The Dutch government has resigned en masse. What was the massive scandal that brought them all down? Prepare to be shocked.
Mark Rutte’s government has stepped down after thousands of families were wrongly accused of child welfare fraud and told to pay money back.
Families suffered an “unparalleled wrong”, Dutch MPs decided, with tax officials, politicians, judges and civil servants leaving them powerless.
Many of those affected were from an immigrant background and hundreds were plunged into financial difficulty.
Mr Rutte submitted the cabinet’s resignation to the king.
“Innocent people have been criminalised and their lives ruined,” he then told reporters, adding that responsibility for what had gone wrong lay with the cabinet. “The buck stops here.”
Parents were branded fraudsters over minor errors such as missing signatures on paperwork, and erroneously forced to pay back tens of thousands of euros given by the government to offset the cost of childcare, with no means of redress. They were, as one junior minister who resigned in connection with the scandal put it, “steamrolled” by the system.
Families were left in a state of ruin, by a state apparatus that became “the enemy of the people”.
Relationships disintegrated under the pressure, homes were lost, mothers have spoken tearfully of the financial and psychological anguish they suffered after being targeted by tax officials.
Get that? The government resigned because poor immigrants were treated badly by the state bureaucracy. Americans who have got used to massive abuses by its government going unpunished would treat that as the natural order of things. Making life difficult for poor people is seen by some here as precisely what the government should do, in order to get them off their lazy backsides and make something of their lives so that they too can become billionaires.
As a further note, the Dutch prime minister went to see the king to submit his resignation ridng on his bicycle.
Don’t these silly Dutch people know that the head of state must always go out in public with a massive entourage, a convoy of large vehicles with a police escort that congests traffic for several blocks, and a massive security detail?