College Tour Deputy Prime Minister Kaag was told by her daughters that they want her to do something else soon
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 18:44
“It only has to go wrong once. I actually want her to find another job,” says one of the daughters of Deputy Prime Minister Sigrid Kaag about the many threats to her. In the upcoming broadcast of College Tour you can see that Kaag responds emotionally to that call.
That pressure from family to stop after threats is felt by many more politicians, says researcher Diana Marijnissen of the Undermining research group at Avans University of Applied Sciences. She researched the impact of threats on local administrators. “If they leave their position, the reason is almost always family members who say that at some point it has been enough with the threats.”
“The people in question feel that the pressure is so high that they decide to stop. They say: my loved ones have not chosen this work.”
The fact that drivers are increasingly being threatened has been going on for some time. Within provinces, municipalities and water boards, the number of politicians who were confronted with aggression or violence rose from 23 percent in 2014 to 49 percent in 2022. The incidents for politicians are also becoming increasingly violent. The Public Prosecution Service has never even received so many reports of threats about national politicians as last year. There were 1125, almost twice as many as the year before.
According to the Public Prosecution Service, threats to national politicians are often made via Twitter or Instagram.
Politicians are also increasingly daring to be vulnerable about this, says researcher Marijnissen. “We didn’t see that very often in politics at first. It was more like: if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Now we’ve seen that vulnerability more often lately, for example at Kaag. She is very open about it, and also her children.”
For example, Kaag’s daughter Janna said in a recorded interview that she is concerned that her mother will end up like Els Borst, the former minister who was murdered by a psychiatric patient who was angry about her euthanasia policy.
Look here at that message from the daughters of Kaag:
Daughters Kaag: ‘Hope she will do something else soon’
And so there are more family members who fear for their neighbor who is in politics. “There have been situations with some regularity that the children wished I had had a different job,” said minister Hugo de Jonge about the threats to him. “To be honest, I think there are few families of ministers who applaud the work we do”, is the conclusion of Minister Wopke Hoekstra, who also has to deal with threats.
The fact that politicians are more open about it or even decide to stop it may also have to do with the nature of the threat. Threats often involve people reacting emotionally, says Marijnissen. “Then it’s an accumulation of emotions, they’re not feeling well and hear something that triggers them and then react on social media.”
But sometimes it goes further than that. For example, the daughter of Minister De Jonge said that they received threatening letters at home during the corona pandemic. Or think of the man who visited Kaag at home with a torch, says Marijnissen. “That’s a completely different type of threat, and we also see that those threats in the personal sphere have much more impact than other types.”
Retired politicians are known to be more likely to think about their future when threatened in their private sphere. “If the threat remains in the business sphere, you can still separate it,” says researcher Marijnissen. “But if you are also threatened in the private sphere, especially if your children are involved, then it becomes more difficult. It depends on how the environment reacts which consideration you make.”
In any case, Kaag is not thinking about it now, she said today. “There are no elections and we have been able to take major steps as a cabinet, so I also feel that responsibility.”
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