On September 12, Onno Aerden was installed as the new spokesman for Pieter Omtzigt and his newly formed New Social Contract (NSC) party in the Netherlands. Just hours later he had resigned.
At about 7am, Aerden had proudly posted on X about his “strong desire” to become spokesman for the New Social Contract party. “On towards The Hague!” he crowed.
Less than four hours later, he posted that he had decided “in mutual agreement” it would be better for the party to have a different spokesman.
“Shortest Hague career ever, unfortunately. I had been very much looking forward to this,” he said.
His rapid decision to step down came after the revelation of offensive earlier statements he made on Twitter. Among the most unpleasant was one aimed at the Farmer-Citizen Movement, the BBB, which he had called “a tumour that can destroy a vulnerable democracy from the inside”.
He now appears to have removed the tweet, although other messages reveal similar hostility towards the BBB in a collection of discontented rants and one-liners. On social media, he also suggested confiscating farms of protesting farmers.
Aerden’s appointment had raised eyebrows within BBB; on September 12, party president Caroline van der Plas said on X: “Good luck. I think we need to talk.”
He also received criticism due of the contradictory nature of two books he has written. In one, from 2012, he lauded what he outlined as 100 reasons to buy a second home in France. In his latest book, he then tried to convince readers to “want less” and distance themselves from “our productivity obsession and consumer society”.
Nicolien van Vroonhoven, current spokeswoman for New Social Contract (NSC), confirmed to RTL News that Aerden’s old tweets were the reason for his departure. “We had not seen this tweet. The tone and choice of words of his tweet does not suit NSC.
“It is an expensive lesson, in the future they will pay closer attention to this kind of thing.”
The episode may prove problematic for Omtzigt and his party, as it is likely to need to cooperate with the BBB should the upcoming Dutch election results end up in its favour.