I’m a newly minted Dutch citizen. After 20 years here, I was “ingeburgerd” last year, which means I am the owner of a Dutch passport and fully conscious of my responsibilities especially in the light of the looming election - the first in which I can vote.
But in this country that’s no easy choice - we’re not just talking Democrat aka Good and Republican aka Bad guys here - we’re talking about a place where there are more potential coalition partners than I’ve had dance partners.
So I just did the questionnaire which gets the voter to say yeah or nay on specific questions like: should rich people get taxed more? Duhhh yes. Or should organ donation be automatic for everyone unless they’ve signed a form that shows otherwise? Absolutely. Or should people be banned from wearing the headscarf in government offices? Nope - why?
The idea is that your answers are then mapped against the agendas of the different parties and your true colours are revealed. I always thought mine were red and green - seeing as I’ve been a lefty greenie hippie sort since teenage days, though thankfully I’ve now got better dress sense. And I am an admirer of the leader of the Labour Party, one Mr Job Cohen our wonderful ex-mayor of Amsterdam. But it seems that that old cliche of growing further to the right as one grows older is true after all.
It seems I’ve sidestepped just a teensy bit into centre ground - won’t tell you the name of the party that emerged as the one I’m most in agreement with, but rest assured it’s not the one headed by the Blonde Devil (Geert Wilders, to anyone who’s been keeping an eye on Dutch right wingers).
I’m still loathe to trust this poll, so I’m doing another one - maybe I need to keep doing them till I get one that shows me the colours I still think myself to be instead of what I really may be deep down.
The immigrant vote - meaning the recently naturalized citizens, like me - could count for 10% of the swinging seats. So I’m taking this seriously. It’s the first time after all, I get to use my voice in the leadership of a country that has, against all previous bets, become my home.