For someone who claims to be standing up for his country, Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders has a strange way of going about it.
In setting up a website for Dutch people to complain about immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, Wilders has taken, much as his kind tend to do, the short-sighted route of populist intolerance.
Bashing Eastern Europeans is hardly news; as noted in a recent report by The Sofia Echo, it is a popular pastime among sections of the British press. Tawdry newspapers pandering to prejudices, however, have less to lose than a European Union member state as it seeks to negotiate on issues within the bloc for which it will require support from Eastern EU countries.
Sensible media in the Netherlands have pointed out the economic gains for the country from the presence on the labour market of people from Central and Eastern Europe. But then, sense can hardly be expected from the same myopic people who hold hostage the prospect of Bulgaria and Romania entering the Schengen zone, deliberately muddying that issue.
Sensible people in Central and Eastern Europe, of course, will not confuse Wilders and his ilk with the tradition of tolerance of which the Dutch justly can be proud (on a historical note, one that dates back as far as the time of the Huguenot refugees). No one of reason will damn the Dutch; certainly not in the way that people like Wilders do.