The VVD’s election manifesto is a guaranteed headline grabber with its plans to scrap crèche fees, cut income tax by 3% across the board and give start-ups a three-year tax free break.
It’s a populist message, and a necessary one for the VVD, which has to fight for a place between the Christian Democrats (CDA) and Labour (PvdA), or better said, Balkenende and Bos. The CDA have a lot of catching up to do in the polls, and Labour’s own draft plans contained some unpopular ideas – such as raising the retirement age. And with all the far-right splinter groups vying to outdo each other in slashing immigration, the election campaign is shaping up nicely.
The main draft manifestos have all been published. Now its time to refine and polish them and throw out the clauses that got all the bad press, in time for the October kick off. Then, after the November 22 vote, the political horse trading to form a coalition government can begin. ‘If you want to come in my coalition, you’ll have to give up tax cuts, and we’ll scrap free medicines in return,’ is the way it seems to go to outsiders. Election manifestos are all very well as vote getters, but have very little to do with future government policy. Vote VVD by all means, but the chances of ever getting free crèches are virtually nil.