Support for farmers who combine culture and tactics – Joop

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peasant protest

In the many objections to the form and content of the farmers’ protest and the lax attitude of the government, especially the police, a number of groups were conspicuously missing.

The veterans, for example, expressly wished to remain ‘neutral’ with regard to the peasant actions on 15 August – the national commemoration of the end of the war in our kingdom – as did the Roman Catholics who celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin on the same day.

This silence has to do with the perception of farmers as representing a traditional, national culture, also by the relatively large number of believers among them. That is why the contact with the offending farmers is invariably called ‘friendly’.

In this culture, right-wing populists and religious parties feel like fish in water. We are talking about a significant electorate because the traditional culture is also valued by VVD voters and by orange populists – the king is still silent about the inverted flags.

And that the police are tougher on GPs and environmental activists than on farmers is not a joke, but a logical observation about a rather conservative, macho profession. Consider also the great difficulties the police have in recruiting and subsequently retaining women, LGBTQ people and ethnic minorities. There is a structural lack of inclusiveness, also in the eyes of the police leadership, with overt racist excesses.

Of course, as veterans, orthodox Catholics and orange populists, Onkel Agent has more to do with a farmer than an environmentalist. A ‘cunt’ after all.

The radical peasants therefore represent an anarchist attitude to government, not only national but also provincial and municipal. A macho culture of flamboyant disobedience to the rules, whether it’s setting off illegal fireworks for weeks on end, speeding with noisy vehicles – including in nature reserves – or illegal burning or dumping of rubbish and bad behavior at sports competitions.

That culture is of course also aimed at the arrival of asylum seekers who are not white, Christian and European.

Harmful short-term thinking
The second reason is tactical. This culture is the main reason why three governing parties are changing tack on nitrogen policy: their constituencies are close, if not in the middle. The parties are therefore not interested in a long-term perspective that uses European rules to improve the position of nature, the environment and the average farmer. But for a short-term electoral interest.

After all, the VVD, the CU, but especially the CDA feel BoerBurgerBeweging’s hot breath on their necks, less than seven months to the provincial council elections.

Our prime minister already boycotted a meeting for Remkes with nature organizations – minister Jetten from D66 was present at it – and negotiates behind Remkes’ back with the foreman for Agractie.

The fact that most traditional lobby groups in the agricultural sector, with the exception of the banks, have not wanted to be tactically present at Remkes speaks volumes. The government absolutely does not want them as opponents.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoekstra – his party threatens with the biggest shocks – has therefore now formally distanced himself from the coalition agreement on nitrogen reduction: 2030 is far too early according to him. Rutte downplayed this position, which offends the entire coalition, but in particular his party colleague Van der Wal, as a test balloon. It should be possible, but not too often

The House of Representatives does not agree with this qualification and will return early from recess to debate the issue. Next Tuesday.

Perfect timing for Rutte and Hoekstra, because the day before Remkes received representatives from the provinces and municipalities.

They are happy to come, because on Monday the goat path will be built, which will appease the agro-industry lobby. Rutte, Hoekstra and Segers will excitedly inform the House on Tuesday that mistakes have been made in the past with maps that were too vague, but that provinces and municipalities have promised to regulate the farmers’ nitrogen problem ‘in the coming months in a tailor-made and energetic way’ ‘. From the ideology of the short-term, this means: unclear, not very transparent and difficult to control without nationally determined criteria. Buyouts of companies bordering nature reserves and a lot of ‘technical innovation’ for the rest. Subtitle: ‘No cow out of the barn!’

Perhaps a parliamentary majority will fall for this story.

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