Sunday 08 December 2019

EU opportunism

Geert Wilders is being extremely opportunistic in his latest ploy for media attention, writes Robin Pascoe.

So Geert Wilders has come clean and finally admitted he wants to go to Brussels. The results of the European elections – in which his PVV lost over 20% of their support – show that the people want him to be there, Wilders says. 

But so as not to let down his friends at home, Wilders is proposing doing two jobs: that of MP and MEP – apparently he has enough time on his hands to squeeze the Brussels job in alongside his other commitments.

List

Before the European elections, Wilders and his cohorts drew up a list of candidate MEPs – a task somewhat complicated by the fact the most of the old ones left the party after Wilders led his fans in an anti-Moroccan chant. Wilders himself occupied the symbolic last place to keep his fans happy.

Nevertheless, the list was drawn up and included, in fourth place, Hans Jansen – described by the Dutch media as an Arabist – and who was a key witness at Wilders’ trial for racial discrimination and inciting hatred.

Being in fourth place, Jansen should have realised he would probably get a seat – but, it seems, he is not that keen to go to Brussels after all.

‘I’m busy with other things. I’ve retired, I get royalties and I am writing a book,’ the Volkskrant quotes him as saying. ‘I thought it was fun to vote for myself for once, but my happiness does not depend on that seat.’

Aside from the arrogance towards the people who actually voted for him, you have to wonder why the PVV put such a disinterested, self-centered little man on its list of candidates in the first place.

Inside job

Perhaps it is just as well that Wilders has now come along demanding the seat – as many insiders had suspected he would. After all, if Wilders really wants to fight the Brussels monster together with his charming friends in the Front National and FPO, he really needs to be at the heart of the institution to do it.

But Wilders wants to have it both ways… to stay in the Dutch national parliament as a representative of the people and to head for Brussels and represent the good burgers of Holland there as well. Will he also want to claim two full-time salaries? He’s not made any comment about that aspect so far.

The dual mandate is not allowed by Dutch and European law. So Wilders is going to fight for his right to two seats. The legal battle, experts say, could take about two years.

There is something somewhat not quite right about an anti-European appealing to the European court for the right to represent the Netherlands in the European parliament he so despises. But then Wilders could never resist a media opportunity.

Waste of money

It’s also a waste of time and money. Wilders could easily go to Brussels if he really wants to. After all, there is nothing left for him in the Netherlands.

Support for the PVV is declining, no other political party will work with the PVV in government again and the nastiness of his ‘we’ll take care of it’ comment after the anti-Moroccan chanting revealed his party’s true colours in all their glory.

But instead he has found himself another media opportunity, another reason to sound off against the evil Brussels empire which is stopping him representing the hundreds of thousands of people who voted for him.

Hopefully the courts will see through the ruse and force him to make a choice. In the meantime, Hans Jansen can collect his pension and Wilders can collect column inches. He’s got two years to make the most of it.

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