Thursday, August 05, 2010

Dutch Deal With the Devil

When Europhiles dismiss the rise of xenophobic, islamophobic, neo-fascist parties in Europe, they often argue that the small number of seats these parties may hold in any given parliament are not all that important. After all, mainstream parties are loathe to make deals with them and thus, they become irrelevant. Well, welcome to the Netherlands in 2010. After eight weeks of backroom dealings, the Dutch may end up with a government capable of pushing through the economic reforms people voted for back on June 9th. There's only one small catch: the kingmaker is Islamophobic fear-monger Geert Wilders. Europe is long overdue in confronting its xenophobic demons, maybe this will encourage some soul searching.

The government, by the way, was elected using a PR system. The eight week negotiation and not so desirable outcome is a pretty standard by-product of PR. All that is of course completely worth it because they have pleased the golden idol of proportionality. It could be worse, just look door in Belgium. The Belgians voted four days after the Dutch, but no amount of Belgian lager has been able to cobble together a coalition. However, this is still early days in Belgium. Last time it took more than a year.

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