Almost 30% now consider immigration and integration to be the biggest problems facing the country, double the figure at the start of the year. In particular, people are afraid of increasing tensions in society and many think it unfair so much money is being diverted to refugees while Dutch people live in poverty, the SCP says. Almost 40% of college graduates and 70% of those with vocational training agree that the Netherlands may lose its distinctive characteristics due to immigration and open borders, the survey shows.
The survey further shows that Dutch voters want their government to focus more on domestic issues, rather than on problems of the rest of the world, among which the wars in Syria and Iraq. In an interview with Dutch public broadcaster NOS, SCP director Paul Dekker explains:
People want to go back to the Netherlands as they think it used to be: safe, cozy and okay behind our dykes.
Dekker’s explanation is part true and part leftist talking point. With regards to the former, voters do believe that the government should spend more on domestic problems and less on helping other countries. It makes no sense to send billions of euros in foreign aid to other countries while our elderly and sick don’t get the treatment they deserve.
As for the latter, Dekker also uses it as a slur. For decades, Dutch socialists have accused those of us on the right of trying to “hide behind the dykes,” “happy to watch while the world burns.” It’s meant to depict conservatives and classical liberals as small-minded racists. Dekker is aware of that, of course, which tells us all we need to know about his own views. Note to him and his socialist ilk: there’s nothing small-minded about prioritizing one’s own national needs over those of other people’s, or wanting to preserve your distinctive culture.
In any case, as a result of Dutch worries over mass immigration from the Middle East, voters are flocking to Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration and anti-Islam party, the Party for Freedom (PVV). The PVV has led in the polls for months now. If elections were held today, the party would get 33 seats in Dutch Parliament. The number two party in the polls, the governing VVD, which currently has 41 seats in Parliament, is only polling at 22 seats. That’s a virtual loss of 22 seats: an unheard of amount in the Netherlands.
That’s good news for Wilders, but it gets even better. After the PVV leader recently asked Twitter followers to contact the party if they’d like to be on its candidate list for the upcoming elections, he undoubtedly thought only a few dozen people would respond. Until very recently, most PVV supporters were unwilling to show their support publicly because doing so resulted in personal attacks from the Left. As a result, Wilders has had a very serious problem creating a list of experienced, educated and knowledgeable candidates for Parliament.
Those days are clearly over. Two days ago, Wilders announced on Twitter that 350 people had signed up for the list — an amount any mainstream party would be proud of. In other words, the refugee crisis is causing so much distress that PVV supporters no longer fear blowback from leftists because they know their concerns are shared by a large part of the Dutch population.