Politics Should Belgium Separate?

I think that the following should happen.

A referendum should be put forward, concerning the future of the Belgian state.

If the people vote for separation, which is most likely, the the following should happen in my opinion:

Flanders should become an independent nation.
Wallonia should become an independent nation.
Brussels should become an EU Capital District.
The German-speaking Community should become an independent nation.

It's not as simple as that.

1) Not all Flemings want independence. Even those in favour don't want it without Brussels.

2) Most Walloons want a unified Belgium. Should the country split, there is no consensus between Walloons as whether they should be an independent country or join France. Actually most Walloons cannot conceive an independent Wallonia without Brussels. I like to compare Belgium's case to Israel and Palestine, without the religious and ethnic divide. Both Israeli and Palestinians see Jerusalem as their capital and can't imagine their respective country without it. The Flemings and Walloons and the same feeling toward Brussels. Brussels is historically a Flemish city but is 80% French-speaking, and most French-speaking Brusselers either have roots in Wallonia or relatives in Wallonia.

3) The German-speaking Community is only 75,000 people. They don't even have a city. They would either stay with Wallonia or join Luxembourg, with whom they share a border too and feel close due to their bilingual German/French education.

4) Another possibility, rarely mentioned but which makes a lot of sense in my opinion, is that Brussels, Wallonia (incl. German-speakers) and Luxembourg form a new state. After all Luxembourg was always part of Belgium historically, even when Belgium became an independent country in 1830. In 1839, the Netherlands asked the Belgian state that the historical duchy of Luxembourg be split in two, with the eastern half form an independent country with the Dutch king as its Grand Duke, in exchange for the recognition of the independence of Belgium. Nowadays half of historical Luxembourg is in Wallonia. Since Wallonia also has a German-speaking community and that half of it was historically part of Germany (Principality of Liège/Lüttich), it is only logical that Wallonia and Luxembourg should be part of the same country.

Furthermore, both Brussels and Luxembourg hold seats of European institutions, so the whole Brussels-Wallonia-Luxembourg region could be unified as a European district similar to Washington DC. The impoverishment of Wallonia is mainly caused by the economic exile of the brightest Walloons to Brussels and Luxembourg, which border each extremity of Wallonia. I grew up in Wallonia and I know that almost any Walloon who wants to have a proper job goes to Brussels or Luxembourg (or further away, Paris and London being quite popular).
 
The Walloon socialists are no rebels, they are the establishment.

I was referring to the Flemish establishment, not the Walloon establishment. I do not think that they are rebels, but I think that socialism becomes more popular in Wallonia because the Flemish subsidise Wallonia, and as the subsidise Wallonia, the Walloons vote for the socialists, as they want to rebel against the Flemish establishment. Kind of like a teenager rebelling against their parents.
 
And the president of the EU will be Jean Luc Picard.

Sorry, I don't think things will turn out that way. It's a nice dream, but the Germans are already unwilling to bail out Greece or Spain. Why do you think that Bavaria or Hesse would be willing to bail out Corfu or Catalona when those areas run into financial problems? And not everyone wants to live around the Mediterranean Sea. I wilt in the heat, and I suspect that a lot of European I1 types react in the same way to excess heat.

Ed. It didn't post. I'll try to retrieve it.

Except for your comment about not being willing to live around the Mediterranean :shocked:, I completely agree.

I don't understand why there is all this optimism about the effects of the devolution of certain nation states in Europe.

Perhaps I'm a cynic, or a pessimist who thinks history is doomed to repeat itself, but I don't think people change, and I don't think certain nation states change, nation states that I don't think will allow their nations to devolve, and I think these little "autonomous" regions will wind up the pawns of bureaucrats in Brussels or of the larger still intact nation states both within and outside the borders of the EU.

In my personal opinion, if a region wants to leave the national entity, then they should also leave all their national pensions, and subsidies, and national health care plans behind too. And that's just for starters. All national police forces, emergency services, you name it, get withdrawn too, in addition to the protection of the national armed services. Put all your trust in the proverbial good will of other regions and nation states around you. No half measures...Good luck with that.

Oh, and all the less well off regions will eventually be bailed out anyway, and by resources taken not only from Germany, but from many of these newly autonomous regions, if they are prosperous. Not only would it be dangerous if the poorer areas were not bailed out, but you need lots of buyers for the factory output that supports the whole system.

I found this Economist article about the situation in Scotland very interesting.
http://www.economist.com/news/speci...-stay-united-kingdom-union-fraying-centrifuge
 
I agree. We will see a lot of smaller independent entities in the future, it is just a part of the collective evolution in Europe.

I also agree with both LeBrok and you. Within a few decades, Europe will probably be made up of a hundred or so nations, all united under the banner of The European Union.
 
I said for many years, If you want an EU then destroy all nations in the EU and have regional areas............If you want nations , then destroy the EU

As for the topic, ...........nations come and go, but culture remain, do we really care if Europe get another, 10, 20 or 30 "nations"?.............they will be cheaper to bail out if they fail

Well, I lean towards the former. It is inevitable that the future of Europe is in new small nations, united under the EU. Yes, they will still be in the EU, and some say that not much will change when these smaller nations are formed as they will still be part of the EU. I do not agree with that, yes they will have the same currency, laws, etc. But they will have a state devoted to their own culture, which is good. We see in larger nations like Spain that the different regional cultures become marginalised when they are suppressed by a large country like that. However some countries, like the UK, do not need to be dissolved. I say this because the majority of Britons do not support that occurring, and devolution has occurred to such an extent that independence is not needed for those constituent countries.

Also in countries like Finland, Estonia, etc; there aren't many cultural differences between the regions; thus dissolution of those countries is not needed. But countries such as Belgium, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Germany, Poland, and much more, it is needed, and it will happen in the future.

And yes, I really care if Europe gets more nations, as it does matter, as I have noted above.
 
Ed. It didn't post. I'll try to retrieve it.

Except for your comment about not being willing to live around the Mediterranean :shocked:, I completely agree.

I don't understand why there is all this optimism about the effects of the devolution of certain nation states in Europe.

Perhaps I'm a cynic, or a pessimist who thinks history is doomed to repeat itself, but I don't think people change, and I don't think certain nation states change, nation states that I don't think will allow their nations to devolve, and I think these little "autonomous" regions will wind up the pawns of bureaucrats in Brussels or of the larger still intact nation states both within and outside the borders of the EU.

In my personal opinion, if a region wants to leave the national entity, then they should also leave all their national pensions, and subsidies, and national health care plans behind too. And that's just for starters. All national police forces, emergency services, you name it, get withdrawn too, in addition to the protection of the national armed services. Put all your trust in the proverbial good will of other regions and nation states around you. No half measures...Good luck with that.

Oh, and all the less well off regions will eventually be bailed out anyway, and by resources taken not only from Germany, but from many of these newly autonomous regions, if they are prosperous. Not only would it be dangerous if the poorer areas were not bailed out, but you need lots of buyers for the factory output that supports the whole system.

I found this Economist article about the situation in Scotland very interesting.
http://www.economist.com/news/speci...-stay-united-kingdom-union-fraying-centrifuge

That article about Scotland is a good find, in part because it mentions a typical feature of separatist movements - the desire for more and more autonomy while retaining the benefits of remaining part of the larger political unit, a desire that's unlikely to be met. The Slovaks, who were a minority in Czechoslovakia, kept saying to the Czech majority "give us more or we'll separate" so the Czechs held a referendum and decided to separate, which is not what the Slovaks wanted at all. Slovakia is now a totally independent, poor mostly rural country. The same could happen to Scotland, except for their North Sea oil. The separatist politicians in Scotland are telling people that separation will mean more prosperity because only Scotland will benefit from the oil revenues in future. I don't know enough about what happens to the oil revenue to know whether that's a valid argument, but I'm fairly sure that people in Scotland who support separatism haven't thought much about who pays for retirement pensions, health care, etc., and probably don't realize that they'll be expected to take a percentage of Britain's national debt with them. So, if Scotland does separate, they may not be happy with the result. I think you should go explain some realities to them before they vote.

Also, the Highlands may be unhappy with the idea of being ruled by politicians from places like Lothian and Fife, so could form a separatist movement of their own. I just wonder where that process ends. And, as you said, any larger political units will still be able to dominate smaller political units in some ways, and I would think that would be particularly true when it comes to EU budgets. The smaller countries will want a "one country, one vote" approach but larger countries won't embrace that, I think.

However, I disagree with your conclusion that the less well off regions would eventually be bailed out. While I agree that not doing so would be dangerous, I see no basis for concluding that people will, in the long run, decide to do what's sensible in the political realm. If that was true, Margaret Thatcher would never have become the Prime Minister of Britain or at least wouldn't have stayed in power for so long. She won elections by appealing to the greed and mean-spiritedness of those who thought they had a bit more than others, and I'm afraid that sentiment would be given full play in an EU made up of a few large countries and a lot of smaller, poorer countries.

And yes, the Mediterranean is beautiful but some of us northerners melt like a popsicle when confronted with really hot weather. We're happier up north here, riding our polar bears.
 
Humans and societies change, it is a never ending quest since we adapt and evolve. Changes simply are, it does not mean that they will happen for better, it may be for worse but that's life; and what is better or worse is a matter of perception due to what do we consider as good or bad, it is a product of multitudes of memes. We constantly probe and see what works. I do not think that humanity/life (genes & memes) care much about what is good and what is bad, black or white, it does not have either/or mentality. It is a process of trial and error and learning and adapting. As Heraclitus said: "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man" or "There is nothing permanent except change".
 
Eventually yes, but I don't see Walloons give up so fast. Because they depend on Flemish money.
 
That article about Scotland is a good find, in part because it mentions a typical feature of separatist movements - the desire for more and more autonomy while retaining the benefits of remaining part of the larger political unit, a desire that's unlikely to be met. The Slovaks, who were a minority in Czechoslovakia, kept saying to the Czech majority "give us more or we'll separate" so the Czechs held a referendum and decided to separate, which is not what the Slovaks wanted at all. Slovakia is now a totally independent, poor mostly rural country. The same could happen to Scotland, except for their North Sea oil. The separatist politicians in Scotland are telling people that separation will mean more prosperity because only Scotland will benefit from the oil revenues in future. I don't know enough about what happens to the oil revenue to know whether that's a valid argument, but I'm fairly sure that people in Scotland who support separatism haven't thought much about who pays for retirement pensions, health care, etc., and probably don't realize that they'll be expected to take a percentage of Britain's national debt with them. So, if Scotland does separate, they may not be happy with the result. I think you should go explain some realities to them before they vote.

People don't want to hear the realities; they want to indulge themselves in emotional claptrap. That's why I shout at the television during news programs, or throw a pillow at it...most people, and I'm including so called "news commentators", of every political persuasion are either woefully ignorant of history, and basic economics, and human nature, I might add, or they are incapable of the kind of logical thinking that includes trying to foresee the consequences of certain actions, or they are blinded to the logic by emotional agendas, or they are outright liars who have a personal stake in the outcome. See what a cynic I am?

As to the oil fields, it depends on the contracts that were negotiated...the entities that paid for the construction, and continue to pay for the operation and maintenance of the rigs and the flow of the oil would have to be compensated, unless Scotland wants to go the banana republic route and nationalize them. Would England and any other entities involved really countenance that? Oil is still the lifeblood...I doubt they'll let it go.

Also, the Highlands may be unhappy with the idea of being ruled by politicians from places like Lothian and Fife, so could form a separatist movement of their own. I just wonder where that process ends. And, as you said, any larger political units will still be able to dominate smaller political units in some ways, and I would think that would be particularly true when it comes to EU budgets. The smaller countries will want a "one country, one vote" approach but larger countries won't embrace that, I think.

That's exactly right in my view. Where on earth does it end? I highly doubt that countries like Germany or France will allow a "Flanders" or a "Veneto" to have the same voting power that they do. These smaller units will become pawns, pawns who have absolutely no bargaining power when it comes to regulations, trade decisions, expenditures, and, ultimately, taxes. (And that's how poorer areas will be pacified ultimately.) And that's if worse doesn't happen.

Perhaps I'm jaundiced about this precisely because I'm Italian, and have been studying Italian history my entire life. Since the fall of the Empire, we have been laid waste time and again by every King from beyond the Alps with a Caesar complex and a few thousand organized troops. Why? Because of the eternal, infernal "campanilismo" of Italy: the petty squabbling and back stabbing by the Italian city states and/or regions. That's what happened during the Renaissance. The French, the risibly named "Holy Roman Empire", and the Aragonese fought over the peninsula like rabid dogs over a bone and brought it all crashing down. The result...the south under inept and corrupt foreign rulers who plundered it when they didn't ignore it, (from which we still feel the consequences) ,most of northern Italy also under foreign domination and sinking into poverty and insignificance, much of central Italy beneath the suffocating heel of the Papacy, and even the "Republic" of Venice (there's another misnomer for you) began its great decline. No One ultimately benefited, and the suffering and destruction of all types was incalculable. We are still experiencing the consequences.

That's one of the reasons why, in my opinion, Nicolo' Machiavelli wrote "The Prince", which in my view contradicts his previous writings on politics: out of desperation at Italy's plight, he jettisoned all his republican principles, and was willing to overlook any moral turpitude if it got the job done. Unfortunately, even had illness not felled him, Cesare Borgia was not the man for the job. He cared nothing for Italy, and nor did his father...parvenue immigrants out to feather their own nests, the whole lot of them.

Nowadays they do their colonizing with their freaking Euro...the worst thing Italy has done in a long time is to adopt the Euro...its products are now too expensive on the world markets, while what it has to purchase is more expensive...Just how is that supposed to be a benefit? It benefits Germany, not Italy. And when floods of desperately poor and uneducated North Africans land on our islands, just what is the EU doing about it? How is it helping to manage the problem and distribute the burden? I'll tell you how...it lets France close the border with Italy so as to prevent all those North Africans from joining their relatives already in France and effectively forcing Italy to deal with it all alone.

Weakness attracts domination...only if you are in a position of strength can you negotiate to your own benefit.

And I highly doubt that the use of force is beyond certain European groups. Sometimes I think that Europe has been so soaked in its own blood that it willingly practices a form of amnesia. Basic human nature doesn't change. If you're a realist, you see it, and you plan and act accordingly. I don't believe all Europeans are going to beat their swords into plowshares and live peacefully together among the tulips. I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt it. I think some of them are going to keep their swords, and the rest will be caught holding their..uh...plowshares in their hands.


Well, now that I've finished ranting...
grin.png
Sorry about that...
.

And yes, the Mediterranean is beautiful but some of us northerners melt like a popsicle when confronted with really hot weather. We're happier up north here, riding our polar bears.

Well, I can't stand high heat and humidity either. It prostrates me... I used to blame it on my father's mountain genes, because he and his whole family are the same, and it was never too hot for my mother. From what I've been reading lately, it may be that part of the blame lies in some defective protein encoding on my decidedly very north Eurasian like mtDNA, although as I said, my mother would follow the sun and bake like one of our lizards...a sweet, lovely lizard,but you get the idea.
smile.gif
That's why in the summers I'm either in the mountains of the entroterra, or right on our coast. The Riviera, both the French one and the Italian one, are blessed in their climate, although the rains in winter have been devastating the last couple of years.

Anyway, it hardly sounds like traveling to Italy is in your bucket list, but should you ever do it, stay away from the cities in the Pianura Padana in the summer...stay away in the winter too...there are a few good weeks in the fall and spring but that's about it, in my opinion. Either blisteringly hot and humid or cold, cloudy and humid. Hellish climate.
 
I think separatist movements typically make unrealistic promises about what separatism will mean in order to make the idea seem good to voters. All too often, these separatist politicians come to believe their own lies and are surprised when they can't deliver what they promised. A Canadian comedian and political commentator named Rick Mercer had this to say about French language aspiring separatists in Canada.

"The Parti Québecois is like some guy in a bar telling his friends he's going to leave his wife except he's going to keep the house and the dog and plus they’re going to sleep with each other when he’s in the mood. And oh she's going to take over the car payments."

So I'm wondering how that phenomenon would play out in the Belgium context. Probably if Wallonia did decide to separate, what their political leaders would say to the Flemish politicians would be something like this.

"We think that a fair division of assets is important, so we'll take Brussels and you can have the national debt. Plus, now that we're a separate nation, we expect the subsidies for Wallonia to be increased."

And they'll probably be quite surprised when the Flemish say that's not fair.
 
I grew up in Wallonia and I know that almost any Walloon who wants to have a proper job goes to Brussels or Luxembourg (or further away, Paris and London being quite popular).

Why is it that any young man with a bit of ambition can't stay in Wallonia?
What is the matter with Wallonia?
 
Why is it that any young man with a bit of ambition can't stay in Wallonia?
What is the matter with Wallonia?

Because as some say, it is now branded as a welfare state ............they produce nothing ...........
 
People don't want to hear the realities; they want to indulge themselves in emotional claptrap. That's why I shout at the television during news programs, or throw a pillow at it...most people, and I'm including so called "news commentators", of every political persuasion are either woefully ignorant of history, and basic economics, and human nature, I might add, or they are incapable of the kind of logical thinking that includes trying to foresee the consequences of certain actions, or they are blinded to the logic by emotional agendas, or they are outright liars who have a personal stake in the outcome. See what a cynic I am?

As to the oil fields, it depends on the contracts that were negotiated...the entities that paid for the construction, and continue to pay for the operation and maintenance of the rigs and the flow of the oil would have to be compensated, unless Scotland wants to go the banana republic route and nationalize them. Would England and any other entities involved really countenance that? Oil is still the lifeblood...I doubt they'll let it go.



That's exactly right in my view. Where on earth does it end? I highly doubt that countries like Germany or France will allow a "Flanders" or a "Veneto" to have the same voting power that they do. These smaller units will become pawns, pawns who have absolutely no bargaining power when it comes to regulations, trade decisions, expenditures, and, ultimately, taxes. (And that's how poorer areas will be pacified ultimately.) And that's if worse doesn't happen.

Perhaps I'm jaundiced about this precisely because I'm Italian, and have been studying Italian history my entire life. Since the fall of the Empire, we have been laid waste time and again by every King from beyond the Alps with a Caesar complex and a few thousand organized troops. Why? Because of the eternal, infernal "campanilismo" of Italy: the petty squabbling and back stabbing by the Italian city states and/or regions. That's what happened during the Renaissance. The French, the risibly named "Holy Roman Empire", and the Aragonese fought over the peninsula like rabid dogs over a bone and brought it all crashing down. The result...the south under inept and corrupt foreign rulers who plundered it when they didn't ignore it, (from which we still feel the consequences) ,most of northern Italy also under foreign domination and sinking into poverty and insignificance, much of central Italy beneath the suffocating heel of the Papacy, and even the "Republic" of Venice (there's another misnomer for you) began its great decline. No One ultimately benefited, and the suffering and destruction of all types was incalculable. We are still experiencing the consequences.

That's one of the reasons why, in my opinion, Nicolo' Machiavelli wrote "The Prince", which in my view contradicts his previous writings on politics: out of desperation at Italy's plight, he jettisoned all his republican principles, and was willing to overlook any moral turpitude if it got the job done. Unfortunately, even had illness not felled him, Cesare Borgia was not the man for the job. He cared nothing for Italy, and nor did his father...parvenue immigrants out to feather their own nests, the whole lot of them.

Nowadays they do their colonizing with their freaking Euro...the worst thing Italy has done in a long time is to adopt the Euro...its products are now too expensive on the world markets, while what it has to purchase is more expensive...Just how is that supposed to be a benefit? It benefits Germany, not Italy. And when floods of desperately poor and uneducated North Africans land on our islands, just what is the EU doing about it? How is it helping to manage the problem and distribute the burden? I'll tell you how...it lets France close the border with Italy so as to prevent all those North Africans from joining their relatives already in France and effectively forcing Italy to deal with it all alone.

Weakness attracts domination...only if you are in a position of strength can you negotiate to your own benefit.

And I highly doubt that the use of force is beyond certain European groups. Sometimes I think that Europe has been so soaked in its own blood that it willingly practices a form of amnesia. Basic human nature doesn't change. If you're a realist, you see it, and you plan and act accordingly. I don't believe all Europeans are going to beat their swords into plowshares and live peacefully together among the tulips. I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt it. I think some of them are going to keep their swords, and the rest will be caught holding their..uh...plowshares in their hands.


Well, now that I've finished ranting...
grin.png
Sorry about that...
.



Well, I can't stand high heat and humidity either. It prostrates me... I used to blame it on my father's mountain genes, because he and his whole family are the same, and it was never too hot for my mother. From what I've been reading lately, it may be that part of the blame lies in some defective protein encoding on my decidedly very north Eurasian like mtDNA, although as I said, my mother would follow the sun and bake like one of our lizards...a sweet, lovely lizard,but you get the idea.
smile.gif
That's why in the summers I'm either in the mountains of the entroterra, or right on our coast. The Riviera, both the French one and the Italian one, are blessed in their climate, although the rains in winter have been devastating the last couple of years.

Anyway, it hardly sounds like traveling to Italy is in your bucket list, but should you ever do it, stay away from the cities in the Pianura Padana in the summer...stay away in the winter too...there are a few good weeks in the fall and spring but that's about it, in my opinion. Either blisteringly hot and humid or cold, cloudy and humid. Hellish climate.

Just remember, Europe with its long history is 100% different to new world migrational nations like, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc ........do not even try to make Europe follow these new world societies , it will never happen.
Europe is a tribal cultural system in which the forming of nations ( ~1780) ONCE aided the poor, now Globalization has reduced the effect of this term nation in Europe. Nations have failed now to deliver what they intended to do in the early 19th Century
 
Why is it that any young man with a bit of ambition can't stay in Wallonia?
What is the matter with Wallonia?

Perhaps young people with ambition can't find a "proper job" in Wallonia. Perhaps the culture of the place doesn't encourage entrepreneurship, and young people think of a good job in terms of getting a university degree and going to work for some large organization, whether government, a non-profit organization or a global corporation. There probably aren't many jobs like that available in Wallonia if it's a formerly prosperous industrial area that's now in decline. Perhaps the way to revive an area like that is to provide loans to small business people who are starting some innovative business in the area. Other than that, the only thing that usually helps such places is for government to spend a lot of money clearing away abandoned factories, cleaning up old mines or whatever needs doing and creating new universities or medical centres that will encourage educated people to stay in the area. But that's very expensive therapy for an economically declining region, and it's usually easier and more popular for governments to spend their money in the growing and more prosperous part of a country (and I assume in Belgium that would be Brussels). Once a formerly prosperous area starts to decline, it's difficult to reverse that trend. Proof can be seen all over the developed world, with some really stark examples in countries like the U.S., where government is thought of as something to serve the business community rather than individuals. If you visit a declining industrial area in the U.S., such as the city of Detroit, it's far worse than anything you could find in declining industrial areas in Europe.
 
Just remember, Europe with its long history is 100% different to new world migrational nations like, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc ........do not even try to make Europe follow these new world societies , it will never happen.
Europe is a tribal cultural system in which the forming of nations ( ~1780) ONCE aided the poor, now Globalization has reduced the effect of this term nation in Europe. Nations have failed now to deliver what they intended to do in the early 19th Century

And what exactly is it that you think nations were intended to do? I'm curious.

I thought that the modern nation state was intended to be an efficient way of organizing society to allow for the better development of business, education, health care, the building of infrastructure and possibly the creation of some sort of system to reduce extreme poverty. And it seems to me that modern nation states have been quite successful at doing that. When they fail, it's usually either because some madman wanted to build an empire or because regional factionalism has prevented a nation from functioning as intended. So, unless everyone is very certain that the whole of western Europe is going to play nice and get along well in the EU, a proposition that I find doubtful, perhaps Europe still needs the modern nation state, which would suggest that regional separatist ideas might not be a very good idea. If countries break into smaller units but the EU experiment fails, what will the people of Europe be left with? Perhaps they'll be left with a system of city states constantly at war with one another, as was the case in the medieval period - it seems to me that the early modern period was one of slowly building modern nation states in order to escape the chaos created by smaller political units that were supposedly under the control of some sort of pan-European political entity. And, if the world reaches a point where there are no more large nation states in Europe, the EU may not be any more successful at containing the chaos than the Holy Roman Empire was. Just my opinion. I don't live in Europe, and my ideas are only based on a reading of history, so I could be wrong.
 
Why is it that any young man with a bit of ambition can't stay in Wallonia?
What is the matter with Wallonia?

Big companies are usually headquartered in Brussels or Luxembourg, and salaries are higher there too. Most people who live in Walloon Brabant, for example, commute to work in Brussels everyday. But many commute from more far away in the rest of Wallonia. Brussels has a night-time population of 1 million, but a day-time population of 3 million with those commuters. There are also Flemish commuters to Brussels, but Flanders is far more decentralised, with jobs spread out more even across cities. I don't have the exact figures, but I'd say that three quarters of commuters to Brussels are French speakers. It's probably a cultural tendency of French speakers to centralise all the power and jobs in the capital. The same is true in France. Dutch speakers are more like the Germans, Italians and Spaniards and prefer a decentralised system.
 
Perhaps young people with ambition can't find a "proper job" in Wallonia. Perhaps the culture of the place doesn't encourage entrepreneurship, and young people think of a good job in terms of getting a university degree and going to work for some large organization, whether government, a non-profit organization or a global corporation.

Walloon politicians are rotten and the Walloon government does pretty much everything it can to discourage entrepreneurship by making countless inefficient rules and annoying people with useless paperwork. Socialist politicians have direct interests in construction companies that repair roads. They intentionally repair motorways and roads badly so that the work can be restarted again within 2 years with the taxpayers's money and the profits going to the politicians. It really has become a Little Italy, politically at least. Many policemen are rotten too and prefer to harass law-abiding citizens than to fight real criminality (including the mafia, which has an important hold in cities like Liège and Charleroi). Many Walloons have become so annoyed, despaired and ashamed of the situation in Wallonia that they prefer to leave. It's not by accident that over 90% of the upper class French-speakers in Belgium live in or around Brussels. Many just can't stand staying in Wallonia anymore.
 
And what exactly is it that you think nations were intended to do? I'm curious.

I thought that the modern nation state was intended to be an efficient way of organizing society to allow for the better development of business, education, health care, the building of infrastructure and possibly the creation of some sort of system to reduce extreme poverty. And it seems to me that modern nation states have been quite successful at doing that. When they fail, it's usually either because some madman wanted to build an empire or because regional factionalism has prevented a nation from functioning as intended. So, unless everyone is very certain that the whole of western Europe is going to play nice and get along well in the EU, a proposition that I find doubtful, perhaps Europe still needs the modern nation state, which would suggest that regional separatist ideas might not be a very good idea. If countries break into smaller units but the EU experiment fails, what will the people of Europe be left with? Perhaps they'll be left with a system of city states constantly at war with one another, as was the case in the medieval period - it seems to me that the early modern period was one of slowly building modern nation states in order to escape the chaos created by smaller political units that were supposedly under the control of some sort of pan-European political entity. And, if the world reaches a point where there are no more large nation states in Europe, the EU may not be any more successful at containing the chaos than the Holy Roman Empire was. Just my opinion. I don't live in Europe, and my ideas are only based on a reading of history, so I could be wrong.

I largely agree...I would just say that the functions which you enumerate I would place in the category of the ministrant functions. There are also the constituent functions.

Under the Constituent I would place that
usual category of governmental function, the protection of life, liberty, and
property, together with all other functions that are necessary to the civic
organization of society, - functions which are not optional with governments,

even in the eyes of strictest laissez faire, - which are indeed the very bonds
of society.
http://history-world.org/govfunc.htm

As to your prior example of Scotland, you might find the following article interesting. As far as I'm concerned the EU and the Euro couldn't be jettisoned fast enough, (and I was born in Europe, have lived in Europe, and intend to live there for at least half of the year in the future) but I don't understand why these regionalist groups think the EU would make it easy for them to become independent countries.

http://www.thecommentator.com/artic...otland_faces_real_danger_if_it_breaks_from_uk
 
And what exactly is it that you think nations were intended to do? I'm curious.

I thought that the modern nation state was intended to be an efficient way of organizing society to allow for the better development of business, education, health care, the building of infrastructure and possibly the creation of some sort of system to reduce extreme poverty. And it seems to me that modern nation states have been quite successful at doing that. When they fail, it's usually either because some madman wanted to build an empire or because regional factionalism has prevented a nation from functioning as intended. So, unless everyone is very certain that the whole of western Europe is going to play nice and get along well in the EU, a proposition that I find doubtful, perhaps Europe still needs the modern nation state, which would suggest that regional separatist ideas might not be a very good idea. If countries break into smaller units but the EU experiment fails, what will the people of Europe be left with? Perhaps they'll be left with a system of city states constantly at war with one another, as was the case in the medieval period - it seems to me that the early modern period was one of slowly building modern nation states in order to escape the chaos created by smaller political units that were supposedly under the control of some sort of pan-European political entity. And, if the world reaches a point where there are no more large nation states in Europe, the EU may not be any more successful at containing the chaos than the Holy Roman Empire was. Just my opinion. I don't live in Europe, and my ideas are only based on a reading of history, so I could be wrong.

well it's failed since the lower classes cannot even pay for their own utilities as they could 30 years ago.............how many die in Britain each year because they could not afford heating?. Utilities once belonged to the government and now privately owned has sent prices skyrocketing. Even in Australian I have seen my utilities costs in the past 5 years increase by 700%. all due to profit for these private companies. While these same utilities under government where run at a break even cost. The rubbish is that these private owners say they need the money for maintenance , but that's all lies because the contract is that Government still pay for maintenance.
The main differences between Australia and say Spain and Italy is that in the DeCentralised Federation of Australia, all taxes collect from each state are returned in full to that state for it's use...........its not like Italy where the Centralised state gathers different rates of taxes and sends back ONLY a small portion to the region that collected it.........Veneto loose 20Billion in taxes due to this each year
Then Italy also has some regions that pay zero tax to Italy( Rome) ...like Siciliy or only 30% tax like Aosta.........there are 5 such regions that have Different rules ( I linked this system to this forum before)

In the end , independence for these small "nations" might not solve any of these issues, but the fact that having their own nation gives them a way of finding their own destiny.

Big nations have too much say in the EU.........it cannot work, you have nations like Germany, France etc dictating laws to the EU how it will be done and why it will be done for the benefit of their own nation............tell me how it can work. They need to be separated/broken up
 
I largely agree...I would just say that the functions which you enumerate I would place in the category of the ministrant functions. There are also the constituent functions.

Under the Constituent I would place that
usual category of governmental function, the protection of life, liberty, and
property, together with all other functions that are necessary to the civic
organization of society, - functions which are not optional with governments,

even in the eyes of strictest laissez faire, - which are indeed the very bonds
of society.
http://history-world.org/govfunc.htm

As to your prior example of Scotland, you might find the following article interesting. As far as I'm concerned the EU and the Euro couldn't be jettisoned fast enough, (and I was born in Europe, have lived in Europe, and intend to live there for at least half of the year in the future) but I don't understand why these regionalist groups think the EU would make it easy for them to become independent countries.

http://www.thecommentator.com/artic...otland_faces_real_danger_if_it_breaks_from_uk

Yes, I suppose that while discussing the role of national governments, I should have mentioned the responsibility of safeguarding civil liberties and the rule of law. However, nation states have not been infallible in that regard, and the EU has sometimes played an important role in advancing both individual liberties and the rule of law. In fact, meeting appropriate standards in these areas is generally one of the conditions of membership in the EU - one of the main reasons Turkey is not a member of the EU is its poor record on human rights, particularly for women. Perhaps breaking countries into smaller units could make it a bit more difficult for the EU to police these areas, but I'm not certain that's true.

As for the article you mentioned, it seems to be from a far right publication, and appears to deal only in half truths. For example, although the Scottish separatists are probably hallucinating when they talk about continuing to have a say in British currency matters after separation, there's nothing to prevent Scotland or any other country from adopting any currency it wishes to. The problem, and it is significant, is that there are serious disadvantages in using the currency of another country while having no say in the fiscal policy of the political entity that controls the currency. Even having limited input can be a problem - some people predicted that in the long run the Euro would fail because of the problems it would create for poorer countries in Europe, and that prediction seems to be coming true, as you mentioned in a previous post. So, it isn't so much that Scotland couldn't adopt the British pound or Euro, but doing so could have serious disadvantages. And, while it's true that most European countries are very concerned about allowing any other European country to fragment because of the bad example that would set, Scotland might get a pass and be allowed EU membership because in some ways it's already a separate country. The fact that the United States might disapprove of Scottish separation is a matter of no consequence, as long the Europeans weren't worried (e.g., if Spain could be convinced that such a move wouldn't encourage the Basques). Also, if Scotland did separate, most of the North Sea oil would be well within Scottish boundaries, so in the long run Scotland would benefit (and there are an estimated 15-24 billion barrels of oil reserves at stake). However, in the short run, it's probably true that existing contracts and agreements would probably limit Scotland's share of oil revenue.

I think the main argument against Scottish independence is economies of scale. However, it must be admitted that was one of the main arguments in favour of creating the EU, and you don't seem to be too impressed with how that turned out. But as we've already discussed, another argument against separation is that the fragmentation process could continue. If the Shetlands or Orkneys did separate from an independent Scotland, they'd have a much better claim to a share of that North Sea oil than England would.
 

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