Walking past some election campaign posters the other day, I noticed that if there was a picture of - say - Labour leader Job Cohen, it would be on one of his own party's posters with an upbeat slogan about what the party stands for. Then I listened to the news and gathered that the major political parties were already giving thought to the sort of coalition they might form. Quite calmly. And weeks ahead of the elections.
Democracy takes many forms, to be sure. I have heard British democracy described as 'Vote as you like and do as you're told.' Back in the seventies, African democracy was typified as 'One man, one vote. Once.' How could we describe Dutch democracy? 'Terribly well-behaved', suggested a (Dutch) colleague. Maybe, but at least Dutch politics is conducted with more dialogue and fewer slanging matches than you get on the other side of the North Sea. Long live the polder model, I say. / Clare McGregor, translator with Resource