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.
(12q) Why I'm not a "gilet jaune" (yellow jacket)
I'm NOT a gilet jaune (yellow jacket). Yes I sympathise
with people who find it increasingly difficult to pay bills, including
electricity and fuels to warm houses and drive cars. Still, I don't agree with
that what they ask, i.e. cheaper fossil fuels. Indeed, unions should finally
start talking reality and that means climate change is real and other energy
forms are needed that will create jobs while indeed, those jobs should be where
the products are sold and not in developing regions where people are underpaid
while here products are still sold too expensive for many. But I accept that
many of these demonstrators are not violent thugs although some are too stupid
to understand that violence is no solution and use it while also opponents
infiltrate to cause troubles so the gilets
jaunes will be blamed.
I'm not a gilet jaune
However, I could
agree when they would demand subsidies for the less well off to help with the
insulation of their houses and installation of solar panels and even other
renewables. Yes, not those who earn sufficient to invest in their own
properties should receive financial support such as tax reductions or even
money; they should be proud they can contribute to society by not claiming
money for everything they do.
Yes, the financially
weak should receive help. As they earn not much, tax reductions for them are
useless but grants are not. This doesn't mean only poor people need support
because many rent a house so can do little to change their home, also middle
class can receive help for certain projects, and depending what they earn
either may have to repay it (partly) or not.
Of course, this cost
money and thus, as mentioned higher, tax reductions for the wealthy and big
companies are not necessary although this doesn't need to exclude everything.
But, if everyone would pay their taxes fairly, taxes can be reduced as low as possible
because I too am against unnecessary high taxes. In this way, the wealthy can't
become too rich as they have to spend money while now too much money disappears
out the economy into their pockets. Indeed, helping many poor is cheaper than
refusing tax incomes from companies, the rich and even certain middle class.
Brexit and the EU and possible troubled future relationshipSimon Jenkins is reasoning that PM Johnson may have to give in to the EU as he thinks that the UK's fishing industry depends on the EU to survive. However, EU consumers will be angry when fish becomes scares and expensive after EU fishers are no longer allowed to fish in British waters; indeed, the UK's own fish export may even increase. Or the UK may export its fish to the rest of the world. Similar to other farming exports such as lam of which a large part is exported to the EU.
Further, he writes [Quote]
"It may be that one day the EU’s economy so collapses that it really is worth Britain’s while to turn away and seek better deals elsewhere. There is not the remotest sign of that at present."
Really? Does he not read newspapers or watch news programs? Look to the border between Greece and Turkey. Turkey opened its borders with Greece because it's angry the EU (very likely) doesn't keep its promise …
Economies are restarting, a necessitySocieties are slowly restarting their country, including opening borders so people can travel again. In Belgium shops opened while schools for some students restarted. People can also restart non contact sports. But, we're also reminded to continue to keep a distance from others and to continue washing our hands regularly. Unfortunately, for many people this restart comes too late as the economy plummeted worldwide and companies need to fire people or close completely when they couldn't survive two months of inactivity. And, although many people acknowledge this lockdown was necessary, up to 25% of businesses say they won't survive a second lockdown; I also think "Mr Doom" is more realistic when he says that the recovery will be much slower than the IMF thinks it will. And yet, bars and restaurants still can't reopen in Belgium while also tourism that includes travel agencies, airline companies, hotels and others suffers a…
and video to explain
the statistics behind the coronavirus deaths but also to record illnesses. Excess
mortalityI'm in favour of
using excess deaths (excess mortality) as a starting point to determine the
severity. Of course, it doesn't need to be only death as the seriousness of
something can also be defined as numbers of people who can't perform normal
activities as is done for flu or heatwaves. But, as we're in the middle of a
coronavirus pandemic that kills, I'll continue with excess mortality i.e. how
many people die more compared with the average of the same months in previous
years (see figure 1 for explanation). This excess death (and if data is
available excess sick) informs quickly whether a day, week, month and year is
normal or not. Already this is done
in the healthcare sector when GPs and/or hospital doctors notice an increase in
patients and thus record the numbers of patients who are very ill or die to
know whether a warning should be giv…