The winner is! Hairdressers Open

Lotting measures: hairdressers open. The drawing of the measures has just begun in The Hague. The prominent politician Mark Rutte drew the first note: hairdressers open.

Coryfee Hugo de Jonge was allowed to take the second ball out of the bowl. 'Secondary schools partially open' could be read on the paper. Finally, the sign interpreter could still open a ball. She drew the measure: for hospitality no perspective.

23 February 2021 by Jochem van den Berg and Jop Eikelboom

Politics must prepare citizens for a new normal
Politics and virus control are a complex combination, especially in election time. The demissionary cabinet Rutte III is known that the ministers concerned are constantly monitoring how public opinion responds to measures. Thus, the Cabinet maintains great support for most corona measures. The price is that the policy sometimes feels a bit anticyclic. After weeks of great social pressure to ease the lockdown, the cabinet is now going to. Secondary schools and MBO's are partially reopening. Most liaison professions will be allowed again. The fact that the Cabinet takes into account the spirit of the nation and does not blind itself to numbers is in itself to be welcomed. SCP Director Kim Putters sighed Monday in NRC that “mental space" in the Cabinet sometimes lacks to think about creative solutions from advisors. But the Cabinet seems to be abandoning some discipline. Where has the 'predictable and explainable roadmap', which would provide a view of possible easing?

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Premier Rutte dropped the whole roadmap on Tuesday, in a conversation with ONL for Entrepreneurs. We need to relax one more than the roadmap or experts want, he said, “otherwise you will go crazy.". The verdict gave the impression that the VVD leader was speaking here, not the final responsible for the coronacrisis. Smoothings are welcome, if they are possible in a deliberate way. But the Second Chamber elections should never be the argument.

Last weekend, Rutte published an open letter, in which he unfolds his plan to “reach the finish line with as little damage as possible". The whole letter assumes the scenario that the coronacrisis is finite, and that that end is in sight. Now “biting through", and then the old normally restarts. That vision is also reflected in the campaign and in almost all election programs. Sometimes it is about the 'lessons' that can be drawn from corona, for example, that appreciation of care is important, that international cooperation is crucial, or that equal opportunities count. But the central picture is that the crisis is a temporary hurdle, and that the old is normally about to return.

Science takes into account the scenario that the coronavirus will continue to play a role for years to come. The virus is too widespread to eradicate in the short term with a vaccine, said virologists and infectious disease experts this weekend in NRC. The virus can develop into an endemic disease, which can continue to be heard in humans, and, for example, every year in the winter.

However, this conclusion seems to have not yet been politically accepted. By stubbornly sketching a future in which everything will be fine, politicians create an illusion. It is true that there are many lessons to be learned from the crisis, and that is what should be about in the coming weeks. But if the old normally does not return for the time being, politicians and policymakers have to set up. Plans to adapt the Netherlands to a new normal, are hardly made, revealed by a tour of NRC in the official world. Politicians avoid talking about this, presumably because it's not a popular electoral message. But here leadership is needed, first of all, from Prime Minister Rutte. With his far too positive open letter, he sent out the wrong signal. Citizens have the right to a fair perspective, not to soothing words that deprive vision of the future.