Political power is not just the power to be in government and to make laws and policy. It is about influencing society as a whole and in particular other political parties.
Addressing voter's concerns by offering alternatives
Under the reign of Liberalism the cartel of political parties would look the other way if certain phenomena ran counter to the dogma of radical egalitarianism. Parties would not be corrected by the voters, as voters were not offered policy alternatives. This was the situation before 2006 after the Fortuynists had destroyed themselves and before Geert Wilders formed his Freedom Party.
The level of Immigration
For instance, citizens concerned with the overwhelming numbers of immigrants coming to The Netherlands would not be able to express their concern through the ballot box. There was no party stating that immigration was a problem, and there was no party offering policy countering immigration.
The value of real opposition
With the election of the Freedom Party PVV to Dutch Parliament this has changed. The other parties have taken notice. The Liberal-Conservative VVD party is concerned about losing their voters to the PVV. To counter the threat they are copying a positions that the PVV has pioneered. However, they do this with a typical lack of conviction (Dutch). Perhaps they are testing the waters?
Giving the old right a right wing profile
The man who has to give the VVD a rightwinged profile again is Mr. Paul de Krom. Recently he took issue with a report by Minister Eduard van der Laan of Integration. Minister van der Laan presented to Parliament research by a thinktank of the Ministry of Justice, the WODC. This is the Research and Documentation Centre. The thinktank reported that the number of immigrants had fallen after 2001. After 2005 it rose again to a whopping 140.000 in 2008. This relative to a 16 million population.
This is mainly caused by labour migration from counties in Eastern Europe, whose citizens can enter without applying for a permit. The succesful policy against marriage migration from Turkey and Morocco is losing its effectiveness, particularly by Muslims finding brides from other Middle Eastern countries.
The thinktank says that the government has no real influence on the number of immigrants settling within the Dutch borders. And the Minister of Integration says that it will be impossible to integrate such numbers of immigrants.
Mr. De Krom said:
"The government is a restauration government. We are going back to the 90ies. Obviously nothing has been learned from Fortuyn".The goal: assimilation of immigrant communities
Mr. De Krom has uttered other assimilationist remarks: closing Islamic schools, limiting benefits to migrants, no child support for polygamous families, no tax money to support pensions of immigrants, against influence of the Moroccan State on European politics, against the Burqa, calculating the expenses of the 2006 amnesty for asylum seekers, closing the borders to uneducated immigrants and outlawing the possibility of double nationality.
The goal of the VVD is assimilation. This is a departure of the Multiculturalist policy that all parties supported before 2001. The present centrist government is failing to defend the nation, despite the fact that it has inherited a toolbox of effective policies against migration.
The fact that other parties are adopting the rethoric of the Freedom Party shows the way to a new government coalition after the elections in 2010. Which would be the crown on Mr. Wilders' work since he left the VVD in 2006.