After the Netherlands chose a neo-fascist online store and an agricultural marketing agency as the largest party in previous training sessions, the New Social Contract is now the favorite in the House of Representatives elections. It is an impressive party, presenting itself mainly through formal points about a new administrative culture. A special leader and a special name, in a country where neither Rousseau nor Hobbes’ dog is known.
Peter Omtsigt’s popularity is therefore not related to his party’s programme, which contains some interesting proposals, but mainly to fans of constitutional law and administrative law. His popularity cannot be explained by his work on the interest issue. Although the general public uses this issue as a stick to express their dissatisfaction, in reality it does not concern anyone; That the Dutch didn’t care much about the people at the bottom, the VVD saw that all too well.
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Sander Schimmelpennink is a journalist, businessman and columnist De Volkskrant. He was previously editor-in-chief of a magazine quotes. Columnists are free to express their opinions and do not have to abide by the rules of journalistic objectivity. Read the Volkskrant newspaper guidelines here.
No, Umtzigt is very popular because it is the underdog. At least two dozen of his virtual seats are due to “working elsewhere,” a refusal some Dutch people eagerly admit themselves. “Just like when we didn’t get a permit for our sleeper window,” Henk muttered to Ingrid. Even though the Netherlands was a colonial power, and we Dutch make it clear to anyone who gets in our way, the Dutch feel at home with the underdogs.
Voting for Omtzigt is like buying a match ticket for the referee. Or marry the registrar. Formality is certainly important, but where is the content? Rarely are any choices made in the NSC party platform, and there is no trace of big ideas. This applies to more parties, which is why the word is now standardly accompanied by the adjective “radical”. In a country without ideas, having an idea is inherently radical.
This should be an opportunity for the opponents, but they do not give up for fear of their favorite fans. Umtzigt dominates, sets the agenda and pins down his opponents with rhetoric in the area where he knows he is supreme: rules and procedures, especially their establishment. As long as Omtzigt can split hairs over the terms of the contract, it’s not about the content of that contract, so he wins.
However, for a social contract, whether new or not, you need content and ideology. The most important aspect of this legal philosophical concept is of course how it is interpreted “socially,” but Umtzigt points out that only the contract itself is important. Logically speaking, because in the absence of a new content and ideology, insofar as “Christian democracy” qualifies as an ideology at all, only form remains to be insisted upon. But without content or ideology, the NSC remains a party without foundation, a party with decent nonsense and seemingly reasonable skepticism. This will also prove unsustainable.
Umtzigt can do little about the fact that he is so popular, and previously seemed to see this as a problem. However, the Tucker seemed to smell power now; He is increasingly ridiculed by criticism and participates in discussions only when it suits him. It doesn’t seem to matter to the voter anyway, and rightly so.
It is possible that the new party that pays attention to formalities, procedures, and obligations will be a source of strength for the House of Representatives. But preferably not the largest. If Umtzigt thinks so too, which I don’t rule out, I have advice for him: say something progressive or ambitious! Ultimately, this is certainly going badly in the Netherlands.
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