If general elections were held today, who would Italians choose to run their troubled nation? Silvio Berlusconi, Matteo Renzi, Beppe Grillo, or maybe even a descendant of Benito Mussolini?
An increasing number of Italians no longer think voting serves any useful purpose. They are right – they have reached this conclusion several decades too late, in this Italy watcher’s opinion, but at least they have finally worked out that democracy is dead in Italy. In fact, it died a long, long time ago, if indeed, democracy ever existed in Italy in the first place.
The term “Italian democracy” is something of an oxymoron as Italy simply is not democratic. Then there’s the fact that Italians really don’t want the type of democracy others might consider democratic anyway. Indeed, the Italian concept of democracy in cronyism-riddled corrupt Italy bears little relation to anything remotely democratic. Nonetheless, Italians seem happy to allow their leaders continue to concoct electoral systems which keep true democracy well and truly at bay. Let’s face it, a political system which allows someone as dangerous as Silvio Berlusconi to rise to power is fundamentally flawed – there is no other way of looking at it. Well, Italy is comatose, so what can one expect?
Silvio Berlusconi was an accident waiting to happen – the whole world could see that. It was only Italy that couldn’t. And look what happened?
Predictably that old devil Berlusconi took Italy within a knife’s edge of utter and total disaster and left the Boot in a much bigger mess than it was in when he started – though his riches are still very much intact. Eventually, someone saw sense one fine morning and took steps to kick him out before it was too late. Really, it was far too late anyway as the economic state of Italy today clearly demonstrates.
Even though he just about crippled the nation he says loves, he’s still around today! He is even lending a hand in Italy’s supposed reform process. No, I am not joking, that’s how crazy Italy has become. Berlusconi is assisting in the creation of yet another electoral system designed to distort democracy. Italy’s current, half-defunct, electoral system even allowed Berlusconi to ensure his defense lawyers ended up with seats in Italy’s parliament – yet nobody said or did a thing. That’s how laughable democracy is in Italy.
But old Silvio, still legally entangled and with a conviction under his belt, is still there and unbelievably some Italians happily continue to vote for him. Are they insane? Probably not, as they know he can help them work Italy’s deformed system to their advantage. Still, the vast majority of Italians do seem to have just about understood that Silvio Berlusconi is a liability.
That rules Berlusconi out of the running if general elections were to be held tomorrow in Italy. The ‘alternative‘ is Italy’s pseudo-left which contains chunks of Italy’s deformed right – as indeed does Berlusconi’s fast fading reborn Forza Italia party.
Italy’s Fake Left
Up until recently, left-leaning socially aware Italians would happily vote for what they thought was a left leaning party. What total bananas! These blinkered albeit well-meaning Italians believed that the purportedly union friendly Democratic Party leaned to the political left, only it does not, never has and never will, not at a national level, anyway.
The very same left-leaning Italians also knew full well that Italy’s left was just about as corrupt as Italy’s right, but since there was no alternative, they dutifully placed crosses on voting slips. The newly elected politicians laughed all the way to their offshore banks and are still laughing today.
In Italy, punishments for the corrupt involve slaps on the wrist and invitations to make tea for the elderly. If the corrupt admit the error of their ways, all they’ll get is slaps on the wrist after which they can expect appointments to ‘independent’ authorities such as Italy’s CONSOB markets watchdog. No, I am not joking.
Some Italians more or less spotted the pseudo-left’s con trick at the start of the millennium but in their total and utter desperation for change, they decided to vote for mafia-linked, legally entangled, fast talking Silvio Berlusconi. That did not get Italy very far at all, but Italy’s voters were, and as they always have been, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Seeing as Italians have allowed this situation to continue for so long, once might draw the not unreasonable conclusion that Italians don’t really want true democracy anyway. There is that old saying that nations end up with the governments they deserve.
The Rise of the Comic
In the midst of all the mess, another comedian – though this time a real one – rabid establishment-hating blogging comic Beppe Grillo decided enough was enough and decided to create an alternative to Italy’s completely useless and largely corrupt political classes. Initially, Beppe Grillo spooked Italy’s entrenched political classes mightily. Once they understood that Grillo’s approach was a turn-off for many Italians, the mainstream politicos realized they stood a good chance of staying where they were. And they still are, possibly because of Mr Grillo’s ranting and raving.
There a rumor, probably akin to the black helicopters conspiracy, that Beppe Grillo himself is the product of Italy’s establishment and that he’s being used to ring fence all those who might want something as dangerous as real democracy in Italy. It is, as I wrote, nothing more than a rumor…but Italy can be rather Machiavellian.
Whether genuine or not, Italians have not taken at all kindly to the fiery Mr Grillo whose political ideology completely and utterly confuses them – the vast majority of whom were pretty bamboozled before anyway. For some Grillo’s a fascist, for others he’s a communist, or merely a budding dictator.
Whatever he is, Grillo and his people are just not convincing enough to be given a shot at running Italy – perhaps that was the intention of those who supposedly engaged Grillo’s services. No, perish such a Machiavellian thought.
There’s the risk in this Italy watcher’s opinion that if the 5 Star Movement ever were to gain power, bombings and mafia sponsored acts of terrorism would rip Italy apart – those that hold power in Italy simply would not let Grillo demolish their comfortably corrupt system without a fight. The symbiotic relationship which exists between Italy’s politicians, friendly businessmen, and organized crime is just too profitable for it to be ruined by those seeking true democracy. What to do? Call in the boy wonder!
Boy Wonder Renzi!
Along comes I’m going to turn Italy around in 100 days and cut all the rot out of the system Mr Matteo Renzi. That 1oo days soon gained another zero to reach 1000 days; the rot is still as rotten as ever. And Mr Renzi is involving convict Berlusconi in Italy’s pseudo-reform process. But gullible Italians fell for fast-talking hard-promising Mr Renzi hook, line and sinker. Quite a number of them, though not the 40% Mr Renzi claims, even voted for his party at the European elections – persuaded, no doubt by a nice little €80 a month bribe. Italy’s economy, meanwhile, has continued to slide further downhill. The nation’s debt is continuing to pile up and without the generous bond buying bailout assistance of the Italian running the European Central Bank, Italy would have become another Argentina by now.
Now, though, Italians are beginning to understand that maybe, just maybe, Mr Renzi is not up to much, and nor are his proposed reforms which Italy has yet to see anyway. Would Italians vote for Mr Renzi if elections were held tomorrow? Those who still bother to vote might well do and he’d probably win too even if voter turnout in the event of elections is unlikely to be high.
As ever, Italians, partly owing to their comatose nature, would end up with a leader created by ‘Italian democracy’ which is about as democratic as a dictatorship.
Is there much, if any hope for Italy? No, not really. Italians are simply not ready for true democracy and probably couldn’t handle it even if were to ever occur. It’s just as well elections won’t be held in Italy tomorrow.