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‘Teach ladies and gentlemen of SP some manners’

11 December 2006 – Since the Socialist Party (SP) is represented on the district council, there is a war going on in ZuiderAmstel. The party would further create the impression of a conflict of interest, de Volkskrant reports today. SP party leader Gerrit Herders says that the article is incorrect.

The SP has sent a letter to the district administration, asking to defend the interests of a number of renters who have a conflict with their landlord. One of the renters is herself a district council member for the SP. However, Herders denies that this creates the semblance of a conflict of interests.

“If we hear things from residents, we ask questions”. However, he does say that in retrospect, one might ask whether doing so was really wise in this case.

The Volkskrant article suggests that the SP party leader targets primarily Alderman Duco Adema (Social-Democrat PvdA). Herders would have said that the alderman is a ‘sickening liar’ who would have let district residents ‘go to hell’. In a response, Herders said that the quotes are incorrect. “I have no problem at all with Adema”.

Party leader Pim Hallensleben of the conservative VVD says that there is definitely a conflict between Herders and Adema, from the day the SP entered the district council. He calls the Volkskrant article ‘a clever piece of work’ that gives a fair account of what is going on. He only finds the suggestion that a war would be going on a bit exaggerated.

According to Hallensleben, the SP party leader shows a street mentality: “Even is something is not the case, he finds that it is”. He explains this from the communist origins of the party, which would entail the view that the ends justify the means. According to the VVD representative, the district council is not a ‘correct body’ for this. “We must teach the ladies and gentlemen of the SP some manners”.

This suggests that the conflict is in part a cultural conflict between the classy ZuiderAmstel district and populist SP activism.

In the recent past, the SP has campaigned against a fireworks storage in the neighbourhood and has initiated an investigation into poverty. The party further clashed with Adema on the management of the Multifunctional Centre. At the initiative of GroenLinks (Green Party), the Accounting Office has started an investigation into this issue.

UPDATE 14 December 2006 - De Volkskrant and Elsevier write today that members of the ZuiderAmstel SP have for years illegaly subletted an appartment to students, at a rent more than twice as high as the rent they paid themselves. The students recognised their landlord from a photograph published by the Volkskrant with the article on the ZuiderAmstel SP. The SP has suspended the district council members and will form a committee to investigate the issue.


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