It had to happen. And not before time either.
The Dutch government has imploded.
Basically, in case you didn't hear, the PvdA (the Dutch Labour party... social democratic) pulled the plug over Afghanistan. The Dutch cabinet, consisting of the CDA (Christian capitalist party), the PvdA and the CU (small Christian party, morally to the right of the CDA, but economically to the left) agreed last year that they would remove their troops from Afghanistan in 2010.
Then the NATO requested they stay on. The Christian parties wanted to discuss this, the PvdA did not. So the government, which had been dipping its toes in implosion since its creation three years ago, collapsed.
All very well and so. I mean, Afghanistan has been discussed until the cows come home. American right-wingers believe we should remain over there chasing down freedom fighters and the rest of the world believe we shouldn't have gone in there at all. Truth be told; that's a different discussion for a different thread. Let's delve into Dutch politics and amuse ourselves...
A quick summery of Dutch politics:
Throughout the 20th century Dutch politics was divided into what is known as columns. The religious, the liberal (both morally as economically) and socialist column. This "Verzuiling" as it was called started in the 1840's and lasted right up until the 1970's. Sort of. Give or take a year, I'm doing this off by heart, so you'll have to forgive the details.
basically this these political parties and their supporters didn't mingle with each other. You could say there were three distinct columns within Dutch society.
Then from the 1970's onwards these three columns (one could say the discovery of gas in a part of the North of the Netherlands catalysed the entwining) decided it was more productive, politically and economically, to find a middle-ground.
This was called "the polder-model". And it worked very well. Obviously left-wing extremists like myself and right-wing extremists were knocked to the periphery of the political debate, but a grand sense of stability prevailed. Not the most exciting of political set-ups, but certainly far more productive than say the dialectic situation in Britain in the 80's.
As boring things go, politics did become dull. And along came Pim Fortuyn. Shouting and balling, but basically a VVD (economic and social liberal party) at heart, openly gay and very anti-immigrant. Within three months he managed to shake up Dutch politics and was shot as a thanks. Shot, I may add, by an enviromentalist nut-job, and not an immigrant.
His party went on and did well in the elections and since then there's been a steady polarization of politics in the Netherlands.
The cabinet with the dead Fortuyn's party in it didn't last long and collapsed. And since then there's been 3 other cabinets, all with the CDA as largest party.
Now, a great-great-great grand-relative if Vincent van Gogh (you might know this painter from the fantastic song by Johanathan Richman) was a right-wing nut job and an artist. I don't believe anyone should be killed for their art or their politics, but he was murdered, brutally, by nut-job moslims.
Naturally what followed was pandamonium in the whole post 9-11 scare-monger-situation.