I think I have finally worked out the method used by Italy’s political parties to choose government ministers. It is not exactly a scientific system, but it appears to have been widely employed, by both Italy’s left and right, until Monti was brought in.
Monti’s selection method was a more down to earth system based on little things like skill, competence, knowledge and experience. Prior to Mario Monti, having a loud mouth, good connections and a pretty face was more or less all that really counted.
The worrying thing is that the system I am about to outline may well be resorted to once more when Monti exits stage right.
He we go:
How Italian Ministers Were Selected Before Monti
- Italy’s Finance Minister – appointed because he once had a bank account.
- Italy’s Interior Minister – nominated because he’d never been abroad.
- Italy’s Minister for Foreign Affairs – selected because he went on vacation to France in 1996.
- Italy’s Education Minister – selected because she’d been to school.
- Italy’s Transport Minister – chosen because he once took a bus.
- Italy’s Justice Minister – given the job because he was arrested once.
- Italy’s Minister of Equal Opportunities – appointed because she was pretty.
- Italy’s Civil Defense Minister – named because he could swim.
- Italy’s Minister of Defense – appointed because he collected toy soldiers.
- Italy’s Minister for Economic Development – chosen because he was overweight.
- Italy’s Health Minister – nominated because he once had a headache.
- Italy’s Minister of Sport – appointed because he once won a game of tiddly winks.
- Italy’s Agriculture Minister – chosen because he once grew flowers on the balcony of his Rome apartment.
- Italy’s Minister for Simplification – selected because he was simple.
- Italy’s Environment Minister – appointed because green was his favorite color.
- Italy’s Cultural Heritage Minister – nominated because she lived in a house that was well over 100 years old.
- Italy’s Anti-Mafia Minister – named because he came from a big family.
Then there are, of course, all the vice ministers and undersecretaries and all the rest. Such appointments were made on a surname basis – provided the candidate had the same surname as their minister or his or her partner or wife, they got the job. Easy.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
As for run of the mill politicians, their selection was even easier. They were asked a seemingly very simple question:
- Does all mean all?
If the potential candidates said, ‘yes’, that was it – next please! But if the prospective ladies and gentlemen responded with a ‘maybe’, they were added to Italy’s legendary electoral lists. Of course being the party leader’s defense lawyers guaranteed seats in Italy’s parliament to those concerned and the question was not posed to those in question.
For any passing Italian politicians who may feel insulted by such insinuations, this is what is called satire.
‘Satire’ in Italian, as you probably did not know, can mean ‘insult’ or ‘offensive’. This means I’m probably still in trouble.
It really is time Italians were allowed to choose decent, honest, competent people to be their leaders. Another little reform for Mario Monti to consider, otherwise when he goes, Italy will be back in the same rickety boat it was in before he arrived faster than you can say ‘mamma mia’.