12 June, 2010

Belgium doesn't speak (but no one listens)

I feel I could not mention the Dutch elections without covering the Belgian ones, too. Belgium goes to the polls tomorrow and the result will be ignored throughout the whole world, and probably in Belgium too. Last time it was nine months before a government was formed but they soldiered on, run by functionaries with no mandate from the people. Their system is, if anything, crazier than the Dutch one, for Belgium is regarded even by its own population as two separate countries: the Flemish, hard working, industrialised North and the French, overspending, unemployed South.

The economic plans of the two semi-countries match this stereotype: Bart de Wever in the North wants an independent Flanders and doesn't want to pay any more to the South. Elio di Rupio in the South has published an expansionist draft budget (ie more money coming from the North).

The problem is that under their system the two sides are supposed to form a coalition.

Such is the insane union we British joined in 1973: a cover-up of democracy, no trial by jury, bureaucratic rule.  We should at least take a good look at what is going on in Europe and debate it.

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