Another day, another TV show that inspired me. Recently, in Reyers Laat, a late night show on Belgian television Maurice de Hond was invited. Never heard of this man, but apparently this Dutch guy is famous for his sharp political analysises. Anyway, the main topic was Belgium still without a government after a whopping 500 days. Also invited was Peter Vandermeersch, editor in chief for Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. So what do these men from across the fence think of our unability to form a government? Are we becoming a second Greece?
Well, the new Belgian coalition is coming way too late, only after Standards and Poor downgraded us. This is a little bit mischievous and bitter. Peter Vandermeersch thinks it is the last twentieth century type of coalition and De Hond is in line with this, arguing that our democracy itself is the problem. Nothing has changed so much since the 19th century in fact. It is not just Belgium that has issues to form a government. Also in The Netherlands the government is a very atypical one: 2 mainstream minority parties VVD and CDH are actually supported by Geert Wilders his PPV in this formation. All over Europe, there is mostly political instability. We are simply at an end of an era. Our democracy has been very effective for the past 150 years, back when society was simple and structured. But that changes with The Internet. The worldwide web allows to pull in a vast amount of information, but also gives us the ability to spread our message more faster and more widly. It is built bottom-up. And our policial infrastructure is just very much the opposite of that. It is rigid and stern. Top-down. That creates tension and mistrust towards our politicians as well. And surely, breaking the world record without a government does not really help either. People are still suspicious and now it is just a matter of how fast the government will fall. De Hond says that the problems of today are not really about the euro or oil. Present tense turmoil is due to the politicians themselves. What happens if one of the European countries becomes anti Europe? The rest will follow. We are in a very vunerable situation, with countries like Spain where there are more than 20% of the people jobless. Bottom line: the tenets of our democratic society are no longer evident.
De Hond then even goes further. He draws parallels with the French and Russian Revolutions. These also happened as a result of an economic crisis. And it may not always be so obvious. The old way of making a revolution was by using your pitchfork. A modern way is the Occupy movement, standing somewhere and not leaving. Or it might be people all of a sudden voting for a new political party just like what happened when Pim Fortuyn was shot. According to De Hond, there will be a lot more chaos, crackdowns and unclarity over the next7 years. He sees inflexibility on a large scale. We need to move to flexibility on a small scale, exhibiting a loosely-coupled design because the world is changing fast.
This really builds on my ealier ideas, but from a different viewpoint.
A very sharp, but also hopeful analysis!