Compromise happens to be the most radical act in politics, allowing for the sharing of power, accepting differences to such an extant that it even changes your own opinion. In Dutch politics there always have been more horses wanting to draw the carriage of state than directions to go to, so compromises of what direction to take need to be made. Today after weeks of negotiations the attempt to form a Liberal + Middle + Left + Green ‘carriage-and-four’ combination failed. We are back to two options that have been considered over a month or so back in time, with two possible ‘troikas’ (horse teams) with Left + Middle + Liberal or a set of horses with Liberal + Middle + Right horses. The power distribution of all this pulling power is such that the two combinations on view – once again – will have the same pulling forward power as the pulling backward power of the possible opposition coalitions in parliament. So the outcome may well be no movement at all. Backing the wrong coalition of horses may end up with putting the cart before the horse.
What we see is the unwise consequences of parliamentary democracy, where parties did not make it clear before elections with which other horses they would like to pull the carriage. “It is to the voters to speak” that is what most party leaders said before elections. This speculative and unclear tactics whereby parties try to keep the mandate they receive from their voters to themselves and settle a government coalition in non-transparent outmoded secret back-room negotiations, have now shown its undemocratic face and utter failure.
The Netherlands need a fundamental change whereby the dynamic favour shifts of the electorate can find a real democratic expression in a series of binding combinations, that have been communicated clearly before elections. With the institution of a direct involvement of a constitutional head of state – in the form of a hereditary queen or king – in the forming of government coalitions, the Netherlands remain one of the most backward nations in Europe when it comes to direct forms of democracy. This in spite of all the self-glorification of the Dutch as a freedom loving and superior democratic nation. That is nothing more than double-dutch fantasy… or better a dutch-lie.