Skip to comments.Frontrunner in Belgian election may be uniting nation over need to split up
Posted on 06/08/2010 11:58:45 AM PDT by Pantera
GHENT, Belgium (AP) The frontrunner in Belgium's elections this weekend is running on perhaps the ultimate in divisive proposals: the breakup of the nation.
Despite its status as the home of the European Union, Belgium itself has long struggled with divisions between its 6 million Dutch-speakers and 4.5 million Francophones but until recently talk of a breakup has been limited to extremists.
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seems to have worked out okay for the Czechs and Slovaks
It's not Balkanization ~ simply federalism at work.
You'll see France split up into half a dozen nationstates, and Spain could easily provide 5 more. Then there's Deutschland itself ~ what a feast for the statehood types.
Breaking up is hard to do.
Look for more of this in years to come. The costs of running large states are just too high.
It’s particularly irritating to Europeans who pay horrendous taxes and have tax havens on their backdoor like Monaco and Andorra.
A small list of examples of break-ups desired by a vocal minority.....California...New Mexico...Michigan.
This is the end result of a large minority that REFUSES to become one with the country they live in. This is the end result of a large minority being ENCOURAGED to refuse to become one with the country they live in.
Belgium shouldn’t even be a country, it should be two separate provinces of France and the Netherlands respectively. The only reason it exists is because in the years following the Napoleonic Wars, the great powers of Europe wanted to maintain a balance of power on the continent and stop Holland and France from fighting each other and create a buffer state that would prevent them from doing so and plunging Europe into yet another continental war... Belgium fulfilled a need that isn’t there any more. Holland and France aren’t going to fight each other for lack of a suitable buffer state between them....
The intent of federalism was to keep states together under a loose association through a federal government, not the same thing as a breakup of a nation. Isn’t the concept of federalism more of an American thing. My guess is that it doesn’t exist in Belgium at least not in a law-of-the-land sort of way.
Balkanization may not be the best term either, but either way way I like the idea... way too much power has been centralized over the last 100 years. And whether power is decentralized through federalism (and keeping a country together) or through break-up it’s a positive.
Wallonia for the Walloons!
Drum roll for resurgent Rexist party.....
Belgium fulfilled a need that isnt there any more. Holland and France arent going to fight each other for lack of a suitable buffer state between them....
Bingo - good on you.
“A small list of examples of break-ups desired by a vocal minority.....California...New Mexico...Michigan.”
Soon to become a much bigger list. The economics of going it alone are compelling.
Let’s take an example of a state not listed: Texas. Texas is quite wealthy and has significant resources of it’s own right. It also has a fairly robust population, a lot of land, port access, etc. Would any of us seriously argue that Texas couldn’t go it alone if that choice was on the table?
Now, let me be very clear. I’m not a secessionist. But I’m also not naive. If you set up a scenario where the economics of option “B” are very attractive, don’t be surprised when a significant number of people start looking at option “B.”
Well now, the result of last week’s competition when we asked you to find a derogatory term for the Belgians. Well, the response was enormous and we took quite a long time sorting out the winners. There were some very clever entries. Mrs Hatred of Leicester Said ‘let’s not call them anything, let’s just ignore them’ ... (applause starts vigorously, but he holds his hands up for silence) ... and a Mr St John of Huntingdon said he couldn’t think of anything more derogatory than Belgians. (cheers and applause; a girl in showgirl costume comes on and holds up placards through next bit) But in the end we settled on three choices: number three ... the Sprouts (placard ‘The Sprouts’), sent in by Mrs Vicious of Hastings... very nice ; number two..... the Phlegms (placard) ... from Mrs Childmolester of Worthing; but the winner was undoubtedly from Mrs No-Supper-For-You from Norwood in Lancashire... Miserable Fat Belgian Bastards.
Even the ancient Greeks had "federalism" in their various leagues, and you could easily argue that the Persian Empire, the early Indian empires, and so on and so forth all used the principles of federalism to govern vast territories.
Belgium is just one of the earliest nations of convienience created by Whitehall. It was never really fundementally different than Czechoslovakia, or Yugoslavia, the Danzig Free State etc. etc.
Walloon Lake is a nice place (or was in the 60s).
Yup. The two groups do not get along — even the requirement back in the 60s that schoolchildren be bilingual in Vlaams and French didn’t work.
“Belgium’s economically dominant north, and a nightmare scenario for poorer French-speaking Wallonia.
Flanders has half the unemployment of and a 25 percent higher per capita income than Wallonia, and Dutch-speakers have long complained that they are subsidizing the lives of their Francophone neighbors.
Flanders tends to be conservative and free-trade minded. Wallonia’s long-dominant Socialists have a record of corruption and poor governance.”
Hmmmmmmm Poor, unemployed, socialist. Connect the dots.
Henri Pirenne must be spinning in his grave. He traced Belgium’s roots to 9th C. Lotharingia.
I suppose no one cares anymore about Belgium, unlike 1914...
Finally! A sensible post on this thread!!!
I should just point out that there is nothing federal about the United Kingdom. In actual fact, ever since it was first instituted in 1707, its tendency has been to centralise power in London.
In the beginning, most day to day issues relating to governance which affected people’s lives were decided at the parish level. Gradually, power started to move towards London and away from local areas, and all sovereignty rests in London. This centralising tendency is one of the reasons btw, that the American colonists rebelled against their London masters and set up their own country, and made sure that the individual states retained sovereignty on certain issues which the federal government was defined to have no competence over (well, until the US Civil War and after, but thats another story)....
No doubt a good, stiff bout of Maoism would help clear the cobwebs out and remind people there of why they really don't need cradle-to-earlygrave socialism.
They're well into that now aren't they.
You guess wrong. The Belgian Constitution recognizes Wallonia and Flanders as comprising distinct communities in a federal structure. Each has its own Parliament separate from the national Parliament.
The fact that Belgians can even consider legal dissolution is evidence that they effectively have more sovereignty than states in the United States.
It attained its manifest destiny in 1914.
Hey, if they are going to break the thing up, I’ll take Bruges.
If you’ve been there, you’ll understand.
Later on, the problem was Brussels. As capital of Belgium it had a role to play. If it were an outpost on the border of Fleming and Walloon countries it would be something like a ghost town. The European Union made Brussels its unofficial capital to give the city a reason for existing, though filling a city with bureaucrats isn't a good recipe for prosperity.
What's behind a lot of this is the same thing going on in other advanced countries. Regions that industrialized early went into decline later. Burdened by high taxes, by powerful unions and bureacracies, and by decaying mines and mills and factories, those areas couldn't attract industry. Regions that developed later retained a more free market attitude and attracted new businesses.
In this case the French-speaking areas represent the old rustbelt and the Flemish areas the economic sunbelt. That the Walloons are less religious and less traditional in morality than the Flemings compounds the divide.
The root language difference makes separation more of a possibility than it is in other countries which, whatever their economic and political differences, still think of themselves as one people.
One could argue that the two things that Belgium did that affected the world the most were screwing up Congo and screwing up Rwanda.
We might not miss this country that much.
Any evidence? There is plenty of evidence to the contrary -- at a municipal scale, for instance. Toronto saved itself by coalescing its multiple municipalities, and Pittsburgh is in the pits (pun intended) because it refuses to do so.
You must have overlooked such thing as economies of scale.