Tuesday 02 June 2020

Prime minister under fire for ‘eff off’ comment in tv interview

Photo: Corepics via Depositphotos.com

Photo: Corepics via Depositphotos.com

Prime minister Mark Rutte came under fire in parliament on Tuesday for saying a group of Dutch Turks demonstrating in Rotterdam should ‘eff off’.

Rutte made the comments during a lengthy television interview earlier this month but was picked up on them by opposition party leaders during the second day of debate on the government’s 2017 spending plans.

Rutte told MPs he had deliberately chosen the video showing the demonstrators to talk about in the interview. The comment was directed at the one demonstrator who said the entire country should f*** off, Rutte said. ‘In that case I am entitled to say it.’

In the interview, the prime minister said the man should ‘pleur op’ which literally means ‘tuberculosis off’, in line with the Dutch practise of swearing with diseases.

Norms and values

Christian Democrat leader Sybrand Buma asked Rutte if this was the sort of thing he would say to doctors or teachers and accused him of going for maximum effect. Rutte retorted by saying: ‘Buma talks about norms and values. I determine the norms and I ensure they are maintained.’

Diederik Samsom, leader of the Labour party which is part of the current coalition government, said Rutte’s comments were unworthy of his office.

Samsom referred to the native Dutch demonstrators who opposed refugee centres and tried to storm council meetings. Then, Rutte said nothing, Samsom pointed out.

‘Should a prime minister not be someone who unites people?’ he asked. ‘I want a prime minister who treats all Dutch people equally. You should be a unifying factor, you should make it clear their future is here.’

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