The general elections of September 12, 2012 in the Netherlands show how far basic income has to go in the Netherlands. The elections were characterized by many debates in the media: radio, television, magazines and newspapers, but reporting and interviews were focused on party leaders of the major parties and some of the smaller parties already represented in the parliament, rather than on newcomers parties, some of which have endorsed basic income.

In Holland we have public broadcasting by NOS (Nederlandse Omroep Stichting – Dutch Broadcasting Foundation), so you should presume some objectivity about all political parties. NOS has the option to only have news about the political parties which have seats in parliament. All newcomers (about 10 from 22) were presumed not important enough to have some news about them in the broadcast

The elections resulted in a total of 21,176 votes for political newcomers which have a statement on a Citizens Income / Unconditional Basic Income (UBI – OBI in Dutch) – in their program. Those new parties didn’t get any seats in parliament because the minimum for one seat is about 60,000 votes. In Holland we have 9 million voters and 150 seats in parliament. This must be a signal that there has a lot of work to be done by supporters of the UBI to inform people on the advantages of the UBI.

A few new parties SOPN [Soeverein Onafhankelijke Pioniers Nederland – Sovereign Independent Pioneers of the Netherlands] and PVDT (Partij van de Toekomst – Party of the Future) that seek for real innovations, such as direct democracy, digital civil rights and UBI. They were sparsely covered. Of course, every political party had the six free three-minutes legal obligation airtime on public broadcasting, but that was all.  Also the various polls taken in advance to the elections only concerned the established parties. The newcomers received no attention and were not even mentioned in the polls.

For us as Vereniging Basisinkomen (Basic Income Association) there is still a lot of work to do. We must choose a different strategy. The parliament, as it stands, will not seriously take notice of the UBI. We need to address people at their hearts and only then will there be a majority that can ensure that UBI becomes a major issue in politics. Maybe we can get an overall understanding by politicians that the Unconditional Basic Income is the universal way to achieve a socially and just society to for the future where every individual can live in freedom without hardship.

Results of the elections
# Valid votes                            9,424,235
# Invalid votes                          20,984
# Blank votes                           17,004
# Percentage of blank votes            0,18 %
# Electors                                12,689,810
# Attendance                           9,462,223
# Turnout                                 74.57 %
# Votes for an UBI                 21,176

About Yannick Vanderborght

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