Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Whereas it is hard to argue about the 'greatness' and achievements of the "Greatest German" ( Konrad Adenauer ) or of the "Greatest Briton" ( Winston Churchill ), the main accomplishment which earned the "Greatest Dutchman" his election, which was announced yesterday, was being murdered. True, Pim Fortuyn had an impressive career as an academic and author, and he was a gifted speaker. Still, he was shot before he had a chance of proving himself as a politician - and, who knows, statesman -, and all that his followers and admirers were left with on May 6th 2002 were unfulfilled expectations, slogans and one-liners that remained just words ( transparent government, measures aimed against - especially Muslim - immigrants, etc.). None of the parliamentarians who were elected on the LPF ( List Pim Fortuyn ) ticket in the following elections left a truly lasting impression or legacy, except for cheap and empty populism, many parliamentary street fights, back room deals the fight against which had been one of Fortuyn's election promises to begin with, and a cabinet that was shortlived mainly because of them.
Today, with media votes being conducted through SMS and internet, it is easy to cheat and hard to keep such votes from being manipulated by well-organized interest groups with members who have too much spare time and a mostly emotional link to the group, country, song, person etc. which/whom they vote for. That way people who - in totally incomparable ways, but that is another subject - truly contributed to the prosperity and greatness of the Netherlands were beaten by a murdered populist, who probably even got many more votes in the two weeks since the murder of Theo van Gogh. The latter happened to have some of his ideas regarding Islam in common with Fortuyn, and if he could have been added to the list of candidates he might have been elected yesterday.

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