I just want to put my perspective on the Dutch elections, which are being held today, 15 March. We have all heard of Geert Wilders, whose cosy Limburg brogue is dressing up a toxic rhetoric against one of the great religions of this world. Mr Wilders appeals to 1 out of every 7 voters in this country. Why? Because he appears to offer a solution to a problem in the Netherlands, that none of the mainstream political parties are addressing. The Turkish president has unwittingly helped to drive some of that support away. While Mr Wilders was tweeting away on the sofa, the government was in the business of dealing with the excesses that Mr Erdogan is perpetrating. The parties of government are showing that they are actually acting on a problem. All Mr Wilders does is talk. His rhetoric has also prompted the government to take a far more confrontational approach to Mr Erdogan than would (initially) have been necessary. The Turkish ministers were way out of line to come campaigning here. If it had not been for Geert, they would have held their little rallies, the various layers of government would have dealt with it. But because of Mr Wilders' presence on the political scene, and his vilification of all immigrants, particularly Muslim ones, the government was fearing a backlash from Wilders if they allowed the Turks to campaign here - so they said no. Not the best decision, I feel, but that's just me tweeting, erm, Facebooking away on the couch. Well, at the kitchen-table ;-)
The problem that has produced all this support for Geert Wilders has NOT gone away. Once Mr Erdogan has held his referendum, once a new government is in post here in Holland - that's when the debate has to start how to deal with the hitherto mismanaged issue of immigration and integration.