All 33 entries tagged Holland

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June 09, 2008

Game on!

Writing about web page http://www.telesport.nl/voetbal/ek_2008/4194109/_Van_Nistelrooy_niet_buitenspel__.html?p=3,1

Hurrah!

I don’t care if we peaked too soon, this was a great match to remember – first win over Italy since before I was born!

And: the first goal wasn’t off-side! Apparently, the defender had enough time to join the game again, and cannot put a striker in an off-side position by staying off the field. Double hurrah!

And: none of the Dutch players seemed too bored or incompetent to join in the game. Triple hurrah!


November 29, 2006

Unreported Holland, Part III

Follow-up to Unreported Holland, Part II from [TBA]

Now, before I do some work, let me bring you the last bit of disturbing news coming from the Netherlands. Trust me, it’s a big one. Well, at least in the Netherlands people believe so.

Two reporters held hostage by justice department

Basically, the two men reported about leaks within the AIVD – General National Security Service, the Dutch SIS – and that top secret documents were obtained by criminal organisations. At the moment, there’s a case against an former AIVD employee, accused of leaking such documents, and the reporters have been asked to reveal their source.

In general, in the EU, reporters are allowed to keep their sources secret, but may be asked to reveal them in court cases. This all depends on the judge’s discretion, and is the nasty shady area in anything legal. In this case, the source “could possibly” help the defendant, and no one wants to imprison an innocent man. But is this slight possibility of freedom more important than the journalists’ (and the source’s) rights and credibility?

Today, reports come from the former Dutch colony of Indonesia, where journalists are shocked of this turn of events. It wasn’t until recently that the Indonesian secret service had so much power that the local journalists were afraid to report anything but the weather. And now the Netherlands, beacon of democracy, are resorting to measures not dissimilar to those well known to the Indonesians.

Freedom, democracy, national security, credibility. Take your pick.


Unreported Holland, Part II

Follow-up to Unreported Holland, Part I from [TBA]

See, I thought the Dutch general elections would be newsworthy, but again, only one report in the Guardian, and it was about a Greenpeace activist disturbing the current PM’s final election speech. Great. Again, the BBC hardly did better shining a light on Dutch politics, mainly saying there would be tough coalition talks.

First of all, let me cheer you up and refer to my earlier posts: the little party I voted for, which was projected to lose four seats and end up with two, managed to lose only three seats so finish at three. Hurrah! The interesting bit comes next: the first three people on the party’s list were held by men. With only two seats projected there was bound to be someone with lots of favouring votes. And indeed, one member managed to obtain more than 30.000 personal votes, bringing her far above the personal quotum of about 16.300.

Basically, the quotum for a party to obtain a seat in parliament was about 65.000 this year. For a single person within a party to claim a seat, this quotum is 25% of that, so about 16.300. Most party members accumulating so many votes are already on a position on the list where they’ll end up in parliament, just because their party gains enough seats. In the case of this smaller party, only 3 seats were obtained, and the lucky lady who was originally placed 6th gained the 2nd number of seats in the party, winning her a seat in parliament.

The results

And here’s a little puzzle for you: how do you create a majority of 76 with the following election results?

CDA (Christian Democrats, right of center, conservative) 41 (-3)
PvdA (Social Democrats, left of center, mildly progressive) 33 (-9)
VVD (Liberal Democrats, right wing, mildly progressive) 22 (-6)
SP (Socialists, left wing, mildly progressive) 25 (+16)
Groen Links (Green Socialists, left wing, progressive) 7 (-1)
D66 (Democrats, left wing, extremely progressive) 3 (-3)
CU (Christian Union, left of center, mildly conservative) 6 (+3)
SGP (Reformed Party, right of center, extremely conservative) 2 (0)
PVV (Freedom Party, right wing, conservative) 9 (+9)
PvdD (Animal Rights, left wing, mildly progressive) 2 (+2)

I could probably make a nice table, but don’t have that much spare time. At the moment, most signs indicate a CDA-PvdA-SP (99) coalition, but no one can find a subject on which both CDA and SP agree… Another option might be CDA-PvdA-CU (80), but does that really reflect the public opinion?


Unreported Holland, Part I

Why is it when there’s a sparrow causing havoc in some entertainment show in Holland, I can read all about it on the BBC front page, and the story lingers for days, whereas when substantial attacks on democracy occur in the same country, I have to resort to the Dutch newspapers? Since no one else does, I thought I’d bring you Unreported Holland.

The first story to bring to your attention, has actually been mentioned briefly in the media, mainly because it concerns recent developments in the UK. The Guardian even managed to make it front page news (at least on their website). Supposedly, the Dutch were going to ban the burqa from the streets. Surprisingly, this article only lingered for a few hours.

To be fair, the article was stirring with insufficient information. The parliament had merely accepted a proposal that allowed looking into such a ban. The Guardian failed to mention that at the time, within a week general elections were to be held, and a left-wing majority opposing such ban was bound to be formed as a result. On top of that, the news did reappear once more, when The Economist outrightly denounced the mere thought of banning religious clothing, wondering where the Dutch justice department had not been reading allowing the green light for this process.

One further comment. The following letter was placed after the original article in the Guardian:

Naima Bouteldja is unhappy with Dutch law banning the veil because she believes Muslim women are being asked to submit not to the law of the land but to a dominant way of life. But the dominant way of life in any country is what that country’s laws do or should reflect. No sensible western woman would walk along the streets of a Saudi city wearing a miniskirt. Saying that she worships the beauty of the human body would not save her from condemnation there, and rightly so.

I wonder if the writer realizes that he has just put Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands on the same line. Most Dutch people – even these days – would consider their country tolerant, and would probably see that as the dominant way of life. A way of life, where we don’t tell people what they cannot do. Now let’s hope the predictions are true and this proposal ends up in the bin as soon as the new government is formed.


November 07, 2006

2 more weeks

Follow-up to I need help from [TBA]

It seems like the little guy is winning.

Unfortunately, the PvdA (“socialist”, “labour”) party leader, and actually the party itself, is drowning in political correctness. Afraid to take a stance, he comes out with silly statements, hoping that the lack of a standpoint will reel in voters both sides of the fence. Current big issue – following a law passed in France – is the Armenian massacre1. No, the Dutch didn’t travel to Turkey nearly a century ago for a murder frenzy, but a great number of Turks now live in the Netherlands, a number significant enough to change the outcome of the elections.

The CDA have withdrawn some of their candidates as they refused to acknowledge the genocide. The PvdA have also withdrawn a candidate, but are keeping their number two, and have brought nuances into their statements concerning the word genocide. In the mean time, apparently, the Turks are urged to support D66, who didn’t remove their representative of Turkish descent from their list. Whether or not she approves of the term genocide is apparently beside the point.

Strategic voting is dominating Dutch politics, but I think I’ll let my conscience have another go. At least with a smaller party it means I’ve got fewer candidates to choose from!

1 Or Armenian genocide, depending on your definitions


2 more weeks

Follow-up to I need help from [TBA]

It seems like the little guy is winning.

Unfortunately, the PvdA (“socialist”, “labour”) party leader, and actually the party itself, is drowning in political correctness. Afraid to take a stance, he comes out with silly statements, hoping that the lack of a standpoint will reel in voters both sides of the fence. Current big issue – following a law passed in France – is the Armenian massacre1. No, the Dutch didn’t travel to Turkey nearly a century ago for a murder frenzy, but a great number of Turks now live in the Netherlands, a number significant enough to change the outcome of the elections.

The CDA have withdrawn some of their candidates as they refused to acknowledge the genocide. The PvdA have also withdrawn a candidate, but are keeping their number two, and have brought nuances into their statements concerning the word genocide. In the mean time, apparently, the Turks are urged to support D66, who didn’t remove their representative of Turkish descent from their list. Whether or not she approves of the term genocide is apparently beside the point.

Strategic voting is dominating Dutch politics, but I think I’ll let my conscience have another go. At least with a smaller party it means I’ve got fewer candidates to choose from!

1 Or Armenian genocide, depending on your definitions


November 01, 2006

I need help

We’ve got elections coming up in the Netherlands, and there’s too much choice! I more or less narrowed it down, however, but now I can choose between a large party that’s quite likely to end up in the government, but doesn’t really match my idea(l)s, or a small party that’s struggling to even get a single seat, but would represent me best.

Would you rather vote tactically, to get the large party in the coalition, so that at least the government is somewhat doing what you want it to do (but not enough), and your preferred party dwindles somewhere in the opposition? Or would you vote idealistically, hoping that your use of democracy gives the smaller party a stronger voice, and so that you don’t feel so stupid when the government messes up?


September 21, 2006

Yes it's * political

Hooray I’m back in the Netherlands, and so far I’ve enjoyed speaking Dutch, riding my bike (on the right hand side, as we do), and watching Dutch TV.

On my way here I bought the Guardian to keep me entertained. I like the Guardian, now that my hands don’t end up as covered in ink as they used to. It also has an elaborate comments section, with comments that make sense. Mostly so, because there are articulate people on both sides of the fence, getting nearly a page to voice their opinion. It does make it rather confusing reading about the Hungarian “revolt” eight times in eight different places from eight different perspectives in the same newspaper.

What really caught my eye however was a letter of some sorts by Compass. It was a heartfelt cry against the current social environment in the UK, where people (feel they) have to work immensely hard to matter. Where children are modelled into being consumers as soon as they can read. You get the idea. Great utopian image of everyone gets taken care off from the day they are born until the day they die. I do encourage you to visit their website and read The Good Society, as long as you care about politics.

Cue Holland. Not trying to brag here, and I assume some Scandinavian countries are better examples, but we’ve tried to get to this utopian society from since I was born, and it’s not all that great. Last night I read the Elsevier, a magazine similar to Time or The Economist, but – as opposed to Compass with a right-of-center ideology. With the next elections in November, they thought to point out what parties won’t discuss in their programs. Key points? Our social structure is too expensive, as the population is getting more grey by the day. Our social structure makes people lazy, as unemployment benefits are more appealing than a simple day job. Our social structure is too expensive, as companies and engineers move elsewhere to avoid high taxes. [1]

Now there’s an issue. Both countries in the EU: one would like more social security, the other wants to loosen it. If only there were a market for such things.

Let me say I’m glad I live on the right side of the North Sea. Sure, social security is expensive, and indeed it does make (some) people lazy. Yet, it gives those people that do want to achieve something a better chance of doing so. Until they start making too much money and end up in the dreadful higher tax bracket. The cradle to grave utopia might be costly to aim for, but I’d rather be in a society trying to go for it, than one desillusioned and giving up on it. Read The Good Society and start dreaming. [2]

1 Elsevier, 62, Nr.37, 16th September 2006. The article also mentions the increasing immigration (though other sources – my mum – report lower immigration figures), the islamification of the country, and the money spent on the developing world going down the drain.

2 Unless you’re so far on the right you don’t even know what right is.


July 03, 2006

Another little review

Follow-up to A little late review from [TBA]

Triggered by the other review of the England squad, and to respond to my housemate's request, I'll try and give my own ratings, related to how I rated the Dutch.

Goals for: 5 (6 if you count the Paraguay own goal along)
Goals against: 2
Cautions: 9 (1 expulsion)

Since I didn't watch all England matches, I won't rate every player, but here are the ones I thought that matter

Robinson promising. Only one great save I remember amongst quite a few panicky ones, but not bad. 6,5

Gary Neville steady. Just plays football and there's nothing wrong with that. Not very exciting going forward, however. 6

Ashley Cole timid. Definitely not as great as 2 years ago, and not as adventurous. No massive problems in defending. 6

Ferdinand strong and present. Absolutely nothing wrong with him. Apart from playing for ManU. 8

Terry burdened. He just seemed under pressure, never really relaxed in defending, nor outstanding. 6

Gerrard invisible. Really. I know he scored goals, but as a consequence of the game England played, i.e. skippin' the midfield, he didn't get to do that much. Great corner against Portugal though. 6

Lampard disappointing. Most shots on goal? His best match seemed to be against Portugal, where he hardly missed his chances, as he didn't get that many. Again, not sure if his lack of form was due to the long season, or the unsuitable tactics. 4

Beckham cool. But why does he play? Misses the pace to go forward, and misses precision to be of any use in defending. With the midfield being skipped most of the time, he can't be the anchorman either. Nothing really wrong with him, but with Lampard (even if not in form) and Gerrard taking fine free kicks and better corners, there doesn't seem to be any use for him in the starting line up. 5

Rooney forced. It wasn't his fault. Nothing was. It was just a miracle that didn't happen. 5

Joe Cole the man. Seemed at times to be the only Englishman on the field who wanted to win this Cup. I'm still not convinced his was the possible goal of the tournament, but he did deserve to be noticed. Funnily enough Hargreaves seemed to be better at reaching the goal line in the Portugal match. 7

Hargreaves dear. Now you've got a problem. He can do almost anything, but just not as good as others. But tell him to run all over the field and do all he can to help out and he's your man. Unfortunately this was only realized in the final match. 7

Lennon great. Not a starting player (yet), but the best secret weapon this WC. Worked really well with Crouch and played with the Portugal defence. Teach him how to finish and you've got a new match winner and can send Robben back to the mainland. 7

Crouch extra. I still wonder what he's doing on the field, but he seems to be doing it well. Proved why he was there, and strong in the Portugal match. 7

Hmm. Looking at these ratings it's not all that bad. Well, apart from Lampard. It was just all so uninspiring. No one seemed willing to win this Cup, at least not until it seemed impossible to obtain when Rooney got sent off. So who is to blame?

Eriksson There's nothing wrong with being timid on the sidelines. Rather that than bobo Scolari jumping up and down and doing the Macarena. There was nothing wrong with the squad he selected. All fine players, and I just realize I rated them more positively than the Dutch squad, which I'm sure has some psychological meaning. But what was the plan?

All I can think of that Sven went around his players, asking what their favourite positions on the pitch were. He put the most valuable players together and would just see what the final line up would bring. 4–1–4–1? 3–5–2? Surely the players are talented enough to make something of it! But no.

Where Van Basten is too stubborn and should have seen that even after 20 matches, his squad still didn't perform well in 4–3–3, Sven seems to be more of a team player, making sure everyone's happy and the system will come later. I didn't rate Van Basten, but he would have probably had 5,5 out of 10. I'll give Sven the same, just because I can't decide whether the players' well being is more important than consistency in a system. San Marco ruined the Dutch confidence by making them play a system they couldn't handle, Sven ruined the English performance by making them play without a system.


June 29, 2006

Re:Touche

Follow-up to Touche from [TBA]

BBC News Article

Poor Harry Potter Balkenende, his second term seemed to fare so much better than his first. Or I could replace first and second by second and third, seeing that his first attempt actually stalled after the LPF fell apart in discontent.

No, after a record–breaking period of forming a new government two years ago, he still managed to get some bad seed in his council. Verdonk's self–glorifying behaviour and lack of humility didn't go well with the D66 members, who decided to leave the government and their positions in the cabinet.

Where Balkenende's first term was troubled by the near–political–legend Pim Fortuyn's legacy, this term ends with a row over another high–flying politician, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Guess I should sort out how to vote from the UK. Again.


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