PVV Blog 8 ~ The Party For Freedom Really In Power Now: A Black Day

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05-19-2024 ~ On May 16, 2024, four political parties in the Netherlands reached an agreement to form a new government. The largest of these four parties is the Party for Freedom, a populist party that has now, for the first time, landed at the center of power in the Netherlands.

In my opinion, this has pushed Dutch democracy to its absolute limits.

For me, May 16, 2024, is a black day.

The new coalition’s government program contravenes Article 1 of the Constitution, which stipulates that every citizen in the country must be treated equally under equal circumstances. There is a significant devaluation of the rights of asylum seekers and status holders. In this blog, I will revisit the roots of the Party for Freedom and examine how it has grown into a tree of substantial proportions and what these developments mean for the future of our country.

The Cradle of the Party for Freedom
In his 2010 book De schijn-elite van de valse munters, founding party member and current parliament speaker Martin Bosma describes his own development within the party and that of the Party for Freedom itself. Party leader Geert Wilders is, of course, also mentioned in a history that Bosma characterizes as a mission requiring struggle and commitment: “We must function like a kind of semi-underground resistance organization.” And about Geert Wilders: “He will never see his house again” (after the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, after which Wilders has been under permanent protection to this day).

Bosma recounts setbacks: “Silently, we look out the window. We still have a long way to go” after a disappointing campaign evening in the Dutch city of Den Bosch.

There is tension: “All your blood, sweat, and tears have been shed in the weeks and months before; now it is a matter of waiting”, on the evening of the November 22, 2010,
parliamentary elections.

There are triumphs: “The looks on the faces of people from the other political parties speak volumes: we are the party crashers, the unwanted intruders. What are we here for?” during the election victory on the same date.

There is a spirit of sacrifice: “I will never forget how Geert says: ‘This is exactly why we are here. Even if we keep one seat in parliament, this is our task’”, during the commotion surrounding the film Fitna, made by Wilders, in which he heavily criticizes Islam and the Quran.

There is relief: “These moments make up for a lot. The Netherlands is beginning to understand our message better and better”, after reactions from people in the Dutch municipalities of Volendam and Drachten who voted for the Party for Freedom.

There is a corporate spirit: “The Party for Freedom has grown into a gathering of cheerful patriots. People who oppose ‘those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness, who turn bitter into sweet and sweet into bitter.’”

And a sense of history: “A hundred years from now, people will remember Geert Wilders as someone who had the moral clarity to tell the truth that needed to be told.”

The Party for Freedom in Power
The semi-underground resistance organization of people who have shed blood, sweat, and tears, the party crashers and unwanted intruders, the cheerful patriots who know what is good and evil, what is sweet and bitter—these people are now at the center of power. After nearly twenty years of opposition, of agitating, maneuvering, stirring, and insulting, the Party for Freedom has managed to become the largest party in the country and is now steering the state.

I think the following scenario will unfold. The coalition has plans to reduce migration that cannot be justified legally or positionally and will be challenged and rejected by the Dutch courts or by the European Union in Brussels. The coalition parties are well aware of this, but they still put forward these proposals. They do so for two reasons, I believe. Firstly, they anticipate that Dutch judges and Brussels will torpedo the plans. Then the parties can say they did everything to honor their voters’ wishes and point fingers at the judges and Brussels: “It wasn’t our fault.” Meanwhile, they will try to implement the unjust migration policy as much as possible. Time is on their side. They will apply the same tactic to dossiers on nature and agriculture, the nitrogen policy: “It wasn’t our fault.” They will say: “It’s the judges’ and Brussels’ fault that it didn’t work.”

European Context
Then there is another development that will stimulate the realization of the coalition program, which is the rise of populist parties in the European arena. In the upcoming
European elections in June, it is expected that these parties will make significant gains. They will become more powerful and closer to the center of European power. They will use similar tactics at the national level: they will demand things that are legally untenable while trying to implement their populist policies on the ground as much as possible, stalling the legal scrutiny. Time is on their side. Polls indicate gains for the Rassemblement National in France and the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany.

A Savior in the Coalition?
The Party for Freedom has succeeded in reaching the center of power, and I deeply regret that. The only party in the new coalition and the person who can influence a positive
outcome is party leader Pieter Omtzigt and his party Nieuw Sociaal Contract. It would not surprise me if his sole motivation for joining this unfortunate coalition is inspired by his desire to defend, maintain, and strengthen the rule of law. Will he succeed in implementing this defense against Wilders and ensuring that democracy becomes the democracy it should be? Time will tell, but until then, we must watch as the “cheerful patriots” devour and dismantle democracy.

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