‘Governing in coalition with the PVV is not an option for the SP’

11 May 2009

‘Governing in coalition with the PVV is not an option for the SP’

SP leader Agnes Kant was asked this weekend whether the SP could imagine participating in a government with Geert Wilders' PVV, the Freedom Party, a wholly new party which some polls say now has more support than any established political force. In most countries the question would be absurd: the SP is the most progressive party in the Dutch parliament, while the PVV is a right-wing 'populist' party with a distinctly racist message. In the Netherlands, however, which is invariably ruled by coalitions which can include a wide spectrum of parties, it was a reasonable thing to ask, and the SP was happy to answer it in a way which cleared up any confusion. “Where possible we will always cooperate with other parties," said Kant, "even in some circumstances with the PVV. But being in government with the PVV isn't an option for us. They are much too committed to a neoliberal approach, and moreover they want to see discriminatory policies. We can't go along with that."

What's so bad about the PVV that the SP rejects cooperating with them?

Agnes Kant“On subjects such as abuses in health care and corruption amongst senior administrators we are happy to work with the PVV. But there are also unbridgeable differences. The PVV supports the liberalisation of the postal market, which will mean that we shall soon see three different postmen or postwomen in the street competing with each other and every one of them paid less than the minimum wage. The PVV wants to reduce the minimum wage and cut social security even nearer to the bone. This shows that it is a party of the right, a party of neolioberalism which wants, above anything else, to extend the 'free market'."

Other parties also favour liberalisation, however.

“The PVV wants as well to lump a million Dutch citizens together on the basis of their beliefs. In 2007 Wilders proposed a total halt to immigration for people from Muslim countries. So they don't look at what people actually do, just at where they come from. That's called discrimination and it's something we won't go along with."

He says that his intention in this is to protect freedom.

“You can't at one and the same time fight for freedom and take away this same freedom from others. You can't call yourself the Freedom Party, and then call for the Koran to be banned. Wilders wants to travel the world spreading his message, so he should be willing to extend that right to others. So to want to keep people out of the country on the basis of their religious beliefs is hypocritical and furthermore completely senseless. But obviously Wilders has less faith in the power of democracy and of the rule of law than does the SP.”

Will the SP cooperate with the PVV in Brussels?

"Not much chance of that either. The PVV makes very critical noises about the EU, but is certainly at one with Europe when it comes to 'market-think'. The EU is the reason why home helps, public transport and the energy sector are being liberalised. Europe has to become one big market, which is a line that the PVV has always supported. The SP is much more critical when it comes to this, because it is achieved at the expense of working people and of any control over the public sector. This is much less important to the PVV. If you close your ears to the noise, you'll notice soon enough that the PVV is much closer to the government and to Brussels than is the SP."

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