Is Jan Peter Balkenende’s publicist on a secret sabotage mission?
The recent photos of the Dutch Prime Minister wandering around in a ‘FUCK DRUGS!’ t-shirt and swigging from a can of Grolsch at two in the afternoon would suggest so. (see original picture)
He was visiting Volendam, the small fishing village where hard drug use is so prevalent it’s known as ‘Cocaine Town’ in Amsterdam. Being spiked with Rohypnol and dragged to a festival might have explained all this, as well as why the t-shirt seemed to have been forced onto the politician over the top of his shirt and tie without due care and attention.
The group of laughing blokes in the background, drinking beer and taking phone photos of the CDA leader as he grins like a twit, completes the illusion that this is the PM having it large on a day off rather than a serious flesh-pressing junket just days before a general election.
New campaign to “FUCK DRUGS”
The reason for both his visit and his t-shirt turns out to be ‘Moedige Moeders’ (lit.’Courageous Mothers’), an anti-drugs group (so probably no Rohypnol was involved). The t-shirt accompanies their new ‘FUCK DRUGS!’ campaign. According to their website the Premier was wearing it as “an example to the youth”, who can presumably now use it as justification for wearing t-shirts with the word FUCK on them, delighting Christian Democrats everywhere.
In the same article the Mothers refer to the government’s drug tolerance policy as “hypocritical” and a “co-conspirator in all the disaster” of vandalism, football hooliganism, and violence. I assume this was pointed out to him as they were giving him beer and stuffing him into the t-shirt as it was his party that instigated the tolerance policy in the first place.
Beer is apparently ok with the Moedige Moeders. Their website lists alcohol as a drug and condones 1-2 glasses per day for women and 2-3 for men, with the handy recommendation of no alcohol for two days a week to prevent building up a tolerance. A more honest campaign slogan might be ‘FUCK UNTAXED DRUGS!’
The goal of preventing substance abuse and addiction, especially in children and young adults, is absolutely to be applauded. A photo opportunity with a vote-hungry Prime Minister supporting this cause should be a winner for both parties. The image that was placed on Twitter by Balkenende’s top media adviser Michael Sijbom, spread across the internet faster than you can say “OMG ROFL” and appeared on the front of the Volkskrant, should be an embarrassment to all concerned.
What’s in a name?
Giving a Dutch campaign an English name might seem like a good idea to make it ‘hip’ and ‘edgy’; using an English obscenity, even more so; and the word ‘fuck’ isn’t that offensive to the Dutch (just as the word ‘cancer’ isn’t that offensive to English speakers but is one of the worst things you can say in the Nederlands).
However, the global arena that politicians now perform in has an audience that is unlikely to assume the t-shirt supports a serious anti-drug group, especially when the wearer is holding a beer. Unfortunately for ‘Moedige Moeders’ their presence is still so small that most of the Dutch audience probably won’t realize either.
What the Mothers need is a good media advisor to help them come up with a more accurate campaign slogan that won’t offend English speaking people the world over. Perhaps Micheal Sijbom will have some free time once JPB realizes that people are not, in fact, laughing with him.