Sunday, June 05, 2005

It's The Belgians, Stupid!

Here's an excellent theory as to why the EU is a) broken and b) hated even by the French. It's modeled on and run from the failed state of Belgium.

To the Brits, Belgium has always been a place to avoid. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy reveals that:

On Earth, Belgium refers to a small country. Throughout the rest of the galaxy, Belgium is the most unspeakably rude word there is.

Brits rate Belgians as terrible drivers, pedophile-friendly, state-employed, lousy allies - they refused to supply the Brit Army will munitions in the Gulf War & then whined incessantly to be re-instated as a weapons supplier. And the EU is based there. As is NATO, oddly enough.

Here are selections from a review of a book that argues that Belgium is also the evil genius driving the EU into the buffers. The emphasis and ellipsis are mine.

People searching for an explanation as to why the EU behaves as it does, namely, in such a bureaucratic, statist and anti-democratic fashion, will find Paul Belien’s new book "A Throne in Brussels: Britain, the Saxe-Coburgs and the Belgianisation of Europe" a timely contribution.

Belgium, Dr. Belien argues, is an artificial creation, a compromise that came out of unrest in what was once the United Netherlands in 1830. The French-speaking Walloon minority of Belgium originally wanted to join France. The Dutch speaking Flemish majority of Belgium did not want to leave union with the Netherlands in the first place. The formation of the country was solely due to it being the least offensive solution to both the people of Belgium and the great powers which had a say in the matter. A king, Leopold of the Saxe-Coburg dynasty, was imported to provide further solidity to its structure.

How does one create a country from two groups as dissimilar as the (Dutch)Flemish and (French) Walloons? ..(The king) hoped that the pride of having overseas possessions would act as a unifying agent. However the ultimate answer was a combination of royal prerogatives and bribery.

Sounds familiar?

Much of the cash has been transferred from the (Dutch) Flemish to the (French) Walloons: Dr. Belien recites figures which show that the economically productive Flemish have effectively been subsidising their French-speaking neighbours for decades.

Royal prerogatives have been a more insidious method of maintaining the Belgian state. Albert I influenced politics to such an extent that he was able to set up their present electoral system, based on proportional representation. Because of the nature of having governments comprised entirely of weak coalitions, a system which was buttressed by powerful trade unions, paralysis became the order of the day. The monarchy is also well positioned by this system to appear to be the defender of the people by criticising these sclerotic governments.

Proportional Representation is the system the EU insists on for electing representatives to the EU Parliament. You vote for a party List, not a person. So the folks trying to be elected are clients of the Party List creators, not the voters. And the EU Parliament is useless, so it worked!

The sclerosis meant that the bribery of the welfare state could not be stopped – Belgium’s national debt ballooned to 138% of GDP during the 1990’s. Sclerosis meant that effective action against corruption could not be taken: Dr. Belien details the corruption of a number of Belgian politicians and has some evidence regarding the present King of Belgium being involved in sexual scandals in the past. The sclerosis was so bad in fact that a mass murderer and rapist of children, Marc Dutroux was only lightly harried by law enforcement until both the Walloon and Flemish communities, en masse, cried a halt. The sclerosis remains so bad that to this day, Belgium remains a hotbed of radical Islamic fundamentalism, and the politicians remain paralysed.

The only time the system shows any imagination or flexibility is when it has to deal with those who want to dissolve Belgium; as the book painfully shows, any group that shows inclinations towards Flemish independence has a propensity to come to a sticky end. Most recently, the Flemish nationalist party, Vlaams Blok, was banned altogether.

Yup, they just banned a political party, Fear State style!

The only people who have benefited from Belgium, as Dr. Belien shows, is the royal family, and their acolytes, who continue to make money out of the Belgian state. King Leopold II was given loans to build up his Congo colony, paid to sell it to the Belgian state, and did not have to pay the liabilities associated with the Congo in the handover.

Liabilities included dealing with the African population which the king had enslaved.

This catalogue of nightmarish proportions is brought home by Dr. Belien’s suggestion that rather than Belgium becoming more European as the European Union has strengthened, the European Union is becoming more Belgian. The pattern is there: a state is being constructed with limited democratic credentials, no basis in actual national feeling...and is operating on the basis of the form of subsidies. He suggests that the productive nations of the EU, including Britain, will suffer the fate of Flanders: namely that of being the cash cow, should further European integration succeed.

Before you dismiss this as another conspiracy theory, guess what the first words of the late unlamented EU Constitution are?