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How to Save Italy

Things are looking grim for Italy.  Mario Monti is facing increasing opposition and obstruction from Italy’s mainstream political parties on all sides – left, right, and center, literally.

The fact is Mario Monti’s technocrat government has lost momentum.  At the time Silvio Berlusconi was ousted, the situation was extremely serious and all of the political parties were terrified.  Their abject terror led them to tow the Monti line.

Now, it seems, the terror has past and the politicians think the time has come for them to make a fresh bid for power.  Heaven help Italy if this happens.

The only thing all the politicians occupying seats in Italy’s two houses of parliament have proved beyond all reasonable doubt, and then some, is that they are completely and utterly incapable of running Italy.

Further evidence of their inability to direct Italy is offered by the following facts:

  • the honorable ladies and gentlemen are blocking anti-corruption legislation,
  • they won’t all allow labor law reforms to be passed, and
  • they are bickering over sorting out Italy’s snails pace slow legal system…

…amongst other things.

In short, Italy’s political classes seem to be content to let Italy go to the dogs, provided they can keep their fat salaries and pensions packages.

Italians, meanwhile, are becoming hopeless, disillusioned, and frustrated.  Many would welcome the opportunity to leave Italy once and for all.

What can be done to save Italy?  What Italy desperately needs is a parliament made up of competent, responsible and honest politicians – people who believe in Italy and who do not want to pass their time playing silly little power games while the nation slides slowly but surely down the plughole – which is exactly what is happening now, and is what has been happening for far too long in Italy.

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Italians could wait for general elections to be called, but aside from Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement, which is untried and untested – but most probably better than the current crowd, there is no alternative to Italy’s past masters, whose leadership of Italy has been anything but masterful, quite the opposite, in fact.

Referendum Time!

The only possible direction for Italians to take to sort out their dire political class and find a decent group of politicians is to call a referendum and the objective of this popular vote would to sack every single last one of the current politicians who sit in both houses of Italy’s parliament, with the possible exception of Monti and his cabinet.

To ensure the old crowd is unable to enter parliament ever again, anyone who holds political office at the time of the referendum would not be allowed to propose him or herself as a political candidate for, say, the next 150 years or so.  That would keep the useless blighters at bay!

The referendum would give the current honorable members one year to clear their desks, and that year would be used to form new political parties.

The members of these parties would have to swear an oath of allegiance to Italy and swear to work for the good of the nation.  All of them would be required to declare their assets and incomes and any and all convictions.  As Beppe Grillo is proposing, anyone with a criminal conviction should not be allowed to stand for election in Italy.  Never, ever.  And all candidates, before being elected, would have to declare, publicly, all their connections to business or anyone whatsoever who has any kind of influence.  Those who fail to comply should be told to leave politics.

The potential candidates would be subject to a selection process which entails assessing their personal integrity and honesty.  Only the most honest would be allowed to stand for election.  Those elected would be limited to two terms of office, which, incidentally, is another of Beppe Grillo proposals.

Sorting Out Corruption Once and For All

Finally, corruption.  It is a huge problem in Italy and it is killing what really ought to be a flourishing economy.  Sorting out this gnarly problem would be easy.

All Italy needs is one set of courts which would be dedicated to hearing corruption cases.  There would be one trial and one appeal.  If found guilty at the first trial, the offender would be sent to prison to await an appeal, if leave for appeal is granted, and it will not be automatic.  And any and every form of corruption in Italy should carry a sentence of a minimum of 10 years, which should be increased to 15 years if public money is involved – no parole and anyone convicted would, upon release, only be allowed to hold a job as a dog excrement collector in the city, town or village in which he or she was born.  This would act as a deterrent.  Corruption levels would fall overnight!

It’s referendum time for Italy.  Let’s see democracy really work.  Italy really does deserve much, much better leadership, and it needs this exceptionally urgently.

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