As I write this column I can see the television coverage of the CDA party conference out of the corner of my eye. My deadline is tomorrow, but it will not be known by then whether the agreement that has been reached will be accepted by the parliamentary party on Tuesday. It probably will, but history - and especially recent history - teaches caution about predicting the future.
In a few weeks time Zakaria Hatim from Egypt will be joining our department to work on his thesis on desert vegetation in the Sinai peninsula. One of many foreigners that Wageningen University welcomes every year. Zakaria is a devout muslim and has told me a lot over the last few years about the essence of Islam: about love, forbearance and stewardship. I see few differences between this and Christianity. Zakaria tells me he has started learning Dutch. I wonder how long it will take before he asks me about the meaning of new Dutch words for 'headscarf tax' and 'assimilation contract'.