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Farewell Mark Rutte, Europe’s last centrist dad

Three dads (and Mutti) in a boat. Credit: Getty

July 10, 2023 - 4:00pm

There they were, three centrist dads in a boat with their Mutti Merkel. The year was 2014 and the three men were Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden; David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain; and Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands. They were the moderate, modern leaders of a moderate, modern Europe. They were the future. Or so they thought.

Within a few months of that fateful boating summit 10 years ago, its host Reinfeldt had gone, kicked out by voters in favour of a former trade union man from the Left. Then, two years later, Cameron followed suit as Britain voted not simply against his government but the entire European system he was trying to defend. This left only Merkel and Rutte, but now both of these old hands are gone, too: Merkel, first, in 2021, after 16 years in power, and then finally Rutte, who announced his shock decision to leave politics altogether today. The era of centrist dadism is well and truly over.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, of course. Reinfeldt, Cameron, Rutte and Merkel were supposed to be the leaders of an era, driving Europe in a new, more liberal direction, injecting a sense of energy and dynamism into the continent’s turgid economy. They had come together that summer’s day at the Swedish Prime Minister’s summer retreat in order to “set a new economic course for Europe, based on free trade, liberalised markets, research and deregulation,” the Financial Times reported. And the general presumption was that this agenda was indeed Europe’s future. Certainly, nobody was looking to the one man so conspicuously absent from that summit — France’s President François Hollande — as the representative of an alternative European future.

In 2013, the Economist declared that Reinfeldt’s Sweden would be “the next liberal supermodel” of the continent. By that point he had been prime minister for seven years and Cameron and Rutte, both elected in 2010, were following in his footsteps. All three, of course, were following Merkel, too. Together, the four leaders were a genuine force to be reckoned with, even though they did not see eye-to-eye on many issues (including the other great theme of the lake summit — Jean-Claude Juncker’s bid to become European Commission president).

But fast forward 10 years and it’s worth pausing to reflect on what is left of this moderate, modern conservatism. In Sweden, politics has moved decisively to the Right in the decade after that centrist summit in the countryside, with the once untouchable Sweden Democrats now part of a governing alliance pushing for ever stricter controls on immigration. In Britain the era of liberal Cameroonism now feels like a distant memory, while in Germany the old era of Merkelism carries with it a stain of staggering complacency, exposed by the war in Ukraine.

After Merkel’s departure, Rutte was the last survivor from this old centrist summit — the exception which suggested that perhaps there wasn’t as much uniting these disparate leaders as we once assumed. Perhaps they were all just products of their own national circumstance and nothing more. 

And yet, look a little closer and there is one, obvious destabilising factor uniting them all: immigration. Rutte announced his intention to leave politics today after failing to bridge the fierce divisions in his own government about how to reduce immigration. The same concern lies behind the rise of the anti-immigration Swedish Democrats, who have gone from 5.7% of the vote and 20 MPs in 2014, when Reinfeldt lost power, to 20.5% and 62 seats today. In Britain, meanwhile, it is obviously impossible to understand the 2016 EU referendum without taking into account the backlash against free movement over the previous decade or so.

Look across Europe today and immigration is one of the defining and enduring issues, rearing its head at almost every election and in every country, from Giorgia Meloni’s Italy in the south to Viktor Orbán’s Hungary in the east. Far from being the representatives of Europe’s future, those four leaders who came together on Reinfeldt’s boating lake 10 years ago now look like visions from a failed past. Today’s Europe is not theirs, but something altogether more fractious and hard-edged, no longer demanding “free trade and liberalised markets” but protection. The era of the centrist dad is over.


is UnHerd’s Political Editor. He is the author of Betting The House: The Inside Story of the 2017 Election.

TomMcTague

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Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
9 months ago

Importing tens millions of people into Europe from the some of the world’s most violent, corrupt and criminal countries is not centrist. It was/is grotesque recklessness.
Net Zero is not centrist. It is an absurd, arbitrary target that is both technologically and politically impossible. It will only succeed in impoverishing and weakening the West and strengthening our competitors and enemies.
The “experiment” governments in Britain, Europe and elsewhere have undetaken with QE and ultra low interest rates was economic madness that left us with enormous asset bubbles ripe to burst, and an enormous pile of public and private debt.
The woke, “Progressive” ideology that has gained ascendency in the West is not centrist. It is demonstably incoherent madness
The idea that policies that have been pursued in the West over the past decade or so are centrist is absurd. They have been the most reckless, extreme and destructive policies ever implemented in the West.
Voters in Europe are voting for controlled immigration, protected borders, energy security, sound economics, and a return to scientific truth and facts over deluded and destructive ideology. Those are centrist policies.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Absolutely spot on. Well said.

Susanne Schwameis
Susanne Schwameis
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

100%. it’s not just immigration but a lot of those elitist progressive agendas that are being pushed by those leaders and their affiliated links to globalist unelected bodies such as Bilderberg, WEF and corporate links.
net zero is bound to fail and just looking at the Dutch farmers movement who achieved a tremendous success in the last elections…
if our politicians – no matter if they are in the netherlands or elsewhere – in the EU and EU institutions don’t reform and get back in touch with what the people’s concerns are, right wing and anti-establishment parties will continue rise because ‘we the people’ are fed up!
Also in no other industry or company so many incompetent people as in politics. Instead of solving problems, they are mostly creating them.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
9 months ago

Quite so. And these agendas involve no less than the attempted abolition of reality, notably human realities such as motherhood, womanhood, the family, the home, the nation state – the very foundations of identity and sanity.
As James Lindsay has made clear, this flow of poison has one essential source – the vile repackaged Marxism of 68, that despicable year. It should be equally clear that the poison is pumped into society by an alliance of governmental and deep state machines across the western world.
Propaganda is everywhere – in shops, in banks, in adverts, slipped into the plotlines of popular dramas, foisted upon old classics where they are not grossly parodied or subverted beyond recognition. And the elite class will gladly pervert badly drafted law to persecute its most effective critics – see the recent travails of Nigel Farage. We are not dealing with pure incompetence, therefore. We are dealing with diabolical malice.

Susanne Schwameis
Susanne Schwameis
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

spot on.

alan coles
alan coles
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

BULLSEYE!

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Let’s think who dealt effectively with the left?
Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet, Argentinian junta, bloke in Indonesia…

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Tried to reply with examples of effective solutions to far left infestations but “awaiting for approval”.
All readers on here would easily guess which names were censored.
I didn’t even say Hit**r.
But say Stalin, Lenin, Mao etc and all is fine.

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

As you see the above mass murderers are perfectly fine.
Just confirms your comment really.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Yes and no. The left has certainly tilted the scales against the right by a simple process of occluding and veiling its own sins. It tried this in the fifties and failed; it tried again in the sixties and succeeded. The seventies and eighties saw a renewed victory for truth, but yet again the liars have taken charge.
Thus the multiple millions starved, tortured and worked to death by Lenin, Stalin and Mao are insulted; and the millions killed by a certain German dictator used as a moral battering ram.
That said, I cannot agree that the Italian chappie represented a victory over the left. To start with he was a variety of socialist, as was his friend across the Alps. Second, he so completely associated nationalism with evil that the left has profited from his activities ever since.
Franco is a less clear cut case – the left goes into frenzies, of course, if one says even that. The Chilean example is more like it: he moves in, defeats the reds, rescues the economy, stabilises society and reintroduces democracy. This is in the tradition of pre-1914 campaigns against “revolution”: Napoleon III, Thiers and Stolypin. Of Thiers the eminent historian Richard Cobb famously said, “The little man saved France.” Stolypin, with his famous “neck-ties”, the nooses which hanged many an embryo Stalin and Beria, almost saved Russia.
But because the left is again in charge, it’s own oceans of blood-letting are ignored, in favour of the rivulets unleashed by their opponents.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

It isn’t the same Left! I am strongly against the modern progressive Left, but what “oceans of blood letting”? This is just ranting hysteria, that sounds so extremist to most ordinary people, about to probably give the Labour Party a large majority.

It is truly absurd to describe Mussolini and Hitler as men of the Left, that old canard. Why did Hitler ally with reactionary elements in the ultra Conservative parties, Army and big business and certainly not, say, the trades unions? Franco killed tens of thousands of his Republican, liberal and leftwing opponents, both during and for a decade after the Spanish Civil War, so your ‘doubtful’ comment about him is utterly grotesque. Of course there is absolutely no doubt where he stood politically.

The Right needs to start making a good political case that chimes with ordinary people’s concerns, and not some endless fanatical nonsense about the World Economic Forum running the world etc, climate change and covid being deliberate conspiracies etc. Some are doing so but not many. Without this they are doomed to continual political failure.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

You have clearly misread my remarks. I was actually seeking to deflect attention from the Italian dictator as any sort of good example; in the course of this, I referred to him as “left”. This seems to have triggered you. Well, since you want an argument, here goes:
Adolf and Benito “allied” with big business and this makes them “right”, does it? but Lenin himself tried this dodge in the immediate aftermath of his seizure of power. You are surely not going to tell me that the left is incapable of “flexibility” when the chips are down? Remember praxis? Remember China? It loves “big business”, but it still crushes the Uighurs. So where does the relevance of socialism logically kick in? Well, apart from through the interventionist economic policies, in the “totalising” nature of the programme.
Liberal nationalism, the official “right-wing” creed of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, had never gone in for the sort of industrial scale persecution engaged in by thirties Germany or indeed revolutionary Russia. So it must be the element of “socialism” which supplies the common factor. It’s there in the name, socialism, from society, and the violent reshaping thereof.
As Dr Kristian Niemetz points out, the economic results are the same. And as many others have observed, the difference lies solely in the degree and nature of force applied to get that (inadequate) result.
One lot pass rafts of oppressive law and tie us down over time; the other lot send in the thugs and the firing squads. Both are in the business of squashing liberty.
So it is the same left, actually. Nothing principled or ideological stands on the declining slope which takes you from Clement Attlee near the top to Joe Stalin at the bottom – only the habits and character by chance cultivated in a formerly Liberal or Conservative culture.
And to disguise this, the left will claim that nothing stands between – say – a tight immigration policy and the attitudes of thirties Germany; but we see from history that this is not so.
As for Franco, he was involved in a fight in which communists had become fatally and sinisterly involved. Liberals the world over are suckers for the left – Russia’s Provisional government for one notorious example – and Franco wasn’t taking any chances.
WEF etcetera – you brought them in. I haven’t and do not as a rule mention them. As for messages for the public – no doubt we need good bread and butter politics. But I am not a politician and I’m arguing a principled, not a pragmatic, case.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

You have clearly misread my remarks. I was actually seeking to deflect attention from the Italian dictator as any sort of good example; in the course of this, I referred to him as “left”. This seems to have triggered you. Well, since you want an argument, here goes:
Adolf and Benito “allied” with big business and this makes them “right”, does it? but Lenin himself tried this dodge in the immediate aftermath of his seizure of power. You are surely not going to tell me that the left is incapable of “flexibility” when the chips are down? Remember praxis? Remember China? It loves “big business”, but it still crushes the Uighurs. So where does the relevance of socialism logically kick in? Well, apart from through the interventionist economic policies, in the “totalising” nature of the programme.
Liberal nationalism, the official “right-wing” creed of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, had never gone in for the sort of industrial scale persecution engaged in by thirties Germany or indeed revolutionary Russia. So it must be the element of “socialism” which supplies the common factor. It’s there in the name, socialism, from society, and the violent reshaping thereof.
As Dr Kristian Niemetz points out, the economic results are the same. And as many others have observed, the difference lies solely in the degree and nature of force applied to get that (inadequate) result.
One lot pass rafts of oppressive law and tie us down over time; the other lot send in the thugs and the firing squads. Both are in the business of squashing liberty.
So it is the same left, actually. Nothing principled or ideological stands on the declining slope which takes you from Clement Attlee near the top to Joe Stalin at the bottom – only the habits and character by chance cultivated in a formerly Liberal or Conservative culture.
And to disguise this, the left will claim that nothing stands between – say – a tight immigration policy and the attitudes of thirties Germany; but we see from history that this is not so.
As for Franco, he was involved in a fight in which communists had become fatally and sinisterly involved. Liberals the world over are suckers for the left – Russia’s Provisional government for one notorious example – and Franco wasn’t taking any chances.
WEF etcetera – you brought them in. I haven’t and do not as a rule mention them. As for messages for the public – no doubt we need good bread and butter politics. But I am not a politician and I’m arguing a principled, not a pragmatic, case.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

It isn’t the same Left! I am strongly against the modern progressive Left, but what “oceans of blood letting”? This is just ranting hysteria, that sounds so extremist to most ordinary people, about to probably give the Labour Party a large majority.

It is truly absurd to describe Mussolini and Hitler as men of the Left, that old canard. Why did Hitler ally with reactionary elements in the ultra Conservative parties, Army and big business and certainly not, say, the trades unions? Franco killed tens of thousands of his Republican, liberal and leftwing opponents, both during and for a decade after the Spanish Civil War, so your ‘doubtful’ comment about him is utterly grotesque. Of course there is absolutely no doubt where he stood politically.

The Right needs to start making a good political case that chimes with ordinary people’s concerns, and not some endless fanatical nonsense about the World Economic Forum running the world etc, climate change and covid being deliberate conspiracies etc. Some are doing so but not many. Without this they are doomed to continual political failure.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Yes and no. The left has certainly tilted the scales against the right by a simple process of occluding and veiling its own sins. It tried this in the fifties and failed; it tried again in the sixties and succeeded. The seventies and eighties saw a renewed victory for truth, but yet again the liars have taken charge.
Thus the multiple millions starved, tortured and worked to death by Lenin, Stalin and Mao are insulted; and the millions killed by a certain German dictator used as a moral battering ram.
That said, I cannot agree that the Italian chappie represented a victory over the left. To start with he was a variety of socialist, as was his friend across the Alps. Second, he so completely associated nationalism with evil that the left has profited from his activities ever since.
Franco is a less clear cut case – the left goes into frenzies, of course, if one says even that. The Chilean example is more like it: he moves in, defeats the reds, rescues the economy, stabilises society and reintroduces democracy. This is in the tradition of pre-1914 campaigns against “revolution”: Napoleon III, Thiers and Stolypin. Of Thiers the eminent historian Richard Cobb famously said, “The little man saved France.” Stolypin, with his famous “neck-ties”, the nooses which hanged many an embryo Stalin and Beria, almost saved Russia.
But because the left is again in charge, it’s own oceans of blood-letting are ignored, in favour of the rivulets unleashed by their opponents.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

As you see the above mass murderers are perfectly fine.
Just confirms your comment really.

Susanne Schwameis
Susanne Schwameis
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

spot on.

alan coles
AC
alan coles
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

BULLSEYE!

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Let’s think who dealt effectively with the left?
Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet, Argentinian junta, bloke in Indonesia…

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Tried to reply with examples of effective solutions to far left infestations but “awaiting for approval”.
All readers on here would easily guess which names were censored.
I didn’t even say Hit**r.
But say Stalin, Lenin, Mao etc and all is fine.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
9 months ago

First awaiting moderation then all flung on to the thread at once. Strange.

Last edited 9 months ago by Simon Denis
Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
9 months ago

Please see my remarks above. The moderation machine has been having a bit of a seizure…

Last edited 9 months ago by Simon Denis
alan coles
alan coles
9 months ago

The Dutch Farmers may be OUR saviours as well!

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago

However, Dutch PM lost his post because there is still support in both Holland and UK for mass immigration in leadership of most political parties.
So I am not optimistic, sorry.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
9 months ago

Quite so. And these agendas involve no less than the attempted abolition of reality, notably human realities such as motherhood, womanhood, the family, the home, the nation state – the very foundations of identity and sanity.
As James Lindsay has made clear, this flow of poison has one essential source – the vile repackaged Marxism of 68, that despicable year. It should be equally clear that the poison is pumped into society by an alliance of governmental and deep state machines across the western world.
Propaganda is everywhere – in shops, in banks, in adverts, slipped into the plotlines of popular dramas, foisted upon old classics where they are not grossly parodied or subverted beyond recognition. And the elite class will gladly pervert badly drafted law to persecute its most effective critics – see the recent travails of Nigel Farage. We are not dealing with pure incompetence, therefore. We are dealing with diabolical malice.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
9 months ago

First awaiting moderation then all flung on to the thread at once. Strange.

Last edited 9 months ago by Simon Denis
Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
9 months ago

Please see my remarks above. The moderation machine has been having a bit of a seizure…

Last edited 9 months ago by Simon Denis
alan coles
alan coles
9 months ago

The Dutch Farmers may be OUR saviours as well!

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago

However, Dutch PM lost his post because there is still support in both Holland and UK for mass immigration in leadership of most political parties.
So I am not optimistic, sorry.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Well, I think you said it all.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I would upvote this 1,000 times if possible. Centrist – you have to be frickin kidding me.

Paul Curtin
Paul Curtin
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Nothing further to add. Spot on, as too with Matt M at the start

Matt M
Matt M
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

What a great summary of the situation Marcus. I particularly like your last para.

Stephanie Surface
SS
Stephanie Surface
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Yes, your are absolutely right, those so-called centrist politicians weren’t centrists, but very much left of centre. Merkel left Germany’s most successful centrist party utterly destroyed, moving so far to the left, that Germany’s right wing party, AfD, has, according to the latest polls, reached 20%, becoming fast the second largest party in Germany. Those supposedly centrists politicians in a boat were already planting the seeds of destruction of cultural cohesion in their countries by showing no resistance to millions of migrants (Merkel in 2015: “Wir schaffen das”), and the “centrists’” Net Zero policies are slowly deindustrialising successful economies.
In Germany a week doesn’t go by without stabbing incidents of Middle Eastern clans, or recently Somali immigrants running street battles against each other. The whole Ruhr Region became unrecognisable to working class Germans.

Last edited 9 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Fantasists, not centrists.

Jill Corel
JC
Jill Corel
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

100%! Thank you Marcus – an excellent summation.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Absolutely spot on. Well said.

Susanne Schwameis
SS
Susanne Schwameis
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

100%. it’s not just immigration but a lot of those elitist progressive agendas that are being pushed by those leaders and their affiliated links to globalist unelected bodies such as Bilderberg, WEF and corporate links.
net zero is bound to fail and just looking at the Dutch farmers movement who achieved a tremendous success in the last elections…
if our politicians – no matter if they are in the netherlands or elsewhere – in the EU and EU institutions don’t reform and get back in touch with what the people’s concerns are, right wing and anti-establishment parties will continue rise because ‘we the people’ are fed up!
Also in no other industry or company so many incompetent people as in politics. Instead of solving problems, they are mostly creating them.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Well, I think you said it all.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I would upvote this 1,000 times if possible. Centrist – you have to be frickin kidding me.

Paul Curtin
Paul Curtin
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Nothing further to add. Spot on, as too with Matt M at the start

Matt M
Matt M
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

What a great summary of the situation Marcus. I particularly like your last para.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Yes, your are absolutely right, those so-called centrist politicians weren’t centrists, but very much left of centre. Merkel left Germany’s most successful centrist party utterly destroyed, moving so far to the left, that Germany’s right wing party, AfD, has, according to the latest polls, reached 20%, becoming fast the second largest party in Germany. Those supposedly centrists politicians in a boat were already planting the seeds of destruction of cultural cohesion in their countries by showing no resistance to millions of migrants (Merkel in 2015: “Wir schaffen das”), and the “centrists’” Net Zero policies are slowly deindustrialising successful economies.
In Germany a week doesn’t go by without stabbing incidents of Middle Eastern clans, or recently Somali immigrants running street battles against each other. The whole Ruhr Region became unrecognisable to working class Germans.

Last edited 9 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Fantasists, not centrists.

Jill Corel
Jill Corel
9 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

100%! Thank you Marcus – an excellent summation.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
9 months ago

Importing tens millions of people into Europe from the some of the world’s most violent, corrupt and criminal countries is not centrist. It was/is grotesque recklessness.
Net Zero is not centrist. It is an absurd, arbitrary target that is both technologically and politically impossible. It will only succeed in impoverishing and weakening the West and strengthening our competitors and enemies.
The “experiment” governments in Britain, Europe and elsewhere have undetaken with QE and ultra low interest rates was economic madness that left us with enormous asset bubbles ripe to burst, and an enormous pile of public and private debt.
The woke, “Progressive” ideology that has gained ascendency in the West is not centrist. It is demonstably incoherent madness
The idea that policies that have been pursued in the West over the past decade or so are centrist is absurd. They have been the most reckless, extreme and destructive policies ever implemented in the West.
Voters in Europe are voting for controlled immigration, protected borders, energy security, sound economics, and a return to scientific truth and facts over deluded and destructive ideology. Those are centrist policies.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
9 months ago

look a little closer and there is one, obvious destabilising factor uniting them all: immigration

It amazes me that so few politicians and pundits acknowledge this point. The desire to reduce immigration has driven almost all political events in Europe and the USA over the last decade, including, obviously, Trump’s election. And still it is derided as beyond the pale as though citizens having a say in who lives in their country and in what numbers is outlandish. To most people, privileging locals over foreigners, especially in areas like jobs and housing, is unquestioned. To our ruling class, it is unspeakable chauvinism.

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt M
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

No need to wait for approval. I have removed the offending word.

Last edited 9 months ago by Simon Denis
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

This is because far from their opponents being “far right”, the establishment is extreme left. Their neo-communist bias means that anything resembling opposition is called names.
Those establishment types who wear the label “conservative” or “centre right”, meanwhile, are either buffoons who have been suckered by the left’s recently acquired institutional authority, or cowards who lack the stomach for an argument.
The worst of these will offer all sorts of pragmatic reasons for remaining with the left’s wholly artificial consensus, perhaps not quite clear – even in their own minds – where it is leading. “Don’t rock the boat,” they say, when what they really mean is “Don’t anger the Captain”, even though he is sailing said boat straight towards the rocks. Rutte was one of these. He shan’t be missed.

Last edited 9 months ago by Simon Denis
Glyn R
Glyn R
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

The Dutch farmers will be rejoicing at his departure. They want recognise the ‘centrist dad’ description that’s for sure.

Glyn R
Glyn R
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

The Dutch farmers will be rejoicing at his departure. They want recognise the ‘centrist dad’ description that’s for sure.

V T C
VC
V T C
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Let’s not forget the green ideology. The Net Zero pipedream in Brittan, the denuclearization of Germany’s power base, and the fact that Rutte presided over what is probably the largest private property expropriation in the Netherlands in living memory. Some centrists.

Simon Denis
SD
Simon Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

No need to wait for approval. I have removed the offending word.

Last edited 9 months ago by Simon Denis
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

This is because far from their opponents being “far right”, the establishment is extreme left. Their neo-communist bias means that anything resembling opposition is called names.
Those establishment types who wear the label “conservative” or “centre right”, meanwhile, are either buffoons who have been suckered by the left’s recently acquired institutional authority, or cowards who lack the stomach for an argument.
The worst of these will offer all sorts of pragmatic reasons for remaining with the left’s wholly artificial consensus, perhaps not quite clear – even in their own minds – where it is leading. “Don’t rock the boat,” they say, when what they really mean is “Don’t anger the Captain”, even though he is sailing said boat straight towards the rocks. Rutte was one of these. He shan’t be missed.

Last edited 9 months ago by Simon Denis
V T C
V T C
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Let’s not forget the green ideology. The Net Zero pipedream in Brittan, the denuclearization of Germany’s power base, and the fact that Rutte presided over what is probably the largest private property expropriation in the Netherlands in living memory. Some centrists.

Matt M
Matt M
9 months ago

look a little closer and there is one, obvious destabilising factor uniting them all: immigration

It amazes me that so few politicians and pundits acknowledge this point. The desire to reduce immigration has driven almost all political events in Europe and the USA over the last decade, including, obviously, Trump’s election. And still it is derided as beyond the pale as though citizens having a say in who lives in their country and in what numbers is outlandish. To most people, privileging locals over foreigners, especially in areas like jobs and housing, is unquestioned. To our ruling class, it is unspeakable chauvinism.

Last edited 9 months ago by Matt M
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago

These people are responsible for multiple policy failures, not just immigration. They were all united by climate change alarmism and what would become net zero. This incoherent push to eliminate fossil fuels, and switch to wind and solar, has been just as devastating as immigration – maybe even more so. Those that were still in power during Covid were also responsible for the devastating economic consequences of lockdowns and other authoritarian policies. These people were complete failures on multiple fronts.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I would argue that reversing idiotic economic policies would be easier than reversing mass immigration.
Reasons are quite obvious but it is pointless to list them because it will be censored anyway.

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I would argue that reversing idiotic economic policies would be easier than reversing mass immigration.
Reasons are quite obvious but it is pointless to list them because it will be censored anyway.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 months ago

These people are responsible for multiple policy failures, not just immigration. They were all united by climate change alarmism and what would become net zero. This incoherent push to eliminate fossil fuels, and switch to wind and solar, has been just as devastating as immigration – maybe even more so. Those that were still in power during Covid were also responsible for the devastating economic consequences of lockdowns and other authoritarian policies. These people were complete failures on multiple fronts.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
9 months ago

Wow, not a single reference to WEF in respect of Mark Rutte… astonishing… well that’s “journalism” for you…
https://www.eutimes.net/2023/07/dutch-citizens-reject-wef-agenda-as-mark-ruttes-government-dramatically-collapses/
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/authors/mark-rutte

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
9 months ago

Wow, not a single reference to WEF in respect of Mark Rutte… astonishing… well that’s “journalism” for you…
https://www.eutimes.net/2023/07/dutch-citizens-reject-wef-agenda-as-mark-ruttes-government-dramatically-collapses/
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/authors/mark-rutte

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago

Moderate conservatives my foot. They all stood for extreme globalism, open borders, crony capitalism, and woke ideologies. With “conservatives” like that, we don’t need leftists.

Arthur G
Arthur G
9 months ago

Moderate conservatives my foot. They all stood for extreme globalism, open borders, crony capitalism, and woke ideologies. With “conservatives” like that, we don’t need leftists.

Claire D
Claire D
9 months ago

Mass migration.
End of centrism in Europe.

Well.. Duh!

Claire D
Claire D
9 months ago

Mass migration.
End of centrism in Europe.

Well.. Duh!

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
9 months ago

On a lighter note, the picture appears to show the perennially overweight Cameron at one end – and the lightweight Rutte at the other.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
9 months ago

On a lighter note, the picture appears to show the perennially overweight Cameron at one end – and the lightweight Rutte at the other.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
9 months ago

Too much worrying about labels. Take the lid off the box and just look at the contents. Mass migration, social disintegration, globalism, ordinary people’s living standards steadily declining but plutocrats rich beyond the dreams of avarice, mutilation of children, men in women’s sports, reparations, Equity. Now, you can call that Left, Right or Center and I say it doesn’t matter what you call it, what matters is what it is.

Ray Andrews
RA
Ray Andrews
9 months ago

Too much worrying about labels. Take the lid off the box and just look at the contents. Mass migration, social disintegration, globalism, ordinary people’s living standards steadily declining but plutocrats rich beyond the dreams of avarice, mutilation of children, men in women’s sports, reparations, Equity. Now, you can call that Left, Right or Center and I say it doesn’t matter what you call it, what matters is what it is.

Stephanie Surface
SS
Stephanie Surface
9 months ago

Wonder why the magic : “waiting for approval” is in overdrive again today? Supposed to be free speech at UnHerd..

Andrew F
Andrew F
9 months ago

No, only for far left.
As I posted many times:
Lenin, Stalin, Mao all fine guys, never mind hundreds of millions of deaths.
But try listing Muss***ni, Pino**et, Fra**o etc it is censored.
I wonder why?
What about editor of Unherd writing article explaining this?

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
9 months ago

No, only for far left.
As I posted many times:
Lenin, Stalin, Mao all fine guys, never mind hundreds of millions of deaths.
But try listing Muss***ni, Pino**et, Fra**o etc it is censored.
I wonder why?
What about editor of Unherd writing article explaining this?

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
9 months ago

Wonder why the magic : “waiting for approval” is in overdrive again today? Supposed to be free speech at UnHerd..