Press Review Wednesday 26 May 2010
Reports from the campaign front again dominate the Dutch dailies, but news from the football front comes a close second.Articles about Labour leader Job Cohen's poor performance in Sunday's television debate pop up in all the papers. Trouw leads with "debate increases Labour's worries," and reports that the party has lost three seats in the opinion polls taken after Sunday's debate between the leaders of the four major parties. The mass-circulation De Telegraaf leads with another of its careful, nuanced headlines, "Labour blunders again," blares the paper on its front page. De Volkskrant announces that Sunday's "prime ministers' debate didn't do Mr Cohen any good at all," but notes that he has a chance to redeem himself in tonight's debate. Politicians from all the other parties are lining up to take pot shots at Mr Cohen - Trouw reports that GreenLeft leader Femke Halsema says that she is now the leader of the left-wing movement in the Netherlands and D66 leader Alexander Pechtold tells De Telegraaf, "it's clear that something magical is missing from Mr Cohen's performance on TV". The outlook seems to be rather bleak for the Labour Party, but AD manages to put a positive spin on things: "don't write off the stuttering Cohen yet," writes the paper adding "attacks by other politicians may benefit Cohen in the long run". We shall see. Nice hair, shame about the policies... Electability in this media age is dependent on any number of subjective factors and Trouw analyses the effect a good mop of hair has on a candidate's chance of electoral success - though the analysis is rather one-sided, or should I say, one-sexed, as it only analyses male candidates' hairdos. Trouw writes, "a good rug on the bonce can be a politician's X-factor,” and notes that all of the current male party leaders have a good head of hair, except for Job Cohen and SGP leader Kees van der Staaij. Trouw says, "It's interesting to note that the balding Mr Cohen is doing particularly badly in the polls". The paper adds "it doesn't matter what sort of care Mr Van de Staaij has as the right-wing Christian SGP always get two seats, hair or no hair". Strangely enough, the paper doesn't analyse the effect that Geert Wilders’ bleached blonde bouffant hairdo might have on the Dutch electorate. Somali pirates on trial in The Hague The first-ever European trial of suspected Somali pirates opened in the Netherlands yesterday and De Volkskrant opens its coverage with a line from the defence: "we were out fishing". The paper wonders what sort of fish one can catch with AK-47s and long ladders. That question comes up again in Trouw: the paper reports that the suspects had machine guns, long ladders and even a rocket launcher in their boat, but they were unable to tell the judge what sort of bait one used to catch fish. The suspected pirates also withdrew their earlier confessions and now claim they "were fishing". Football good for Dutch economy Football is big business and NRC.next writes that the World Cup could be a real boon for the economy: "a Dutch World Cup could generate 700 million euros”. Researchers from ING bank say that a victorious Dutch team would increase consumer confidence and spending and give a tremendous boost to the economy. Given the size of the Netherlands’ budget deficit, the country's politicians ought to be praying for World Cup victory. Trouw writes "despite the 1.5 million working hours that could be lost due to watching football on television, a World Cup victory will be good for the economy". The paper says there is a direct correlation with advancement in the competition and benefit to the economy; "we drink more beer and order more pizzas on match days and that's good for the economy". The paper says that one in nine working people say they plan to watch the Dutch team in action during office hours and "a Dutch victory will contribute to the jolly atmosphere at the office". Unless of course one hates football, in which case all this football hysteria will just send you round the twist. Old news De Volkskrant reports that the oldest known example of a Dutch newspaper has returned to the Netherlands for a special exhibition. Sweden has lent a 400-year-old page from the Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt &C to the Royal Library KB in The Hague, where it will be on view until the end of June. The exhibition is part of the Royal Library's drive to create an online archive of Dutch newspapers. So far the KB has digitised a representative portion of four centuries of Dutch newspapers and the site will go online on Friday. The paper writes that the page dating from 1618 is "printed on one side only in Gothic letters. The page is yellowed and about the same size as a sheet of A4". De Volkskrant says the page "is much smaller than expected and the 17th-century printing is difficult to read".
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