In previous governments, the PvdA contributed to the privatization of public sectors such as public transport and public housing. Now the party is returning to that policy in its joint election manifesto with Groene Links: The government must take charge again.
However, the party leaves education out of the picture, while there are also problems: teacher shortages, unequal opportunities, and concerns about students’ basic skills. in News hour Party leader Frans Timmermans says he still wants to discuss education reforms.
“School councils cause chaos.”
Many teachers and Education experts He accuses school boards of not coming up with good solutions to the problem. These councils now largely determine how the fifty billion euros that go annually to education are spent. “The government gives school boards a bag of money, and they screw it up,” says history teacher John Aarts. “People who really care about education have no say in it.”
In a survey conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by News hour Nearly three-quarters of potential supporters of the GL-PvdA also say the government should take control of education. But PvdA Minister Jo Ritzen was the creator of the current system and the party did not want to change it in subsequent governments.
Timmermans now says he wants to talk to the art teacher about his complaints “and also to address the way education is managed.” This may have consequences for current education administrators and supervisors, including many former PvdA politicians. But the fact that this might affect other party members “doesn’t concern me at all,” says Timmermans.
Abandon the meat tax and hijab functions
Timmermans had to make significant concessions on other issues to reach a joint election statement with GroenLinks. For example, the PvdA previously supported a partial ban on the burqa, partly because the burqa would deprive women of the “opportunity for development and participation.” GroenLinks was against the ban, and the joint program now states that GL-PvdA wants to overturn the ban.
The PvdA was also against police officers wearing headscarves. The party believes that the neutral image of the police is more important than the free choice to express one’s religion.
GroenLinks has placed greater value on this freedom, and the GL-PvdA now says in its voting guide that it supports wearing the hijab in the police. Timmermans: “In the United Kingdom and Canada, for example, this does not create any problems in the implementation of police work, and the community is very used to it.”
His supporters have a slightly different point of view. Half of GL-PvdA’s likely voters in the Ipsos poll say officers should wear a neutral uniform, without any religious expressions such as a cross, yarmulke or headscarf. 28 percent disagree with this.
Reducing taxes on fruits and vegetables
Then there is another issue on which the GL-PvdA’s position is not known: an additional tax on meat. GroenLinks has long been in favor of a meat tax as a way to account for the climate and natural damage caused by meat production and to combat animal suffering. The PvdA was against imposing additional costs on low-income people.
“We have to talk about it,” says Timmermans. “I think you should do everything you can to encourage people to eat less meat. But I think you should especially cut taxes on fruits and vegetables.”
In conversation with GL-PvdA leader Frans Timmermans
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