Friday, May 23, 2014

Europe’s new poster children

Quirky Belgium

The Travelled Monkey - Europe's new poster children

Woman carrying a child past a wall designated for campaign posters. Belgians go to the polls this Sunday to vote in federal and European elections, in which anti-immigrant and anti-European Union far-right parties are expected to make gains. Photos by John Weaver

“Uw stok achter de deur,” or “Your stick behind the door,” goes the campaign slogan of the Flemish far-right party Vlaams Belang. Replace the word “stick” with “baseball bat” and you have a pretty good idea of what the party stands for – protecting their property (read: Flanders) from intruders (read: foreigners) using the blunt instrument of populist rhetoric.

And blunt it is. Not only in Belgium, but far-right parties across Europe have been stumping hard on anti-immigrant and anti-Europe platforms, hoping to capitalize on record low levels of faith in the European Union and a record low voter turnout, which is expected to drop below the already low 43% that voted in the last European election in 2009. You can read more about the lack of love the EU is feeling in my post from February, I HEART Brussels.

The impact that the far-right movement will have is still to be seen. Far-right parties have traditionally not been very good at cooperating together to achieve a common goal, concentrating instead on battles within their national borders. But if the polls are correct and more than 1 in 4 European Parliament seats go to a far-right or fringe party, then it’s only a matter of time before these political cavemen become the new homo electus and start making the rules.

Here are some more pics of political posters from Belgium, with a special focus from the fringe.

The Travelled Monkey - Europe's new poster children
Rossem, a Belgian libertarian party

The Travelled Monkey - Europe's new poster children
Islam, a political party which advocates for the rights of Belgium's Muslim population

The Travelled Monkey - Europe's new poster children
The Pirate Party, who's slogan is "A fresh wind in the sails," seeks to loosen the grip of the federal government and the free market from individual's lives

The Travelled Monkey - Europe's new poster children
Ecolo, supporting environmental causes

The Travelled Monkey - Europe's new poster children
People's Party, a center-right party in the French-speaking region

And then there’s this guy, an N-VA super-supporter

The Travelled Monkey - Europe's new poster children
N-VA, or New Flemish Alliance, is a Flemish nationalist party that would like to see Flanders split from Belgium

Life of Bryan

Speaking of evolution, this is from the New York Times:

Since Bryan College’s founding in 1930, its statement of belief, which professors have to sign as part of their employment contracts, included a 41-word section summing up the institution’s conservative views on creation and evolution, including the statement: “The origin of man was by fiat of God.” But in February, college officials decided that professors had to agree to an additional clarification declaring that Adam and Eve “are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life-forms.”

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