I'm rather concerned about developments in political Holland today. As I mentioned in an earlier blogpost, there will be early general elections in the country after the government collapsed over a disagreement regarding deployment of troops in Afghanistan. Coalition partners Labour and Christian Democrats fell out over the issue, and elections are now in the offing for late spring or early summer.
Since 2002, a new political force has sprung on the scene in Holland - the farther right. By that I mean parties who oppose immigration and/or advocate removal of migrants from the country. It should be borne in mind that the issue of migrants could not be discussed properly in Dutch society in the wake of the Second World War, a conflict that saw the mass murder of millions on account of their faith. When Pim Fortuyn emerged in 2002, he amassed a huge following for daring to place on the agenda the vexed issue of immigration. Elections held in the aftermath of his assassination in Hilversum in '02 brought his party to government, a government that fell after only a few months.
The 2010 elections are expected to bring the successor to Pim Fortuyn, Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party, a large number of seats in Parliament, and probably ministerial posts. Mr Wilders is known in the UK, as he was denied entry to Britain in February 2009 for his far-right political views. Upon appeal, he was allowed into the country to expound his views to a favourable audience at the Houses of Parliament in London. I dread to see Mr Wilders assume government responsibility - he could well end up tarnishing the Netherlands' reputation as a tolerant society, and a country that welcomes the genuine refugee.