The VVD is already looking forward to election debates with Thierry Baudet about slumlords


Writing a book is a difficult task and so you missed my regular weekend column for more than half a year. I will be back this week. Whether this means that my book about Forum for Democracy (FvD) is finished, I am not entirely sure. Something new is happening again and again. Suddenly there was Ben Swagerman. I had never heard of the man, but he seems to have been in the Senate for a few years before the VVD. This usually does not generate much publicity. After all, a large FvD group has also been in the Senate for a year now and we really have not heard about it.

“Would Ben Swagerman have been under a rock for the past twenty years?”

In the meantime, they have built a television studio at FvD. It was announced more than a year ago, but it has now really been put into use. You immediately notice: the strict management of Henk Otten is a thing of the past. The studio was not only endlessly delayed, but the FvD newsreels are also plagued by sound problems. The content also leaves much to be desired. For example, last week’s broadcast was a nice stage for the total madness of Baudet, who thinks that for extra diamonds you only have to dig a little deeper.

Back to Ben Swagerman. He was very welcome in the new studio. In the conversation with Baudet, he reports very seriously that FvD “is a vibrant political party [is] who really wants to get on the road. ” He mumbles something about “intellectual debate”, “a new vision”, “new impetus” and breaking through the amorphous political culture. According to Swagerman, Baudet is doing an excellent job and his book The Attack on the Nation State resembles the catechism. Swagerman also believes that the debate on migration should be sharper. Would he have been under a rock for the past twenty years?

“As fast as you float towards Forum, as fast you float the other way”

Baudet starts to rattle about “the smear campaign” that is poured over FvD. Fortunately, Swagerman looks right through it and thinks the coalition participation in Brabant is a nice new step. There is a lot of resistance. Unjustified, Swagerman thinks. He met nice people at FvD “from various backgrounds”. Swagerman says he is going to help get Forum more in the limelight and build the party further. He likes to put his shoulders under it and suggests that he help to put FvD in more places in the coalition.

Wait a while with the champagne, because this video turns out to be one big misunderstanding. Swagerman now denies that he has an advisory role. What exactly happened is a mystery: perhaps his colleagues at the court were not so enthusiastic or he was simply tricked by Baudet. After all, some words were put in his mouth. The VVD member who had just switched back already scrambled back there. You have that with such a vibrant party: not every switch is very important. As fast as you drift towards Forum, as fast you drift the other way.

Whether someone with this lack of basic political intuition is a loss to the VVD seems clear to me. One person who can miss the VVD completely as a toothache is Wybren van Haga. After all, he was disbarred after not placing his business interests at a distance. The fact that there were quite a few complaints about his role as a cottage milker did not help either, on top of the fact that he was behind the wheel with too much alcohol. The VVD lacks the fairly basic ability to recognize integrity issues, but Van Haga had little doubt even with the liberals.

“Chances are that the VVD will watch amused just like with Swagerman.”

And so Van Haga was in the FvD studio this week to report that if he does the Voting Guide he will end up at Baudet. In the video we hear him say that he strongly agrees with FvD. Nothing, of course, about the simple fact that Baudet is against the Canadian-European trade treaty CETA and Van Haga is almost certainly in favor, or that Van Haga is not known as someone who has argued enthusiastically for a nexit and a gas ban for years. Fortunately, you are never too old to learn, so Van Haga can still master these points of view. He is not the last at FvD to change his mind for career technical reasons.

Now Baudet and Van Haga are going to strengthen each other and achieve more, is the promise. We are curious how long the collaboration will last. Chances are that the VVD will watch amused just like Swagerman. Van Haga is not looking for a place on the candidate list, he says. Nobody believes it. The VVD will certainly not begrudge him a renewed parliamentary membership. If many people will soon be on the brink of financial ruin due to the corona crisis, the call for a firm approach to slum landlords will be high on the political agenda. Something tells me that the VVD would like to have some debates about this with the FvD.

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