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Farmers’ protest party win shock Dutch vote victory

March 17, 2023

By Paul Homewood


h/t Dennis Ambler


A farmers’ party has stunned Dutch politics, and is set to be the biggest party in the upper house of parliament after provincial elections.

The Farmer-citizen movement (BBB) was only set up in 2019 in the wake of widespread farmers’ protests.

But with most votes counted they are due to win 15 of the Senate’s seats with almost 20% of the vote.

"This isn’t normal, but actually it is! It’s all normal citizens who voted," said leader Caroline van der Plas.

The BBB aims to fight government plans to slash nitrogen emissions harmful to biodiversity by dramatically reducing livestock numbers and buying out thousands of farms.

But its appeal has spread rapidly beyond its rural heartland, on a populist platform that represents traditional, conservative Dutch social and moral values.

Shocked by the scale of their success, Ms van der Plas told supporters that voters normally stayed at home if they lost faith in politics: "But today people have shown they can’t stay at home any longer. We won’t be ignored any more."

This shows what can happen when governments push their electorate too far.

The Dutch Senate is effectively elected on a PR basis, so sadly the British public will not get the same opportunity to fight back.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. grammarschoolman permalink
    March 17, 2023 9:21 am

    Maybe this will make Starmer think again about his plans to introduce PR after the next election.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      March 17, 2023 11:16 am

      Even if he does it will have to be without a referendum, the last one proved how easy it is to persuade the public to keep a system that gives a landslide victory on 40% share of the vote. Strong government is good, yeah right. It just means people can be persuaded that whatever policy is put forward it’s what the majority want.

      The Paris riots show the difference in reaction to changes brought in at short notice, Pension age raised from 62 to 64 riots in the street. UK raised to 66 then to 67 we just shrug and ignore a group had the changes forced on them at short notice meaning a major change of circumstances.

  2. March 17, 2023 9:27 am

    The Dutch are having their UKIP moment, if for different reasons.

    • dave permalink
      March 17, 2023 10:18 am

      “…their UKIP moment…”

      The Establishment(s) will soon teach all these ordinary, decent, Dutch people not to be so insolent!

      • Nigel Sherratt permalink
        March 17, 2023 10:47 am

        Eva Vlaardingerbroek tends to agree, let’s hope she’s too pessimistic.

    • bobn permalink
      March 17, 2023 1:33 pm

      Maybe Countryside Alliance should get political and field candidates in next election. It would save me having to vote monster raving looney.

  3. ancientpopeye permalink
    March 17, 2023 9:56 am

    I’m agin AV or PR because that is stagnation or compromise everything to extinction, but it seems to have worked there?

    • March 17, 2023 11:20 am

      Have a look at STV as a voting system which is used in the Republic of Ireland as it allows independent MPs and a choice of candidates from the same party reducing the problem of safe seats & career politicians vs FTTP. I personally don’t like party list systems over FPTP as they over represent urban area so result in mob rule and leave the choice of politician & accountability to political parties at least with FFPT there is some local control.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        March 17, 2023 11:54 am

        Modern democracy is heavily subverted by the centralised party systems for choosing candidates. Add in the considerable difficulty for independents and small parties to start by developing a platform of policies across the range of government activity, rather than just an area of protest, all of which needs to be communicated to give voters confidence, and the problems of publicity in systems where access to media is far from even handed, and you begin to see why it is difficult for an insurgent party to make itself felt under almost any voting system.

        All forms of PR come with the risk that extremists can push an otherwise minority government into extreme positions. They make manifestos redundant, because the real policy will be hammered out without reference to voters. Of course that now happens in the UK because political control is now really with the Civil Service, quangos and media.

      • Micky R permalink
        March 18, 2023 1:30 pm

        ” Add in the considerable difficulty for independents and small parties to start by developing a platform of policies across the range of government activity, ”

        Dutch Farmers are a single issue party, that’s probably the only way to quickly gain influence and major change (see Brexit).

      • Realist permalink
        March 18, 2023 3:40 pm

        The problem is manifestos. Irrespective of which party people vote for, they do NOT agree with everything in those manifestos. It is particularly bad when ALL parties have identical policies that ordinary people do NOT want. It is way beyond overdue that the electorate votes for or against policies.
        >>developing a platform of policies

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      March 17, 2023 11:42 am

      So you’d be happy to be governed by a party with an unassailable majority voted in on 43.8% of the vote on a 67% turnout with an unassailable majority? Less than 30% of the electorate.

      This is why major parties love FPTP it gives them two elections usually 10+ years of total power. They can live with the other lot having the same level of control as long as they get their share. Harold Wilson’s thirteen years of Tory misrule. It sometimes backfires, for example when a military junta invades at remnant of empire or close run referendum causing confusion in all parties, but it leaves them happy. Since 1945 we’ve had
      Tory in power ~43 years
      Labour in power ~27 years
      Coalition 5 years
      Looks like five years of Labour being next on the cards

      It doesn’t look rapid swings from right to left are particularly successful to me, each party introducing policies favourable to their funders not the electorate

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        March 18, 2023 8:07 pm

        Our problem is not the voting system. It is the system of party selection that serves up a Uniparty with no real choice on key issues, and the system of electoral communication that privileges the established parties.

    • John Brown permalink
      March 17, 2023 5:37 pm

      I voted for AV as I think it has merit. It combines FPTP with PR. Like FPTP each constituency votes for its own MP which is far better for voters than a PR list system over which they have no control. But because of PR, combined with a transferable vote, each constituency will be represented by an MP who has gained over 50% of the vote. This has to be more democratic. AV means that each voter can vote for whom they really wish to represent them and then can decide to whom their vote goes if their primary candidate does not go through to the next round. It also means that a constituency is not misrepresented as a result of a split vote. AV is already used in many circumstances in the UK, including for the Police & Crime Commissioners.

  4. mikewaite permalink
    March 17, 2023 10:17 am

    And the BBC’s comment:
    “Commentator Ben Coates described the result as “something of an earthquake in Dutch politics”.

    Although their policies are very much focused on opposing the government’s environmental policies, he told the BBC most people would characterise them as a right-wing, populist party that was quite anti-EU, anti-immigration and in favour of banning burkas for Muslims.”

    I don’t think that the BBC is too happy with this result. I dare say Gary will have something scathing to say about it.

    • March 17, 2023 11:58 am

      I think it is worth pointing out that, when I looked a few minutes ago, this BBC article was NOT given prominence but was underneath the main items i.e. of “inside pages” only worth..

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 17, 2023 10:37 am

    The BBC almost did an honest coastal erosion story, but it just can’t help itself. Just as you think it’s an accurate report, they throw in the anecdotal ‘evidence’ that it’s got worse recently, crazy projected sea level claim, spurious claim of increased storminess.

  6. dearieme permalink
    March 17, 2023 10:39 am

    Good for the Cloggies! Up the Sea Beggars! They threw off the Hapsburg yoke, they can do the like again.

  7. March 17, 2023 10:40 am

    The green party lost almost 20% of its seats

    • Realist permalink
      March 17, 2023 5:45 pm

      Shame it wasn’t all of them
      >>green party lost almost 20% of its seats

  8. 2hmp permalink
    March 17, 2023 10:51 am

    Expropriation and a Labour Party ? Surely not ?

  9. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    March 17, 2023 11:22 am

    The Dutch farmers protecting their livelihoods and not buying into Net Zero. Here is a lesson to be learned. Food production is an essential requirement to life. I hope young people take note and remember to have their photo I.D. ready in time for the British election.

    • March 17, 2023 12:15 pm

      I will probably take blackouts and a people wondering why their phone doesn’t work but saying that it would depend on if we talking working class vs middle class young people and rural vs urban area.

      Anyway when was the consultation into photo I.D as just requiring people to bring something with their name on it like the polling card or to confirm their NI number or date of birth would have addressed the hypothetical concern regarding in person voter impersonation as I had someone at my door canvasing who informed me to just vote by post or by proxy if I didn’t have any photo I.D – that the last thing we need more people voting by post (which is where the electoral fraud in Great Britain happens). We need to bring back needing a reason to voting by post like still is the case in Northern Ireland, have mobile polling station (over a month) in place like care home and even the home of the elderly to address ballot harvesting particularly in communities were this has historically being a problem, move the election to a Saturday or Sunday so schools can be more utilised and require anyone registered in more than place( as you can vote in more than 1 local election at the same time but not more than 1 parliament candidate) to either nominate a single parliament constituency to vote for parliament candidate in or have a real time record that’s check only for people marked as registered in more than place and the fact they have voted is recorded to stop the possibility of double voting.

  10. It doesn't add up... permalink
    March 17, 2023 11:36 am

    Eva Vlaardingerbroek is right. PR has allowed the BBB some seats but no political control. They can be marginalised in just the same way as PVV has been by other parties refusing to join them in a coalition. Further progress will be difficult, because PR accommodates a fragmentation of political views. The BBB does not hold the balance of power despite being the largest party in the senate.

    Really only an FPTP system allows a decrepit party to be swept aside and replaced by something new, but such events are relatively rare. It last happened in the UK when the Liberals were reduced to a rump during the Great Depression.

  11. alastairgray29yahoocom permalink
    March 17, 2023 12:28 pm

    Really the Dutch government should just open the dyke gates and flood the whole country. After all they just want to vandalise thousands of years of careful tending of the land so they may as well do a proper job of it. So lots of nice wetlands for waters and wading birds- even flights of geeseds for Bildenberg elites to shoot at or to put it another way – malarial swamps – but that is nature dontcha’ know

  12. Sonya permalink
    March 17, 2023 3:14 pm

    Brilliant 🤩
    Well done to all involved , hold the line you amazing people ❤️❤️❤️
    Love from
    Sonya and the rest of the uk !!

  13. Realist permalink
    March 17, 2023 5:41 pm

    The shock is that they were allowed to win. But good news anyway

  14. Sandy McClintock permalink
    March 19, 2023 4:57 am

    Well done Dutch Farmers!!! Common Sense triumphs over Fake ‘Science’

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