Tuesday, 17 March 2015 - 08:26
Latest election debate turns to name-calling
The last debate before the provincial elections between Geert Wilders (PVV) and Alexander Pechtold (D66) devolved into name-calling on EenVandaag last night. "You are the terror-owl of Dutch politics," Wilders called Pechtold, who was ready for the attack. "Yes, and there's the wolf," he replied. At one point, Wilders compared Pechtold to Chamberlain, the British prime minister who tried to buy peace in Europe with an anxious treaty with Hitler. Pechtold called Wilders a runaway who stands on the sidelines and sometimes shouts in. According to the Volkskrant, Pechtold remained calm and listened to Wilders with a slight smile. Wilders was in a permanent state of outrage and used every opening to fling another insult, using phrases like "The Netherlands is the ATM of Europe," "You want to turn the Netherlands into a Schilderswijk" and "You have taken loads of illiterates from the Rifgebergte". Luckily, the debate on EenVandaag did not actually devolve into bloodshed. And yet last night's debate can be described as kind of pointless. The D66 and PVV are both opposition parties with radically different political views. There is no electoral overlap and a very small chance that a D66 voter will switch to PVV or vice versa. Then why did these two party leaders decide to have the debate? For Wilders, the debate was perhaps a publicity opportunity. As his party does not have much to spend on campaigning, he has to rely on media appearances. Any publicity is good publicity and perhaps the debate had fired up the PVV voters for the election tomorrow. Pechtold and the D66 on the other hand can afford a full fledged campaign. So maybe he just did not want Wilders to appear on television unchallenged.