Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Red cards for Holland

There are still scraps of orange around in the city, people too lazy to tidy up, like here on this balcony.

Most people here realise very well that the Dutch team were not good enough to do very well at this World Cup, although the actual performances were far worse than anyone really expected. There are the usual sorts of analysis going on about why certain players were chosen to play and others (notably Ruud van Nistelrooy) and also about the relative inexperience of the trainer, the cool Marco van Basten and his team. However, he is going to have his contracty extended to 2010 to take him up to and past the World Cup in South Africa.

Of the more extreme viewpoints being taken is that of Johann Cruijff who says that the minister for Immigration, the dreaded Rita Verdonk, is to blame for Holland losing? How? Because she refused to fast track the naturalisation of Kalou, a player from Ivory Coast who is playing for one of the big teams over here. Well, he was. Once the minister turned his request down he decided to move on again and I think he has found his way to Chelsea or Arsenal next season, happy to hang on to his Ivory Coast nationality.

We last heard of Verdonk here when she was involved in the scandal of taking away the Dutch nationality of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali born Dutch Member of Parliament. Well, there was a big debate in Parliament the result of which was that the Minister had to go away and have another look at the situation, as the house thought she acted too quickly. Well, yesterday, it was finally resolved that Ayaan Hirsi Ali could keep her Dutch nationality, but only after she was as good as forced to sign a letter saying basically that the whole problem was created by herself and that the Minister had done nothing wrong. Ayaan signed the letter because she was fed up with the whole procedure and wanted to move on, which she has, but she has also let the world know that she was not ahppy to sign the letter either and that she was, in fact, being put nder pressure by the Minister to sign it. There is a debate going on in the House now regarding this latest development, but the government parties are closing ranks and will probably not vote on a motion condemning the Minister.

My view is that THAT WOMAN should be shown the red card, just like the two Dutch players on Sunday evening. She thinks she can get away with making mistake after mistake, rarely even apologising for any of them. She wants to be clear, have her own way, be a Dutch Margaret Thatcher, but she does not have the qualities. She cannot do it and she makes too many mistakes and this one was a mistake too many. Show her theRED CARD please. Sit on the benches and think about your mistakes, maybe think about working as a team instead of going it alone, not even showing any responsibility towards your captain.

At least the good news is that the whole affair has damaged the Minister's political career in that she was NOT voted by the members of her party to become leader, as was expected before this whole shameful episode started.

So, both in the political arena and on the football field, Holland has not been scoring so highly. At least the economy looks like it finally is starting to pick up again. Things often seem worse than they really are, and despite a couple of embarrassing incidents recently, it is really all not too bad over here, just could be better.

Better also if Mr Cruijff might shut his mouth for a bit too.


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