So, a ‘civilised kind of nationalism’ is what Labour party leader Wouter Bos would like to see in this country.
Right wing politicians do not own the word ‘proud, he said during a party meeting on Monday, undoubtedly gripping the lectern with a statesmanlike grip.
Rita Verdonk – with her Proud of the Netherlands political party – has been hogging the word for long enough. Now Bos in his new found role of saviour of the Netherlands wants it back.
Because there is really so much to be proud of. Selling off our utilities for one, who wouldn’t be proud of that. Or spending less on education than other rich countries – something else you’d want the world to know.
But that is not what Bos means. We should pat ourselves on the back for having an appointed Moroccan mayor, he says, and for magnanimously accepting that Islam is here to stay.
Except that his own party does not really agree. Only recently Labour blasted its way into the headlines with a policy document on integration that was going to put an end to immigrant-coddling for good.
Instead newcomers must be prepared to give up their old lives and focus on the Netherlands, the party says. Never mind that immigrants may be ever so slightly proud of their countries of origin too. After all, nationalism works both ways.
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