Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The end is nigh...for Belgium...maybe

There is some historic news coming out of Belgium right now; as of today Belgium has gone 150 days without a functioning government. If memory serves the last record for number of days without a Belgian government was 148 set back in 1988. Now, as then, linguistic and cultural differences between the 6 million Dutch-speaking folk in the Flanders region to the north and the 4.5 million French-speaking inhabitants in the Walloon Region to the south are the cause of this debacle.

With the seemingly impending splitting of the country into two independent nations, two questions come to mind. First, will poor old King Albert II's be able to take this or will his heart break like his country via an ironically poetic myocardial infarction? (Dude is old, I'm just sayin'). The second, and lets face it, much more important question, is what will become of Belgium's over 500 varieties of beer?

The rational side of me thinks that even if this break were actually to occur there would be very little change. Beer and chocolate make-up a large chunk of their economy and disrupting or interfering with their production would be tantamount to political suicide. For instance InBev, the largest beer company in the world, is located just a few kilometers to the east of Brussels. If some interim punk PM from the country of Flanders And Regional Territories (or whatever name they come up with, I just like that one because you can make a childish, yet hilarious, acronym out of it) tried to get in InBev's way, he would be crushed faster than a PBR can against a frat boys forehead. Realistically, the worst that would happen would be a slight shift in tariffs causing my Westvleteren 8 to be a few cents cheaper, but my N'ice Chouffe to be a few cents more.

The irrational side of put what I'm thinking into words would make it even more horrific. I'm already going to have a hard time getting any sleep tonight. Taking away Delirium Noël would be like taking away Christmas itself. Suffices to say, I'll be keeping an eye on this story.


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