Herb Prooy thinks the PvdA party chairman should stop trying to outstrip the SP and go for a left-wing alliance.
The PvdA is doing much better in the polls since Diederik Samsom took over as parliamentary party chairman. But the PvdA’s gain is the SP’s loss, market researchers claim.
And that is exactly what Hans Spekman wanted when he became party chairman last January. The party’s pull to the left, symbolised by a return to the old themes, rhetoric and sloppy dressing, has paid off even sooner than expected.
It’s an encouraging sign but it’s far from enough for Spekman. His ambition is to leave the SP standing while the PvdA becomes a truly leftwing party through a process of political cleansing.
That is why the party has to rid itself of champagne socialists with big mouths and deep pockets, and those spineless regulators who, whilst wearing their PvdA hats, turned a blind eye to the culture of rampant personal financial gain among top bosses.
Spekman wants them out, those social democrats who, intoxicated by the heady mix of success and status, have forgotten that it was the party membership that got them where they are.
That is something that Spekman can’t forgive. A party member is indebted to the party for ever and you embarrass it at your peril by displaying non-socialist conduct.
Former prime minister Wim Kok and former minister Jaques Wallage stand accused of just that. As regulators at Post NL they were party to the golden goodbye of former chief executive Peter Bakker which ran into millions of euros and the extravagantly high salaries of the new bosses. At the same time a large number of postal workers were fired. As far as Spekman is concerned, the PvdA is no place for social democrats who soil the nest.
All this inspirational talk appears to herald a fresh start but it’s the same old power mechanisms that are at work here: it’s about making the PvdA great again, at the expense of a party with a similar ideology. By attacking the SP, the PvdA is putting its future government membership in the hands of the CDA and VVD. At a time when the changes in the political landscape are offering Spekman & Co an opportunity to rid the country of the CDA for once and for all, they are showing a less than inspiring lack of guts.
I don’t think the PvdA is interested in realising the political ideals of the party founders in a left-wing alliance at all. Under Spekman, the party will remain what is always has been: a machine to generate jobs for loyal members. It takes a lot of voters to keep that machine going and so what if a couple of people or ideals get bulldozered along the way.
Herb Prooy is an entrepreneur in the field of ‘software as a service’
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