Normally Belgian local government elections aren't the subject of much interest to anyone really, least of all the Belgians. But Bart De Wever's victory this weekend in Antwerp, Belgium's second city, will have the benefit of causing Herr Von Rumpy a few sleepless nights; the Flemish separatist mayor is set to spearhead a campaign culminating in Belgium's 2014 elections intent on stopping wealth transfers from Flemish areas to French-speaking Wallonia. Just as soon as the colleagues have countered one threat, it seems, another appears.
De Wever's N-VA, a conservative and liberal party strongly supportive of civic nationalism and influenced by both Burke and Theodore Dalrymple, has stolen votes from the right wing Vlaams Belang. As the respectable face of Flemish nationalism he resists attempts to pin far right associations on him, and indeed promotes a curious blend of Flemish nationalism and support for a united Europe.
Still, my enemy's enemy and all that. He's whupped the socialists who have held Antwerp since the war, and if his party gains in 2014 could well succeed Di Rupo as Prime Minister - and split the Belgian state at a critical stage in the making of a new Eurozone treaty.