As I reported earlier the polls indicate that the SP is winning seats from the PVV. Geert Wilders is getting nervous and has opened the attack. Unfortunately for him, the SP is not the only danger.
Usually Wilders refuses to sit for interviews. Recently, however, he made an exception and used his airtime to attack the SP as a “wolf in sheeps clothes.” I don’t quite understand why: the SP is the left-wing party it appears to be, and has little to hide. Unlike Wilders.
Now Wilders has attacked many parties in the past, and has succeeded admirably especially against the PvdA. Thus some say the SP should be worried about Wilders’s words: it may go the same way as the PvdA.
I think that’s untrue. Wilders’s attacks on the PvdA were so succesful exactly because that party has shuffled off its ideological feathers and gone with the neo-liberal free-market-crazed crowd. There is a huge mismatch between what the PvdA stands for and what it says it stands for.
The SP does not resemble the PvdA at all in that respect. It has never been part of government, so its ideological purity is unsullied. Besides, it has always opposed the free-market radicalism and preached old-fashioned leftism based on defending the welfare state.
Even more importantly: Wilders’s voters agree with the SP on a lot of welfare-related issues, which is why I believe the socialists are largely immune to Wilders’s slings and arrows. His warnings don’t make any sense. He says a SP/PvdA government will be a disaster, but I doubt whether a lot of his voters agree. Sure, the hard-right ones for whom anti-Islam sentiment comes first do, but the mainly left-wing protest voters won’t. They might be happy with a large SP that keeps the PvdA pointed in the right direction.
So far the SP has responded in very measured tones, and doesn’t seem to fall in the trap of playing along with Wilders. The socialists may be much more succesful than the PvdA in this respect. They may even start to attack Wilders, and they’re in the unique position that they’re actually a valid alternative to many Wilders voters.
Meanwhile, parliament is discussing a new law that aims to make the (rather modest) donations political parties receive completely transparent. Everybody agrees this is a good idea, except for Wilders. The reason seems to be he’s holding reasonably succesful fundraisers in the US. NRC reported he gathered $75,000 recently. That’s small fry for a US politician, but in the Dutch context it’s quite a lot, and it’s pretty decent for a foreign politician in the US.
So Wilders stands to lose from this law. Tough luck. Everybody from SP to VVD seems to be in favour, so it’ll pass.
Unless Wilders makes its rejection a requirement for his support for the upcoming savings. He might do that, but it won’t look too well if this ever becomes public knowledge.
I’m not saying Wilders is doomed. He’s a very clever politician who plays on his electorate’s hopes and fears like a master. Still, he hasn’t been in this much trouble since he started his independent career.
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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.
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