Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thurs 10 June

The radio stations keep playing an advert promoting the fact that Prince is coming to Belgium sometime this year. In the background you hear segments of various Prince tracks, one of them being 'Sexy MF.' Except, they're not playing the radio edited version, but the full album one with swear word intact. Brilliant. I wonder if English swear words really have the same shock value in the French-speaking part of the world, though? I know I can say the few French swear words I know and not think they have much impact because they don't really mean much to me.

The Metro's main story today leads with a study by a Belgian academic that an independent Flanders is unrealistic. In his analysis, Vincent Laborderie explored three possible scenarios leading to independence: an armed conflict (highly, highly unlikely. In fact, so unlikely, god knows why he wasted his time even entertaining such a prospect.), an amicable separation, or a unilateral declaration of independence.

The second scenario is also dismissed because Loborderie doesn't believe it would ever be sanctioned by Brussels. It would also saddle Wallonia with enormous debt, which it would never be able to pay off. Therefore, Wallonia is never likely to agree to it. The third option is also ruled out as it would be strongly opposed by many EU states, pointing to the example of Kosovo. In other words, many member states would fail to recognise Flanders as a state in its own right. And without much international support, Flanders' dynamic and open economy would suffer.

He ends by saying that the majority of Flemish people are also opposed to independence. I'd like to see other studies and surveys to see if this can be backed up. I'm not so sure. The impression I get from what I've read and seen is that a rather large number of Flemish people favour separation. Who knows. More will be revealed after this Sunday's general election, especially if Vlaams Belang, the Flemish separatists, win a significant proportion of the vote at the polls.

By the way, the Belgian political system is as complicated and baffling as it gets and will be explained another time. When I've fully understood it myself. Just to note, the populations of Wallonia and Flanders have their own parliaments and so vote for completely different parties. And they still maintain they're one country!

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