Politics in Belgium are grinding my gears

I’m not sure how to blog about this without giving the wrong impression.
Last year, when I was in Spain, I had a talk with people from all around the world about Belgian politics.
What I found was some bizarre mix from people not knowing what/where Belgium was to people that were worried about our upcoming civil war.

To make this clear, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN UPCOMING CIVIL WAR IN BELGIUM! That’s just some reporter or news agency trying to make themselves more interesting than they are.
Like half of the country speaks French and the other part speaks Dutch. That’s all there is.
That’s no big deal. In India, they have 7 different languages, in Spain they have 2, etc… (put them in the comment below if you know some more examples)

The only downside of this, is that politicians use this to make a name for themselves.
The language issue is being milked out by unprofessional politicians that don’t want to do their job!
To clarify this, it’s already been 212 days that we’re without a Government.
Somehow, most of the people in Belgium don’t seem to care anymore. Which is a bad thing 🙁

This video (dutch) explains exactly how I feel about the matter:

This guy is asking for the people to go out and demonstrate to let the politicians know, we’re not paying them for sitting around pointing fingers.
And I think, he’s damn right!

4 thoughts on “Politics in Belgium are grinding my gears”

  1. You seem to be saying there is no problem at all, only politicians looking for trouble, whilst common people don’t see any problems.

    I disagree. There are issues which need to be solved. There are differences in culture/mentality/politics/… which make it hard to rule this country. But disagreeing too much, nothing ever changes and problems are not well handled. (OK, that might be the main Flemish argument, I didn’t say I wasn’t biased.)

    But the problem is the extreme polarization, making it very hard to most common people to take a stand in this.

    I have contacts at both sides of the country, talking to people in both languages. (probably just like you) and the most frustrating thing I experience, is feeling like the devil’s advocate whenever I talk to whomever in this spectrum.

  2. It’s not the languages that are the problem. It’s that north and south have different means, different goals and want different paths on how to get there. The problem isn’t language, the problem is how to reconcile it. At some point it stops being possible.

    North and south have different problems and thus need different measures. South might need measures that could hurt north and vice versa. So the obvious thing to do would be to make it more easy that each have their own responsibilities. But herein lies the dilemma:
    1) South is afraid they wouldn’t be able to handle all these responsibilities on their own
    2) North refuses to help fund South to get out of that mess
    3) What to do with Brussels
    4) What to do with Flemish municipalities surrounding Brussels where they actually speak French

    If it really were that easy we would’ve had a government a long time ago. If it was only language the people would no longer buy it.

  3. I’m the last person to say that there are no problems that need to be solved.
    That’s after all, what we’re supposed to have a government for. To fix them.

    There are conflicts of interests. Like in any other situation where a bunch of people live together.
    Be it 2 people living in one household, 2 city’s, states or country’s positioned next to each other.
    But these problems are common and need a person (or more) that knows how to fix this, that’s why one would run for minister.

    But I like to call this a virtual problem.
    It is possible that I was not aware of the situation, as I still didn’t had to vote/pay taxes.
    But like 7 years ago, this issue was nowhere to be found on the agenda during the elections.

    This is how things seemed to change to me:

    Politicians used to be representing the public and their issues.
    There were the Christians, the workers, the socialists, the green dudes etc…
    A group for each one person out there.

    But over the years, politics took a different course.
    It became more about how many votes and thus seats they could obtain, making it more about populism than about strong opinions.
    Transparency to the general public faded. Strong points weakened.
    Don’t get me wrong here, politics have always been in a way populism. But to my feeling, it grew stronger. To me it became some synonym for politics.
    If one has a strong stand on an opinion, the last thing he or she would do, is go into politics these days.
    During the running ups before the elections we get to see/hear more politic scandals and nonsense than actually ideals these people are supposed to represent.

    Lowering taxes, creating more jobs, etc… it’s old. People don’t spend their vote to that anymore.
    The political landscape turned into a different direction.
    Intolerance is the new way to get more votes. (It worked somewhere in the near past, and it still does)
    First, it were the were the foreign people. The Muslims, the polish workers etc…
    The Vlaams Blok (now Vlaams Belang) had a strong stand on this, they were indeed true politicians representing their idea without wanting to bend for populism. But it (luckily) was/is a bunch of morons.
    But they got lots of votes and showed the others this was the new way of getting the attention.

    So other party’s joined the wagon. Radicalizing and being racist was condemned by the press and thus the public opinion as something bad, so they had to find something else to push to the front.
    They were lucky that there was this thing, Walonië to go around.

    The same texts were used, but the words Muslims and foreigners were replaced by French speaking members of the other side of the language border.
    They don’t work as much as we do.
    We have to give to much money to them.
    It’s not our task to give them a living.
    They don’t have to obey the same rules as us.
    We should kick them out.
    They don’t speak our language.
    They’re against us.
    We have different means.
    Nothing new here. Only the representation of “They”.

    And what did we see.
    They were right. It worked. People go for the ‘new’ thing.
    Strong points on social economic reformations in our country… they were there.
    But not in the papers or in their speeches.

    Now we have a lot of people, earning a lot of money on both sides of the language border keeping pointing fingers to each other.
    As long as this goes on, they keep earning this amount of money 🙂 If could have the same situation at work, I’d probably do the same. (if I got well payed for it that is, so boss, don’t worry) 😀

    So, that’s why I call it a ‘virtual’ problem.
    There are problems… but no big ones.
    Which ones are being discussed? We can only guess. The note from Vande Lanotte was kept confidential. So what do they actually do?
    We empowered people to do a job for us. But they deny us access to their results.
    The only thing they share is: ‘The other ones are refusing our super great solutions’.

    The economics in our country are growing worse every day. External investors are holding off as a result of politicians pointing fingers refusing to cooperate.
    According to Credit Market Analysis Belgium has taken position 16 on the list of country’s that are possible to go bankrupt. Read this (dutch):

    That’s something what politicians should be discussing. Not how much power they should get.

    People should have transparency in what they are doing.
    There should be one and only one agenda, and it should be publicly accessible.
    All their debates should be noted and presented to he public.
    So that we get a grief on what’s actually going on.
    We have people representing us, that are keeping the result of their job hidden.
    Try that at your job, see how long it’ll last.

  4. A week ago or so, you hear in the media that the parlement is getting a raise of 3000€.

    At the end of 2009 I was saying that the debt of Belgium would rise above 100% in 2010 and in the first quarter of 2010 it already happend!
    To see the debt of every country on the world visit ->http://www.economist.com/node/21011544
    To read an article about the debt in Belgium visit ->http://bloginfo.educate-yourself.eu/2010/11/staatsschuld-van-belgie-boven-de-100/
    Article is in Dutch!

    I’m wondering where this will end?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *