After seven weeks of talking about more fiscal austerity in the Netherlands the right extreme Freedom party PVV couldn’t stand it any more. All those cuttings on care, higher (VAT) taxes made life too difficult for Henk senior, so told Geert wilders, the leader of the PVV, all the crying of his main assistant Fleur Agema had not made the other parties weak. They still listened to the dictates of Brussels, made under pressure of the Dutch, to lower the government deficit below 3% in 2013. So the government fell and it looked like the Dutch were undisciplined non core members of the euro zone.
But surprise, surprise in two days the three small opposition parties that supported government when they lacked the support of Wilders came with a package that seems to fulfil the wishes of Brussels. The new coalition until the election is called the Kunduz coalition. Kunduz is where the Dutch in Afghanistan try to make good cops of non soldiers. To get that agreed the same three small parties that came with the new package voted for the Kunduz mission (in the eyes of the US this was still not good enough as effort to keep the Netherlands as the 20th member of the G20) .
Labour (PvdA) was not involved in the creation of the compromise package. So there was a lot to blame about their new leader Samson, he had missed a big opportunity to show that labour works. All parties involved told literally many times that it was important to jump over their shadows. Samson didn’t manage it as the cartoon shows (Ruben, from NRC).
The spirit of the age has changed. Now labour obstructs all efforts to reform the economy, they are the conservatives now. In the past it was labour that wanted to reform, to profit from the better times that are ahead and the right parties wanted to protect their good fortune. Now it is labour that no longer sees good times ahead, while individuals still see good times ahead.
At the moment the pessimists have the majority, so for electoral profit is it clever to be against reforms, against Europe and to blame the banks.
While in the US the election is between fairness (and care) of Obama or more freedom/ American dream of Romney in the Netherlands it is between anti Europe/ anti immigration conservatism and individual freedom, environment, reforms on the labour market, mortgages and higher retirement ages to make the system sustainable.