I would like to get political for a moment. Granted I get political a lot (for instance when I call high school friends Nazis, see below) but usually on this blog I keep the focus on American poltics (my hilarious letter to John Bolton for example, see archives). But today I would like to talk about Dutch politics. Americans, English people and Finns (hi Jari) feel free to skip this and go straight to the picture below, Dutchies; this is mandatory for you and I will ask questions about it during the test.
Last tuesday we had local elections here in the Netherlands. During those elections about half of everybody who is allowed to vote goes to a local school or old peoples home and votes on parties that will then, together with other parties, rule their cities or villages for the next four years, screw up majorly and then get reelected during the next local election. The system usually works the same: the Christian Democrats get a lot of votes because their people turn up to vote and the other parties don't because it rains.
In 2002 we had a big political shake up here; Labour had been in power for 12 years and had been the biggest national party for 8 years. Lower middle class people felt the party wasn't listening to them anymore and they got their asses kicked in the local election and later on, after the murder of one of the right wing politicians rallying against Labour, during the national elections a few months later. In 2002 I was not allowed to vote since I wasn't 18 yet and so I had to sit by and watch the Labour party get the shit kicked out of it by the general public.
In 2003, after the government collapsed, we had new general elections and Labour made a huge comeback thanks to the new guy (Wouter Bos) in charge, unfortunately not enough to actually take over government and they've been in opposition since having the right-wing government screw up health care and social security.
Last tuesday we (I say we because I pay them 3 euro a month and I campaigned in Amsterdam) won 617 seats throughout the country, that's about 417 more than we had in 1998 (in which Labour did quite well). I, together with a good friend of mine, was present at the official Labour party where people gathered to watch the results and we was muy happy as the following picture, which was published in the Dutch newspaper NRC shows.