Klaas Dijkhoff sets out his stall with ‘Liberalism that works for people’

Photo: EU2016 NL via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: EU2016 NL via Wikimedia Commons

VVD parliamentarian Klaas Dijkhoff, who is widely tipped as the next party leader when Mark Rutte steps down, has set out his vision for the party’s future.

In a ‘discussion document’ published at the weekend, Dijkhoff said that the VVD is ‘a Liberal and a right-wing party’. Dijkhoff currently leads the 33-strong group of VVD MPs in parliament.

‘We are not moving to the left and we are not moving further to the right,’ Dijkhoff said in the document, entitled ‘Liberalism that works for people’.

The party, Dijkhoff said, has listened too much to big companies. The man in the street should not only be protected against the government, but that the government should have a role when big firms threaten individual freedoms, he said.

The document focuses on the need to ensure ‘a broad middle class’. ‘Their dreams and their worries should be the starting point for our political answers,’ he said.

‘A society without a stable middle class can never be stable… and it is the same middle class which, if we don’t do the right thing, will be pressured by trends such as globalisation, migration, flexible working patterns and technology.’


In particular, Dijkhoff called for the abolition of current freedom of education rules if they lead to the development of schools which ‘service segregation and maintain a parallel society in which the dominant values conflict with our key values of freedom and equality’.

Although seen by commentators to be directed at Islamic education, ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Seegers, was quick to describe the measure as ‘out of proportion’.

‘Dijkhoff wants to limit a freedom which schools and millions of people make use of and that is not necessary,’ Seegers said.

‘We have to tackle the abuse of freedom, and freedom is never without limits,’ he said. But this is looking for problems with the wrong people.’

State-funded faith schools are sanctioned in the Netherlands under freedom of education rules, if they have sufficient pupils and meet the proper standards.

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