Brexit and Belgium’s Problems.
Prime Minister May, unable to put together a robust platform, turned her back on Parliament on Monday and postponed her day of reckoning.
It will come. She has lost any wavering support and she has added to the leadership vacuum in that once great country.
This matters. Britain has a vast reach of expertese and goodwill within its gift. London is the financial capital of Europe.Oxford and Cambridge remain two of the world’s leading universities. Instead of setting an example of leadership, Britain’s feeble thinking and failed planning have only served to encourage the populist and extreme politics emerging within its own ranks and throughout the rest of Europe.
This column has not mentioned Belgium before. The little country – it is about th size of Maryland – borders France and Germany and has been the Battle Ground of Europe for the past 400 years. Today everything should be hunkydory. It’s 11 million people enjoy an average income roughly equivalent to that of the United States. It’s capital, Brussels, is the centre of the European Union and the headquarters of NATO. Belgium ranks as one of the safest and most peaceful countries.
But the European contagion has affected even this successful little place.
The nation has always ben divided between the dutch speaking northerners of Flanders and the more rural and poorer french speaking people a few miles south in Wallonia. Belgium llike France, the UK and indeed like the United states has long failed to address the time bomb of poverty, unemployment and immigration within its own ranks – the deadly disparity of wealth. Despite the riches of some, most Belgians are finding it hard to survive in an increasingly expensive economy. Unemployment in the rural South is double that in the urban North. As the riots broke out in Paris in the last two weeks, so they did in Brussels.
The right wing Flanders party has broken from Prime Minister Michel’s coalition – he has now no majority and no legitimacy. Who will deal with the next riots?
If centralist nations such as Britain and Brussels are in trouble then Europe is in a real mess.
Have a good day. James.