ANPVan der Plas at the HJ Schoo lecture
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 21:37
The government must function as an involved neighbor, but at the same time must remain at a distance. BBB leader Caroline van der Plas said this in the annual HJ Schoo lecture. She advocates a ‘noaberstaat’ or ‘mienskipstaet’, based on the way people in Twente and Friesland would like to live together. With communities that, where possible, can make their own choices.
Like many other parties, BBB emphasizes social security for citizens in the run-up to the elections. Van der Plas: “The end point is that everyone in this country can sit at home in the garden or behind the TV without any worries. In which there are no major worries about work, expensive groceries and fuel.”
The government must trust citizens and citizens must be able to trust the government, Van der Plas believes. Everyone in the Netherlands should have access to facilities and opportunities, regardless of where he or she lives. In recent years, investments have mainly been made in the Randstad, and too little in the region. “Institutional urbanism”, Van der Plas calls it, appealing to the commonly used term ‘institutional racism’.
She notes that the government has increasingly withdrawn, leaving people far too much at the mercy of the market. But on the other hand, the government must also be reluctant to interfere with citizens and companies. Excessive bureaucracy has turned farmers into accountants, she says.
Van der Plas acknowledges that there is a contradiction in her message. “It is both a problem that the government is withdrawing from the Netherlands, and that the same administrative state seems to be interfering in everything.”
According to her, the current government is mainly a “white-collar government”. The policy is made by highly educated people who live in their own bubble. If the policy fails, they don’t feel it, but ordinary people do. “The government must stop being a big company.”
Gut feelings are also feelings.
Caroline van der Plas in the HJ Schoo lecture
According to Van der Plas, the Netherlands is in a “societal crisis”, “a deep crisis of confidence between citizens and government”. Politicians are partly to blame for the polarization, because they dismiss people with a different opinion as stupid right-wing or wimpy. She finds it terrible that a popular TV program such as Today Inside, with Johan Derksen, is described as drink talk.
“Gut feelings are also feelings. We have the task of taking this seriously and making people feel seen and heard,” says Van der Plas.
People no longer listen to each other, she believes. “We speak, but we don’t talk. Social conversations no longer take place from a position of mutual trust, but of distrust.” It reminds her of the famous Simon and Garfunkel song, The Sound of Silence. This is also about people who don’t listen.
Van der Plas even sang the lines:
Caroline van der Plas sings during lecture
In addition to good accessibility for everyone, BBB wants a revaluation of the manufacturing industry. This should prevent us from becoming even more dependent on countries such as China and Russia for all kinds of products.
But if we impose too ambitious climate plans, those companies will die, Van der Plas thinks. “We need to look at portability, feasibility and implementability of climate policy.”
She believes that politicians should be modest, honest and empathetic. To prevent polarization between parties, she proposes that factions in the House of Representatives be randomly placed in the room by drawing lots. According to her, this will promote cooperation. The plenary room is currently divided according to the political spectrum from left to right.
Agreed in outline
If BBB is involved in the cabinet formation after November 22, Van der Plas wants “no sealed agreements”, but an agreement in outline. That ‘direction agreement’ is then assessed by the House of Representatives at least once a year. “Are we on the right track?” Practitioners and citizens are also involved in the policy, with a binding referendum.
The BBB leader calls on the press not to get carried away by spin doctors who want to turn the election into a prime ministerial election. “Mr. Timmermans thinks that’s great. But it’s just total nonsense.” The GroenLinks/PvdA leader is elected as a Member of Parliament. “Nothing more and certainly nothing less,” Van der Plas emphasizes.
By the way, BBB also presented an official prime ministerial candidate last week: Mona Keijzer (ex-CDA). She becomes number 2 on the list. Van der Plas has already said that she will remain in the House of Representatives if her party becomes the largest.
Of HJ Schoo Lecture is named after Hendrik Jan Schoo, the editor-in-chief of Elsevier Weekblad (now EW), who died in 2007. Since 2009, the lecture has been held annually and is seen as the unofficial opening of the parliamentary year. Previous speakers include Frits Bolkestein, Thierry Baudet, Mark Rutte and last year Dilan Yesilgöz.