Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Labour Party fears its new candidates after election victory

The fear of Muslim enablers

The Leader of the Dutch Labour Party fears the cultural incompatibility of the many new foreign council members after the Labour landslides in the municipal elections.

I doubt you get an interview like this with a Labour Party leader anywhere else in the Western world. Last Friday Wouter Bos was interviewed by "Het Parool" a Amsterdam newspaper.

In the elections there was a higher than usual turnout amongst Muslim immigrants. 80 percent of them voted for the Labour Party. Most did not vote for Dutch candidates, but instead chose to elect someone from their own ethnic group. This upset the party list.

On Dutch elections one can vote for a party list. All the candidates of a party are listed. Usually people vote for the party leader, who is on number one, but sometimes there are candidates with a big personal following, who receive many personal votes. The actual party will consist of those candidates who got the most votes. Because the immigrant Labour candidates can command such big personal voting armies there is a radical change in the party hierarchies. E.g. Derya Kaplan, a charming Turkish lady who is a member of Labour for less than a year. She received 6,746 votes! Enough to become number four on the Amsterdam Labour Party List.

Ethnic Dutch candidates who have long worked for a local Labour Party department and who received high positions on the municipal party list are pushed aside by new immigrant members who have just joined the party. They have not invested a lot of time in the party and have not become a part of the party fabric nor are they immersed in its ideology and culture. Giggle. This is going to be such fun!

Ethnic Conflict in Dutch politics

Labour Party leader Wouter Bos forecasts conflicts with new Labour party members. He doubts the quality of the new council members. For the next elections he demands a screening of candidates before the elections.

The Party leader expects nepotism and collusion between the candidates and their voters. As happens in the countries of origin were the voters expect special treatment for the group who delivered the vote. Bos recognises that the culture of immigrant voters does not match the Dutch culture. This is a difference the Labour Party has always strenously denied until now. Bos is very honest in this way. (He also admitted sending his children to a ethnically white Christian school, avoiding schools with considerable non-white immigrant populations.)

So what about the future?

Bos expects that everything will be alright in a generation or so. Funny man. The party has a special course teaching council members the ins and outs of Dutch political organisation and Dutch values with regards to the political game. A course. It is funny how many Westerners view Western culture as something that is purely cognitive. Simply memorise a few simple rules, and "hey presto!": a Western citizens! That non-Westerners will look at Western and still remain attached to their culture, to their values and to their ethnic community does not feature in many calculations.

Labour as the immigrant party

Asked whether he was not anxious that the "Labour Party" would become the "Immigrant Party" Bos replied that: "the Labour Party has one single story for all their voters. If we remain loyal to our narrative, we will remain the party for everyone."

One has to wonder whether the candidates featured by Labour do not speak louder than any story that Labour has spoken. In fact Labour has remained remarkably quiet during the campaign. I would venture that the choice of immigrant candidates is the only commitment Labour has shown during the municipal election at all. And the immigrants paid attention and rewarded Labour.

The ethnic Dutch have now also paid attention and polarisation between the Dutch and the immigrant community will increase. Because Job Cohen has warned for violence between immigrant youth and other groups in Amsterdam, it will be interesting to see what will happen. My prognosis is that ethnic candidates will have problems to disregard demands from their ethnic voting bases. This will hinder the ability of Amsterdam to deal with disturbances and increasingly communicate the disadvantage of Multiculturalism to white Labour Party members and activists.

1 comment:

Wiag said...

I also think the newly elected immigrants will meet with much resistance in their parties (especially the PvdA) from ethnic Dutch members, and will find legitimacy in their stance that they are discriminated, ever more and ever more. They will be right. Even leftwinged educated party people will find it hard to integrate with so many foreigners. And they will realise it is not because 'the others' are (former-)foreigners, but because they think and act differently.

I still find it suprising that so many believe groupthinking is an invented concept, rather than a human sociological reality. The white left will someday find out / recognise that they too think this way, and will abandon the idealistic stance that if we all want to, we will become equal, friends and peaceful neigbours.