THIS REALLY TAKES THE BISCUIT …

We do things differently in The Netherlands it seems: the biggest news item this week is all about our Minister of Justice and Safety, Ferdi Grapperhaus (well his name for starters is hilarious as it literally means: House of Jokers!). So, this man is the at the top of the ladder in the Dutch Government Cabinet and responsible for not only justice, law and order, the police, but also for the general care and safety of ALL Dutch citizens.

So, he was very much involved in all the rules and regulations because of the Corona virus (Covid-19), including the new Corona Law. For social distancing, for reservations in restaurants, bars and cafes, for the rules when visiting museums, theaters, cinemas etc. Also responsible for all law and order and the one who came up with the idea of the fines for people who did not conform to said rules. And these were big fines. For restaurants who did not keep the rules, around Euro 4000 and for people committing ‘the crime’ and not keeping to rules, Euro 400. That is a lot of money.

You would think, I guess, that he above anyone, knowing all the rules and regulations and as a ‘pinnacle in society’, in other words someone who took on a role of being important, would be the one to keep to them as well and even more so, be an example for others.

Well no, you are totally wrong!

He recently got married and even though other people were restricted about numbers attending weddings and even funerals, he could it would seem have as many guests as he wanted. Social distancing, what is that? The many press photographs showed him and his guests all far too close together, hugging and such like. Elderly people like his mother-in-law who falls under the category of being someone at high risk, hugged closely. All rules forgotten and literally flushed down the toilet. Our Prime Minister was in attendance too.

Political debates this week have been really hard for him (good) as the opposition leaders went full on and made a real fuss about it and rightly so. How can you tell people that they have to do something and then do exactly the opposite yourself? Many opposition leaders called for his resignation, but in some or other completely incomprehensible way, he just said ‘sorry’ and the matter was closed.

This is a very hard and bitter pill to swallow for people who have already had and paid fines, big ones too. For restaurant owners who are having a hard time anyway financially with this crisis, to keep their businesses afloat.

But hey, when you are the Minister, obviously other rules apply.

I personally think this makes the system complete hypocrisy, because it just is not fair, and justice is all about being fair for all isn’t it? Or maybe not?

There was one thing that made me laugh out aloud, and that was that someone suggested that we all downloaded a paper mask of his face. Then when confronted by a control, you put on the mask and then say sorry! No fine then? Well if this is the answer, then I can only say, do it and try it.

But this sort of thing really ‘takes the biscuit’ as we say in English (in other words ‘the bloody limit’) and makes a joke of everything. How can you expect people to either respect the system or actually even comply to the rules, which after all are for all of us, our health and safety, when others make a mockery of it? And the Minister for Justice, who is in charge or all of this.

For their own wedding party, for their own gain and even worse, completely disrespecting the rules, so why should others comply to them then?

It’s a big question isn’t it. Experts are telling us almost daily that because people are being so lax about the rules, and our Minister is top of the list, that the virus is rearing its head. Alarmingly too. People on holiday in Spain for example came home much earlier because if you travel back to The Netherlands, from a ‘code red’ country, you then have to spend 10 days in quarantine. I wonder if all Grapperhaus’s guests are now in quarantine. I doubt it very much.

Putting a lot of other people at unnecessary risk because the Minister thought he could apply his own set of rules. Or in other words, ignore what he is telling the rest because he thinks he is a cut above us all?

This is such a good example of when at the top, obviously you are not bound to comply! How fair is that? Totally not!

A scandal really that he got away with it by just a simple ‘sorry’. Not a public apology and how does he expect anyone to have one gram of respect anymore. Impossible.

I think everyone present should have had the same fine (yes, Euro 400 per person) and the restaurant (or venue) where this was held too (yes, Euro 4000 for that indiscretion). 

It is scandalous that it has been swept under the carpet isn’t it? You as a citizen would never have got away with it, you would have been fined and charged. That is the way justice works apparently.

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Jill Kramer

Hi! I'm Jill and I'm a passionate author of books, short stories, columns and blogs.

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