In the series “curiouser and curiouser” today we see the unusual sight of two PvdA economists praising the VVD economic programme.
The two, Vermeend and Van der Ploeg, state that it’s the VVD programme that will deliver the best results when it comes to economic growth, employment, and reducing the deficit. They also like the D66 programme, stating that it works well in the short run (but not, apparently, the long run). In contrast, they cannot yet judge the PvdA and CDA programmes because they contain insufficient figures, so their effect cannot yet be calculated.
This is odd, to say the least. Generally speaking, PvdA members are supposed to attack the VVD, and not defend it, especially when the campaign is turning into one massive PvdA vs. VVD battle.
However, if we apply a Purple context it becomes clear what’s going on. Both Vermeend and Van der Ploeg were secretaries of state in one or both Purple governments (1994-2002, PvdA+VVD+D66), and the former even became minister for the second half of Purple II. They are part and parcel of the moderate, centrist PvdA wing, and apparently they liked cooperating with the liberals in one government, especially when it comes to economics.
It’s tempting to see these remarks as part of an attempt to steer the PvdA into a Purple direction once more. In any PvdA+VVD coalition the economic programme will be the hardest nut to crack, and Vermeend and Van der Ploeg seem to want to help things along by praising the VVD a bit.
What becomes of this will remain unclear for the time being. I don’t think Cohen or another PvdA senior politician will openly comment on their statements, although the VVD might gloat a little.
In any case, the Purple wing of the PvdA is active once more, and it’s clear what kind of coalition they want after the elections.
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This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.