Before you and my Italian readers throw their hands up in horror at the thought of another dictator taking power in Italy, I don’t mean another Mussolini, more of a Lee Kuan Yew. ‘A Lee Kuan who?’, you might be asking yourselves.
Lee Kuan Yew, for those who are unaware, is a former prime minister of Singapore. Someone who has been labelled as a benevolent dictator. Even Mussolini, who came to a sticky end at the hands of his own people, was, and still is by some, regarded as a dictator of the benevolent genre. Some historians would argue that Mussolini did do some good for Italy, as indeed did his German partner in crime, one Adolf Hitler. Power, alas, appears to have gone to the heads of both of these late leaders, and as a consequence they committed many regrettable actions which left their countries in more of a mess than before they started to throw their dictatorial weight around.
Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, on the other hand, appears to have managed to keep the temptations of total power at bay to the extent that he has relinquished power. Yew is a shrewd politician and an intellectual with an impressive academic record. Under his leadership, whether it is considered dictatorial or not, Singapore grew from being a backward, unstable former colonial outpost into a stable First World Asian Tiger, according to Wikipedia. In other words, Yew took a floundering, corrupt country with potential, and turned it around.
Perhaps the same could happen in Italy, there are, after all, parallels between the two countries.
Italy and Singapore Parallels
One could say that modern Italy is something of a floundering, corrupt country with potential too. It could be argued that an Italian equivalent of Yew could potentially do great things for Italy. Can you see any other parallels between Singapore and Italy?
How about the fact that Italy was for quite a time teetering on the edge of communism, and still today there are those who think communism may be a panacea for Italy’s many ills. Similarly, Singapore risked sinking into communist totalitarianism too. Yew though, cleverly steered Singapore away from this damaging path. Fascism does not appear to have played a strong part in Yew’s transformation of Singapore.
Mussolini’s rule is Missed
In Italy some still look back longingly to the days of Mussolini’s rule, and wonder whether a strong-arm approach may put an end to Italy’s ills. Those who favour communist rule in Italy probably believe the same. Indeed, at the end of the day, both Italy’s fascists and communists share one common aim: which is the taming the unruly aspects of this eternally sunny, but chaotic, Mediterranean peninsular.
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With its almost daily stories of mafia and corruption, one can understand why Italy has many proponents of both fascism and communism. However, as history has taught us, both of these ‘isms’ tend to generate more problems than they solve. This being the case, a form of strong leadership along the lines of that of Singapore’s wise Mr Yew might prove beneficial to Italy in the long term.
No Bullshit Approach Required
Italy needs a no bullshit approach to its problems, and could do with sharp toothed institutions run by people of integrity. Only a virtual dictator would have the guts to set up and support such mechanisms, but the results may well be worthwhile.
Yes, Italy could do with a benevolent dictator like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew to pull its slack socks up.
What Italy lacks though, is a Yew equivalent, even if there are one or two potential candidates, who have been mentioned on Blog from Italy before.
As I write this, a corruption scandal is continuing to shake a southern corner of Italy, and the reverberations of this scandal are reaching all the way to Italy’s capital, Rome. Yet another scandal is sure to follow.
What do you think? Would a form of benevolent dictator be good for Italy?
Wikipedia: Lee Kuan Yew
La Repubblica – in Italian – Corruption scandal: Bari, inchieste su appalti e finanziamenti “Tedesco ai vertici del sodalizio criminale” – Bari, inquest into tenders and financing – “Head of Health Service, Tedesco, at the One of the Leaders of a Band of Criminals.