The Village of Asterix

It is rumoured that the next comic of Asterix will be set in Belgium. An Asterix statue will be unveiled next Saturday in Brussels. This prompted Claude Demelenne, the editor of the Brussels left-wing weekly Le Journal de Mardi, to compare Elio Di Rupo, the homosexual leader of the Belgian Parti Socialiste, with the brave Gallic warrior. Last week Demelenne wrote in the French newspaper Le Monde (15 September) that “the Belgian Francophone PS resembles the village of Asterix, holding out, almost on its own, against all temptations to liberalisation.” Demelenne points out that Belgium’s French-speaking Socialists initiated the resistance against the Bolkestein directive and adds: “The Belgian Francophone Socialists incarnate the winning Left, which reassures the people and seduces both the bobos and the trade-unionists.”

The PS is the biggest party of Wallonia, the French-speaking south of Belgium. It is not difficult for a party like the PS to “seduce” people because it can promise them welfare benefits which another country, namely Flanders, the Dutch-speaking north of Belgium, has to pay. The Germans now have their own PS, the Left Party, but, unlike in Belgium, they are not in government.