I’ve covered the subject of Belgium’s government, or rather the lack of one, before. But today marks a new world record for the country overtakes Iraq for previous record of “longest political crisis”. Following elections 249 days ago the elected representatives have been able to form a majority to govern and the longer the crisis drags on, the more the debate gets radicalised.
Life goes on
Talk to many a Belgian and this is something that’s more of interest to foreigners than locals. If Belgian politicians are squabbling, things look normal on the ground. Indeed there’s already quite a split between Dutch-speaking Flanders and French speaking Wallonia, each half has plenty of devolved powers so don’t get visions of the lights being switched off as local government takes care of plenty.
For Belgians and cyclists alike there’s not much at stake, it’s just The Inner Ring tries to give you a flavour of what’s going on behind the racing. But when you see someone waving the yellow flag of Flanders, there’s a high chance they are supporters of the N-VA or the far right Vlaams Belang political parties, that the flag-waving is a political gesture. Look closely and if the lion has black claws instead of the normal read ones then this is the flag of the nationalists.
But things can get politicised, the recent funeral of a former Miss Belgium got caught in a polemical crossfire. I hope any rivalry behind Tom Boonen and Philip Gilbert isn’t hijacked by desperate politicians.