Postcard from... Brussels
The crowds packed the Grand Place in Brussels until the early hours of Saturday morning, cheering on their “Red Devils” who had beaten Croatia 2-1 to secure Belgium’s place in next summer’s World Cup. Many beaming faces were painted black, yellow and red, the colours of the Belgian flag, which supporters waved euphorically.
But one person who might not have found his mood lifted was Jan Peumans, president of the regional parliament in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking north of Belgium where a significant number of its 6.5 million residents support a split with southern French-speaking Wallonia.
As Red Devil fever gripped the country and chatter began last month of a new national unity dubbed “Belgitude”, Mr Peumans sniffily told the weekly P-Magazine that you would not see him draping himself in a Belgian flag or donning a tricolour wig.
“I do not care for the Belgian flag, it does not matter to me,” he said, adding for good measure that “this ‘Belgitude’ is outright laughable”.
An upsurge in nationalistic sentiment is not exactly what his party, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), needs ahead of May elections. A poll in spring predicted that the separatist outfit could get a record 32.1 per cent of the vote, making it the biggest party in Belgium and possibly putting it in a position to start the process of slow devolution which it advocates.
A new poll at the weekend, however, showed its support had slipped to 27.9 per cent. The pollsters did not attribute that fall specifically to the rise of the Red Devils, but many Flemish nationalists are tiptoeing around the subject.
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world
£80 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Due to an increase in dema...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...
£7 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are a large and successful recrui...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...