Within a year, the regime has thrown to pieces everything that was dear to us in March 2020. I say 'was still sweet'. Because now the proportion of the population that can still remember what was dear to us has literally been decimated. The nappies (the veil-wearing, slavish mob) have long since forgotten these fundamental values and, it will turn out, cling to their utterly imaginary saviors in vain.
Behind the huge smokescreen that bears the title corona pandemic, everything of value is thoroughly ruined; civil and human rights, education, care, economy, culture, normal human relationships. But now that the slate has apparently been swept clean, work needs to be done on a Glorious New Future under the unlikely motto Build Back Better.
The mere fact that they use an English term for it is of course crazy. But 'Reconstruction together' probably sounds too banal, too typically Dutch, too…. normal. That old-fashioned Dutch attitude of just do-just-then-do-you-crazy-enough, of course, does not fit the megalomaniac power-hungry people in The Hague. Their motto is more 'Go crazy, there are already enough ordinary people'. Fine in itself, but just leave me out of it, will you.
And Better? Who then? For politicians who are always happy with more power? For Big Tech, Big Pharma, for the banks? Or for the common man and woman in the street who is always the hare and pays for all the 'dirt' of politics? Before March 2020, the Netherlands was perfectly livable. Was there room for improvement? Certainly. So again, for who then?
Who actually built it anyway?
When you look closely at Build Back Better, it cannot be different than it was in March 2020, according to the promoters of this 'future vision', a mess in our country and apparently nothing worked.
I don't know how to do that in your home, but at home we adhere to the motto: 'If it isn't broken, it doesn't need to be repaired'. An example. When I have a small frame where a piece is rotten, I do not demolish the entire frame and place a new frame. I'll fix it. Except when it's completely rotten. But then I neglected maintenance for years and I cannot help but 'build back better'.
Apparently this also applies to our society if you have to believe the regime; irreparable piece due to years of overdue maintenance. Otherwise you don't have to shit with Build Back Better, do you? Even before March 2020, this was already the case, if we have to believe it. Because you don't go from a rotten place to a completely rotten window in one year, right? The big question is, of course, why is it that all 'window frames' are suddenly completely rotten.
Politicians land on the plush because of their election promises. They will be this, they will be that, in the future so and so in the future. And how will that happen? Well, through Their Personal Intervention of course. Vote for me, then it will be fine.
Assuming that this claim is correct, that the personal intervention of politicians shapes our society, then politicians are directly responsible for all the 'rotten window frames' around us. This is indisputably true for the corona piles. But we must not forget that before that it was also quite rattled in many policy areas. And that is undoubtedly largely due to politics. Who makes the laws? Who imposes them? Who enforces them? Who shuts off from expert substantive advice that a certain policy direction is counterproductive? Who manipulates the results of the Scientific Research and Documentation Center (WODC) that the House should inform objectively? Who consciously looks away from the negative side effects of all that legislation and policy? Who refuses to discuss them? Who caresses the stranglehold of political correctness? The answer to all those questions is; politics. And now that same politics will reshape our society? Talk about megalomania!
Build Back Better
Let's take a closer look at Build Back Better. Why? Well, contrary to what you hear when it comes to investing, past performance does apply when it comes to the performance of organizations and individuals. It is very doubtful whether the regime is equipped for the task they are taking on. After all, there has been some tinkering by The Hague, provincial and municipal authorities in recent decades. I personally see no concrete reason to think that politics will do better in the future.
In a series of articles I explain the performance of the regime and their Great Helmsman, including some of their failing predecessors, through a number of key policy areas. Let's see how great their achievements really are and see what we can deduce for the future. After all, it's quite a claim, isn't it? Build Back Better. If it wasn't so fancy and sad, it would be a laugh.
PART 1 - INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRAFFIC
According to TNO, the value of our infrastructure is our country's greatest asset. According to TNO, this infrastructure is worth just as much as our total national debt. That means more than 22.000 Euro per inhabitant and more than 45.000 Euro per working resident. But something is very wrong with our infrastructure.
Broddelwerk with bridges
An example of this is the Merwede Bridge near Gorinchem. The largest manager of our infrastructure, Rijkswaterstaat, closed the Merwede bridges for freight transport in November 2016. That is a bowing down not to be underestimated; there was real shit on the marble. Because acknowledging mistakes is not really ingrained in the genes of political-administrative organizations.
Despite the closure, there was no safety risk, according to Rijkswaterstaat, but there was 'overdue maintenance'. Excuse me? The largest infrastructure manager in our country, who, by law, must watch over the state of our greatest asset, does it not maintain that properly? Moreover, Rijkswaterstaat's statement is, as usual, a politically correct fairy tale. According to an report from bureau Berenschot from 2019 it is a wonder that the bridge has not collapsed.
The Merwede Bridge was opened in 1961 and is now sixty years old. But already in 2001 (!) The bridge was at its maximum capacity with long and costly traffic jams every day. With all the counts that Rijkswaterstaat carries out, they should have seen this coming from miles away. And? Taken action? Well, no. And the current situation, 20 years after the bridge reached its maximum capacity, will last at least another 10 years. The first shovel is expected to be buried in 2022 to replace the bridge. Whether that will be achieved is the question. Expected delivery 2028/2029. Then there have been traffic jams for the Merwede Bridge alone for thirty years (!).
Since November 2016, freight traffic has been happily rumbling over the Merwede Bridge again. The NOS headlines this in February 2017 replace the bridge will be. Estimated cost 389 million. In October 2017, this will already have been reduced 56 miljoen incurred. The mennekes at Rijkswaterstaat had forgotten for a moment that the pillars must be at a certain minimum distance due to shipping traffic. And now it is being considered to make the new bridge higher in connection with the increased container transport over water. This requires higher bridges. The infrastructural intervention of a higher bridge will drive up costs enormously and the new bridge will be delivered much later.
The Betuwe line
The Betuwelijn, who does not know him? The years of discussion whether or not he should get there, whether there were alternatives, the many problems involved in the construction, whether it would pay off economically, ultimately led to the decision that he had to get there. In 1997 the spade went into the ground and 10 years later it was finished. From the Maasvlakte, straight through the 'Green' Heart to end at the German border where the line to the German Ruhr area would be extended.
The costs were budgeted at 4,7 billion, but that was over 2,5 billion more. The Court of Audit was 'not amused' about the quality of decision-making and the lack of cost control. Moreover, the warnings from shortly after the start of construction appear to be justified. The projections of Netelenbos over the expected growth freight transport by rail turned out to be completely air bicycles.
Treaty that is not a treaty
The whole relied rather heavily on the Treaty of Warnemünde that the Netherlands and Germany concluded in 1992. It stated that the countries would coordinate the expansion of their rail network. That treaty later turns out to be a declaration of intent. In flat Dutch, a dead bird. The result was that when the Betuweroute was finished in our country, the Germans still leaned back happily. Nothing connection Maasvlakte - Ruhr area. It took until well into 2019 before the Germans started to issue permits for the construction of the German part of the route. The expected completion, 2022, is 'probably not achieved', Dijksma said in a statement brief to the House. 2026 is the year that is now mentioned.
The result is that freight trains that should have run on the Betuwe line for years and years will be diverted for many more years via Noord-Brabant and the Twente line, with all the inconvenience this entails. Because freight trains usually run at night because of their slower speed. They are too slow to be scheduled between passenger traffic. The timing could not be less favorable, but on March 4, 2020, a number of action groups wrote a collective one open letter to the Chamber that they were fed up with the inconvenience of the nightly freight trains. These people have been working for 26 years (!) To ensure that their night's rest is not structurally disturbed. The minister (Nieuwenhuize) promises she will look into it. But the situation is expected to continue at least until 2026. Almost 40 years after construction started ...
Let the Betuwe line sail
Was there actually an alternative to the Betuwe line? Hell yes! Because almost next to the track of the track there is a transport road that the track could not match without the construction of new lines. Namely inland waterway transport. Interest groups of skippers offered to solve the problem during the Betuwe Line discussion. After all, the Maasvlakte has been reliably connected to the Ruhr area by water for many years.
The reasons for choosing inland shipping were obvious. There was then, and still is, a lot of unused capacity on the inland waterways. Moreover, a large 110-meter Rhine vessel transports as much as a freight train with 45 wagons or 110 trucks. A pusher with six barges can transport a maximum of 16.000 tons of cargo. These are 440/660 trucks or 266 of the heaviest freight wagons or 8 freight trains of maximum length (± 750 meters). For container transport, this ratio is even more in favor of inland shipping. A large inland shipping container ship loads 500 containers at one time. And that is without a push barge in front of the head that can also hold a few hundred more.
The nuisance caused by a passing ship to the surrounding area is nil, in contrast to freight transport by road or rail. In addition, emissions per ton transported per kilometer are only a third of the competition. (Source: Office information inland navigation)
Despite overwhelming reasons against the Betuwe line, the Kok cabinet (Purple I) decided not to make the rational choice (inland shipping) but for a multi-billion dollar prestige project that still underperforms to this day. According to RTLZ, only two-thirds of the number of scheduled trains per day run on the Betuwe line to this day. Unfortunately for the residents in the vicinity of the Betuwelijn to be constructed. Unfortunately for nature in the Green Heart and the Betuwe. Unfortunately for inland shipping. And also unfortunately, not to forget, for all tax-paying citizens.
Structural kindergarten with infrastructure
But does this story of the Merwede bridge and the Betuwe line not by extension apply to a great deal of infrastructure in our country? No or much too late action by politicians? The examples are endless.
The Willem-Alexander tunnel in the A2 near Maastricht
Since its opening in 2016, the tunnel has been (and continues to be) plagued by disruptions that hinder road traffic. The estimated cost is 564 million. That eventually becomes 847 million. As early as 2018, the fire resistance of the tunnel turned out to be insufficient. Strange when you consider that since 1999, after the fire in the Mont Blanc tunnel, the requirements have been considerably tightened. This problem also applies to the Gaasperdammertunnel, the Salland-Twente tunnel, Ketheltunnel and the Tweede Coentunnel. Expected costs afterwards: 200 million. By the way, the tunnel in the A73 near Roermond has also been plagued for years by all kinds of problems since its completion in 2007, was also delivered too late and was also over budget.
The North-South line in Amsterdam
Since the start, the project has been dogged by problems. In the run-up, the project was already very controversial because of the very inadequate decision-making, high costs and poor funding support. The line opened in 2018 after 15 years of construction. The schedule was 2011. The tunnel was drilled in soft ground despite the failure of tests (!). In fact, the club that carried out the tests had disbanded because the project office 'ignores all their advice anyway'. The alderman, Geert Dales, of course knew better. The result was that a considerable number of houses sagged during construction. Cost estimate: 1,5 billion guilders (1996), 2,45 billion guilders (2000). Costs upon delivery: more than 3,1 billion Euro.
Original delivery date 2007. That was 2009. The estimate at the start: 3,4 billion. That became 7,3 billion, but later turns out to be much higher. And it doesn't stop there because the purchased trains of the Fyra consortium have all kinds of flaws.
The Hague administrators have made such a fuss that a parliamentary inquiry follows. The findings of the committee of inquiry are not tender:
- Uncertainty about the task and authority of the government versus NS with regard to the railways;
- There appear to be no proper agreements between the Netherlands and Belgium about the connections;
- The risks surrounding the project were not properly mapped out;
- Parties (State of DDR Netherlands, NS, Rijkswaterstaat) do not take any responsibility for their contribution to the project;
- A House of Representatives that is poorly informed, is critical but nevertheless constantly agrees with the plans;
- The cost of the project that, according to the committee, did not achieve any of the stated goals: 11 billion euros.
Groningen ring road
According to it Newspaper of the North Rijkwaterstaat has made major mistakes in the southern ring road project in Groningen. Improper tenders, inadequate management and poor project management lead to cost overruns and late delivery. The project was tendered in 2016 for 388 million. Shortly after the start, the delivery was moved from 2019 to 2022 (!). The cost overrun is estimated at 700 to 1000 million (1 billion). Where the State came to the aid of the Amsterdam city council in the debacle of the North-South line, the northerners seem to be left out in the cold. Did anyone expect anything else?
Waterways and locks
According to the skippers association Schuttevaer, the maintenance of locks and waterways is very bad. Inexpert maintenance, rapidly increasing number of faults, blockages, postponed maintenance. Already in 2014, the General Audit Chamber criticizes the overdue maintenance. In 2014, maintenance arrears amounted to 150 million. In 2019 that had risen to 400 million. According to the Court of Audit, the House of Representatives is not aware of overdue maintenance. Cause: the minister does not inform the House.
400 million seems like a lot of money. But the construction of one kilometer of new motorway could amount to 100 miljoen. Seen in that light, the 400 million investment in the 1400 kilometers of the main waterway network is a piece of cake.
Unfortunately, the items mentioned are only a small selection from the warehouse filled with blunders and blunders in this area.
So there is also another 'dirt 'by Schultz . She lied about the maintenance status of the Oosterscheldekering. It turned out to have serious maintenance problems in 2013, after only 27 years of operation. Mind you, a minister lies flat out about the condition of a piece primary seawall.
Incidentally, that is not the first time that the quality of the seawall has turned out to be inadequate. In 2011 Kees Slager, writer and former senator specializing in water management, sounded the alarm over the dikes in Zeeland.
Or what about the new trainsets for NS, the Sprinters without toilet. As many as 131 trainsets of the SLT type were delivered without any toilet facilities. The installation afterwards costs no less than… .. one toilet per toilet half a million.
All examples are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to construction, management and maintenance of infrastructure under the direction of the government. The common thread is clear. The government is lax when it comes to timely maintenance of our infrastructure, both wet and dry. They do not or much too late respond to developments. When they do this, the decision-making often turns out to be rattled and to be based on magical wishful thinking rather than hard, rational foundations. The estimates in terms of finances and year of completion are of the same lousy 'level'. And, when the monkey comes out of their sleeve, they are not afraid to lie plainly about the state of affairs and to pass on their responsibility.
Build Back Better…. Successive governments' achievements in this area are far below the standard of any sane person. When it comes to our tangible infrastructure, the successive shifts of the Rutte regime, and by extension his predecessors, are doing very badly. The Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, euhh Infrastructure and the Environment, pardon, Infrastructure and Water Management plays a central role in almost all examples. More specifically, the Department of Rijkswaterstaat fails miserably time and time again.
Build Back Better, indeed. Major cleaning at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management; quick guys out, experts in it and make quality specifications and put them out to tender instead of 'creatively' tender (see findings of the parliamentary inquiry). Or, as Mr Fortuyn said in his book 'The ruins of eight years of Purple' about the failing infrastructure and transport policy: 'Not good? A reprimand. Still not good? Management out and a new fresh team in. ' And then a team that knows what they are doing led by a substantively expert and managerial proven successful chief. Not one of those greasy stains that have splashed out of the political frying pan when frying fish like in recent decades.
In the next part, we will look at whether the Hague's baked-air blowers are doing better in a different policy area. Or not.
I wish you freedom.