The Belgian Circus works on my nerves. People all over the world ask me what’s going on here. Simple: Belgium is surreal and people in Flanders (that’s the north, where I live) has over 50% right wing voters since yesterday. That’s one out of two!?! I’m deeply ashamed. We used to be a great country to live in, with fantastic and tolerant people and we are throwing it away at the speed of light. So for once and for all I will write down my opinion. I know most of you (50% I presume) will stop after a few paragraphs, because most people are only interested in short quotes and don’t want to face reality. That’s not my problem. If you don’t wanna read, just look at the video below.
1. Some people think we live in a democracy. They must be out of their mind. We live in a particracy. This means the leaders of the parties decide who goes to parliament and who doesn’t. Elections are just a tool to make people believe they have something to say and are the perfect excuse to take away their power. “The people have spoken”. Come on, get real. Most of the people on the list won’t even take their position. Maybe your cousin has a great political vision, but I got news for you: he won’t make it into parliament unless he sucks up to the party bosses and walks in line. “Who doesn’t vote doesn’t have to complain afterwards”. That’s the biggest bullshit I heard in years. As if politicians listen if you do complain??? I complain about the economical situation in Belgium. I complain about the stand still in this country. I complain about the BHV-bullshit. Did one politician come up with some kind of a plan (a plan is not a list of stuff and it’s something you achieve together). If those leaders would show any kind of leadership, I wouldn’t be too worried about the system, however they don’t. So, for once and for all: “I don’t vote anymore, unless things change drastically (and I’m pretty sure they won’t)”.
2. The economical crisis in Europe is unseen since World War 2. Now even countries are under attack. We laugh at Greece but Belgium needs to find 22bil EUR by 2015 if the economical growth is higher than 2% for the next 5 years (which it won’t). IMF tells us that economical growth between 2007 and 2011 in Asia was 8,5% and hardly 0,5% in Europe! We blame the EURO, not ourselves. It’s the fault of “the others”. Most of the voters don’t even know about economical crisis when they kept their jobs or their large pensions. They talk about it, but they don’t really feel it. They are more annoyed by those o so bad French speaking people and who will win “My Restaurant”. They still think they live in a country of milk and honey where unions defend their rights from strike to strike. However, they will feel it when nothing changes fast. And when you look at the programs of the political parties: they don’t even mention real plans to solve the crisis! All the surrounding countries have the balls to take serious decisions. By the way: reforming the state will cost MORE, but that’s only my simple mind…
3. We didn’t have a serious government for the past I don’t know how many years. Did those jokers apologize at all or just resigned because the felt incompetent? No, they stay where they are and they “understand” people are sick of it “but let’s be positive and look at the future and let’s build bridges” (read this with a patronizing tone) with exactly the same lousy leaders??? Face it: they lack political talent! And talent is an olympic minimum. To achieve something you need more than talent. You need a team and clear goals. If a father, a CEO, a colleague, a friend, a football team, an athlete… would do what these people do, they would be lynched on the spot.
4. And when we find those 22bil EUR, the pension system will start to collapse from 2015. We know that for decades now. The baby boomers have done nothing to fix that. It’s a sure thing that their children (that’s me) and their grandchildren will never achieve the wealth they had. The past 11 years, the socialist party had the responsibility over pensions…last year we even had an alcoholic clown as minister… ”but ok, that was the past let’s be positive because now things will completely change”??? The party leader of that minister will probably become our new prime minister. Can you imagine this? This guy claims that the economy is doing great and nothing needs to be done???
5. The media is completely sick. Weeks before the elections all they do is talk about this mister Bart De Wever who played the final of a stupid show on Flemish Television called “The Smartest Person”. The whole country watched this for months (not me). So he must be really smart then? Come on! He’s got a degree in history. So? Billions of people have degrees you know. A few years ago his party almost didn’t get the minimal number of votes. People forget he never did anything except making it impossible to govern the country. This is the guy who says Belgium has to be split by 2035 and then quickly turns to “confederalism” and “building bridges with the French”. He’s the guy who says he will create 500.000 new jobs by 2015. We never even did that when things were going great! Who believes these kind of people? Who votes for them? My neighbor? My friend? The media is not objective anymore. They support him. They just look for the quick quotes and don’t even ask questions anymore. They do one poll in which mister De Wever gets 25% extra votes and from that moment on, it’s true. Elections are not necessary anymore; we can already start talking about the day after because media people think they are so smart. This mister De Wever even had the nerve to talk to the international press? Have to admit: he looked extremely silly. And the people? They don’t even question the media anymore. In 1991, we experienced a Black Sunday on November 24th. The party of Mister De Wever won this weekend. Do you think the media calls it a Black Sunday?
6. Entrepreneurship in Belgium is nearly dead. It’s very difficult to be an entrepreneur in Belgium. If you say you do export, people think you are crazy or that you are doing some business in The Netherlands and who knows Germany, or that you are doing fraud or something. Economy is the engine of a country you stupid! An economy needs a long term and inspiring goal. Companies know very well they have to react fast to changing conditions. If they don’t, they will go bankrupt. Companies know very well that the total supply chain is crucial to be successful. They know they have to stay on speaking terms with each other. They look at the political media show with consternation. When China and India are growing with 9% and Europe isn’t, an alarm bell should sound. But no…
7. Our school system of which we were so proud once, goes down the drain. We are not even in the top 50 anymore of The Times Higher Education Survey, but everybody still claims we are. People don’t know their languages anymore, teachers are demotivated, classes are getting bigger, parents think they know better, there’s not enough sports at school…Children are our future remember?
8. Our Healthcare system can’t be financed anymore. In the 70’s, when I was born, the Belgian dept was 56% of BBP. Today it’s nearly 100%. The baby boomers have created a great environment for themselves with royal and early pensions, low activity rate, a big government and an unpayable healthcare system. You should be ashamed of yourselves! There will never be another generation in Belgian history with so much money. That’s simple math you stupid. What do they use that money for: play with it on the stock exchange and complain to each other they lost it…If you believe this will change, think again. People in politics, media and unions defend the system. Why? Because they are Baby boomers! More than 50% of the Belgian voters consist of 50+ and people who work for the government. Do you think they want to change anything? Talk to them and you will know how much they care. I’ve got news for them: watch the video I posted on my blog in January 2009 and enjoy you wealthy live until 2016. If you say “this is about America”, stop reading my blog you fool.
My conclusion: Belgium, and specifically Flanders, has become an ego-world. Me me me me. And that’s a very bad thing. Polarization is increasing. Extremism is very ok. Me against them. People are losing important values. They work a lot less. They don’t dream anymore. They don’t want to walk the extra mile. They become fatter by the year. People take and don’t give anymore. Short term thinking has become the standard. Teamwork is not done. This is not the world I want to raise my kids in. Read your history books about the Roman Empire, the Turks before World War 1, Argentina (the second richest country in the beginning of the 20th century) and so many others and make your own conclusions.
However, I want to stay that little boy who thinks he can change the world. I relate very much to Generation We. I stay as far as I can from the negatives. Every day is a new day. Lead by example. Keeps me fit and open minded. The current situation has to change rapidly. When you talk to people you hear more of them saying the same things: “We can’t accept this anymore”, “I’m ashamed of my country”, “I want to get out of here”, “I realize I have to change too”, “Let’s forget about our fears”. I hope they mean it because 50% voted right wing… We need people to stand up, lead by example, do more with less and take difficult decisions. Remember ‘68…
If we don’t succeed to keep the very best in this country, emigration of talent is inevitable and things will become even worse for the people who stay behind.