All 21 entries tagged Politics

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March 08, 2007

The irony is lost on me

And the irony of PSV hero Alex’s links with Chelsea did not escape the beaten Wenger.

The reporting on the PSV – Arsenal matches of the past two weeks has been truly appalling. From Russian mafia conspiracy theories to negative tactics to the worst football product in recent years. And I don’t even read the Sun.

Simple fact: PSV scored more goals than Arsenal (in fact, they scored all goals). You generally don’t advance without scoring a goal. You cannot blame the other team for having a better understanding of this concept.

Here’s another one: PSV, with Valencia, are the only club left in the Champions League not amongst the 20 richest football clubs in Europe. Why? Because it’s not in the Premier League! It might be hard to believe, but football clubs outside the UK tend not to make so much money (one reason is that admission prices are below an average working day salary), and thus don’t have much to spend on the best of the best. Great local talent is snatched away – to be fair, PSV does the same locally, by attracting youngsters from smaller Dutch clubs, but only for them to be lured away by the money making machines elsewhere. And even if you’re lucky on the transfer market, your star player will not stay for more than two years. It’s only a matter of time until Farfan enters the global spotlight.

With restricted means, you have to be clever. Guus Hiddink managed to take PSV to the second round in the Champions League twice in a row with two rather dissimilar teams. He had a slightly more versatile selection than Ronald Koeman is managing this year, so he could be a bit more adventurous, but the big difference with PSV’s game from the 1990s is its serenity. The defence is solid, and with arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, there isn’t a lot of pressure on the team to make the game. And that one goal will come, as we’ve seen twice now.

A report in the Guardian noted more irony: how Arsenal appears to be the last stronghold of the revelled Dutch total football, whereas one cannot get further away from this system than with Dutch champions PSV’s game. Or even worse: how if PSV are the Dutch champions, the quality of the Dutch league must be rather poor. But who is to blame?

PSV manages to get maximum return out of its input. Perhaps it’s a shame it involves “negative tactics” and a star player on loan from a competitor. Perhaps it’s more of a shame it had to resort to such means, forced by the economic ways of the game.


February 09, 2007

A strong message

Follow-up to It could be Rotterdam from [TBA]

Also writing about the following news item.

Feyenoord has been ejected from the UEFA Cup, and here’s what wise man and new UEFA president Michel Platini has to say about it:

This sends out a strong message that acts of violence by fans within the game will be heavily dealt with and punished by the relevant authorities.

A bit of a shame that the message has been delivered to the wrong people. The key word is, as usual, fans, for are those who illegally obtain tickets to football matches, and then end up disrupting the match, really what you would like to call supporters?

I understand the UEFA is not in the easiest position, punishing a club for something it actually could not prevent, but someone needed to be punished. But then to declare that justice has been served is a complete farce, and creates sympathy for the big clubs who want to break away from this archaic institution with its maze of fictional rules and regulations.


January 19, 2007

It could be Rotterdam

i think they should throw the whole of holland out of all competitions. I t was good enough for the english in 1985 when those liverpool fans went on their rampage so it must be good enough for everyone else.
Ian
Evertonian

Sometimes I wonder if internet access to the general public is desirable.

If a club warns their competitor hooligans are on their way, acquiring illegal tickets on the streets, and the other ignores the warnings, who is to blame? In this way, a club could even be intentionally negligent and admit hooligans – supposedly the opponent’s supporters – thus causing the opponent to be expelled from the competition.

I wonder what spurred UEFA’s turnaround…


January 13, 2007

Mistaken

The British National Party exists to secure a future for the indigenous peoples of these islands in the North Atlantic which have been our homeland for millennia. We use the term indigenous to describe the people whose ancestors were the earliest settlers here after the last great Ice Age and which have been complemented by the historic migrations from mainland Europe. The migrations of the Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Norse and closely related kindred peoples have been, over the past few thousands years, instrumental in defining the character of our family of nations.

This is the most appalling mission statement I’ve ever read. And it’s not even the message I’m concerned about (at least not now).

our homeland for millennia
In the first sentence, the BNP refers to its members having had a homeland for millennia. In my mind, millennia implies at least 2000 years, so a BNP member would have some Celtic or possibly Roman blood through his or her veins.

The second sentence is spent denying everything that is stated in the first. Since no one can actually claim to descend from the Romans or the Celts, they thought it easier to go back only a few centuries and set the bar at those who fought in the Wars of the Roses. Those were the true Brits!

closely related kindred peoples
Now what does this actually mean? Isn’t kindred the same as related? Or are they talking about inbreeding here?

The issue

Maybe not the issue, but my issue with current day right wing politics and its focus on immigrants is: lucky you. Lucky you for being born in this country that lets you speak your mind. Lucky you that your ancestors were on the right side of the border when some kings and noblemen drew lines on maps. Or that they were in a position where they were allowed to enter this country. Lucky you.

My issue is that migration is natural. As the BNP even recognizes in its mission statement, it is what made Britain great. Then why do they fail to realize its importance? What is it that makes them say: “Thanks for your help, but we’re a thriving nation now, we can do without you”?

With this in mind, the South East could follow the Californian dream and draw another line on the map and close its border for the rest of what’s left of so-called Britain. I’m sure it’s possibly to describe the “people of South East England” in a BNP-like manner, thus justifying such a break up. “You all have got silly accents anyway. But please save us some water in the summer!

I’m not British enough to make this entry really work, but the migration issue stands. Who decided who lives where? Do the people define the country, or does the country define the people? Thank goodness for Britain your right wingers lack the charismatic leaders found on the continent. And they lack the common sense to write a proper mission statement. Let’s hope it stays that way!


January 10, 2007

Something different

Writing about web page http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?threadID=5187&&edition=1&ttl=20070110124244

I’m tired of the homosexual v christianity debate. People are arguing on two (or more) completely different grounds. Can we go back to Israel v Palestine please?


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


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