Oh dear. Just yesterday I was posting about my surrender to pregnancy subjects on this blog. And this morning I realised that what I was thinking about was not kiddies. It was politics.
The Netherlands is (are?) approaching local elections: cities, towns, municipalities. The whole affair is overshadowed, however, by international politics. The current cabinet is a coalition of three parties and one of them is sticking to its guns - much to the annoyance of the other two. They're blaming the one dissident of abusing the occassion of the elections for its own gain.
Probably. (Isn't that what all parties do?) But there seems to be more to it than that.
The whole affair is about the Dutch mission in Afghanistan. It was agreed upon at the start of the coalition that the mission would end in August 2010, at the instigation of the one party (PvdA). Now the other two are plain refusing to stick with the agreement and want the Dutch to stay in Uruzgan. Why? Because NATO has sent an official request that the Dutch stay. And typically the Dutch are hesitant (shall we say scared?) to oppose anything the Big Boys are saying. Like the best boy in the classroom, we're usually more than willing to oblige. Now PvdA is refusing to do so.
The rhetoric from the government leaders especially is striking. The leaders of the other two parties, CDA and CU, act very surprised and annoyed that PvdA is refusing to cooperate. They're acting like they are the grown-ups and PvdA is a kid that refuses to cooperate. Little brat. Granted, the PvdA's actions have not been impeccable in this issue (at all) but since the agreement was part of the coalition from the start they can hardly be really surprised. It sounds to me like they're just disappointed. They were expecting the PvdA to swallow. Instead it spits.
Please mind that the above is a very simplified representation of the issues involved. I can´t say I´m an expert or even that I followed the affair from head to tail. Where it relates to me is here: upcoming elections and I have no idea what to vote! I always vote. Always. But these past years it has become more difficult each time to find a party or program that I feel really comfortable with.
And if the Cabinet were to fall over the Afghanistan issue, we'd have to have another round of elections but this time for the national government. Then I would really not know what to vote! Will that be the first time my vote will be 'blanco'?