For many years I was active in the three components of ‘purple’, namely the PvdA, D66 and VVD. Moving between parties is a less common phenomenon in the Netherlands than in Israel, where I first entered the political arena.
In the Netherlands, people are generally reluctant to leave their party, even when it changes direction.
At the same time, recent developments indicate that Dutch politics is improving on this point. On 24 January 2004, VVD junior minister for transport, Melanie Schultz van Hagen, stated that she was not averse to the idea of a new party encompassing the present VVD and parts of the PvdA and D66.
The 30 January 2004 issue of HP/De Tijd goes as far as to conclude that ‘With the erosion of substantive differences between parties, the personality of individual politicians is becoming increasingly important’.
I joined many others in believing that Leefbaar Nederland would provide a breath of fresh air. In the elections for party leader, I finished in second place, behind Pim Fortuyn. When he was expelled from the party, I did not wish to take his place, nor did I want to join his LPF.
With Pim's murder, I put my active involvement in politics on hold, turning down, among other things, an invitation from the LPF to consider the post of Immigration minister in the first Balkenende Cabinet (see Volkskrant of Tuesday 16 July 2002).