Loyalty and the new political reality

northAfter a very unusual formation that resulted in a somewhat unusual government structure, the images of a new cabinet on the steps of Huis ten Bosch Palace suddenly seemed surprisingly familiar to me.

In times of change, rituals like these can have something comforting. By oath or vote, politicians who until recently seemed almost synonymous with the opposition also join the existing order to serve the country from the government for a while. This peaceful transfer of power is undoubtedly a great advantage.

However, business as usual in The Hague should not lull us to sleep. How does a newspaper that has prided itself on its ideals for more than eighty years relate to this new political reality?

in the damn corner

First of all, we have to do what we always do. We must constantly monitor how policies affect citizens. Also, or perhaps especially, citizens who, as members of the upper middle class – the average newspaper reader and journalist – are not automatically in their sights. Citizens like Abdellatif Harchaoui (57), whom we spoke to in Overvecht in Utrecht. “We are always in the dark,” he told our journalists. “Sometimes I think: what more do we need in this country?”

No one expects yet another revelation about crazy and discriminatory methods of fraud hunting, but… Fidelity It is their duty to remain cautious about these matters in the near future. The middle parties that have been in power in recent years have also shown that they can explore and go beyond the limits of the rule of law.

Secondly, we must be careful not to automatically side with the political centre which will be in opposition in the near future. That Fidelity The fact that we show concern in our comments about populism and the radical right does not mean that we are defending the status quo. The place of this newspaper is always on the side of the citizens and not of those in power.

Thirdly, we must not turn the unusual into the ordinary. Sharing power becomes normal. This can also be interpreted positively: politicians who have always had to resort to big words and gestures can become ministers who, in their new position, discover how complex the reality is in which they have to manoeuvre.

Blindly focusing on politics

But in this country, new elections are never far away, which means we must also keep an eye on ministers who use their office to profile themselves politically. Ministerial power in the hands of politicians who have been fantasising about solutions for what they consider to be “the population” for decades requires extra vigilance.

Finally you may like it Fidelity I hope that we will not be blinded by politics either. Fortunately, a society is more than its rulers. This was also clear when we measured the atmosphere on Overvecht Street. Consider the enthusiasm of the programme director, Iman Abrontan, who runs a “neighbourhood asylum centre” from which a long list of neighbourhood initiatives are organised.

We are entering a time when we need examples like this.

It is encouraging that the climate train has also left long ago. This does not mean simply paralysing a new cabinet.

Or, as the poet Henriëtte Roland Holst knew a century ago: soft forces will certainly win in the end.

Wendelmoet Boersema and Karel Smouter, editors-in-chief of Trouwwrite weeklyon the discussions in the editorial office and the newspaper’s elections.

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