Remember the days when we used to snigger at that irrelevant, uninspiring land which was somewhere near France? When The Sun used to laughingly challenge their readers to name famous Belgians and come to the conclusion that most only knew two, one of which was the fictional Poirot?**
How things change once a government hell bent on the destruction of everything British get their teeth into closing down every avenue of enjoyment for its citizens. The Guardian is now extolling the virtues of Brussels as a city with a thriving hospitality industry. It's never been so cool.
Untouched by the EU anti-smoking directive, Brussels' cafe culture is buzzing. Here are some great local spots to grab a coffee, or something stronger
As one commenter to the Guardian's piece put it, "Still don't understand why in Brussels there's no smoking ban though...maybe they're too clever or civilized?"
It's a global recession, says Labour. And the smoking ban is universally popular. Considering the vibrancy of Brussels nightlife, one must come to the logical conclusion that both of these statements cannot simultaneously be true. In short, Labour are lying (yes, I know it's an obvious one, but there is a chance that a hermit crofter in the Outer Hebrides may not have noticed it yet).
If even the Guardian are talking up the benefits of not enduring an over-arching smoking ban as a partial reason for a burdgeoning interest in Belgian bars, when pubs in Britain are currently being read the last rites, Labour are in serious danger of having their life support system switched off themselves.
The only beef left-leaning Grauniad readers can find with the story is that the EU might be looked on as authoritarian by the implication that smoking bans are directly attributable to the unelected commissioners (hence the article headline being changed to correct the misconception at 4:47pm today) instead of being laid directly at the door of our weak and illiberal government.
Patronising goons like Patricia Hewitt and fatty Liam Donaldson can bang on about health costs as much as they like, but as this article shows, there is a reciprocal degradation in social welfare which is entirely ignored.
The unelected EU commissioners may well not have passed the legislation which is destroying the social fabric of British pubs, but why the need when we have a lardy unelected cock of our own to do it for them? Liam Donaldson hasn't gained a single vote from any of Britain's 44 million electorate, yet has pushed through the UK smoking ban and is now after your beer whilst his minions are going for your chocolate.
Belgium are too clever for such nonsense. Their objection to silly rules has resulted in a benefit to their country in city travel, at least, and a more relaxed and happy life for all of their population, not just some.
So the answer to the Sun question of naming famous Belgians can now be answered with "all 10 million of them".
** The other was Jean-Claude van Damme, if you were interested.