Way before we'll know how the English will fare in their new situation, we'll know what the next Dutch government will look like. The 9th of June we'll have national elections, and it'll be very exciting. Again.
We've had Balkenende now for donkey's years, and I've never been excessively happy with that, so I hope we will use these elections to get rid of him as a prime minister. I am a bit scared, though, of what we might get in return... there's some people waiting to take over with whom I'm even less pleased. The only thing I can do is vote, and hope for the best.
And I've received my polling card! This gives me ample time to send it back in time. Good. It also sped up my efforts in keeping up with electoral news. And that evidently was needed, for I saw all sorts of parties on the polling card that were new to me. And some browsing taught me that among them were something that appeared to be a student's party, and one party that was a sort of one-issue party focusing on privacy, mainly online, and some party of new age happy people that had beautiful ideas but did not seem to be too keen on explaining how exactly they thought they would make all that really happen. I'll have to dive in a bit further, but a quick glance showed I most likely will be voting for a party that has participated in national elections before.
This polling card must look odd to the British eye, that only gets a handful of names to choose from... and notice the beautifully orange envelope!
And that brings me to another very useful tool in the Dutch elections, that the Brits might learn something from: "de stemwijzer", which roughly translates to the polling indicator. It's a site made by the institute for public and politics, and they chop up the programmes of all participating parties into equivalent morsels and place them side to side. Doing the stemwijzer means responding to 30 statements of political significance, and having your answers compared to the intentions voiced by all these parties, showing you how much you have in common with each of them. It also links to further information. Very handy! It does not entirely replace doing some research yourself, as politics is about more than 30 topics, but if you see you have practically nothing in common with a new party on this selection of issues, it probably means you don't have to read their programme very intensively before you find out they're not for you.
This year they had something new: the voting tracker! There has been evidence in the past of political parties not entirely standing up to their promises, and this tool provides a check on that. It only works for parties who have been represented in parliament before, but that's a minor disadvantage. It gives you 30 issues that have been voted on in the house of commons, and lets you cast your vote. Afterwards you can see what all parties have voted, and which one voted most like you. I thought it was telling that for me, the results from the indicator and the tracker were not the same... perhaps of course due to imperfect representation, but perhaps also due to the difference between what politicians promise you and what they'll deliver.
Anyway. I've got some time to finetune my preferences, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for the outcome on the 9th of June! Will we keep the christians in power? Will we get labour or the liberals instead? Or will Wilders do what he hopes to do? Stay tuned...