Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Are these people real?

Kris Peeters is the Flemish Prime Minister. I don't really know, maybe there is also a Walloonie Prime Minister, and possibly even a German one as there is apparently a German speaking part of Belgium somewhere.  Yves Leterme is the national Prime Minister, although there isn't really a functioning government in Belgium, and decisions of import are currently being made by the King, Albert, which is a bit scary if you know what I mean. Incidentally, Leterme was appointed by the King. Is there any other European Nation where the monarch still actually appoints the head of the government?

Meneer Peters just tried to climb up Mt Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Andes. He has failed, suffering from altitude sickness.

I promise you - I am not making this next bit up.....

Peters had tried to climb the highest mountain in the Andes - with 18 asthma patients.

It gets better.... while the PM is recovering, the asthma patients are still trying at this time to reach the summit. I wish them well!

The PM has attracted some criticism at home for this stunt, as he was supposed to attend a crucial budgetary debate in one of Belgium's numerous parliaments. One would ordinarily assume that a Prime Minister would turn up for such an event, but as I have noted before, this is no ordinary capital city!


  1. You ask the question; Is there any other European nation where the Monarch still actually appoints the head of government?

    Yes there is, in a manner of speaking ... The UK!!

    After a politcal election in the UK, in order for the head of a political party that has won the election to become Prime Minister, he/she must go to the Queen and ask her if he may form a government.

    One may just see this as protocol and therefore it has no relevence,but this is not true. The Queen has the power to not to allow a winning leader of a political party in the UK to form a government if she so chooses.

    This was demonstrated in the film 'The Queen'.

    There, Tony Blair goes to see the Queen after winning the 1997 election, and proceeds to tell her that he will be forming a government.

    The Queen responds by reminding him that she is the Queen, that it is not his place to tell her the Queen that he is forming a government. Rather, that he should be asking her if he may form a government.

    A deeply uncomfortable and embarressing moment for Tony Blair.

    The difference is immense and the repurcussions profound, especially if the Queen decides she does not want a particular political leader to form a British government.

    Without the consent of the Queen no leader of a political party in the UK who has won a political election can form a government.

    There are obviously reasons for this.

    One is, that it is a safeguard against the electorate being swayed 'in a moment of madness' say, to vote for a political party that be severely damaging to the UK or a threat to the Monarchy.

    For instance, if a political party won a UK election on the premise that they would support the ablolishment of the Monarchy, do you really think the Queen would agree to the party leader forming a government? I think not.

    Often here in the UK when the BNP does well in a local election there are fears that their membership might grow and that there might in the future be a BNP Prime Minister!

    I think not!

    However, the Monarchy's perogative to be able to decline the winning political leader of a UK political party of the power to form a government is quite something and demonstrates how much power the Monarchy still has.

    Yes, we have elections, and yes, the people decide. But at the end of the day, it is the British Monarch who has the final say whether the demoncractically elected head of a political party may form a government.

    Without a government, a political leader cannot be Prime Minister. It's as simple as that!

  2. There is a German speaking population in an area known as the 'East Cantons' in Belgium situated on the borders of Netherlands, Germany and Luxemburg. It has a population of over 73,000 and has its own Parliament and Government!

    After the end of the First World War in the 'Treaty of Versailles', Eupen and the neighbouring municipality of Mamedy was transferred from Germany to Belgium.

    Eupen is the capital of the Province of Liege, which is the region of Wallonia. Eupen is the seat of the Council. The official language is German.

    The day of the German speaking people of the 'East Cantons' in Belgium is November 15th.

  3. Apparently, this group of asthma patients are being used as 'guinea pigs' for reaearch into the effects of high altitude on asthma suffers.

    I wouldn't take my guinea pig up a mountain. Knowing my little piggy, he would probably leave a trail of you know whats behind him ..... at least it would be a trail for everyone to follow on the way up and the way down! You couldn't get lost!