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.
Very understandable, one million people march against Brexit because they are afraid of what may be a future outside the EU. Yes, I too would have voted against leaving the EU as its formation brought not only peace but also prosperity to all countries that joined. Still, often the EU did as the UK requested (such as no euro, no Schengen and even British police who is allowed to check people in Belgium and France who want to travel to the UK, English as main language, a neoliberalism and even when the UK are leaving the EU, the EU still follows UK's lead of enforcing austerity on one of its members just as the UK enforces it on its own people), and yet a large section of (mainly) the English remain angry that the UK joined the EU and blames the EU for what the UK does in the UK. And thus, now a large section of British society shows they want to remain.
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And thus, yes, it is easy talking from my position in Belgium about having to respect the outcome of the second referendum in the UK about the EU, theory is often simpler than reality. Yes, it's up to the British to demand a third referendum on whether to stay in or out the EU because, although someone had the wisdom to write the European Article 50 so countries can leave peacefully the EU if they wish, it had also the stupidity not to mention that the outcome of a referendum would be final for e.g. the next ten years and how to negotiate the exit so that people would know that the outcome is final, more people would have taken the referendum serious. Thus, as there was and still is no scenario how to proceed, it is normal Remainers protest against leaving. Still, knowing the British, they can be hard verbally but also violent physical and thus, if remaining may win, what about disappointed Brexiters who need to continue to live together with foreigners they don't like and after the referendum may hate even more as many foreigners campaigned to stay in the EU (I fear certainly the Germans as many British still remember they liberated Europe, were not thanked for this as they were not allowed to join the EU and Brexiters now say Germany wants to take the UK via the EU. Also France is not a lover). But, maybe I'm wrong and the Brexiters will accept that their decision is overturned and will continue to live as before. Nevertheless, from the day after the referendum, Brexiters feared the outcome may be reversed and therefore shouted it should not. On the other hand, also some Remainers seem to be as extreme as the side they accuse of shouting. Also the EU fears that Brexit may be succesful as then more countries may decide to do so. Therefore, also lies are told about the downfall of the UK if outside the EU and that visa are needed to enter the EU or UK. The result: chaos and the question: what now? For instance, if the outcome is reversed, it will confirm the Brexiters that the EU is indeed undemocratic and doesn't respect what people want and thus they will become even more disillusioned with the EU and British politicians and may feel completely isolated. If the EU refuse a return, some Remainers may equally flip and blame the EU, just like Brexiters always blame the EU.
I'm also against reversing the outcome so shortly after the referendum from a theoretical point of view: if we want more direct democracy than a reversal of the outcome can't be celebrated because then the outcome of referendums on other subjects may also be declared unacceptable if politicians don't like them. While, I think referendums must certainly be organised on joining and leaving international organisations so that not a single party or politician with a majority can decide whether to join or leave. But, the current chaos may also teach people a lesson: people must vote on important subjects and answer the question asked and not vote a protest vote or they should not complain afterwards.
Another reason why this European Article 50 is important is to show the rest of the world where people die because they want to liberate themselves and become independent from what they consider as an occupation that it can happen in a peaceful way and without fights. An example is Tibet that is considered by China as part of their country and indeed, if Tibetans would accept this there would be no troubles but we understand that China occupies that country because people in Tibet don't accept China as their own country. Similar in Spain where elected politicians are imprisoned because they want independence, whether justified or not. But, to prevent the possibility of civil wars means accepting the outcome of decisions by people of a certain region that wants to liberate itself from another, at least for a certain period (such as 2 election periods), otherwise it means chaos and maybe worse.
Indeed, democracy means being able to campaign but also to accept the outcome of elections and/or referendums (unless society has been told that a referendum is organised as a guideline for politicians to determine policies). But, when the outcome results in abuse of human rights than of course people need to oppose the decisions; but this is not so in the UK although I accept many British may disagree and complain about lost influence and even jobs. But, reversing the referendum outcome will remove any moral leadership to demand that countries in outer continents should respect the decision of elections and even referendums.
Thus, I accept people protest and demand a reversal of the decision to leave the EU because there was no script that should be followed in case Article 50 is activated.
But, in a real democracy, the outcome of elections and referendums can't be reversed simply because part of society don't like the outcome. Unless unjust comes from the outcome so people must oppose the outcome but this is not the case in the UK.
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…