Might this be a bit too much government?

including Belgium’s six parliaments

20 thoughts on “Might this be a bit too much government?”

  1. Well not in the bureaucratic theme park that is Belgium.

    And the EU is not particularly averse to a proliferation of functionaries, secretariats and cabinets with their attendant support services of translators, interpreters, cooks and chauffeurs.

  2. Er, isn’t localism libertarian? Ideally every man should be his own parliament kind of thing?

  3. There would be seven Parliaments in Belgium, if the Flems hadn’t been sensible and combined their geographic and linguistic ones. The French keep theirs separate.

  4. Presumably having six governments is how Belgium has managed not to succumb to internal conflict. In any other part of the world, the Flemish and the Walloons would be tearing chunks out of each other; while the German-speakers would have established a breakaway republic in the east.

  5. By the same counting measure, we’ve got five – Westminster, Scottish Parliament, Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies and the GLA. Admittedly we have more than six times the population of Belgium.

  6. Australia has six state, two territory and a federal parliament. All with an army of ministers sucking on the taxpayer teat while running one of the nannyiest and most dysfunctional states on the planet.

  7. DocBud,
    Canada also has a lot of governments. But as with Australia, that’s understandable given the size of the country. Belgium has no such excuse.

  8. I disagree, Andrew M.

    Australia is large by total land area, but small in terms of population and areas where people actually live. The NT has about 200k people, ACT about 350k and the mooching state, Tasmania, about 500k. Why do any of these need a parliament and local government? One local government area in the NT has under 200 people.

  9. @ DocBud
    I presume that Tasmania did a deal with the Federal government when it joined Australia (politically not physically) so it has a right to a degree of self-government. However I should agree with you that a local government area with less than 200 people is impracticable – there aren’t enough adults to fill all the required roles in the bureaucracy.

  10. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I was talking to an Aussie bloke the other day who informed me that Tasmanians are known as Double Headers on account of how inbred they are. Just thought I’d drop that in.

  11. Well, the USA has a federal government plus 50 state governments, including tiny Rhode Island (area) and tiny Arizona (population).

  12. I could understand three: one for the Flemish area, one for the French area and another perhaps for the small German bit. Why six?

  13. “Australia has six state, two territory and a federal parliament. All with an army of ministers sucking on the taxpayer teat while running one of the nannyiest and most dysfunctional states on the planet.”

    The decline of Australia from a land of rugged frontiersmen and tough as nails cricketers to a dystopia of whinging bearded useless wankers with double barrelled names in just a generation is a chilling reminder of the virulent power of Progressive politics.

  14. But now Australia has multiculturism, diversity and all the other benefits of western progress.

  15. Having done a bit of business in Australia, lovely place that has some really innovative stuff, but the politics are horrendous.

    It’s not just the state and federal parliaments, also the councils. Equivalent of parish councils but with real power. Planning for land is zoned – want to change that and you need two or three layers of politicians to approve.

    If you think labour in the UK is becoming expensive I give you the “award”. Every state has a different minimum wage for different trades. Plus the state parliaments also set the rates of evening/overtime/weekend and bank holiday pay

    On the flip side, aussie business people when you get them right rival Israelis for full on no bullshit commitment

  16. Rob said:
    “I could understand three: one for the Flemish area, one for the French area and another perhaps for the small German bit. Why six?”

    Rob, there’s also one for Brussels, which is supposedly neither Flemish nor Walloon, plus they’re counting the national parliament. That gets you five.

    But it isn’t just “one for the Flemish area, one for the French area”; it’s one for the French area (Wallonia) and a separate one for the French speakers, even though they mostly overlap.

    Different competencies; the French speakers’ parliament covers education and cultural stuff, while the geographic one is more a standard regional government.

    As I said above, theoretically there should be a 7th, for Flemish speakers, but they merged their linguistic and geographic parliaments into a single Flanders one.

    Merging would be more difficult for the French, because the German speaking part is geographically within Wallonia, so they’re with the French for the geographic parliament but need to be excluded from the linguistic one. Plus there are a lot more French speakers in Brussels than Flemish, who aren’t under the Wallonian geographic parliament but they want them in the French linguistic one. So the Wallonian geographic and French linguistic boundaries aren’t as similar as the Flemish ones are.

  17. Or, in short, the more you understand the Belgians, the more you understand how the EU ended up as it did.

  18. @H,

    If you’re still reading I’d appreciate some tips on getting full-on no bullshit commitments out of Israeli customers. I have a pitch next week…

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