Would they watch the debate on SBS6 too? One today? It is therefore possible to have a sharp, objective but fluid debate without people shouting at each other, insulting each other or being disheartened in advance by ill-chosen ‘ordinary members of the audience’.
What’s more, however, on the important issues, it became clear again in the housing group that this is not where the difference will make this election. Whatever government the state forms, it, like the previous government, will make every effort to promote construction.
The more differences there are in the migration and climate debate. Unwittingly, perhaps tonight’s six panelists provided an adequate picture of the balance of political power in 2023: a majority of Yeseljos, Umzigt, Wilders and van der Plass favor a tougher immigration policy on all fronts. The minority, represented by Timmermans and Jetten, wants more controls on immigration, but continues to stress that the Netherlands must remain a welcoming country for people fleeing, a country that also needs migrant workers to support the economy.
In the climate debate, the proportions are exactly the same: Timmermans and Gitten want to raise their ambitions and make the Netherlands a leader in the green economy, while the other four see mainly the practical objections and costs that many “ordinary Dutch citizens” face if they do so. Their homes are more sustainable and must be produced and powered by electricity.
Although not mentioned by name, opinion polls played a major role in the background. Timmermans and Gitten know that the right has the upper hand in the country, and both have again warned that the formation of a right-wing government can only be prevented if a non-right party becomes the largest. Cetin urged his voters to “vote for the center”. Timmermans believes that this was “a huge encouragement to vote for GroenLinks-PvdA”.
Together, they would certainly be the biggest in all the polls, but progressive cooperation has not yet progressed that far.
Raoul du Pré