Dutch politics: a distant mirror by mattsteinglass
March 12, 2010, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Netherlands

Wouter Bos, the handsome 46-year-old leader of the Labor Party, announced abruptly and rather shockingly yesterday that he’s stepping down as party leader and Minister of Finance to spend more time with his wife and 3 young children. The top job in Labor will apparently go to 62-year-old Job Cohen, longtime mayor of Amsterdam, who commands wide respect and affection for keeping the peace in a difficult city, but doesn’t have quite the charisma or dynamism of Bos. The Dutch paper NRC Handelsblad has a readers’ discussion going. Here’s what one fairly representative voice had to say:

Cohen is een prima opvolger. We hebben weer een politicus nodig die een vaderlijk overwicht heeft… De boel bij elkaar houden lijkt me een urgent streven de komende tijd. Hij laat zich niet gek maken.

(Cohen is a great successor. We need a politician with fatherly authority… Holding things together seems to me to be an urgent priority at this point. He doesn’t let anything drive him crazy.)

And here’s a different kind of representative voice:

Een slapjanus die te laf is om crimineel allochtoon tuig eindelijk eens keihard aan te pakken en liever een kop thee met hen drinkt is wel het laatste waar Nederland behoefte aan heeft. Nee, zo’n man mag geen premier worden, gesubsidieerd welzijnswerker is een geschiktere baan voor meneer Cohen want praten kan hij als geen ander.

(A weakling who’s too cowardly to finally take hard action against the criminal foreigners and would rather drink a cup of tea with them is the last thing the Netherlands needs. No, that kind of man can’t be a premier, a better job for him would be as a subsidized social worker, because he can talk like nobody else.)

You can hear the echoes here of American politics.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Shot in the dark here, but was that brother Wilders in the second quote?

Comment by citifieddoug

No, just a reader of the paper, but I have a feeling he’ll be voting for Wilders.

Comment by Matt Steinglass

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