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PvdA not angry with Zwagerman

12 July 2007 - The PvdA has abandoned liberalism, and instead embraces conservative values, zero tolerance and a firm attitude towards ethnic minorities. This became clear during a debate last night.

Novelist Joost Zwagerman (photo) recently published a pamphlet in which he says he is ashamed of the Left. Left-wing parties in general and the PvdA in particular have ruined education, and they fail to address the problems of the multicultural society.

Imitating populists who went before him, Zwagerman likes to pose as an underdog. People who raise this kind of issues are “hissed down by the left and branded as a conservative pariah”, he writes.

But that is a bit of an exaggeration. The PvdA is not angry with Zwagerman. On the contrary, his analysis is eagerly adopted. His pamphlet is ‘really a good piece’, said party leader Wouter Bos last night during a debate at the Singelkerk.

According to Zwagerman, the left has let itself get carried away by noncommital liberalism. ‘We have enough freedom’, he approvingly quotes a former GroenLinks MP. Instead, the left should plead for zero tolerance and values.

Zwagerman was irritated by the way in which left-wing politicians ridiculed PM Jan Peter Balkenende when he tried to launch a debate on values. In retrospect, Bos agrees, he said yesterday night. “I myself have learned quite a few things”.

Zwagerman further targets the supposed ‘you-cannot-say-that-culture’ among the left, especially regarding the multicultural society.

Here as well, he finds Bos on his side, who repeated yesterday night that one should be able to name problems. In other words, one should be able to say that social problems have something to do with Moroccan culture. “You cannot solve problems if you are afraid to name them”, he said. Whether he also thinks that Moroccans should be treated differently, remained unclear.

Zwagerman website (in Dutch)


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