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So for God’s sake, once again the action ‘Red De Jonge’ has been set in motion.
The House of Representatives will debate – probably next week – about the ‘mouth mask deal’ that the Ministry of Health concluded with Sywert van Lienden in 2020. Hugo de Jonge, then minister in that department, will not be there, however. According to a Volkskrant report from last week, the CDA minister did insist at the time to join forces with his party colleague Sywert, but the debate is being conducted on behalf of the cabinet by the current minister for Long-term Care Conny Helder. The government parties consider it ‘pure constitutional law’ that the House first cross swords with it.
Legally clean? Indeed, De Jonge is no longer a Minister of Health. That’s Clear. Together with Ernst Kuipers, she is politically responsible for everything that happens at the ministry. In theory, it is possible that the House decides that Helder (VVD) must resign because there was a blunder when closing the mouth cap deal.
But nobody would understand that, and it won’t happen. The mouth cap deal was a CDA meeting. De Jonge brought in – if de Volkskrant was right – Van Lienden because he preferred to see him ‘inside pissing out’ and not the other way around. If anyone has to pay for what went wrong at the time, it can only be De Jonge. Apart from Sywert himself, of course, who earned 9 million with the highly controversial purchase of the faulty face masks. But Van Lienden has no political position and can therefore not be forced to resign.
However, the coalition is not yet ready to punish De Jonge. As so often when political trouble threatens, she is wasting time, hoping the storm will pass. I assume that the CDA is mainly behind this. I do not believe that De Jonge still has much credit with his Christian Democrat friends. After all, they hardly lifted a finger for him when he was grabbed by the scruff of the neck at the end of the cabinet formation and removed from Public Health. Hugo can now try as Minister for Housing. Most likely he will not succeed in alleviating the housing shortage in the slightest, and the CDA knows that very well.
But they will have counted their knots with that party and have come to the conclusion that a fiercely beleaguered minister would not come out very well in the image at the moment. In view of the polls and the results of the municipal elections, the CDA is already in the corner where the blows fall. It can miss even more misery for the time being like the proverbial toothache. So for God’s sake, once again the action ‘Red De Jonge’ has been set in motion. After all, the man was once – albeit only briefly – leader of the Christian Democrats. Should he now be kicked under his butt, it is expected that this will meet with incomprehension and unrest among the already strongly dwindling supporters.
And the other coalition parties VVD, D66 and ChristenUnie? There will sometimes be a deep sigh, but for the time being they will not be difficult. After all, the cabinet has only just arrived and no one is interested in a possible crisis, followed by new elections. Of course, the next CDA member who gets into trouble will have to be very careful. Perhaps that is De Jonge, by the way, because hardly anyone can imagine that he will not happily continue to fumble at his new post.