Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

CD&V - not getting my vote

We got a bulletin from CD&V, the prime minister's political party, through the door yesterday. This was supposedly targeted at the needs of our small village (where the party's national chairman happens to be a resident). Now, I am rather charmed by the current PM, but his predecessor, who was from the same party, struck me as a total disaster (and now, God help us, he is our foreign minister; maybe he will be more mellow when not dealing with his fellow Belgians). On the other hand again, I have met several other CD&V ex-prime ministers (Dehaene, Tindemans, Eyskens) and been impressed by them (though all three predate the party's most recent name change). So I was prepared to be open-minded about the CD&V.

Not any more, I'm afraid. The second page of the leaflet boldly proclaims their new legislative initiatives - not as part of the government, but as proposals from individual CD&V senators. The first of these was to make it compulsory for cyclists to wear fluorescent clothes. Not a word about punishing bad driving more severely, or even doing something positive to increase road safety like build more bike lanes; no, legislate against the victims, that is the CD&V answer.

But the offensiveness of that proposal is far exceeded by the other one that caught my eye, to make it illegal for women to wear face-covering clothes in public, one reason given being that it makes "many people" (ie CD&V voters) feel insecure. It's difficult to know where to start; I am aware that this is a deeply contentious issue, but as far as I am concerned, if it was wrong for Ireland's English rulers to ban the wearing of Irish traditional clothing in 1367, it is wrong for the Belgian state to oppress its own citizens (and residents) in that way in the 21st century. Perhaps the CD&V will equalise their proposal by also banning the wearing of face-covering masks at Carnival time, but I am not holding my breath.

With any luck the other parties in the senate will kill these proposals off before they even get near the lower house.
Tags: burka ban, world: belgium
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