2004
Volume 42, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236

Abstract

Abstract

This contribution uses a famous personal attack in Dutch parliamentary history to discuss in the context of the activity type of parliamentary debating. The case is Thorbecke, liberal leader and most prominent defender of pure parliamentary discussion, vs the then Prime Minister Van Hall, in December 1860. Thorbecke rejected Van Hall’s opportunist policies but he also disliked him intensely. His personal feelings transpired in his diatribe against Van Hall’s ‘parasitic politics’. Thorbecke’s adherents applauded what they considered a principled attack, Van Hall’s supporters criticized the vehement personal attack. The attack virtually ended the discussion, and it was the culmination of Thorbecke’s vendetta against Van Hall. It is hard to deny that Thorbecke’s diatribe was a personal attack, since he disregarded the arguments of his opponent and discredited him by attacking his personal credibility, but the interpretation of such a political case will always remain open to discussion.

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2021-10-25
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