Friday, September 10, 2010

Wilders or Wilders, what to choose???

The outcome of the latest national election has put the Dutch politics and the society in a difficult position. Especially for those who are able to think. The political and social landscape has never been divided as these days. People who are not a fan of the right-wing political movement called PVV (Freedom Party) of the dillusional, mayonaise-coloured wig carrying member of parliament, Geert Wilders has got all conservative political parties by the balls. The party has gained 24 seats in Dutch parliament, and has become the third largest party. Therefore, the party (actually, the leader of the pack of right extremist, islamophobic fools), is in the luxurious position to control the process of formating a new cabinet. After almost 3 months of investigating possibilities and negotiating about an agreement, the situation has worsened since the Christian Democrats, one of the three potential coalition partners, pulled out the plug a week ago. The game has to start all over again.

I'm worried.

I'm worried, because in the end one way or the other, the populist Freedom Party will step on the smoking remains of the institution called serious politics and will become a disgrace for The Netherlands. In my opinion we now can only choose between two bad options. One is to opt for a left oriented cabinet, which will be able to blow a fresh wind through the country, to set the record straight politically, economically, socially and in many more areas. Therefore the PVV is forced back into the opposition again. The disadvantage of this scenario is that the party will be able to continue its fear spreading, stigmatising ideas about the islamic population, happily encouraging extremism, so it can blame the scapegoat even more... And, if all goes 'well', after four years, the PVV will celebrate a glorious victory at the next elections and the goal to become the voice of the mass will be achieved.
The second bad option is to let the PVV form a coalition with whatever political party on the right side of the political spectrum (the Liberal Party is available for cooperation) and have them govern the country. This can either result in a stable government, which would be not bad... or it will fall apart after a few months, because of a lack of suitable people for the job and those jokers who make it as an excellence will only hunger for power (just like we saw in 2002 with the LPF of the assasinated Pim Fortuyn). After those months, the PVV will have proven that they can not be taken seriously and they will vanish off the political map faster than they set foot in Parliament.
Again this is a choice between two evils.
Personnally I would prefer the second option. In the very near future it would be bad for the country, but on the long run society would be released of this bunch of nut cases, calling themselves politicians, lead by a demagogue.

All options are open, maybe there will be a government formed of left winged parties, but in all cases I am embarrased for the 1.5 million people that put their vote on a non-democratic party, that has only one aim; to attract the attention for spreading fear among those who can't think for themselves.

Too bad those people don't (or plainly can't) read columns like this...

Imam Rauf explains it for the last time...

Day Opening - September 10 - U2 in Istanbul

U2 in concert, Istanbul; by Brian Underdown, Istanbulblogger

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 - Turkey ranks 66

Switzerland tops the overall ranking in The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 released by the World Economic Forum. The United States falls two places to fourth position, overtaken by Sweden (2nd) and Singapore (3rd). The Nordic countries continue to be well positioned in the ranking, with Sweden, Finland (7th) and Denmark (9th) among the top 10, and with Norway at 14th. Sweden overtakes the US and Singapore this year to be placed 2nd overall. The United Kingdom, after falling in the rankings over recent years, moves back up by one place to 12th position.

The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries covered by the Report.
The Netherlands ranks 8th and Turkey 66nd.
Here moreeeeee

Day Opening - September 9

Happy Bayram!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eternal wisdom

A man walks into a tailor shop. He needs cuffs put on his trousers. Okay says the tailor, come back tomorrow. The man leaves. He comes back the next day. Sorry, says the tailor, the trousers aren't ready yet. But you said... I know says the tailor, but please come back tomorrow. The man comes back the next day. Sorry says the tailor, come back tomorrow. The man gets angry, you said that yesterday. I know, I know says the tailor, but please come back tomorrow. Three more days go by and each time the response. The man is furious. I need these trousers! he yells. If you don't...? I know, I know says the tailor, please come back tomorrow. The man comes back the next day. I've come for my trousers, says the man. The tailor shakes his head, Sorry, he says. The man explodes in rage. This is outrageous! It's only a pair of trousers! It's only a pair of cuffs! It’s been a week! It only took God a week to create the world!!! I know, I know says the tailor, but look at the world

Day Opening - September 8

Metro hal, Maslak, Istanbul, Turkey by Brian Underwood,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Turkish soccer players at war...

The (Turkish) chairman of the Turkish amateur club FC Vatanspor from Brasschaart in the Netherlands wants his own football club to shut down, as six players kicked an opponent in the hospital.
Osman Ozcan is the aggressive behavior of his players so tired that he wants the club shut down. "These guys are completely lost," he complains in the Dutch newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’.
A 35-year-old amateur player from the St. Joseph was last sunday beaten up on the field of FC Vatanspor. "After the final whistle they started the beating," said Clement Vanmensbrugge, secretary of St. Joseph. Six players threw themselves at one of our players, that boy has had to cope with a lot of broken stuff. Saint Joseph's plays will never play Vatanspor anymore, for any money in the world. "

"Not the first time '

The chance that not one team ever will play against Vatanspor, is great, because the president wants to quit the club. "This situation is no longer tenable," he says. "It is not the first time my players kick a riot."
"I do not know what my boys got into, but wherever they come, problems arise. If a Turk they feel easily offended and wronged, I think, every remark is perceived as racism, and they cannot handle themselves. I am very disappointed and sad, but I see no other solution than pulling the plug Vatanspor. A pity, but if those guys want to fight, they should find another sport. Karate or something. "

Day Opening - September 7

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, by Brian Underwood, (picture in HD)

Arash's World: You are what you Shop: How Clothes and Books reflect Personal Attitudes

Arash's World: You are what you Shop: How Clothes and Books reflect Personal Attitudes

Sunday, September 5, 2010

EU billions for Roma “go missing” (17.4 billion €)

Europe has failed to get a grip on the approximate 10 million Roma people who live within the European Union. Brussels is pumping billions into projects to improve the lives of the continent’s largest ethnic minority. In spite of this, the Roma remain a headache dossier form many European member states.

In France, police broke up Roma camps up and down the country this summer. At least 8,100 Roma were put on planes to Romania and Bulgaria, the countries where they have originally come from, with a cheque in their hands. Opponents of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s harsh policies called the operation “deportations”. President Sarkozy, supported by a large part of the population, thinks Romania and Bulgaria should do more to look after their returning citizens.
These two countries are being given a lot of European money to do just this. The European Social Fund invests 17.5 billion euros in 'vulnerable groups' in Europe. The lion’s share, more than 13 billion over a period of six years, is earmarked for use with the Roma. "That is an awful lot," says a Brussels researcher who has investigated the amounts paid out.

Self control

The money which flows to agencies in eastern Europe is extensively checked by the European Commission. But on the subject of how the money is finally spent in, for example, Romania “it is up to the Romanians themselves” says a source within the commission.
"The chance that the money is used for other purposes, is a constant risk," says Romanian MEP Renate Weber.
Her colleague Dennis de Jong of the Dutch Socialist Party goes further, he says a large portion of European money, intended for Roma integration projects in eastern Europa, “goes missing” . He adds that the European Auditor has been warning for some time that it is impossible to vouch for a lot of that money. It is often a question of corruption.

Political correctness

The political correctness with which west European politicians speak about the problems of Roma, doesn't hamper discussions in east European politics. Most East Europeans are incredibly discriminatory towards Roma. Hungarian, Czech and Bulgarian social workers are adament: it is evident that Roma are disadvantaged, but what role do Roma themselves play?
"They are responsible for their own negative image," say many people running Roma projects. Their experience is that the Roma are not particularly motivated to change their predicament.
Meanwhile, planeloads of Chinese, Vietnamese and Indians fly into Romania every day to replace the Romanians who are going to work in west European countries. An absurd situation thinks Ms Weber. The Asians are "cheaper and more disciplined workers. While the Roma reject this imposed discipline."
She thinks there is a lot of discrimination on the Romanian labour market. Ms Weber: "Romanian employers prefer to take on Chinese or Vietnamese workers."
On Monday, integration ministers from six EU member states will meet in Paris to discuss a tough deportation policy. President Sarkozy has only invited countries which already take a hard line. The Netherlands is not one of them.

EU billions for Roma “go missing” is written by Tijn Sadée

Day Opening - September 5

Woman watching the Black sea, Garipce, Istanbul, by Brian Underwoood,

Statement #43

Who are the best teachers?
Your students!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dutch formation of a new cabinet fails...

Ivo Opstelten

Tonight the negotiations for a new Dutch cabinet failed, led by counselor Ivo Opstelten. Earlier yesterday Elio Di Rupo resigned at the Belgian King, because he was not able to create a solid coalition in Belgium.

Elio Di Rupo

My suggestion would be to switch both counselors, just to see if an objective and refreshing point of view would help both countries to be able to start a serious national government.

Besides I'm very disappointed that the Freedom Party of Wilders will join the opposition once again. The risk of this is that Wilders has carte blanche again to shout at the government, so he will get more and more support until the next elections.

Day Opening - September 4

Sultanahmet, Istanbul by Brian Underwood,

Friday, September 3, 2010

Getting away with a speeding ticket

Dutch speeding motorists have found a ruse to get out of paying successive fines. They just ask for the paperwork to slow down the procedure. If they can find any inconsistencies, they even get away without paying.
Requests for information under the Openness of Government Act by speeding motorists have doubled in the last three years. The trick is discussed on internet forums. The Dutch police have to prove they are qualified to use speed guns, provide photographs and even provide proof that their own vehicles have an MOT. “All this takes around 45 minutes per fine. That is going too far,” says a police spokesperson.
Around 70 percent of the requests are only made to make things more difficult for the police. Speeding motorists hope to find some fault in the procedure to get off paying their fines. Apparently with success, one persistent speeder, who only wanted to give his first name, even got 1,260 euros compensation when the police were too slow to respond.
Yes, the Netherlands is nicely over-organised.)!

Day Opening - September 3

Fisherman - Istanbul, by Brian Underwood -

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day Opening - September 2

Couple in Love at the Bosphorus - By Brian Underwood -