Finance minister and Labour party leader Wouter Bos seems to have gotten himself into a bit of a pickle over his call last week for more polarisation in the never-ending debate about integration.

There is no emancipation without polarisation, he repeated in this weekend’s Volkskrant. Look at the emancipation of the worker, of women and of homosexuals, said Bos.
The article tried to explain comments he made in an interview the previous week which annoyed several prominent party members. Not a good sign if a political leader can’t explain his vision properly the first time round but there you go.
But even after two shots at it, Sidelines is still left wondering what Bos is actually talking about. Emancipation is not about creating a new generation of people who like to eat cheese for breakfast. That is integration, or rather, assimilation.
An emancipated society is one which says it is your absolute right not to shake hands with people if you don’t want to. The Netherlands is divided along ethnic and religious lines quite enough already, Mr Bos.
Sidelines would like to know quite how much more polarisation he would like to see before the Netherlands’ ethnic minorities take to the streets demanding equal rights and personal freedoms – as workers, women and gay rights activists have done.

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