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Dutch politics stops minding its language

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AMSTERDAM – Prime Minister Mark Rutte is imitating the brash rhetorical design of opponent Geert Wilders because attempts to fight the development of his far-right party previous to a March election.

Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) has consistently been topping polls, followed by Rutte’s conservative-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Rutte’s strategy so far is aimed squarely at Wilders since the main competition, casting the election like a choice between the prime minister or maybe the PVV.

Rutte’s blunt newspaper ad?last week – telling anybody who doesn’t just like the Netherlands to go away – underlines the way the introduction of Wilders’ populist style has upended a tradition of calm and lawyerly Dutch political rhetoric.

Almost invariably, once the rhetorical gloves go is where politicians try the defining topic within the election campaign: immigration, particularly Muslim immigration.

Here is usually a roundup of precisely how brash words conquered the Dutch political mainstream.

‘Backward culture’

Before Wilders, there was clearly Pim Fortuyn, an openly gay populist who rode a wave of resentment toward Muslims inside wake with the 9/11 attacks for the United States and described Islam as being a “backward culture.”?He was assassinated in 2002 by way of a radical environmental activist who accused Fortuyn of scapegoating marginal groups, inside of a murder that shocked holland.

‘Head rag tax’

Wilders’ capability to get free publicity by developing headlines along with language have been key to his party’s rise. One moment that entered Dutch political lore was while he calmly proposed to parliament introducing a “kopvoddentaks,”?or “head rag tax”.

‘Doe eens normaal’

“I keep in mind that people think: should you reject our country fundamentally, I’d rather look at you go. We’ve a similar feeling. Act normal or leave,” Rutte wrote in their newspaper advert.

    His words were an evident echo of the comment by Wilders to him last year – “doe eens normaal, man” – a slangy remark that roughly translates as “act normal, man” and became instantly notorious as a break with parliament’s traditional etiquette.

    “Scornful laughter” was the response to Wilders’ words in those days, noted Joost de Vries within the Volkskrant newspaper. “Six years later, the VVD has elevated a similar words into a slogan.”

    ‘Minder minder minder!’

    The chant, “fewer, fewer, fewer!” was exactly what a crowd of supporters called returning to Wilders in 2014 while he asked them whether wanted more Moroccans inside Netherlands, or fewer. It landed him in court on trial for hate speech, which Wilders took as being an possiblity to cast himself being a defender of free expression including a victim of the politically motivated trial. He was found guilty of incitement and inspiring discrimination but weren’t given a lack of success.

    ‘Pleur op’

    Rutte opened the political season which has a television interview where he explained antisocial youths of Turkish background should “pleur op” or “piss off” to Turkey. It’s actually a somewhat old-fashioned sounding phrase discussing pleurisy, in the Dutch tradition of illness-themed curses, and it had clear echoes of Wilders’ rhetoric.

    “Everybody knows immediately this is often Wilders’ style … it’s almost a dialect word, slightly archaic,” said Henk te Velde, a professor of Dutch history at Leiden University who studies political language. “This is completely new, that the mainstream party is copying Wilders’ rhetoric.”

    In the exact same television interview in September, Rutte declined to rule out doing coalition with Wilders, a posture he altered this month when he said there seemed to be “zero” possibility of a real deal. Opinion polls indicate that when both generally cooperate, it depends five parties and up may have to coalesce to attain the 76 seats needed for a majority.

    The risk, as outlined by Te Velde, is that Rutte may strengthen Wilders by setting him up as the chief opposition, understanding that copying him could reinforce an impression that he is a politician without strong convictions of his.

    “People ask: who is the real Rutte, and what does he really think?” Te Velde said. “He’s increasing the impression he has no his very own ideas, understanding that he isn’t for being trusted, because he’s changing day-to-day.”

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