Tintin in the Land of the High Buildings where Gays are Tossed Off.

SIMON LINCOLN READER

Brussels

NOBODY KNOWS anything about Belgium’s political leaders because nobody knows what Belgium actually is. The elections are scheduled for June 9, and if you have the stomach to let commentators from Bloomberg do your thinking for you, then its right-wing and centre-right parties who are on course to win. This is the trend we’re being warned about by former weather personalities in Britain, but as all school children know, there is no real “right” anymore – no emphatic declaration of family as a pillar of democracy, no determination to reduce taxes or the size of government, no effort to protect national identity. The exception in Europe is of course Hungary – and it’s from the non-country of Belgium where the criticism of that country’s ways burns hottest.

* * *

THERE HAVE BEEN ONLY three, barely notable Belgian political personalities of the past decade. Coming in at a svelte 300+ lbs, former Health Minister Maggie de Block was the minister responsible for the Belgium’s covid response. Before her, Herman von Rumpuy was the Belgian legislator who ended up heading the EU – once described as a “low-grade bank clerk”. Jean-Claude Juncker is not Belgian – but he could be. The former EU Commissioner from Luxembourg liked drinking cognac in the morning, wore grey alligator leather Derby shoes (with dimples), is a techno-saxophone enthusiast – and sniffed women’s hair. But of all Belgium’s non-people, its Guy Verhofstadt that squeals the loudest.

It’s just horrible theatre, but Guy (pronounced “Geee”) is particularly effective at riling up the otherwise sensible. According to Politico, this former Prime Minister of Belgium takes home over €1,4m a year, courtesy of salaries and extra-curricular earners. With that he purchased a vineyard in Tuscany, and has used the leftover to pursue his enthusiasm for exotic cars. And when he’s not drinking or driving, Geee was – is – trying to overthrow Victor Orban’s democratically elected government in Hungary.

Supporters of Geee have dismissed criticism of his neurotic behaviour and handsome remuneration with the “he’s-a-public-servant-who-doesn’t-own-businesses-or-treat-staff-like-slaves”. That’s not entirely true – his vineyard operates as a “business”. And if he was a public servant true to social justice prescripts, he would have gotten behind the man – a descendent of actual slaves – who dragged Tintin to court “for being racist” in the late 2000s.

* * *

ORIGINALLY FROM DRC, Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo was studying in Belgium when he encountered Tintin – and he had a point. Some of Hergé’s stuff is lively – well meaning, but lively. In 2012 a court declared that Tintin wasn’t racist – and since that date, Tintin has dropped well out of the league of racists, with upstarts cricket, the English countryside, 4-day working weeks – to name a few – now jostling for title glory. Hergé’s depiction of black people may have served as Justin Trudeau’s inspiration for his fancy dress parties, which sounded dreadful as there was never any alcohol or cocaine served. Justin’s behaviour makes sense if you examine that typically right-on, sterilised Toronto scene: Avril Lavigne is playing on repeat, a bunch of Indian-Canadian business school students dressed up like computers or syrup bottles stand around talking about which Palestinian cafe serves the best shakshouka and all that the host has bothered to provide is sugary punch and vegan balls made in chemical factories. In that context it’s understandable why people would want to dress up like Belgian pedophiles or nazis or Austrian incest practitioners.

But any threat of colonial reckoning in Belgium pales in comparison to the homegrown threat of Islamic fundamentalism. The liberal elites left the Brussels suburb of Moleenbeek to its own devices and now its the ground zero of the European multiculturalism experiment, with its once-franchises across France, Netherlands and Germany accelerating into their own super doom forces.

Unlike in the UK, Belgian defenders of “multiculturalism” – that is, the practise of establishing non-corresponding parallel societies – don’t have the benefit of excusing the exercise with “but come on man they’ve bought such nice spicy food”. The cuisine in Belgium is exceptional and the waiters and barmen at Hotel Le Plaza still wear tailored white dinner jackets.

* * *

BELGIUM IS EUROPE, and the other way round, and this week there was some other, other-way- round stuff – effect and cause – but seen from a distance, these are just stills from cycles we don’t notice. This week’s effect related to something else previously – and we don’t yet know the response to the cause of Tuesday. The effect happened in Slovakia, where a “Vladimir Putin sympathiser”, or fan, was elected President. Geee went mad as expected, and doubled-down on his call to double the size of the Ukrainian black hole into which the conveyer belt of pallets of dollars and euros are being wood-chipped. The cause happened in Strasbourg, supposedly in France but an extension of the Brussels-headquartered EU matrix, where judges of the European Court of Human Rights decided that “governments have a duty to protect citizens from climate change”.

U WOT? The case involved a group of elderly Swiss women. One of them claimed that she couldn’t leave her house for three weeks during last year’s summer, so presumably spent the better part of 20 days programming her cat to sniff out the “far right”.

You see, this is what happens: idiots brainwashed by illogical, unscientific, deliberately-crafted-for-division nonsense approach some other idiots, and those idiots – unelected – establish rulings aligned to their own ambitions of virtue and status. Geee starts his lunatic routine and praises all idiots involved – whilst condemning opponents as “far right” knuckle-dragging addicts unwilling to step into the future. Then, after some brooding, its those people’s turn to determine effect.

What’s happening in Europe is that the response is slipping ahead of the provocation – effects overwhelming causes. When Bloomberg suggests things are going slightly right here, then its probable they are going very, very right – the power to alter the course of the European Union project (which is actually Belgium’s real government).

* * *

THE LAST TIME I was in Belgium was in 2017. I organised to meet a gold collector, and took the first Eurostar out of London St. Pancras. When I arrived at his offices near the Grand Palace, one of his secretaries shrugged. “Nah, actually, he feels like chilling today, didn’t come in” – or to that effect. I explained that with my passport, the wait in the immigration queue sometimes outlasted the travel time. Again the shrug: “sorry, lol”.

It’s difficult to understand what’s going on because not even the people who live there know. Is it an advanced product of liberal democracy formed on the history of a sophisticated monarchy with expensive taste? Or is it a casual, superanuated butler to a bigger project who believes that dismissing discontent or criticism of social engineering as “far right” will endure forever? The political party in western Europe that successfully shifts the “far right” descriptor from its current attachment to white, supposedly intemperate conservatism onto the premises where it actually belongs – Islamism – will be the only party worth taking seriously. Because that’s the truth.

Coming Monday:

2 thoughts on “Election postcards 2024 #Bruxelles”
  1. I’m sorry, but I cannot take seriously an article that mocks the perfectly correct French pronunciation of the name “Guy”, even if the man in question is a nasty bit of work. It does you no credit and isn’t funny.

  2. I appreciate this article.

    Hoping for statesman, such as P. M. Smith, to lead; this for many countries.

    Thank you.

Comments are closed.