A strange week!
I am not really a political animal. I always try to take an interest and would never dream of missing my vote but, now I am living in Holland, I only qualify to make my mark in local elections not national ones - for the time being anyway until I succeed in becoming a Dutch citizen. I have been well primed in the pros and cons of all the parties, however, and had formed a not particularly high opinion of Pim Fortuyn and his far right policies. Despite this, it was still a shock to hear of his assassination on Monday, just after six pm when listening to the news on BBC Radio 4.
It wasn't so much that the man himself had been attacked, although that was a totally unwarranted act. It was that it happened here in Holland - in Europe. I've never known a country with so much political choice, invariably leading to a coalition of one or more parties in order to run the state efficiently. There was certainly not going to be a shock result next week such as France experienced recently. The Lijst Fortuyn was forecast to win a few seats, admittedly, but nowhere near enough to threaten the status quo.
Ironically he wasn't killed for his extreme views on immigration. The perpetrator of this violent act is an animal rights extremist who, up to now, has fought his corner using the law and the courts. Why he should suddenly decide to take a life in such a public way, remains to be seen. Police are tight-lipped and releasing the barest of details - although most Dutch people have already swamped the suspects' various web sites to glean more information.
As Ormondroyd points out in his 'Notes' this week, what the majority are mourning isn't neccessarily the death of the man himself, although that in itself is a great tragedy. They mourn the attack on democracy which has reverberated around Europe. That Pim Fortuyn had ideas which some endorsed and some repulsed is obvious. Why he, or anyone else, should die for those policies is not.
Today I learnt that my ex father-in-law had died. Although his son and I were barely on speaking terms in recent years, I was lucky enough to still count him as a friend and a good grandfather to my children. I have always thought it a great shame that quite often, when families split up, the extended relatives are cut off and ignored. I am grateful that mine kept close touch, especially in the early years when their granchildren were small and needed all the love they could get.
Finally, let us remember that it is almost a year since we lost DNA. The fact that h2g2 has recently celebrated its 4000th Edited Guide entry is a tribute in itself. The seed he planted over three years ago is growing and maturing every day.