Another one of those "do you want Belgium to survive?" type surveys came out today. And this time produced some unexpected results.
A poll of over a thousand Flemings found that three-quarters of them do not want Belgium to split up. Only 22% supported an independent Flanders. However, this figure rises to 56% for supporters of Flanders' far right party, Vlaams Belang (VB). Which, if you think about it, is still a lot lower for a party that advocates complete Flemish independence as its raison d'etre than it should be. Surely, it would be somewhere up in the 80s, or even 90s, otherwise why would you support such a party?
Its strong views on immigration (limit it. A lot) probably provide more of an attraction for its supporters than its call for independence. Hence, it represents something of a protest vote, rather than a deep-seated desire to see Belgium break up.
Only 37% of those who back Bart De Wever's Flemish nationalists/separatists, N-VA, also support independence, with 61% against. Another really surprising stat. A bit of a slap in the face to the Flemish nationalists I'd say.
30% of all those polled still believe, however, that Flemish independence is inevitable within ten years, with 66% saying it's not.
And, fully 73% of those quizzed said they were proud to be Belgian, rising to 80% for younger Flemings.
No matter what the nationalists may say, support for Flemish independence currently isn't there. Having said that, they are stil heavily backed by voters in Flanders, but probably not for the reasons they think.