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Italy Oozes Towards Elections, again

Elections, until Silvio Berlusconi came to power, were virtually an annual event in Italy, at heaven knows what cost, financially and socially, to the country.  Once again, it seems, Italy is oozing towards general elections.  Berlusconi’s somewhat scandal ridden reign appears to be coming to an end, although he may be back.

Rather ironically, last Sunday, former Berlusconi ally Gianfranco Fini, who still wants to be an ally, but not if Berlusconi continues to order everyone around in an undemocratic fashion, said many of the things Italy’s opposition mob should have said ages ago.  It was very strange to hear such comments come from the mouth of someone who is/was on the same side as Berlusconi.  Then again, it may be that Italy’s opposition parties have been making such comments, but that they’ve been getting very little public airing owing to Berlusconi’s vice-like grip on Italy’s media.  This is a possibility.  Fini, on the other hand, managed to obtain full-scale live coverage of his ‘what is wrong with Silvio’ speech.

Italy oozed a step closer to elections last Sunday, and things, old things, have begun to stir.

Old Faces Oozing Out of the Woodwork

Old faces who have been coming out of the woodwork, right, left and centre, as they sense the imminent arrival of elections in the cool Italian Autumn air.  And I do mean old faces in every sense.  These are politicians who have been not doing a fat lot of good for Italy for decades, and they’ve got plenty of grey hair.  Yet they keep coming back, like a persistent, difficult to cure, rash.  If these people, the Rutellis, Fassinos, D’Alemas, Bossis and Tremontis, plus far too many others, of the Italian political world, get back into power, which is highly likely, Italy will remain in the same stagnant position its been in since the end of ‘tangentopoli’ in the early 90s.  I pity Italians, I really do, there really is nobody worth voting for, except, perhaps, Fini, Vendola, Beppe Grillo‘s anti-establishment gang, and Di Pietro‘s Italian Values crew, plus a handful of others on both sides of the political spectrum.

Make Way for New Blood

The same old, same olds must back down and let some new blood come to the surface. If they cared more for Italy than for their own personal prestige, they would do.  They should.  But they will not, they believe they are far too important, even if many of them are the reason; though they would never admit it; why Italians have become so sick and tired of the country’s lacklustre and out-of-touch with reality politicians.

Italy’s left wing really has become seriously incoherent, with so many people claiming to be leaders that nobody in Italy knows who is leading whom.  It’s not too clear what all these jolly Italian left-wingers stand for either.

Current Alternatives

Grillo and “clean hands” bribesville busting ex-judge Di Pietro are alternatives, but neither Grillo nor Di Pietro have any experience at running a country, let alone a complex one like Italy, but, perhaps they should be given a chance.  After all, it’s hard to imagine they could do much worse.

Fini, has gone up against Berlusconi, finally.  But only after dear Silvio attempted to push through yet another self-serving law, which, incidentally, wasted huge amounts of parliamentary time right in the midst of a global economic crisis.  Fini may be what Italy needs, so it might be worth giving him a chance.  He sounded very good when he made his Sunday speech that was full of indirect digs at his former ally, and which wound up Berlusconi no end.

Fini Was On the Inside

Actually, Berlusconi must be really, really rankled over Gianfranco Fini‘s betrayal, as Fine was one of his most stalwart supporters.  Furthermore, and adding, no doubt, copious amounts of salt to Berlusconi’s open wound, Fini has most likely been party to the goings on at some of Berlusconi’s most private parties strategy meetings.  Fini must know his former colleague inside out by now.  Such knowledge will Fini in remarkably advantageous position in the event of general elections.

Berlusconi is highly aware of this, and will do his level best to cut the upstart Fini down to size using whatever means he deems necessary.  But this will not be easy in the face of Fini’s insight into Berlusconi’s mindset.  And Fini is not burning his bridges.  Quite the opposite – he’s coming across as Mr Reasonable, and this is making Silvio look totally unreasonable.  Fini is playing the political game rather well, as even Berlusconi might be forced to admit, one day.

Italy Has Weathered the Crisis, But…

OK, so Italy appears to have weathered the crisis better than most, but when the other economies start to pick up once more, Italy will be back where it was – in the doldrums – where it really is at the moment.  Giulio Tremonti’s attempts to kick start Italy’s economy, partly via the repatriation of capital, don’t seem to have had any effect at all, and the Governor of the Bank of Italy has been calling, yet again, for something to be done.  It won’t be though, as Italy’s politicians start knuckling down to make themselves look palatable for yet another round of national elections – which may well be put off until March next year, so the honourable ladies and gentlemen will be eligible for pensions.  This in itself demonstrates just how little Italy’s political class really cares for Italy.  Indeed, they work so hard at making themselves look pretty, that they forget they have a country to run.  About the only thing which gets fatter and fatter in Italy, aside from levels of public debt, is the back accounts of its politicians.

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Italy’s Confederation of Industry head, Emma Marcegaglia has been a kicking and a screaming over political inaction for months now – to no noticeable avail.  And Italy has now been without a real minister for economic development for around four months.  Actually, Silvio Berlusconi took over the mantle, after the ex-minister had to leave to defend himself from accusations of taking kickbacks.

Berlusconi has only very recently, within the last week or so, decided that Italy could really do with another economic development minister.  Well done sir!  Maybe he heard that around a quarter of Italy’s young people are without work.  Sorry to be scathing, but not having a minister for economic development in the midst of a global economic crisis in a country as complex as Italy is utter madness.

What’s Italy’s Tourism Minister Been Up to?

Next up, Italy’s supposed tourism minister, the honourable Ms Brambilla, and her legs.  Just what has she done for Italy’s tourism sector while she’s been in power?  Can anyone tell me?  Yes, I know she got Silvio to make a video promoting tourism within Italy, and, being an animal lover, stated she wanted to ban the Italian equivalent of bull fighting, the Palio horse races in Siena, but what else?

Italy is an utter haven for tourism, and this needs to be shouted and screamed from rooftops around the world.  Have you seen or heard any evidence of this?  I must be missing something, and I really hope I am, because Brambilla doesn’t seem to have done a fat lot to promote tourism to Italy since she got the job.  Recently she has been a little busy organising coach loads of Berlusconi buddies to heckle Berlusconi’s ex-friend, and now virtual arch-enemy, Gianfranco Fini, so I guess she has been organising coach trips.  Not sure this is the kind of tourism most people have in mind though.  Ho hum.

Motley Crew of Politicians

Italians have suffered a motley crew of politicians for many, many years and put up with, and finally become deathly bored with their shenanigans too.  But only Bettino Craxi really raised any eyebrows after he allegedly filched large sums of public money, angering Italians enough to cause him to run away to another country.

Yet there are some, small, signs that Italy’s population is becoming annoyed, once again, with its dodgy bunch of politicians.  Groups of discontented Italians have turned up at the public appearance of two politicians so far and heckled them off stage.  Said politicians whinged about ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘democracy’, neatly forgetting that not too long ago they had been doing their level best to push through a law which would have gagged Italy’s press and blogs thus curtailing freedom of speech in Italy.  Now the shoe’s on the other foot, they become all hurt. These people are not only on another planet, they are in another galaxy.

It’s not only Silvio Berlusconi who works ever so hard to keep himself in power, most of Italy’s other politicians do the same – well, they do want those fat pensions ever so badly.  Personally, I think Italians should be allowed to decide via referendums whether or not Italy’s politicians have done enough to merit pensions.  If not, they can go off and find a job – like the rest of us.  Perhaps pension-less politicians, around 95%, could hold courses on how to avoid destroying the credibility of politicians in the face of voters?  They certainly know how to turn people off, so they might be able to teach others how to avoid such errors.

What Italy Needs

I’ve said it over, and over again – Italy has great potential.  But, Italy is a complex nation – mafia, corruption, north-south divide, etc. etc. and such a nation needs extremely talented and courageous politicians.  At present, there are virtually none.

General elections present a golden opportunity.  This opportunity won’t be taken, and major events like the 2015 Expo in Milan will risk being moved to other more forward-thinking countries, like Turkey, for instance.

Come on Italy’s politicians, pull your socks up!  Do the right thing, if you believe in your country, and you are over fifty-five move over, especially if you already have that taxpayer-funded pension.  And you’d go down in Italian history as being some of the most far-sighted, democratic patriots, Italy has ever had.  Wouldn’t that make you feel all warm inside?  You’d ooze self-satisfaction too, I know you would. Just do it! Yes you can!

End of, long (I’m sorry) rant.

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