What do we see after 20 years of Fortuyn? ‘Politicians now prefer to say what they think’

What do we see after 20 years of Fortuyn?  ‘Politicians now prefer to say what they think’

Few politicians aroused as much emotion as Pim Fortuyn. As a foreigner, he wanted to overthrow the establishment, but was murdered twenty years ago today, just before entering politics. What is Fortuyn’s legacy and what do we see in him today?

Let’s not beat around the bush. Many of the emotions Fortuyn evokes are related to his views on immigration and integration.

He was not the first politician to criticize the multicultural society, but he was the first to address a wide audience.

“Fortuyn was the first politician to master the anti-immigration wave well,” says Joost van Spanje (University of London), professor of political science. He draws attention to the fact that “9/11” played a very important role in this. Fortuyn managed to bend anti-Islamic sentiments to his will.

“Fortuyn has attracted a large part of society that has never been involved in politics,” says Leonard Ornstein, who obtained his PhD from Leiden University and contributed to Fortuyn’s biography. “It is important because many of them had no faith in politics. Fortuyn has managed to restore some confidence. It made a mess.”

In November 2001 Fortuyn was at the top of the list of habitable Netherlands.


In November 2001 Fortuyn was at the top of the list of habitable Netherlands.

In November 2001 Fortuyn was at the top of the list of habitable Netherlands.

Photographer: FATHER

Fortuyn made politics personal

At the time, the agitation was cleverly pushed into the background by the ruling PvdA, VVD and D66 parties. Agreements were made behind the scenes, there was practically no serious public discussion. Van Spanje: “After eight years of purple, all polarization has disappeared.”

This is what The Hague looked like in Fortuyn’s time

  • In 2002, the Netherlands had just completed two “purple” firms (PvdA, VVD and D66) led by Wim Kok.
  • In November 2001 Fortuyn became the list leader of Leefbaar Nederland: “At your service”.
  • After fierce criticism of Islam (“retrospective culture”) and Article 1 (“abolition”) of the Constitution, he was expelled from the habitable Netherlands and founded his own party in February 2002: Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF).
  • Liveable Rotterdam, of which Fortuyn is also the party leader, won the municipal elections on 6 March 2002 due to force majeure at the expense of the PvdA.
  • He was murdered on May 6, 2002 by Volkert van der Graaf in Fortuyn, Hilversum.
  • On May 15, 2001, Jan Peter Balkenende’s CDA won the elections. LPF won 26 seats and became second party, PvdA almost halved.
  • After long discussions, the first Balkenende cabinet (CDA, LPF and VVD) falls after 87 days. The LPF has only 8 seats left in the 2003 elections.

Fortuyn had nothing to do with party leaders in the elections to the House of Representatives on 15 May 2002. In many respects, then PvdA leader Ad Melkert was his polar opposite.

“If you invite me to a party, it takes a while before you realize I’m there,” said Melkert in an interview with VPRO in August 2002. “At least you knew when Pim Fortuyn was coming.”

They probably had more similarities than they’d admit. “Both are trained by the PvdA,” explains Ornstein.

In terms of style, Fortuyn had no equal. He made politics almost absurdly personal. Nowadays it is impossible to imagine life without the personal stories of politicians, although it is still a bit strange to talk openly about the darkroom visit (as Fortuyn sometimes did). His possible match also revolved around him: List Pim Fortuyn (LPF).

Fortuyn argued with Ad Melkert on March 6, 2002.


Fortuyn argued with Ad Melkert on March 6, 2002.

Fortuyn argued with Ad Melkert on March 6, 2002.

Photographer: FATHER

Multicultural society at the forefront of the campaign

Conflicts dominated Fortuyn’s political career. “The media love it, and it got a lot of attention,” says Van Spanje. This was also a result of his argumentative style. “His voice was determined and honest,” Ornstein says.

In any case, he also assured that he would leave the Netherlands as foreman Leefbaar. Fortuyn mentioned it three months before the elections in an interview. by Volkskrant Islam is a “backward culture”. He also wanted to remove “this strange constitutional article” that prohibits discrimination.

From this moment on, the multicultural society comes even more to the forefront of her campaign. For him, this multicultural society was not a luxury, as PvdA, GroenLinks, D66 and CDA said at the time. In an interview just before his death, he said: “This is a big lie. “We have some problems on our plate,” he said.

“It made politics much more personal. As a result, you now see many more small batches.

Leonard Ornstein, biographer of Pim Fortuyn

His hometown of Rotterdam was also not a pleasant environment around the turn of the century. Socio-economic disadvantages have caused many problems in Maasstad. Young people of non-Western descent were often included.

In a secretly recorded and now famous video, it becomes clear how Fortuyn thinks about the ‘question’ of the multicultural society. “We have a fifth column here,” he said of young Moroccans and Turks.

The most important measures: “Schengen” was abolished, borders were closed and more than ten thousand asylum seekers did not enter the country every year.

In March 2002 Fortuyn threw a cake in his face during the presentation of his book and election platform.


In March 2002 Fortuyn threw a cake in his face during the presentation of his book and election platform.

In March 2002 Fortuyn threw a cake in his face during the presentation of his book and election platform.

Photographer: FATHER

Fortuyn wanted to break through the political system

Shocking for the time. We are now used to something from political The Hague. It is not just anti-immigration parties such as the PVV. The party leader, Geert Wilders, went further by announcing that he wanted to extradite ‘Moroccan criminals’ to Morocco. Fortuyn called it absurd. “This is our problem and we have to solve it.”

Fortuyn’s ‘shocking’ ideas have also been heard from real estate agents in recent years. Former PvdA minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem thought of a ‘mini-Schengen’ in 2015 to tackle the refugee crisis at the time. CDA member Hugo de Jonge suggested that as Deputy Prime Minister in the previous cabinet there should be a “target” for the number of immigrants.

“Fortuyn hoped for a breath of fresh air. The same parties do not always consult on the same flank. It’s very little.

Joost van Spanje, professor of political science

More generally, Fortuyn wanted to break up the political system. “For better or worse”, he writes in his book be society (2002). In his view, large companies in particular had ‘a carefully maintained monopoly on important functions in the public domain’.

Only a stranger can change that, he thought. According to Fortuyn, it was only a matter of time before the Netherlands would succumb if there was no room for dissenting opinions.

Fortuyn received a stricter answer at the end of March than the initial discussion on 6 March.


Fortuyn received a stricter answer at the end of March than the initial discussion on 6 March.

Fortuyn received a stricter answer at the end of March than the initial discussion on 6 March.

Photographer: FATHER

“Fortuyn is the starting point of disintegration”

Twenty years after his death, the situation in the Netherlands is not so bad. The political system was also not fragmented. Melkert concluded this several months after the 2002 elections. “A lot has happened after the elections, but we cannot talk about the collapse of the system. On the contrary. The system is more powerful than ever.”

What is Fortuyn’s legacy today? Ornstein now sees a significant change. “Since Fortuyn’s death, there has been a lot of movement in the political landscape. It made politics much more personal. Now you see a lot of small parties. Fortuyn is where this fragmentation begins.”

Van Spanje believes that Fortuyn has failed to break through the political system. “Fortuyn hoped for a breath of fresh air. Behind the scenes, the same parties do not always consult with each other. Very little came out. You always see the same parties at the helm. PVV joined, but this party is isolated.”

Since Fortuyn, Van Spanje and Ornstein mainly see a change in the political approach. “Politicians are now more inclined to express their opinion,” says Van Spanje. Ornstein: “The tone of the debate is now stronger and fairer.”

After the television debate, Balkenende (CDA), Melkert (PvdA) and Pim Fortuyn (LPF).


After the television debate, Balkenende (CDA), Melkert (PvdA) and Pim Fortuyn (LPF).

After the television debate, Balkenende (CDA), Melkert (PvdA) and Pim Fortuyn (LPF).

Photographer: FATHER

Fortuyn made “a completely different sport”

Politics was shaken up from different angles in 2002. Melkert thought that Fortuyn practiced ‘a completely different sport’.

Melkert himself was a huge football fan. He was in the 1974 final against West Germany. “The Netherlands lost because they thought they had already won,” he said in 2002. Neeskens took the lead from the second minute.

In doing so, Melkert may have provided an accurate analysis of what happened in the political field in 2002. After Prime Minister Root’s eight-year reign and strong economic winds, nothing seemed to go wrong. Then came Fortuyn.

Source: NU

follow:
\