Queen Beatrix’ confident Herman Tjeenk Willink encountered a probably insurmountable stumbling block in his efforts to clear the way for a right-wing Wilders-supported Dutch Government, yesterday, as a task-force of Dutch Civil Servants in The Hague could not find a solution for a civilized way to introduce Wilders’ head scarf tax on Muslim Women. Tagging the ears of all Dutch inhabitants of the female sex with large plastic scannable tags to indicate if they are Muslim or not, when they wear head-scarves, is “a bridge too far” in the eyes of the three negotiators.
Mr. Wilders had asked from his conservative and Christian democrat coalition partners a written guarantee, that they would impose his “Kopvoddentaks” pet project during the coming legislature. Both coalition partners then made the reservation, that they were not sure that it would be applicable, due to technical and legal obstacles. Whereupon Wilders asked and obtained a promise that an urgent expert report on that matter be written, in order to settle the problem in the coalition contract.
Sources in The Hague said to our correspondent, that Wilders promised in exchange to a headscarf tax guarantee, to support “considerable cuts” in pensions and unemployment- and social benefits.
Tagging girls and women
A preliminary research into the viability of a “Heffing op Cultuur-vreemde Hoofdbedekkingen” as the head-rags-tax is translated now into bureaucrats’ lingo, by an interdepartmental working party of high-ranking Dutch civil servants, resulted in a provisional report to Mr. Willink, that says, that, in order to avoid cheating, it is unavoidable, to tag the Islamic women themselves.
Mr. Weird Gilders, a researcher into surrealistic realities, temporarily based in Holland, reports:
The tax-controllers will need to be able to scan at any moment the tags of headscarf-wearing women in the streets with mobile scanners linked to a personal-and-tax-database at the Ministry of Security. “This is the most humane and respectful way, we can imagine this kind of operation in,” said a close collaborator of the working party today, “The inspector will not have to touch the woman who is object of the control operation, and he will not have to search her physically. This is the way, we show how respectful we are here in Holland as concerns the specific sensibilities of the Muslim population.”
In order to be readable by the controllers, the tags have to be long and large enough to be seen outside of the covered area. In general, the tags as they have been developed for cattle, will do the job in this respect.
“You may easily understand, said our source, that the tags cannot be fixed to the scarf itself. Knowing our Muslim friends, they would start to cheat on the spot, by fixing a loose tag to the headscarf of any woman who happens to leave the house, the others staying tagless at home. The tags will have to be fixed to the person herself, as it is the person who is subject to the tax, not the scarf. The example of the yellow star, the Jews were forced to wear during the Nazi Occupation, is not relevant here, for the imposition of specific taxes on Jews was not linked to that tag.”
“We were at a loss during several hours, how to avoid solutions like engraving numbers etc. on the arms of the headscarf-wearing women, for everybody understood, that that would be going to recall Auschwitz souvenirs”, continues our source, “But then, the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture on our Working Party provided a solution to the problem that shields us against any moral and legal, even European, objections: The Cattle Tag!“
The cattle tag has been introduced in the European Union some 7 years ago. Initially, many environmentalists were strongly opposed to the large yellow plastic tags that have to be fixed by way of a nail into the ears of cows, sheep and other cattle, but that opposition waned away soon. Methods of fixing the tags to the ears have been developed, that minimize the suffering of the animals. European minimum standards have been written and applied. Even the PVV-animal lover, Mr. Dion Graus MP, never complained about this violation of the integrity of the animal, although it is Europe-imposed.
Our source depicts a lively image of the discussions that followed:
“So far, so good. But what to do with women who wear, permanently or occasionally, head-scarves that are in line with Dutch cultural heritage, but not easily distinguishable from Muslim ones? You have to think here, not only of Nuns, but also of catholic women going to Mass, of housewives in rural areas, who set out shopping when it rains or snows, ladies who are in the process of having their hair done at the barber’s, etc.”
Women are so unpredictable, indeed.
On that issue no majority opinion could be reached in the Working Party on the “Heffing op Cultuurvreemde Hoofdbedekkingen“. A considerable minority of the ministerial experts favored the tagging of all Duch inhabitants of the female sex. The tags of non-Muslim women would then also link to the database and confirm their exemption from the tax because of legally established cultural conformity.
A majority of the departmental representatives in the Working Party could not agree with that proposal. Even while the “taggers” argued that in intimate moments, for instance during intercourse, the tags could be turned backwards and hidden under the hair, they fear, that this could be perceived as “sexual discrimination” in the public opinion.
As we are writing, the Working Party is reconsidering this issue, if necessary, over the whole weekend. For Mr. Willink is scheduled to report to the Queen on Monday.
The tag-controlling brigades
Another, but perhaps minor, problem that remained unsolved, is the organization, the financing and the rules for the local human resources that will be charged with headscarve-controlling. In order to avoid resistance and sabotaging by socialist local authorities, a common opinion prevailed, that controlling will have to be a centralized operation.
But unsolvable divergences arose between the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of the Interior and that of Justice, as to who would command these forces, while the Ministry of Economic Affairs reminded everybody, that a privatization of this industry is more in line with the priorities of the upcoming Government. The Ministry of Defense joined this idea, mentioning the successful work of private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Finally, a proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought everybody together in a move to postpone a decision on this issue. The Dutch Embassy in Teheran will provide a report on the private-, but Government-controlled, religious brigades in Iran, who maintain since 1981 successfully the laws of the country on this subject.
Mr. Weird Gilders, who is an internationally respected expert on Wilders- and PVV-formats, concedes that no confirmation could be obtained on every statement he reports above. “But it would be such a pity, not to enjoy imagining this for your pleasure and your education!” 😎