fiction that leaves you bouncing new ideas of the edge of your cranium.

Not bad at all.

Lijst Fortuyn: hypocrites-r-us

In a previous post I mentioned how every political party involved in the elections had stopped their campaign out of piety for the deceased. Every party apart from Lijst Pim Fortuyn it seems. This morning, the Spits — a free newspaper aimed at commuters — carried a huge advertisement for the Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF). On the left, stretched out over a third of the page there was a picture of Pim with his characteristic smirk with to the right his trademark motto “at your service. Underneath which there was a text stating how touched and impressed the party was bythe massive show of support and grief for Pim Fortuyn during the last week and how important it was,especially now to vote for him and his party.

Is it just me, or is this attempt at winning votes over the body of their murdered leader a bit hypocritical? Not to mention dumb and greedy. Do they really think they will win votes with this stunt? Anybody likely to be swayed by this will already have decided to vote for LPF and it’ll only annoy others. Judging from the comments on Tonie’s Kladblok at least some of the LPF members realise this.

Others however do their best to reinforce the image LPF has as a collection of flyweight nitwits only kept together by Fortuyn’s personality. Take freshly minted chairman Peter Langendam (on the left in the picture) for example. In an interview with the Amsterdam evening paper Het Parool he stated “the bullets came from the Left” [1] and accused PvdA and Groen Links politicians for having helped killed Pim Fortuyn. He is also convinced that the killer was a “professional hitman” [2].

He seems to have a special hatred for Groen Links and its leader Paul Rosenmöller, linking them with Stalin: History’s worst massmurderer was Stalin. He killed sixty million Russians. Communists, that’s where Groen Links comes from. With a green label stamped on it, it was acceptable again. [3] Not that this has anything to do with Groen Links, but that doesn’t matter. They’re a green party and hence part of the “environmental terrorists that do such things” [4], meaning the killing of Pim Fortuyn. He asks “how long we will have to tolerate a fifth estate of non elected organisations that dictates the law to us” [5], meaning those “environmental terrorists”.

I hope I don’t have to tell you that these are just paranoid rants, that there is no organised network of environmental terrorists. There’s no reason to suppose the probable murderer acted other than alone and no evidence so far of his motives. All we know is that yes, he was an environmental activist, but one whose group worked within the system to oppose factory farming, using legalistic and democratic means to stop factory farming. You can disagree with their goals, but not their methods.

So why all this melodrama from mister Langendam? Perhaps he truly believes in a vast environmental leftwing conspiracy, perhaps he used it as a piece of cheap election rhetoric, I don’t know. But one thing is certain, it has no base in fact whatsoever.

Incidentally, Langendam has already stated he will resign immediately after the elections, as he thinks of politics as something unworthy of him. His party can only agree with him.

[1] “kogel kwam van links”
[2 “professionele huurmoordenaar”
[3] “De grootste massamoordenaar uit de geschiedenis was Stalin. Hij heeft zestig miljoen Russen vermoord. Communisten, daar komt Groen Links vandaan. Er is het label groen opgeplakt en dan kan het weer”
[4] “milieuterroristen die dat soort dingen doen”
[5] “Hoe lang moeten we nog tolereren dat een vijfde macht van niet-democratisch gekozen organen ons de wet dicteert?”

It’s that man again

Speaking of demonising Pim Fortuyn…

Only the Dutch could have a gay sociologist fascist

The murder is further complicated by the fact that only the Dutch could have a fascist leader who was a gay sociologist. Maybe he was trying to build a liberal, inclusive fascism, dreaming of the day he could announce to his followers “and now, after a hard afternoon’s goose-stepping, let’s relax, massage each other’s shoulders and get rid off all that tension before invading a neighbouring country.”

His sexuality has been cited as one of the reasons that he couldn’t have been a fascist, but the far right seems capable of gliding over these contradictions. If Hitler had been gay, the only difference to history would have been the uniforms, when he’d thrown a strop and yelled, “Brown shirts and jackboots? Have you no sense of colour co-ordination”.

It’s typical that an English comedian did have the guts to take the mickey out of Fortuyn’s death, while our own cabaretiers haven’t dared comment.