A sign of the new political tide came a few weeks ago, after Green party reprentative Wijnand Duyvendak promoted his new book. In it he confessed his past involvement in criminal and violent political activities. The whole book promotion was meant as a nice attention grabber in the dull summer months. But instead of enhancing his book sale, a political storm was started (see earlier story here) and the leader of the Green party was forced to declare she was principally against political violence, although she refuses to do it retroactively.
That of course meant that the Greens had to let go representative Wijnand Duyvendak. He is clearly the victim of a moving political landscape. Because Wijnand’s involvement in political violence were known facts for years (see book: RaRa wie ben ik). It seems only been his recent bragging about it, that has prematurly ended his parliamentary career.
I guess that’s how it goes. When times change, politicians not always notice it and don’t adjust accordingly. When that happens, seemingly suddenly a political price has to be paid. In this case the price is not only the parliamentary membership of Wijnand. Also the environmental front groups, who have close ties to him and his party, have come under some political attack. Newspaper Trouw cites Socialist minister Jacqueline Cramer of environmental affairs who responds to these attacks:
My ministry subsidizes environmental organizations because they are ‘important’ middleman between government and citizens said the minister Saturday. The government funding helps the public debate.
Cramer thinks the government should be very critical when the debate turns ‘one sided’ or ‘undemocratic’ or is based on incorrect or incomplete information. The minister says she does not fear to correct the organization who do that, if they keep doing it, she will cancel their government funding.
But she does not underestimate the importance of environmental organizations. They are very important to involve citizens with the environmental policies.
That’s apparently how it works in The Netherlands. The state funds the debate and sets the bandwidth for it. Because if the state would not fund these wonderful and good political activities, nobody would!