Marlies Bos (the left-wing fluffy type) and Jillis Herweijer (the right-wing Hooray Henry type) rarely see eye to eye on matters of politics, the environment or student life.
The recent agreement shows that left-wing parties also realize both cuts and reforms are needed, even though they often differ on how this is to be done. However, you do need to look at more than just the economic interests. As the ChristenUnie (Christian Union) says, ideals are particularly important in times of crisis. Take nature and the environment: they are essential to our welfare but the right-wing parties have hardly mentioned them since the crisis started. I also think it is only logical to spare those people who are really hard up. These are all issues the left-wing parties take into consideration, fortunately. To summarize, cuts and reforms are important but they should take more into account than just economic interests, while people who already have a difficult time of it should be spared.
Jillis responds: I get the impression you still don't appreciate the severity of the situation. These reforms are indeed purely about the economy and this agreement shows we are not going to get there with the usual sort of Dutch compromising. The agreement is spineless, as the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis confirmed earlier this week.
Wilders's reckless, irresponsible obstruction of the Catshuis agreement was followed rapidly by the success of the 'Kunduz coalition' in getting an agreement. There are two lessons for voters here. Firstly, Wilders is totally untrustworthy and a disaster for this country. Secondly, only a freakish situation will ever get a package of cuts through parliament of the kind we need to reduce the huge shambles we have at the moment in the Netherlands. I mean, what a great package this is... not. There are no real reforms of pensions, the jobs market or mortgage tax relief. Instead we are still pouring billions into the bottomless pit of 'development aid' and as icing on the cake the Kunduz clan give us the familiar left-wing medicine of tax increases. An increase in duties and VAT to close that gap so that they can avoid essential cutbacks, the sad cases and the disadvantaged can carry on getting free money and they can temporarily buy off their guilt with regard to Africa. Now we are about to get the most fragmented political scene ever (with even more nutty parties), I have to conclude that the Netherlands is hurtling into the abyss like a lemming.
Marlies responds: Shambles and abyss? Don't talk rubbish. It's never perfect but let's not forget that nearly everyone here has food and a roof over their head, and that we are among the happiest people in the world. I don't think it will be a disaster for the relatively well-off if they have a bit less luxury for a while due to tax increases. And the lack of reform is unfortunately due to the conflicting ideas of the different parties; it is not just the Left that is to blame.