It’s Local Election day in Belgium on Sunday and, in my part of the world, there’s a new kid on the block. One of the parties standing is determinedly local and claiming to eschew ideology in favour of pragmatic solutions to local issues.
They are not unique and I have subsequently become aware of several other parties standing in a single community. Obviously, I know little to nothing of other campaigns but here the new kids look quite appealing. The party is made up up a mix of business owners, liberals and others and their program does promise to be as pragmatic as they suggest.
The only things that put me off a bit is their newness and the fact that, as far as I can tell, only two people on the list have any actual experience of local government.
That and The League of Gentlemen.
On a related note, local elections in Belgium are well worth taking seriously because (compared to the UK), local councils have a remarkable amount of power. The country as a whole is very decentralised and when you look at the number of things for which the town council has direct responsibility, it becomes clear just this decentralisation has gone.