It is very rarely that one feels the need to kiss a politician. But today Aleid Wolfsen, an MP for the Labour party, deserves a kiss.

Why? Because he has launched a bill to make those who govern us responsible for their actions or, in most cases, lack of action.
Wolfsen’s bill to scrap immunity from prosecution for heads of government bodies yesterday received the support of the three coalition parties and thus looks set to become law.
The law will come too late to help the families of the victims of three recent disasters: the explosion at a firework factory in Enschede in 2000 (23 killed); the fire at a café in Volendam in 2001( 14 deaths) and the fire at a detention centre at Schiphol Airport (11 deaths). But it does mean that the deaths were not in vain.
All three disasters could have been avoided had regulations been followed. But because the people in charge of ensuring that safety procedures were carried out were immune from prosecution, they were not held to account.
This situation has rankled the public deeply. Wolfsen himself summed up the matter perfectly, telling one Dutch newspaper: ‘A government that calls on citizens to take their responsibility for their actions can only do that if it itself can be held responsible for its actions’. Hear, hear Mr Wolfsen.
All we have to do now is hope that the public prosecutor make use of the new law when it comes into being.

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