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Bugging Umberto Bossi

Umberto Bossi

Umberto Bossi is the leader of Italy’s Lega Nord – Northern League political party and a key coalition ally of Italy’s current premier Silvio Berlusconi. Unless you have just returned from a stay on an isolated desert island you will know that Silvio Berlusconi is in a spot of bother at the moment in that his government now has an uncertain majority.

This unstable majority is bugging Umberto Bossi, who, in turn, was himself being bugged according to recent reports in Italy’s press.

Bossi does not think the bugging of the electronic variety is any big deal and does not want any messy (and potentially embarrassing?) investigations instigated.

Umberto Bossi
Northern League Leader - Umberto Bossi

Bossi is personally bugged, and maybe under some pressure, by something called ‘fiscal federalism‘ which he desperately wants pushed though so his chunks of northern Italy can manage their own finances but Bossi knows full well that without a sound majority there is no way in the world fiscal federalism will become reality.  The current Berlusconi government may ne able to push through Bossi’s golden legislation, but then again, it may not. Even Bossi does not really know how strong or not the Berlusconi government majority is. Hence Bossi’s indecision: one day he shouts, ‘election time’, the next, he yells,’no elections’. And so it goes on.

Bossi’s opponents and coalition partners would dearly love to know just which way the constantly wavering Bossi is going to lean before he goes and does so.  This could be one reason why little listening devices were found in Bossi’s offices and home in Rome a couple of months ago.

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The question is of course, who was (is?) bugging Bossi? Was it Berlusconi? Or could it have been Italy’s disorganised opposition? The former probably – Berlusconi controls Italy’s secret services or ‘007s’ as they like to call them here – so he has the means. Bugging other politicians sounds above and beyond the capabilities of Italy’s left – but you never know.

And the next question must be: Why doesn’t Bossi want the matter investigated? Perhaps Bossi knows just who set up the bugs was and is holding back this information for some opportune moment.

Reports today suggest that Bossi and another Berlusconi ally are pressurizing Berlusconi into calling an election despite Berlusconi’s almost constant claims that he’s managed to rebuild his majority.  Perhaps a dinner this evening maybe that opportune moment? We’ll see.

On the bugging front, although Bossi’s Rome bases were bugged, no bugs were found in his home up in Varese in north Italy which the pugnacious Bossi claims he guards with rifle and revolver. Perhaps Bossi should be on the look out for mysterious maintenance vans parked up across the street from his place in Varese – the 007s do not need to enter your home to listen to you Mr Bossi.

Watergate? Pah! That was mere child’s play compared to what goes on in Italy with its bugs, dossiers and tactical mud slinging.

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