Thursday, November 08, 2007

Business as Usual in Belgium

Our Flemish correspondent ProFlandria just sent the following update to last night’s post on the political crisis in Belgium. First, his translation of this press release posted this afternoon on the Vlaams Belang website:

08.11.2007 16.02 [local time] — “Vlaams Belang expresses its deep indignation upon learning of the palace machinations which were today jointly carried out by Ives Leterme [tasked with forming a new federal government] and the King.

It appears that Leterme has been able to persuade the Palace to support enactment of the “Milquet Note”, thus assigning all inter-regional issues to the President of Parliament and tasking Leterme separately to form a Government without a mandate to address inter-regional issues.

Vlaams Belang wonders whether Belgium is still a democracy. In the corridors of the Royal Palace it is apparently possible to concoct a theatrical production in which the voters, who on the Flemish side have very clearly indicated that a social-economic policy is impossible with State reform [devolution of federal powers to the regions], are pushed aside.

Vlaams Belang therefore calls upon the representatives of CD&V [Christian Democrats] and N-VA [the “other” Flemish Nationalists] to reign in Leterme and to sabotage his suspect machinations. In any case, N-VA must decisively reject the process described in the Milquet Note!”

Signed,

Gerolf Annemans
Representative

Joris Van Hauthem
Press Spokesperson

ProFlandria adds his own take on these events:
- - - - - - - - -
Leterme is in that classical position where, in order to succeed in his mission of forming a federal government, he must be seen to please every faction. The process described in the “Note” would indefinitely postpone any real action on those issues I described in the post yesterday by allowing the formation of a new Government without the power to adjudicate those issues. I don’t believe that the President of Parliament has any power beyond “studying” the problem; any recommendations would still have to go to a properly mandated Government for enactment — and this one can’t act by design. In effect, the “Note” raises the usually unintended situation of “Catch-22” to intentional political strategy. The only silver lining is that Leterme has to “sell” this solution to the Flemish faction (the Walloons are just fine with it) , so it’s not necessarily a done deal…

FYI, Joelle Milquet (she of the Note) is the representative for (and Chairman of) cdH (Centre Democrate Humaniste) and First Alderman of Brussels. During this past year’s negotiations to form a new government she became known in Flanders as “Madame NON” for her stubborn refusal to entertain even the meekest Flemish supplications for reciprocity.

In the meantime, Belgian media outlets on both sides of the divide are reacting to yesterday’s events with emotions ranging from indignation to outrage — more proof, if any were needed, that they are no more than a megaphone for the Belgian regime. Short version: “Those evil Flemings brutally forced their majority upon those poor Walloons” — not a peep about Wallonian refusal to simply comply with a Constitutional requirement… Tomorrow I hope to send a quick overview of the reactions together with VB’s counterpoint. And, as a bonus, Freddy Thielemans’ reaction as well — you know, that guy!

Yes, we know him: Emperor Freddy of the Proud Socialist Girth, the Wallonian Hero of the 9-11 Counterrevolution.

15 comments:

Jungle Jim said...

I read something interesting on Vlaams Belang's website. I got the link from LGF's link to Koen Dillen's website.

My Title

Wij kiezen voor een gecorrigeerde vrije markteconomie. De geschiedenis leert ons immers dat een door de overheid gecontroleerde economie niet zo gezond is. Het is wenselijk voorrang te geven aan de marktmechanismen. Die politiek leidt tot een toename van welvaart en welzijn voor het grootste deel van de bevolking.

In English:

We desire an adjusted free market economy. History teaches us that an economy controlled by the government is not healthy. It is desirable to give primacy to market mechanisms. Such a policy leads to an increase of prosperity and well-being for the largest part of the population.

That doesn't sound the slightest bit fascist to me.

Paul said...

On Thursday here in Sweden, Deutsche Welle DW-TV had a segment on the current situation in Belgium. I was very surprised to have seen anything on this topic at all. There was no depth to the report and as I suspected the "On the Street interviews" were not in favor of Flemish Independence.

One woman made a statement to the effect "Belgium has more politicians then anywhere else in the world and if there are two countries made there will be double the politicians".

It was good to finally see the issue being discussed on TV.

Henrik said...

""We desire an adjusted free market economy.""

"That doesn't sound the slightest bit fascist to me."

Very much to the point. The principle of respecting private property is the bane of any and all totalitarian tendencies.

Charles of LGF probably doesn't has more than a foggy notion about what fascism actually is, apart from the fact that it's evil.

For the record, the frequency of Nazi collaboration during WWII was twice as high along the Waloons as among the Flemish:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rexism

No need to blame Vlaams Belang for this. Doing so is stupid, bordering on demagogical.

Jungle Jim said...

Sorry about the bad link in my comment above. The correct link to Vlaams Belang's website should be:

http://www.vlaamsbelang.be/21/7/

I made the same post to the comments at LGF. Some others immediately replied saying stuff like "You can be be for free markets and still be racist". True, but being a racist is not a sufficient condition for being a fascist. In order to institute a totalitarian state, you must have government control over the economy.

ProFlandria said...

Paul,
That comment regarding the number of politicians in Belgium is correct, but the assumption that Flemish independence would spawn more of the same is not. The reason Belgium has so many politicians is because there are three "Regions" (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels), each with their own government. On top of that there is the Federal government. Flemish independence would result in separation of the Flemish government from the Belgian Federal structure but there would be no increase in representation. If Brussels retains its bilingual status, it is likely that Brussels would continue to have its own government, regardless of its position after Flemish independence (part of Belgium, part of Flanders, or...?)

River Cocytus said...

Baron, this concerns me. It seems like there is a split between people who are anti-jihad over the issue of Valaams Belang and the European Nativists/Nationalists in general.

This is bad, because I know certain people who are otherwise quite sane (and good citizens) who have a strong nativist streak. Sometimes it has race connected.

The question that I have (which I believe is quite valid) is twofold:

1. If there is a clear connect between the odin's cross/life rune etc with white supremacy, why are these symbols present in V.B's stuff?
2. Is there any evidence that V.B. covertly holds (or overtly) any white supremacist/otherwise highly nativist positions?

I ask this question because I've seen disagreement among people I respect on these kind of topics. Do we have enough evidence either way, and does the answer matter? I can not in good conscience support any group that promotes occultism or hatred even if they are an enemy of our enemy.

This by no means makes me 'pro Islam' or 'pro Multi-culti' but rather wary of offering any support to any of these European groups.

Baron Bodissey said...

River --

Christine at CVF has been doing the heavy lifting on this. Go to this post and start there; look for earlier ones, too.

I don't know about the cross. The Le Pen links are EU-tactical. Much of the rest is simply factually wrong, made up, or totally blown out of proportion.

Vlaams Belang is "nativist" in the same way as Tom Tancredo. Their focus is on stopping immigration. They have strong support from the Orthodox Jewish community in Antwerp, who (rightly) see the anti-Semitism and violence of the Muslim immigrants as much more dangerous than the supposed "Nazi" past of Vlaams Belang.

Americans tend not to understand things in Europe, and to see these issues through a prism that makes no sense to the average European.

All I can do is suggest that you read up on it, and Christine's posts are the best place to start.

Spinoneone said...

Seems to me that River Cocytus is on the right track. Most of us don't know enough about VB or the other members of "ITC" and their politics/associations to form valid opinions about them and their end games. Trust but verify appears to be a good idea under the circumstances.

Spinoneone said...

Sorry. "ITC" should have been "ITS"

Henrik said...

River Cocytus, I have by now had a two year friendship with MEP Philip Claeys of Vlaams Belang, having done several bits of political work together. If, for any intends or purposes the VB were promoting any strain of White Supremacism, I would have seen some of it by now.

Fortunately, I have found absolutely nothing.

Vlaams Belang has, as its main purpose, the secession of Flanders from Belgium. They are making significant headway in this direction. They also have a strong desire to preserve European values and liberty. This is systematically done by proper methods, in good style, rule of law, democracy etc. You can head to Brussels Journal to see the style of these people.

For the Nazi collaboration issue, it is on record that the frequency of the Walloons doing that was over twice as high as for the Flemings.

Charles Johnson of LGF, on the other hand, is himself reinventing somewhat demagogical ways in his pursuit of the myth of VB being somehow evil. I wrote this letter to him about it:

Letter to Charles Johnson of LGF

The conflict is deeply unfortunate. I can only recommend you to check the facts, talk to the people, and decide what you think about the tactics of Charles, who does not seem to understand Europe nor European nationalism very well in the first place.

PRCalDude said...

Henrik,

I linked that letter on my blog. You were very charitable and gracious in it. Please don't think worse of Americans because of the recent happenings at LGF. Many of us support you.

River Cocytus said...

Thanks for the responses. I don't think Baba Zee or Charles has malicious intent; but I do think they will have to reconsider their method and sources.

Paul said...

ProFlandria,

That comment was just one of several that the DW-TV crew got from their "On the Street" romp in Brussels. I was very surprised to have seen the issue on TV at all.

The impression I had was that most of the people that were interviewed were for the most part ignorant of politics.

This recent LGF back and forth..., I understand the importance of correcting facts and dispelling falsehoods and outright lies but the education of locale voting populations is more important.

The Sweden Democrats must be more successful in getting their message across with the people who vote right here in Sweden. I have noticed with some of the people I speak with in person that attitudes have changed favorably towards the Sweden Democrats with at least a few of them. I am yet to come across anyone here in Sweden in my small circle of acquaintances that knows anything about Vlaams Belang. This is unfortunate.

Here in Sweden I would like to see a wider group expressing a sense of national and cultural pride. One day I would like to see June 6th, Sweden's National Day celebrated with the pride and sense of history in the same way in which America celebrates its Independence Day. This I believe is a long way off, but some native Swedes here have expressed to me a void and a desire for Nationalism to surge.

Heja Sverige!!!

Henrik said...

"Please don't think worse of Americans because of the recent happenings at LGF."

Not to worry, I ain't doing that. I find common Americans to be among the most sensible people anywhere. When possible, I try to correct anti-Americanism, which is a bit out of control.

Part of that is to go against specific mistakes made by the US government, which unfortunately count quite a few. A compounding problem is that you don't have much of an option to get rid of bad governments fast - you always have to wait until the next election.

Enough Bush-bashing for now :)

Possibly the worst mistakes in recent history happened in the Balkans, where we in the west largely ended up supporting the wrong people, backed by massive smears from the press. The truth is coming out slowly, but better late than never:

Media Cleansing

Unholy Terror

The Coming Balkan Caliphate

Al-Qaeda's Jihad in Europe

I have three of these titles and will get the last (well, first on this list) also. We have basically created a nightmare waiting to happen, but have the chance to clean up our act in time by knowing what goes on. Independent Kosovo is a recipe for disaster.

BTW, I think we should delink from LGF.

Henrik said...

"Here in Sweden I would like to see a wider group expressing a sense of national and cultural pride. "

That would be very useful. Using your flag whenever possible, songs & other customs. Sure to cause 'offense'. So what?