The Teflon Prime Minister in his natural habitat

The Teflon Prime and its natural habitat

This time I compare Mark Rutte with a horse. A konik horse in the Oostvaardersplassen. The comparison seems strange, but in cybernetics seemingly very different situations often turn out to have a surprising amount of similarities when you consider them from a system perspective.

There is a lot of discussion about the horses and other large grazers in the Oostvaardersplassen. 18 Konik horses, 32 Heck cattle and 40 red deer were once released here. There are now thousands of animals and a large percentage of them come to an end every winter. Some people believe that the animals need to be fed, others favor shooting, others want to move the animals or remove the fences around the area.

Loosely based on the idea of “survival of the fittest”, the fact that relatively small numbers of animals have grown into much larger populations could seem to be a success for those animals. There is as yet nothing wrong with the survival of the genes of the dominant horses. But if we stretch the boundaries of the system we are considering and no longer only look at the animals, but at the animals in combination with the living environment, then friend and foe agree that there is currently no question in the Oostvaardersplassen of an ecological balance. The system, Mother Nature, is always looking for (and will always achieve) balance, but in far-out-of-balance situations this can be accompanied by quite a bit of suffering.

Last week Mark Rutte survived another crisis. The entire cabinet, Minister Wiebes and our prime minister in the lead, struggled with earlier statements about the existence of documents regarding the abolition of dividend tax. Whether or not you agree with that factual decision, the bumbling and bumbling around "the truth" made it uncomfortable at the very least. Proponents of the abolition attempted to "feed" Rutte in the media, while political opponents tried to take the opportunity to "shoot" him.

In any case, the fact is that, as with previous crises, the “dirt” seems to slip off the Teflon Prime without too much damage. There is as yet nothing wrong with the survival of the political genes of Rutte and his party. But if we stretch the limits of the system we are considering here, it becomes clear that we are also dealing with an unhealthy imbalance in politics. It is not only about Mark Rutte and the VVD, but it is also about his “living environment”. And that is us, the Dutch voters. Together with politicians in both national and municipal politics, we are all part of the total democratic system in the Netherlands. The prime minister emerges from the battle relatively unscathed, but the Dutch voter is again a bit more bald.

Democracy cannot afford that voters lose confidence in politics more and more. You can't make up for an embarrassing display like last week's by loudly proclaiming in the next elections that it is important that we all vote. You fight against right-wing populist parties not only by opposing abject we-they-thinking, but also by showing that you as a cabinet and personally, as a politician, can move along in a sensible and dignified manner with changes in the society. Show that as an establishment you are prepared to make substantial changes. That is more important than just getting out of the battle undamaged and then continuing your plans with all good intentions.

At some point Mother Nature will restore the balance, also here, also in the political landscape. And that can easily be accompanied by more violence than we would like. I prefer not to. I think dead horses are bad enough.