From October 2002 till October 2009, I lived and worked in London where I started this blog so my family and friends in Belgium were able to know what I was doing in London (although they didn't follow the blog).
In October 2009, I returned to Belgium (forced by circumstances) and now I live in Brussels, capital of Europe. I finally start to get used to my life back in Belgium, the country where I was born but I never really loved.
Green versus Red versus Blue, exit Yellow
As elsewhere, Antwerp's socialists (Red) and
environmentalists (Green) don't seem to be natural partners to work together. I
think liberals (Blue) and Green are much closer ideologically as both are in
favour of entrepreneurship and freedom to express yourself but they don't
recognise this because I think the Blue are too much attached to the past to
recognise in full the potential of the new economies such as clean energy
although they too recognise the digital possibilities.
In Antwerp a collaboration
between the socialists (Red) and environmentalists (Green) collapsed. The
main reason is that a socialist candidate seems to have used accounting tricks
and this became public as should be in good democracies so people know what
they may expect from politicians they have to elect although the Red seem to
disagree as they defended their candidate; also in the past they had members
who were creative. And thus the Green no longer want the Red as partner during
coming elections. Should this collapse surprise? Not really as I think Red and
Green are unlikely partners (although many think the opposite) and this mistake
by the Red to keep one of their own in power without further clarification in
order to remove any doubt how he may behave as a possible mayor was a good
excuse to stop the collaboration. Here I try to explain why I think Red and
Green are unlikely partners:
Green + Blue + Red equals white, in my opinion the perfect combination in politics
The Green are in
favour of entrepreneurs who want their own business but with inclusion of the
latest and clean technology. Many live a healthy life, often eat little or no
meat and fish while they are in favour of legislation to protect our
environment, the reason why they are called the Green. Many are higher
educated, often live in cities where they can socialise with (often successful)
people from every part of the world while they love to discover the world, and
continue to do so after their pension. But often they have little feeling with
workers, and thus many don't understand why those people (often on lower income
who are in direct competition with immigrants who are often paid even less for
the same jobs and often are priced out of areas where they were born, often by
wealthier people from abroad) are angry with more immigrants while new
technologies (such as digital revolution or solar panels) are too complicated
and/or too expensive to support while these new technologies don't seem to result
in work for many unless the higher educated.
Socialists on the
other hand are more concerned about employees who work for employers and thus
have also close links to unions (as a reaction, also other parties linked
themselves to unions). Often the environment is second as securing work for
people comes first and thus often they complain about too much legislation
while they ask for slower environmental actions as well as subsidies to help
ordinary people to install the new technologies. They also protest against
outsourcing as that result in people losing jobs here, exploitation in
developing countries and environmental damage due to transport of the products
over longer distances (here they have common points with Greens). They defend
pension rights, sometimes it seems even without understanding that many
(younger) people understand that, as we live longer, we will have to work
longer (but differently to prevent burn-outs) although they are right that one
of the reasons why we have troubles is because certain people pay too little
social contributions. Socialists defend the right that everyone can have their
own house with garden in the countryside, even when this causes the destruction
of more environment. I think a more likely natural partner for socialists are
conservatives to keep things as they are although leading socialists started to
recognise the need to work in clean environment, that immigrants also need
chances and thus contribute to our pensions and that people can be who they
are. Nevertheless, the price socialists paid is that the leaders alienated a
certain section of their original voters while others don't take them serious
and prefer the original, i.e. the Green and thus socialist parties became
small, certainly in western countries where much of workers right are realised.
Thus, l think Red
and Green are not natural partners. But Green and liberals (Blue) are much
closer, although without recognising this. Unfortunately, many liberals now
have a tendency to defend big companies and capital while in the past they
would equally have an eye for small businesses and the self-employed although
often they think they still defend them. The Green took over the role to defend
small businesses instead of importing products that are produced on the other
side of the planet by people who are underpaid and work in conditions that
cause harm to people and the environment while destroy local businesses here.
But both are natural in defending free thinking and often defend the right to
be yourself: straight or gay, to have children or not, to marry or not as long
as it doesn't harm others and thus reduces the freedom of others.
For me, the best
government is with people who have all three colours in themselves: defend
workers' rights, stimulate people who want to start their own business and
consider the environment and animal and plant life. This means people who
support investments in science to further move into the direction of a fair
society (such as good healthcare and education and clean environment and with
opportunities to start a business or be an employee at a business) whereby
everyone has chances within what they are able to do although we should also
realise that some people are losers, whatever we give them.
In a perfect
society, parties are no longer needed and people are elected who discuss
legislation in parliaments to reach an agreement. This may (soon?) be possible
in the Western world (already many smaller parties need to form coalitions
instead of a few big ones). However, in developing countries this ideal
probably still take decades as employees have to unite to improve workers'
rights versus employers rights as already happened in the West (and this
without the West lecturing countries how to do it although of course we may
disagree with their actions and sanction them). Certainly in Africa this may
still take very long as Africans still need to learn how to work together to
improve their own position because, as that continent has most natural resources
that others want and thus African countries should be the ones setting
conditions for those who want the resources, in many places corrupt politicians
hold on to power while people fight against each other so these countries
remain weak while the rest of the world takes to sell elsewhere expensive, the
only price is to keep leaders in power.
parties? Yes, they existed and were part of the dominant elite that kept
ordinary people ordinary people or educated them into their ideology. Often
they still excuse religions and their human right abuses in the name of a God.
Their time may soon be over, certainly in the West, as even these politicians
now dare to oppose church leaders if necessary.
PM May's plan to allow immigration based on skills and wealth was to be expected. After the two golden decades that started under PM Major and continued under PM Blair, the decline continues. Under these two PMs, people from poorer areas were stimulated to follow higher education and to achieve this major investments were done in education in general, including new schools.
Also major investments at universities resulted in collaborations with overseas universities, many foreigners (including from poorer countries) moving to the UK and top research.
Also free healthcare via the NHS whereby major investments resulted in good equipped (new) hospitals, good healthcare professionals and reduced waiting times.
Also a house for everyone was promoted and thus people could buy a property, improve it and sell it naturally more expensive to buy a larger house and repeat the above. This resulted in more expensive and now difficult to buy properties, certainly when houses and flats were sold…
Former USA President Barack Obama hit the hammer on the nail when he spoke at a Democrats fundraiser event. Democrats should stop mourning the loss of the presidential elections 2016 and start to say what they may do when in power. Analyse why then Mr and now President Donald Trump won the elections and find solutions that are better and include almost everyone in society. Otherwise, those "who are" today will be those "who were" tomorrow as the recent N.Y. democratic elections demonstrated when the main candidate lost from an inexperienced "socialist" Democrat. Still, whatever solution, some people will have none of them except the most extreme.
Therefore, politicians should stop to listen to and talk with almost exclusively only (multi)millionaires and billionaires to hear their solutions, i.e. more tax reductions for the rich to stimulate the economy and more penalties for those who don't work, including seriously ill people. Those wealthy have eve…
As usual in May, Belgium Pride took place in Brussels. Indeed, as you notice, in Brussels Pride is early, but again, just like last year we were lucky with the weather: sunny although a little cold (but then, what do you expect in Belgium in early May?). Pride was quite fun. I met up with Kurt and Jethro and we had a nice day. I wore something different from what I normally wear: a pink shirt with green bow tie. It suited me although I say it myself but otherwise I would have worn it.
Of course, there were many people, and some of them were interesting: either in drag, with strange clothes or bare chest. Unfortunately, most were in ordinary clothes: t-shirt and jeans, not worth taking pictures off. I show a small selection of the people. Excuse me the strange way of placing the photo's but I mostly can't place them in the position I would prefer them to be. I was lucky to be able to dance with a few of these people. I also spoke with two guys having fun, one from Israel, the o…