Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Red tomatoes

Les tomates, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Well, many eyars ago I had my first experience of the Socialistisch Partij (SP) here in Holland where they had a very successful campaign, using red tomatoes. It said Stem tegen, Stem SP..... Vote Against, Vote SP. I thought a profoundly negative campaign, but it worked as from that election onwards they have grown in popularity and parliamentary representation every year and may now be the fourth biggest party in Holland after CDA (Christian Democrats), PvdA (Social Democrats) and VVD (right-wing liberals).

They will have overtaken Groen Links (Green Left) and D66 (left-wing liberals). Indeed, D66 have done so badly recently that they face not getting a single seat in Parliament in the November elections, having been at about 15, just ten years ago. Groen Links are suffering too, being more intellectually left than green or socialist, and the SP may get double the number of seats than Groen Links, despite both those parties being on the left and sharing many aims.

Anyway, I am far from being a socialist myself, so it was with some interest and astonishment that when I performed the Stem Wijzer (vote chooser) this afternoon, SP came out on top, just above my old favourite D66. A good thing I do not have the vote.

The Stem Wijzer gives you a yes or no choice on 30 different questions and then asks you to weight certain questions which one feels are more important, which is a very good way of going about things... the ferocity with which one holds certain views should definitely be part of the equation.

I answered most of the questions in a liberal and green sort of way, so was surprised that SP came out top, less surprised that the Christian and right-wing parties came out bottom! Although there was a funny article in the newspaper recently making fun of the fact that the SP's conference recently showed signs of the party almost embracing the religious people in society (and then the Christians more than the Muslims).

Anyway, SP have come a long way from throwing red tomatoes at things they don't like in society, but whether they are ready to participate in a left-wing government colaition (maybe with the Christian Union) is another question.

In the meantime, here are some lovely looking red tomatoes from Paris from four years ago, probably very squashed by now.


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