Friday, November 25, 2005

Old guard member Wiegel tells Hirsi to cool it

Hans Wiegel, an elder statesman of the Liberals (VVD), has advised his outspoken party colleague, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, not to be so "fanatical". Wiegel was responding in newspaper 'Trouw' to her suggestion he is a 'reactionary' who has no idea about the problems relating to the integration of immigrants into Dutch society. She accused the former leader of the VVD of being Utopian who was living in the "Land van Ooit" (a fantasy world).

Wiegel is a member of the Liberal Party, VVD a member for the conservative wing and very popular with older voters. These day he is a govenor of the Province of Friesland. His opinion represent the opinion of many Dutch old fashioned Liberals and Conservatives who are not affected by the Multicultural society and do not like the turn Dutch politics have taken after the 2002 election campaign. This was the time of the rise and murder of Dutch maverick politician Pim Fortuyn.
Wiegel hit back by cautioning Hirsi Ali to "play the ball, not the person" and to respect people who hold contrary views. "In this way we can strengthen Dutch society and offer a future," he said.
Wiegel has a point about Hirsi Ali ad hominem attack. But she was smart to single him out as a personification of one of the many politicians on the old right who want to continue in the old pattern of pre-2002 politics. In the countryside people do not like to sacrifice liberal and conservative laws to right the wrongs of the excesses of the Multicultural society. And because they are not affected by Multiculturalism they do not see the need for change. The divisions in Dutch society are deepening.

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