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Corruption in the Netherlands is a white man’s problem

Jos van Rey, Henry Keizer, Ricardo Offermans, Mark Verheijen, Piet van Pol, Ton Hooijmaijers, Robin Linschoten, Rob Drillenburg, Sjoerd Swane, Jan Franssen, Rob Bats, Piet Ploeg, Johan Houwers, Huub Eitjes, Piet Neus, Gee Craenen, Arnold van den Broek, Jos de Graaf, Wiel Vossen, Harrie Verkampen, Jo in de Braekt, Fons Heuts, Cees Sinke, Kees Oversier, Frits Huijbers, Wim Cornelis, Peter van den Baar, Henk Riem, Henk Kool and Jan Elzinga; all VVD, CDA and PvdA politicians who have been guilty of corruption, conflicts of interest and self-enrichment. They all bear typical Dutch names, there is no word between Turkish, Arabic or Berber.

Yet last week, Jort Kelder insinuated in his haughty radio program Dr Kelder & Cothat corruption in the Netherlands is a ‘Turkish-Moroccan problem’ when he spoke with Joost Eerdmans about the corrupt aldermen of The Hague. Kelder suggested that “there is a migrant story behind this” and that “that clientelism is in the Mediterranean culture that we are importing” and he proposed a “cultural cleansing operation,” which has something ethnic cleansing-like – everything handy and cowardly in asking form, so that Kelder himself could not be held responsible for the xenophobic statements.

Basement’s remark that clientelism was imported is ridiculous: his good friend Mark Rutte is guilty of this at the highest level. The Prime Minister fervently represents the interests of multinationals and top managers with whom he maintains warm ties. That is why the corporate income tax went down while the purchasing power of ordinary citizens decreased and it is why Rutte insisted on abolishing the dividend tax for so long.

But as always Kelder wore his white glasses. He did not see – or did not want to see – that corruption in the Netherlands is primarily a white man’s problem. Of course that is not in whiteness or masculinity in itself; as a white man you are not born with a ‘corruption gene’. In the Netherlands, corruption is simply a white man’s problem because the top positions in politics, business and government are mainly occupied by men. And precisely those positions of power are prone to corruption.

As more women and people with a migrant background end up in those top positions, corruption will become less and less of a white man’s problem.

Firstly, because white men are less likely to occupy corruption-sensitive positions. But also because of course there are also women and people with a migrant background who will be guilty of corruption when they have the opportunity.

You could therefore argue that it is also in the interests of white men and their image that the top of business, government and politics quickly become more diverse.

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