Politiek

Belgian government leading the way

... for once.

And taking a stand against Redmond!

Belgium adopts open office doc format

I haven't had any info on this one through my many governement contacts ... guys!
I'll follow up when I find out more.

Source: Thanks Skip,
The Register

CD&V & NVA show their true color ...

and it’s grey for bland and ... what’s the colour for STUPID?

Today our proud Flemish government has made a new agreement proposal for our national TV/media company, VRT.

(ed.: Apparently this rant warranted a re-write ... sorry Paul)

So just some background to start with ...
As most of you know Belgium is a bit of a complex country in which several cultures, with different languages are trying to live together. And while some of us think we should try to do this in Harmony, others just want to split the country up. I have a fundamental dislike of nationalism, as I think it's usually based on wrong motivations, fear, ignorance, ... But I have no problem with some national pride, I'm Belgian, I'm proud of Jacques Brel, I'm Flemish, which makes me proud of Hugo Claus or other cultural icons. So when the Flemish nationalists, who share the power in Flanders with the Christian Democrats, take measures against our local national media company, it annoys me, I'd even say it pisses me of and leads to rants ...

So what are they doing wrong?
Well, we have a small market for localised content, good programs have a maximum potential audience of 20 million Dutch speakers in Belgium and Holland. Since the media market was opened in the late 80's the national broadcaster has been in competition with commercial stations. This has caused some changes, advertising was introduced, ...

So for a while the commercial stations were leading the way even though they mainly buy shows from the US or concepts that they localise. Very few good local content was produced.

The current administrator of the VRT changed that and since 2002 (nl) the public broadcaster has taken the lead again. How did he do that? By making good TV! And by using their funds to build a cluster of small, creative production, effects, program companies. Some of these have grown to international fame. They exist because the initial boost they got from the national TV.

I like this approach, motivate companies to make good product which put's them on the map, locally but, through awards and international sales, also globally! A whole industry exists in Belgium thanks to this outsourcing policy.

So now they want to go Digital, start 8 channels, basically following the BBC model. (The discussion on the need for 8 channels is for an other post) And if they take the same approach of outsourcing this might give another boost to a whole range of young technology companies .

So what so our proud nationalist politicians do ... they cut the administrators wings, one digital channel only, one fifth of the budget for the next five years, ... Basically they put their trust in the commercial guys to create content and progress and want the national public broadcaster not to be to ... ambitious for lack of a better word. 

So, this is where this stream of conscience burst bellow came from.


----------------------------INITIAL MESSAGE----------------------------------------

Today our proud Flemish government has made a new agreement proposal for our national TV/media company, VRT.
The manager wants to launch 8 digital channels over the next 5 years and asks for 500 mill €
The politicians propose 1 (ONE) digital channel and 91 mill € for the next 5 years.

These guys have partnered with a nationalist party, actually their guy (my absolute least favourite Belgian politician) is responsible for media ...
And where do they get their inspiration ...
The management form the VRT form the BBC
The Flemish nationalist, christian politicians ... from F’N berlusconi (note the lack of capital!)
Who would you prefer for inspiration?

And they kill the national broadcast company, the primary distribution channel for Flemish culture (way to go for favour nationalists!) in favour of the commercial channels who manage to make dreadful soaps and run American series and B movies. The commercial channels have not been able to compete while the national broadcaster which has been selling several programs and concepts internationally, as they are so innovative and creative and has been winning awards all over the place.

On top of that the approach of the VRT has proven to be a driver for our economy, launching several production and special effects companies that are now players in the world market, as has been proven the last 10 years,

I’m so pissed of, I COULD SCREAM. These guys are bound to win in the next election, the people get the government they deserve, what the hell have we done wrong to deserve these idiots.

Peace Out, America, I’m coming back. (Can you imagine, I’d rather live trough an other couple of years under an idiot as Bush as these hypocrites and idiots.r wants to launch 8 digital channels over the next 5 years and asks for 500 mill €
The politicians propose 1 (ONE) digital channel and 91 mill € for the next 5 years.

These guys have partnered with a nationalist party, actually their guy (my absolute least favourite Belgian politician) is responsible for media ...
And where do they get their inspiration ...
The management form the VRT form the BBC
The Flemish nationalist, christian politicians ... from F’N berlusconi (note the lack of capital!)
Who would you prefer for inspiration?

And they kill the national broadcast company, the primary distribution channel for Flemish culture (way to go for favour nationalists!) in favour of the commercial channels who manage to make dreadful soaps and run American series and B movies. The commercial channels have not been able to compete while the national broadcaster which has been selling several programs and concepts internationally, as they are so innovative and creative and has been winning awards all over the place.

On top of that the approach of the VRT has proven to be a driver for our economy, launching several production and special effects companies that are now players in the world market, as has been proven the last 10 years,

I’m so pissed of, I COULD SCREAM. These guys are bound to win in the next election, the people get the government they deserve, what the hell have we done wrong to deserve these idiots.

Peace Out, America, I’m coming back. (Can you imagine, I’d rather live trough an other couple of years under an idiot as Bush as these hypocrites and idiots.

Society moving to the (extreme) right

The belgian children’s parliament prime-minister, Tom De Slagmeulder, sympathizes with the extreme right party Vlaams Belang and says it’s a good idea to send foreigners back to their country. I guess he wasn’t vetted before they put him in front of the cameras or doesn’t have a spin doctor yet ...

It’s outrageous! Imagine how a 12 year old kid get’s those ideas in his head!

I never posted this before, but I guess it could be the start of the first post of the new year ...

If there is one commitment I made to myself is to do something political, something to stop the move to the right in our society.

I’ll post some ideas soon ...

All the best for the new year, let’s make it a great year.

FEEDBACK from Paul: On the left-right thing he points out it’s more of a up-down thing ... as the simplification of society and politics takes root. Or maybe 12 corespondes to the average mental age of the ... ;-) Thanks Paul!@

Belgian Politics, long live the Prince

And now a Belgo Belgian moment ... our crown prince has voiced an opinion and the politicians are outraged!

I think it’s hilarious, I am wondering what shocked them most, someone who actually dares to take a pro Belgian stance, against the ridiculous federalization or the fact that he directly attacked a political party, the extreme right Vlaams Belang.

So the reactions are divided in several camps, the republicans (mostly right wing, conservative Flemish nationalists) say he should keep quiet and do his 100% ceremonial job. The extreme right Vlaams Belang gets to play the victim again, how long are people going to buy this! The French speaking (walloon) politicians are applauding him for speaking out against the extreme right and Flemish separatism. The prime minister gave a statement for the government slapping him on the fingers like a bad little boy.

All the papers are following this line, only one pointed out that someone has do put the issues front and center and instead of telling off the prince they should be dealing with the real issue, the crappy federalization, and the rise of the extreme right. Belgium currently has 54 ministers divided over 6 governments and this for a country with less then 12 million people. Any decision requires an intergovernmental workgroup. But since the last election we have asymmetric governments, different coalitions in the different governments, so people come to these workgroups with different agenda’s resulting in inertia and chaos. I am not against federalization, but we have to define what responsibilities are at what level. Currently this is very ambiguous to say the least.

And then there is Europe

With all eyes on what is happening in the US, I haven’t been writing anything about what is happening here in Europe. And then I read this.

So here we are in an era of mistrust and the new president of the EU commision starts a powerplay with the Parliament. And now there is chaos as Baroso is forced to back down. Really, is this how they are going to restore the publics trust in politics and particularly EU issues. How can this man be our leader if he does not only want to have rightwing extremists in his team but he does not listen to the parliament and as such does not respect democracy. Even if he could have won the vote it would have send a horrible signal to everyone in Europe.

Source: The Guardian
BBC News

Scary scarfs

Ah the scarfs ...

I'm still trying to trace a great quote, I think it is from Marc Reynebeau, a Belgian journalist and media figure who points out that the reason politicians are so keen to ban headscarfs is that they must have some trauma's from being raised by women wearing headscarfs ... nuns ;-)

Source: BBC News