Back a bit I was mentioning the success of D66 in the Dutch elections. For many of us they are one of our most obvious partners in Europe. They are avowedly a social liberal party and stand separately in elections from their partners in ELDR the conservative(market) liberals the VVD. Thanks to the Google translation tool I was looking at their website and there are clearly things we could learn from each other on policy development-maybe that is something the Social Liberal Forum could take up. I was taken with their D66 House bloggers one of whom, Rose Marie is a Councillor in a tourist town and has experience in common with many of us and although I think they have much to teach us about policy development I think that it is possible that we might have useful things to say to them about campaigning....
At present there is no Dutch Government and negociations are still going. Some of this report from the Netherlands Worldwide Radio may sound familiar:
The four political parties currently involved in negotiating a new coalition government for the Netherlands have agreed to observe a 'no comment' policy towards the media for the duration of their talks. The leading party, conservative liberal VVD, is involved in tough negotiations with centre-left Labour, D66 and Green Left. The four party leaders say that leaking information to the media could hamper progress.
VVD leader Mark Rutte, head of the biggest party in the Lower House since the 9 June elections when it polled 31 percent of the vote, is under pressure from within his party. Opinion polls show that most of the VVD electorate want their party in a centre-right coalition, rather than in a government with the left - as would be the outcome of the current exploratory talks. Yet the royally appointed coalition negotiators, Senator Uri Rosenthal and Professor Jacques Wallage, say this four-party centre-left coalition will enjoy a comfortable 81-seat majority in the 150-member house and should therefore be tried.
Negotiations on Tuesday are focusing on austerity measures needed to bring a liitle more balance into the ailing national budget. Opinions differ widely, with the VVD favouring immediate, stringent cuts and the left pleading for a more phased long-term approach.