(03c) Three Power system: Belgium (and Europe) (part 2)

In the first part of this article about Belgium, I closed with the prediction the rating will go down after an agreement would be reached and a government formed because, the markets would claim the solution didn't reach far enough. I was so wrong, the rating went down the same night I wrote that article. And guess what, the next day the politicians negotiated very long and reached a compromise about the budget. (I admire politicians who try to solve the problems while people say they do politics for their own gain (and some do), each politician thinking their ideas are the best while probably a combination of all these ideas would be advisable. However, I dislike those in the financial world who brought the world on its knees (I do not mean the ordinary bankers but those we don't see or know)). The Belgium politicians still have a few more problems to solve (e.g. about migration) and then we can have a government (if it will not all collapse again at the last moment). Then I hope they will stick to their plans.

Unelected leaders of countries
Of course, some outside pressure is not bad to force politicians to reach a deal about a budget and form a government. But my main worry is that the people responsible for the economical mess force politicians all over the world to reach agreements to do something about their debts without accepting any responsabilities themselves and thus allowing better rules to guide the financial systems. They blackmail politicians into making bad decisions. They threaten to destroy countries (and they show they can destroy countries if we do not do what they demand) when those countries might think of introducing laws to control the financial markets. These financial markets are completely incompetent regarding economy. I think one of the reasons they don't want to discuss the situation in public is because they fear they will loose the discussion. When you meet these people, they often hide themselves after sentences such as "My job is too boring to talk about" (so why do they do that job? If one loves his job, one cannot stop talking about it) or "All I do is confidential" (are they hiding something and are they intellectually unable to give a general summary about their work without going into details?).

Two former Goldman Sachs bankers now rule two European countries: Mr Mario Monti is PM in Italy together with other unelected people while Mr Lucas Papademos is PM in Greece. Everyone knows how they think a good leader should be: someone who is not afraid to fire people and make difficult and hard decisions (of course, that is hard decisions regarding other people and not regarding themselves because they need big rewards for making such difficult decisions). Thus, poorer people in our society might (probably) become even poorer. These people do not have to fear the judgement of society so they can take difficult decisions such as firing civil servants to save lots of money. But I am sure they will try to make decisions that are good for the economy. People taking risks when starting a business should not be punished for taking the initiative and these bankers will take some decisions to stimulate the economy. And the financial world loves it that some of their own are now running countries as they think that they can now do whatever they like. More countries might allow unelected people running the country. But after a while, these unelected "Masters of the Universe" (as they are called in the UK (do they even decide how the stars move?)) will be forced to make decisions against the financial markets as these markets can only be disciplined with the introduction of new rules (these new rulers will feel betrayed by their old colleague bankers as the latters only want laws to favour themselves and never in favour of the people while the financial markets might feel betrayed by their old colleagues because new rules might be introduced to remove powers from the markets). These leaders, ones preferring a weak Europe, might decised in favour of a strong Europe to break the power of the markets. The only advantage is that they will fight corruption. So I warn people to pay your taxes and the trein ticket because where will these people get some money: by punishing those who disobey the laws and e.g. refuse to pay taxes.

And indeed, Europe should become much stronger. I always loved the UK and London where I lived during seven years, but one thing I disliked: the arrogance and paranoia of British people towards the rest of Europe, always talking how they saved Europe against the evil Germany. Indeed, many British sacrificed their lifes for our freedom and we are greatful for this. But that was in the past, nearly seventy years ago. Why are they still afraid that Germany might rule them? Or is it that they are still angry their empire collapsed after WWII? For this reason, the UK always stopped further political integration, claiming Europe was not democratic, and as a result we have a largely undemocratic Europe. E.g. Mrs Thatcher always used her veto against decisions made by the majority of European countries. British politicians blocked strong politicians such as Mr Dehaene (previous Belgium PM and also known as "een probleem moet je pas oplossen als het zich stelt" (you only need to solve a problem when there is a problem), the main reason I didn't like him that much because I find it is better to prevent problems) and Mr Verhofstadt (another former Belgium PM and now leader of the liberal group in the European Parliament). These politicians would have been good European leaders because they had an idea how Europe should move forward. But the UK blocked both because they were afraid they might loose powers to Europe, claiming they feared a Federal Undemocratic Europe. The UK also prevented the end of the veto, claiming Europe would become less democratic (what a joke). Instead, we should have strengthen the power of the European Parliament in some fields like economy and foreign policies so Europe could take democratic decision and would not be so weak in the world. (The UK still refuses strickter rules for the financial markets as they are afraid the financial markets will leave London. As a result these markets can continue making bad decisions and no-one is able (at this moment) to force these banks to work better and not only for their own profits). The UK should have joined the Eurozone and they would have been able to force other European countries to behave responsibly during the good times.

I always liked Mr Guy Verhofstadt because he always had strong ideas about society, including about the way Europe should go forward. I read in the "The Observer" (20/11/2011) that Mr Verhofstadt called "for an extension of democracy in Brussels, especially more powers for the European Parliament." (Another great leader supports him in this: the German PM Angela Merkel). At the same time, he says "we cannot go forward with 17 different public opinions [in the eurozone]", thus, in my interpretation, means he is calling for the end of the Council of  the European Union and for a stronger, elected European government. As a result, democracy will become stronger in Europe. But the problem is that most MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) in the first instance think in favour of their own country and not for the good of the whole of Europe (especially the UK never wants a stronger democratic Europe, unless it will be on their conditions).

Back to Belgium (as it is the small version of Europe)
The decisions made for the new budget can't be that good when we seen the reactions of the unions versus the employers organisations. The first are furious while the latters don't understand the negative reactions of the unions and claim these measures will save the future of the working people. And this is the problem: they are mainly from the working people. What about those who lost their job due to the financial crisis? Restrictions in the length of being unemployed will be introduced. I agree that people on benefits should not be allowed to do as they please: they should be forced to find a job even when they don't want to work (although who wants to employ someone who doesn't want to work?). But  nowadays with the economical crisis it is more difficult to find a job so the government should provide a safety net against poverty. The bankers were (and still are) saved by public money (and thus are the biggest benefitters) and they continue paying themselves big bonuses as if they didn't do anything wrong (we should not expect them to be humble and admit they should have done things better). So why should the poorest in society make the biggest sacrifises (maybe in future pensions will be reduced and the health service may become more expensive to reduce deficits as bankers claim these are very expensive for society (all difficult decisions to take)? I think these top bankers who are continuing to make wrong decisions are costing society more than all unemployed together (i.e. countries saving banks and paying higher interests as banks lower the ratings of countries and as a result interest rates for these countries are going up making borrowing more expensive, ...).

Unions and their stupidities
I also blame the unions. They want to demonstrate against unfair decisions (and I agree employers should hear their voices). But they should not be against everything the politicians and economies demand. E.g. as we all live longer they should not be against increasing the age of retirement but the unions should explain why this is necessary to their members and they should talk about alternative ways of working (e.g. having a gap year to relax). Otherwise, undemocratic leaders will force it upon us as the economy will become unstable. That is why I have difficulties supporting the unions as the unions are partly responsible for the mess and they will force employers and politicians to take tough decisions to save our world. But I support they protest against making it more difficult to have benefits when it becomes difficult to get a job (although I support the fact some unemployed should be forced to accept jobs. That is why I supported the Flamish government who had an active policy during the golden years of forcing people to find a job or else they would loose some of their benefits while politicians were much softer in Wallony because they feared losing during elections). Of course, certain politicians and financial people say all unemployed people don't want to work and by repeating this people start to believe them. I ask the question: why do people protest against unemployment if they don't want to work? Should they then not be quiet to avoid being noticed?

More blackmail to reach power
Another type of backmail to force politicians to accept your ideas is claiming that certain politicians are not "Statesman" enough because they refuse to drop their own ideas and accept the markets their solutions. They claim an important politician will deny its own ideas for the good of the country. I think a great politician should refuse the job of PM if he thinks that certain ideas are bad. If the others think a person is the ideal candidate to become PM, they believe that person's ideas are good. Mr Di Rupo agreed to continue talking with the other political parties about the budget and he might become PM. But I hope he will continue to belief in his own ideas (e.g. indexation is good for the people) and that he will not only listen to the financial markets to continue being PM. In the past, he often listened too much to the people, therefore he didn't always dare to take decisions that were necessary. Lets hope he will not start listening too much to the financial markets.

Political Parties, a problem we should get rid off
According to me, I see another major problem for the current problem: political parties. The presidents of six (6) parties (plus some thrustees) are negotiating in Belgium. And before a government can be installed, all problems have to be solved: those related with the constitution and those related with the budget. (How can this be done in a few months? (although almost two years after the election, I never heard about discussions before the elections to solve the future problems (remember, an important Belgium politician ones said: you only need to solve a problem if there is a problem and many politicians took this over))). People say they don't understand why it takes so long before the politicians can reach an agreement. But the politicians are talking about every single aspect of Belgium (some problems are decades old) and it is a one or nothing negotiation. And the same politicians are discussing all these problems. Why can't they go to Parliament to get the agreement about some smaller issues? And why tan't the negotiators trust other members (specialists) from their own party to find solutions for some problems we face? Should the president of a party not be the one overlooking the discussions his MPs are having with other MPs?

Why do I believe political parties (and unions and employers organisations) are a problem in our present society (ones they were necessary)?
  • Party members (even the MPs) are not allowed to have a strong opinion for themselves. The leaders wants them to keep silent claiming too many people result in too many opinions so no decision can be reached. I agree, when you join something, you should be loyal to what you join. But internal discussions should be possible and the majority should decide the path of the party. Some of these discussions take place. And people joining a party believe in the vision of their leader, otherwise they would not join a certain the party. But often I notice that party leaders don't thrust their own MPs (and other members) and prefer to discuss every single subject themselves. (Recently the PM of Flanders went climbing a mountain while his finance minister explained in Parliament the decisions taking by the government. Most MPs were furious. Of course, it would be wrong if the PM went climbing when the decisions were taken but he should thrust his minister enough to allow that person to explain the decisions taken within his own department. So it should be in a party, the leader should thrust members of this own party to explain their ideas to the press.)
  • The MPs want to be elected and in our present system this can only be done when there is a strong leader. Thus, the MPs allow the party to dictate their own vote. And a strong party can force the PM into a certain direction if he wants to stay PM. The PM should be able to chose his own ministers and decisions he make should be discussed in Parliament. At this moment, MPs who belong to parties that are part of the government have to follow the decisions made by their minister or the government, otherwise the government and thus the Parliament might fall and so all MPs can loose their job. I find that a government should be allowed to fall without the collapse of the Parliament as they should be unrelated (I will discuss this in greater detail in future).
I really thought Parliament would become stronger because of this crisis as I thought MPs would decide to discuss possible solutions for Belgium problems in Parliament. But no, they can only complain that without a government they can't make laws.
Don't get me wrong:


But the problem is many politicians have to vote in favour or against a law because their party dictates them to vote in a certain way, even when this is against their own conscience. When no parties exist, everyone is free to vote according to their own believes. And ONLY a YES or a NO vote are allowed. Thus, every MP will have to make a decision on certain topics and thus there will always be a majority in one or the other way. When a majority decides something is bad most MPs will vote NO and MPs have to think again until a proposal is good enough to have a majority. And those who disagree can try to change the law by finding a new majority. And there should be no veto! That is undemocratic.

No limitations?
There should be one limitation to prevent bad laws and that are BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. And these rights should be above all other rights such as freedom of religion, science, law, economy, ... (it would also mean using your brains to avoid annoying other people). E.g. in this system, no-one can deny someone's equality in the name of a religion but in the name of a religion, someone can refuse to go to the gay wedding of their own children. And as I already mentioned in another article, this does not mean freedom to do how one pleases: someone who behaves badly against another person will be punished to prevent him/her repeating the bad behaviour in future.

This means that everyone can make mistakes but should learn from their mistakes. For instance, bankers can make mistakes (as everyone can make mistakes) but then they have to humble themselves and accept rules to prevent them making the same mistakes again in future; otherwise they will be severely punished. 

How do I see the immediate future?
To be honest, I think the immediate future will be bad. Greece and Italy have a government of unelected technocrats. I don't mind specialists in the government as long as the PM is elected and can be judged in Parliament and during elections. But these technocrats can almost do as they please, certainly when they might be successful with the recovery of the economy they will claim Parliament can't remove them and people will support them and might tell MPs to keep silent. There is one thing people in the financial world dislike: people who disagree and might tell them they are wrong. Because "Masters of the Universe" know it all better than the rest. And they will claim to listen to the people as e.g. they probably will agree making tougher immigration laws, also for those prosecuted in their country.

I think politicians should be less secrety and should communicate more with the public to hear the publics concerns and discuss while easy solutions often don't last. E.g. President Obama should publish on the internet every effort he makes in Parliament to save the economy, and Congress should do the same. Then people will be able to see how some politicians think solving the problems. Then people could read how the Republicans behave stupid because they fear the Tea Party (and fear is always a bad teacher).

I think more technocrats will be allowed to govern countries and maybe in the end Europe. Another possibility is what Belgium used in the past: government asked Parliament to vote a law that reduce the powers of Parliament so difficult decisions are easier to make and basically ending Parliamental democracy. And parties will demand their MPs to support legislation against their conscience.

This will cause an implosion of the parties. First, one wants a strong leader to stop the endless discussions and this person might claim he needs powers to solve problems without the interference of the Parliament. However, opposition will grow as MPs will start feeling uncomfortable voting in favour of some of his decisions. Then, MPs of different parties will start talking with each other. People will continue leaving the parties and only the die hards will remain. MPs will start questioning the competence of their leader and leaving the party, trying to stay in Parliament as an Independent MP. Political parties will introduce laws to make it more difficult for individual persons to enter Parliament. Temperarily this will save the parties. But even some of the die hards will start to questions some of these laws and start to revolt against their party leader. In the end, the remaining MPs will allow a fairer election system in favour of a non-political party system. Real democracy can start with a majority voting system and not longer the dictate of the parties.

The biggest problem to be elected as an Independent MP will be the money. Real democracy costs money and the state should provide money for people to campaign. Secondly, people should be elected by the number of votes they receive. Those with a good program will be elected. And, when elected they should do the job, they can't jump from one election to another and then not take the position (as many Belgium politicians do). Most people will start at local level so get experience and to allow people to know them before they can go to the higher levels. (More on my ideas about elections in another publication).

In conclusion
We can still stop moving in the direction of the One-Power system, but then all of us need to lower our expectations. As far as I know only one empire managed to reverse a downfall and that was the Eastern Roman Empire by moderating themselves. The rich can't expect the majority to accept dramatic changes to their wellfare system if they don't want to contribute themselves. And it is in the interest of us all to make the world a better place. Nevertheless, I think we will continue moving towards the One-Power system where the rich will rule, and all of us will regret it, even the rich.
This One-Power system might not be able to solve our problems, and more people might start to protest because they want to safeguard their own interests. But because the people agreed to remove the right to protest, the One-Power system might use force against the demonstrators. In the end, the One-Power system might collapse within itself as greedy people always destroy others, even their friends. By then, people will have realised the Three-Power system was very good but needs to be better in future and they will restore this system (see future article). Also the financial system will have changed dramatically for the better (see future articles). The Old World Order will be gone and replaced by a New World Order, one not to fear.
Thus, the external force I mentioned in another article will be the people all working together to create a world with better rules and a fairer system.


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