Walloons good, English bad

Plucky little Wallonia, a French-speaking part of Belgium, is threatening to derail years of negotiations between the EU and Canada by refusing to agree to a new trade deal.  Apparently, under Belgium’s constitution, the Wallonians Walloons (thanks, dearieme) have a right to do this.  EU leaders are now falling over themselves to get to Namur, where the hold-outs have their gang hut, in order to persuade them to come on board.

One is permitted to contrast the reaction of the EU leadership towards Wallonia in the past few days with their reaction towards Britain voting to leave the EU and, prior to that, Prime Minster David Cameron’s attempt to get some concessions ahead of the vote.  One would have thought that accommodating a country of 60m people would be of greater importance than a region of 3.5m to the EU, but obviously it’s not.  To see why we first need to look at an Forbes article on the subject written by Tim Worstall, who speculates as to why the Walloons have rejected the deal:

There are some out there who are simply hostile to the idea of any trade deals at all. This is an undercurrent in left wing and environmental politics over here. There are actually people so deluded about economics that they think that trade is something bad, to be avoided. Goods and services should be locally produced and locally consumed. Economies should be small and self-contained. Yes, I know, it’s an absurdity but it’s a very real current in European politics. The various Green parties near all sign up to this idea as do all too many unthinking leftists. They’re all failing to see that it is trade with its attendant division and specialisation of labour which make us all so much richer than our peasant forefathers.

We then need to look at a post on another blog which I now rather embarrassingly cannot find (I thought it was at Nourishing Obscurity, but I haven’t been able to locate it).  It was a photo taken in Brussels of a street sign which bore the name Salvador Allende Square.  As the blogger noted, if places are being named after communists in non-communist countries, that tells you a lot about the local politics.  France is no different: the Parisian suburb of Montreuil has an Avenue du Président Salvador Allende.  Lyon has a Salvador Allende Tram stop, and Nanterre a Salvador Allende public car park.  Paris also has a Karl Marx college.  The city of Brussels even has a tribute to Salvador Allende on their webpage.

Time of for an anecdote.  I have an acquaintance here in Paris who worked through from the 1970s to early 2000s for EDF, the French state power company.  He told me the company was “openly communist”, which I took to mean the management and employees were either communists or communist sympathisers.  Because of EDF’s nuclear expertise, my acquaintance used to travel to the USSR, North Korea, and other communist states to share nuclear technology.  He told me he went as a visitor to the top-secret bomb-making facilities in the Soviet Union where there were portraits of the Rosenburgs on the wall.  I’ve included this anecdote just for fun.

The point is that Belgium, France, and many other European countries are far more left-wing than England is.  I say England because Scotland, and to a lesser extent Wales, are more left-leaning than England but even they are not as left-wing as places like France.  In France, the Socialist party holds power and is being challenged from the left by a Communist party.  By contrast, the communists in England consist of a gaggle of clowns who think the Soviet Union is still in existence, and the socialists under the banner of Labour only managed electoral success when they shifted rightwards.  When Labour ran as socialists under Neil Kinnock they were roundly rejected by the electorate.  Britain’s most successful post-war Prime Minister in terms of time in office was the decidedly anti-communist Margaret Thatcher and the second was Tony Blair who the left-wing hated for abandoning socialist principles.  Now Labour is being led by socialists and communists and they are a laughing stock who stand zero chance of attaining power unless they ditch this lot for some who are much further to the right.  The only place in London bearing Karl Marx’s name is his grave.  The closest we have to Salvador Allende avenues in the UK are places named after Nelson Mandela which lefty councils foisted upon cities during the apartheid struggles.

And this is why the EU leadership – particularly the French and some Belgians – cannot stand Britain: we are right-wingers who lean towards free markets and capitalism whereas they are made up largely of socialists.  A good number of French and other Europeans believe that the EU should be more socialist and more powers granted to the centre, whereas most British believe the exact opposite.  Socialist Europeans know they cannot attain, or retain, power at the nation-state level (or make the books balance) and so are attempting to do so at the EU level: Britain leaving represents a setback to this goal.  Listen to Francois Hollande – a socialist – saying Britain must “pay the price” for leaving.  What price?  Scuppering the plans of European socialists?  Whereas the Walloons are good, old-fashioned socialists pushing back against capitalism, and so they get treated with kid gloves.

It is also enlightening to look at how the Remainers in the UK lean politically: most of them are left-wing.  Having failed to bring about many of their desired policies via national elections, they have been quite content to see them imposed via the EU where socialism holds much more sway.  They know that without their fellow travellers in Europe, socialist policies in England are pretty much dead.

A lot of the anger around Brexit is not actually about Britain leaving: it’s about communists, socialist, and other left-wingers not being able to join forces and impose their policies on the English who are stubbornly centre-right.  And this is why it is getting so damned bitter.

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31 thoughts on “Walloons good, English bad

  1. Dammit, I knew:

    1) I might have gotten that wrong; and

    2) Somebody would be along to put me straight; and

    3) It would be you.

    Sod it, I’m leaving the post as it is.

  2. Glad you picked up on the Walloons. Just an opinion but methinks it’s little countries which are going to derail the EU and by extension, hopefully, the UN project as well, with Trump connivance.

  3. “A lot of the anger around Brexit is not actually about Britain leaving: it’s about communists, socialist, and other left-wingers not being able to join forces and impose their policies on the English who are stubbornly centre-righ”

    Now I’ve said this before, but the main reason the anger is so strong is there is simply nothing more terrifying to many of these people than a free-trading, liberal & right wing UK living it up just off the coast of an EU heading the way of Venezuela.

  4. “little countries which are going to derail the EU and by extension, hopefully, the UN project as well”

    Okay its a bit of a long bow but on the topic of Belgium, communist place names and chipping away at the UN then this latest development might be a good thing.

    “South Africa to Withdraw From International Criminal Court
    South Africa’s announcement has been condemned by human rights activists”

    Yes I know that the South African political and judicial systems are a complete and utter basket case, I have been through their high court system and its a joke. I lost the case but that is not the point.

    Mozambique a former Marxist regime borders South Africa, I have been travelling there of late and secured a contract with a Belgian contractor. Their management approach is socialist and they dont have the balls for straight talking contractual negotiations, just like the French contractors I have worked with. The Mozambique flag replete with not only a Kalashnikov but a bayonet loaded one, is my favourite flag and I took this shot in downtown Maputo (formerly Lourenço Marques) on my iPhone 5.

    https://s22.postimg.org/pgb5z8wc1/Av_Vladimir_Lenine.jpg

  5. First time commenter, long time follower because of the high quality materiel published.
    I have always considered Belgium the utmost French poodle in Europe. No wonder if little plucky Wallonia is really doing the bidding that the powers that be in Paris for whatever reason does not want to do at the moment. (same reason why another poodle/lackey of the French, Junkers, is going full frontal at the English for Brexit, rather than maman-la-France. Easier to unleash the scruffy dogs until the Parisian elites will figure out how to reap its own sets of advantages and exemptions).
    On a more local perspective, any trade deal will advantage Flanders and its more modern and vibrant economy, at the same time reducing the amount of money Wallonia will receive to keep the pretence of a proper lifestyle. No wonder in Namur nervousness, uncertainty and fear reign supreme. As it’s been suggested countless times it would make good sense for Belgium to disappear altogether and for Walloons to join the motherland west, but I suspect maman will not like it too much, because some of her regions may want to follow suit but in leaving France, and this is anathema to Paris.
    All in all another fine display of gallic intolerance for those processes and initiatives where they are not in the driving seat.

  6. @marostegen

    “Junkers, is going full frontal at the English”

    Not an image I’m relishing…

  7. Now I’ve said this before, but the main reason the anger is so strong is there is simply nothing more terrifying to many of these people than a free-trading, liberal & right wing UK living it up just off the coast of an EU heading the way of Venezuela.

    I agree with this. Sadly, I don”t think there is a ghost of a chance of it happening. The idiot running the Tory party don’t seem to know much more about free trade and liberty than the socialists, and the Civil Service is way too large, resistance to change, and stuffed full of lefties. I can’t see any Tory on the horizon who intends to do anything about this, all we’re seeing is more nannying and corporatism.

  8. marostegen,

    First time commenter, long time follower because of the high quality materiel published.

    Welcome! Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

    Easier to unleash the scruffy dogs until the Parisian elites will figure out how to reap its own sets of advantages and exemptions).

    This is an excellent point: France is using smaller Francophone groups as proxy troops before committing their own.

    On a more local perspective, any trade deal will advantage Flanders and its more modern and vibrant economy, at the same time reducing the amount of money Wallonia will receive to keep the pretence of a proper lifestyle. No wonder in Namur nervousness, uncertainty and fear reign supreme.

    Indeed, it’s the same fear that is driving people potty over Brexit.

    All in all another fine display of gallic intolerance for those processes and initiatives where they are not in the driving seat.

    Exactly.

  9. Bardon,

    The Mozambique flag replete with not only a Kalashnikov but a bayonet loaded one, is my favourite flag

    Yes, I’ve long thought that if Mozambique wants to develop they probably ought to change that flag. It’s kind of hard to convince investors you’re a stable, forward-looking country when you have an AK-47 on your flag.

    and I took this shot in downtown Maputo (formerly Lourenço Marques) on my iPhone 5.

    Heh!

  10. “I’ve long thought that if Mozambique wants to develop”

    You might already know this but I didn’t until I started going there but apparently it has the third largest natural gas reserves in Africa, the next Qatar?

  11. How many times has England gone to war to protect this sniveling excuse for a population? I’m running out of fingers to count with.

    That’s why Brexit was so awesome, (well, one of the reasons). It’s see-ya-later-ya-walloons, we ain’t got ya back this time.

  12. Still hold a grudge about Belgium’s refusal to supply us with large caliber ammo during the Falklands war.

  13. @ Bernie G,

    Indeed, we should have realised then that these fuckers are not on our side and never would be. That’s the problem with the centre-right the world over: we try to be nice to those who despise us.

  14. @ Bardon,

    Yes, I did know Mozambique has serious reserves: BP and ENI are busy down there with (I think) and FLNG project. But stumbling across vast hydrocarbon reserves doesn’t seem to do African countries any favours historically.

  15. I don’t necessarily see it as just a socialist/communist thing. When push comes to shove they all – the continentals – hate us and I think I large part of that hatred stems from our island status: the feeling that we could always just bugger off and be safe on our side of the moat whilst armies rampage and all hell breaks loose on the continent. Pretty galling for them and envy is a powerful emotion.

    Funny about Mozambique getting a mention. I too have been doing business there these last four years; the place makes Nigeria look like Denmark. Nice beaches though.

  16. Somewhere here in Tuscany I have seen a Via Lenin as I drove past. I cannot recall where, but do remember it looked scruffy.

    On a happier note, I have seen a “Piazza X (Formerly Piazza Gramsci)”

    Not where I am: we were Fascisti and have the photos to prove it.

  17. “Funny about Mozambique getting a mention. I too have been doing business there these last four years; the place makes Nigeria look like Denmark. Nice beaches though”

    Yes I gather its a bit hairy of the beaten track. Although our view is that it is far safer than South Africa as it doesn’t have the same potential for a random whacking.

    Interested to hear your view on how the country has fared over the last four year and what you think the business case is for the future.

  18. As far as Belgium is concerned, I wouldn’t say it’s much to the left of the UK politically. For a good deal of the post-WWII period, it was actually slightly to the right of the UK – for one, it never nationalized its heavy industry. Its Labor/Socialist party always had to form a coalition whenever it finished first in the elections, typically with the Liberals or the Catholics. Belgium’s politics has always been based on compromise and coalition-building because of the multiparty system and the Flemish-Walloon tensions.

    Historically, for a long time Belgium and especially Wallonia were pretty similar to the UK economically. Wallonia industrialized in the early 19th century, a few decades after England, ahead of pretty much everybody else on the Continent. When Belgium became a country in 1830, it had one of the most liberal and pro-market political systems in Europe. Like Britain, Belgium had a native, non-Marxist labor movement, which later incorporated Marxist ideas but remained, like Labour, rooted in local customs and sensibilities (heavily Catholic) more than in Marxist theory. In the 20th century, their Catholic parties were like the old-school Tories, Liberals like the Whigs, and Labor/Socialists, obviously, like Labour.

    The EU’s deference to Belgium compared with the UK might have to do with Belgium’s status as a core, founding member of the union. Ironically, Wallonia seems to be suffering from the same malaise as England’s old industrial powerhouses: the curse of early industrialization.

    ” we are right-wingers who lean towards free markets and capitalism whereas they are made up largely of socialists”

    I’m not convinced there are more free-traders among the Leavers than among the Remainers. I’m afraid that even in England proper, socioeconomic libertarians opposed to large-scale immigration are a small minority. I suspect the most influential people in the pro-EU camp resemble the Wall Street bankers who supports Hillary Clinton for President. They are the leaders of the highly evolved New Left, which dominates not by having the state run coal mines (that’s the stupid Old Left) but by imposing its social/racial justice agenda on the natives. That can explain the choice of Mandela over Allende.

    Technically speaking, Mandela was a major-league terrorist with strong connections to the SA Communist party – at one point, a secret member of its central committee. So yes, he was a Communist, although briefly and out of tactical considerations. But his cause, the fight against apartheid and racism more generally, has been transformed into a moral imperative of the highest order, justifying all means. In 2012, Britain abolished double jeopardy for the sake of racial justice (an act of parliament disposing with a legal protection that had existed since the 13th century or earlier) and who knows what other curtailments are in the pipeline.

    In contrast, Allende was not even a Communist, merely a left-wing Socialist leader of a leftist coalition. He was fairly elected president of a country with a pretty strong (for Latin America) record as a democracy and overthrown by a regime that used rape dogs on female prisoners. The lesson to the Belgians is straightforward: it’s wrong to remove elected leaders by brute force, no matter how bad their policies. It probably resonates in a country twice occupied in the 20th century. Plus, Catholics tend to revere martyrs more than winners.

  19. @Jeff Woods:
    “Somewhere here in Tuscany I have seen a Via Lenin as I drove past. I cannot recall where, but do remember it looked scruffy.

    On a happier note, I have seen a “Piazza X (Formerly Piazza Gramsci)”

    Not where I am: we were Fascisti and have the photos to prove it.”

    until WWII, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and Umbria were the most ardent supporters of Fascism and Mussolini. Many of the core members of Fascism hailed from these regions.
    After WWII, Togliatti (Italian Communist Party paramount chief and a primary collaborator of Stalin in Comintern) cut a deal with the defeated fascists,amnesty and no prosecution versus joining the party. The final result, besides name changes of squares and roads from fascist to communist lore names, was an almost uniform swing towards the left in these regions, and lots of headache for the party, because they took with them the fanaticism of their old beliefs.

  20. Alex,

    Thanks for the insightful comment, as always.

    As far as Belgium is concerned, I wouldn’t say it’s much to the left of the UK politically. For a good deal of the post-WWII period, it was actually slightly to the right of the UK – for one, it never nationalized its heavy industry. Its Labor/Socialist party always had to form a coalition whenever it finished first in the elections, typically with the Liberals or the Catholics. Belgium’s politics has always been based on compromise and coalition-building because of the multiparty system and the Flemish-Walloon tensions.

    Whereas I’ll confess I don’t know a whole lot about Belgian politics, somehow they ended up with a Salvador Allende Square, a tribute to the great man on the Brussels City website, and the Belgians refusing to sell us ammunition during a war which to all but the most anti-British twats was fully justified. My guess is the political atmosphere in Belgium is heavily influenced by the Walloons who will – as we’re now seeing – engage in characteristically Gallic stubbornness and intolerance – while the Flemish are forced to concede each time just so they can carry on running their part of the economy. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the Flemish who named that square.

    The EU’s deference to Belgium compared with the UK might have to do with Belgium’s status as a core, founding member of the union.

    I’ll accept that might be a minor factor, but mutual support among the Francophones is a far more likely explanation.

    I’m not convinced there are more free-traders among the Leavers than among the Remainers. … I suspect the most influential people in the pro-EU camp resemble the Wall Street bankers who supports Hillary Clinton for President.

    Indeed, and these people are anything but free trade, they’re corporatists forever currying favour from governments. I suspect the number of independent, small businesses in the UK – those who represent true free trade – backed Leave in much greater numbers than people think. The BBC has made plenty of effort to visit small business here and there in order to interview and owner saying “Woe is me!” now exporting to Europe will be harder, but nobody bothered interviewing the thousands of small-business owners who, over the past 10-15 years, have seen regulation after regulation from the EU pile up in their costs column forcing a good number of them out of business.

    They are the leaders of the highly evolved New Left, which dominates not by having the state run coal mines (that’s the stupid Old Left) but by imposing its social/racial justice agenda on the natives. That can explain the choice of Mandela over Allende.

    Indeed.

    I’m afraid that even in England proper, socioeconomic libertarians opposed to large-scale immigration are a small minority.

    Agreed.

    But his cause, the fight against apartheid and racism more generally, has been transformed into a moral imperative of the highest order, justifying all means.

    Indeed, it became the moral benchmark of the left.

    In 2012, Britain abolished double jeopardy for the sake of racial justice (an act of parliament disposing with a legal protection that had existed since the 13th century or earlier) and who knows what other curtailments are in the pipeline.

    With May in charge, I imagine there will be several.

    In contrast, Allende was not even a Communist, merely a left-wing Socialist leader of a leftist coalition. He was fairly elected president of a country with a pretty strong (for Latin America) record as a democracy and overthrown by a regime that used rape dogs on female prisoners.

    I’m not one of those guys who will defend Pinochet in any way, shape, or form. But it’s not a one or t’other situation: criticising both is possible. Allende was fairly elected, as were most socialists. The problem with the socialists and communists is not how they come to power, but the fact that they never leave once in office. Look at Chavez and his successor, for example. Had the coup not occurred – and I’m not using this to justify it, merely to correct the rosy view people have of Allende – it would have ended up another South American Communist basket-case like all the others: the constitution would have been “amended”, the state institutions purged, the economy run into the ground, and (probably) the place propped up by Soviet money. I get that what followed was awful, and as I said, I’ll not defend it or the coup. But why the constant praise of Allende?

  21. “…they have been quite content to see them imposed via the EU where socialism holds much more sway…”

    Ain’t that the truth.

    Acquaintances of mine, during the pre-referendum “debate” (read: furious emotional content-less argument) quite openly stated that they’d rather have the EU making the decisions for the UK because otherwise Westminster might do the wrong things. I paraphrase but only slightly. When challenged on whether this was a democratic stance, they responded with qualifications and hand-waving: “it depends what you mean by democracy” etc. What they meant by democracy, it soon became clear, was that only people who agreed with them ought to have any influence.

    The response of these people to the referendum result can be imagined. Actually you don’t have to imagine it – you can read it for yourself in the Guardian or hear/see it on the bbc any time you like.

  22. Tim,

    Lost you at this point:
    “Socialist Europeans know they cannot attain, or retain, power at the nation-state level (or make the books balance) and so are attempting to do so at the EU level: Britain leaving represents a setback to this goal. “

    Currently neither is true: Socialist (non-British) Europeans are very busily retaining power all over Europe and Britain leaving the EU ought to be fantastic for them as it gets us out of the way.

    Do you mean Socialist Britons? In which case this definitely makes sense.

    On a wider note, I can’t quite understand why the EU and – with some poor benighted exceptions – the remaining 27 should be in such a strop about us leaving. We have been nothing other than a royal pain in the arse holding the “project” back and I would have thought they would be delighted to get rid of us.

    It does put a kibbosh on the idea that the EU only ever expands and that it is not possible to leave or survive outside if you do, but otherwise it doesn’t make sense. We’ve never been enthusiastic EU members, so why are they so cross?

  23. Currently neither is true: Socialist (non-British) Europeans are very busily retaining power all over Europe and Britain leaving the EU ought to be fantastic for them as it gets us out of the way.

    I’ll answer this below.

    On a wider note, I can’t quite understand why the EU and – with some poor benighted exceptions – the remaining 27 should be in such a strop about us leaving.

    Because these socialists in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, etc. need the likes of Britain and Germany to pay the bills. It’s why I said:

    Socialist Europeans know they cannot attain, or retain, power at the nation-state level

    They can get into power but cannot afford their policies. The EU allows them to do so because the ones with functioning economies are picking up the bill, which is mainly Germany and Britain. With Britain leaving, that leaves basically Germany. And if the EU project fails who is going to pay the costs of their socialist idiocy? That’s why they’re getting so upset, Britain’s the equivalent of the East Berliners getting out before the wall went up.

  24. I’ve employed about a dozen Belgian working holidaymakers.

    Based on this most unscientific sample size, the Walloons are great people socially, but their work performance leaves a little to be desired, and they give notice, but only about 12 hours.

    Flemish are nice people, but more direct/blunt socially, their work performance is first class, their work ethic is very Japanese/German, and they give lots of notice (a fortnight or so).
    Cold bastards though.

    I won’t compare either of them to working holidaymakers from the UK, except tp say: My bar manager (Filipino) has a very firm, and most emphatic standing order for bar/restaurant staff; “No British”.

  25. My bar manager (Filipino) has a very firm, and most emphatic standing order for bar/restaurant staff; “No British”.

    Bwahahahaha!

  26. I must concede you were right from the start about the socialists, Tim. The guy personally blocking the deal is the Socialist PM of Wallonia, acting under pressure from PTB, the Marxist party to the left of the Socialists, according to Globe and Mail and Politico. The Canadian paper describes Wallonia as if it were the north of England: “an economically depressed rust-belt region.”

  27. Pingback: From riches to rust | The Dilettante's Winterings From riches to rust | At 55°45' N.L.

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