The same thing seems to happen with election debates as with Christmas songs: longer and longer before the actual festival (of democracy or of pine needles), they start to populate radio and television.
With exactly one month to go until the polls opened College Tour Sunday evening the season with a broadcast that was somewhere between a public interview and an actual debate. The four party leaders who were invited had all been guests before College Tourwhich under normal circumstances still exudes a certain admiration for the main character.
Twan Huys probably greeted the quartet – Pieter Omtzigt, Dilan Yesilgöz, Caroline van der Plas and Frans Timmermans – amicably by their first names. When the students in the hall at the VU asked their questions, the politicians became ‘gentlemen’ and ‘madam’ again.
Now almost every selection for political debates is subject to its own debate. And this choice also had something strange. If only because the students hardly had anything to ask Van der Plas. The word ‘nitrogen’ was popular College Tour only on the sidelines.
It was about the housing crisis, student debt, refugee deals and waiting lists in mental health care. All party leaders politely thanked them for the – indeed beautifully formulated – questions, and then told their own stories. Yesilgöz in particular was kept remarkably short by Huys.
He allocated much more speaking time to Omtzigt, who was asked by students in the audience to make their case. Does he want to become prime minister or not? And can he also make compromises in that position?
The leader of the New Social Contract, for whom the word ‘quip’ seems like a concept from a lost language, started an extremely serious explanation that seemed mainly intended to avoid having to answer. Van der Plas woke up from her own thoughts: ‘If there is so much talk in the new coalition, I don’t feel like it anymore.’ Omtzigt was the only one who couldn’t laugh about it.
Say who won the debate? It is just as impossible as predicting who will lead our country next. The only certainty is that above the voting booths on November 22 everywhere ‘All I want for Christmas is youuuuu‘ sounds.
Het Parool signs the TV reviews in the section Han Lips is watching TV from now on with the author’s name. The section will of course continue to exist, but the fictional character will Han Lips is retired.
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