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Italy’s Biggest Problem

Finally, I’ve cracked it.  I’ve understood what Italy’s biggest problem is, and no, it’s not Silvio Berlusconi, in case you were wondering.

Italy’s biggest problem is that it has no political parties, and, therefore, no leadership.  Yes, it has lots and lots of people who call themselves politicians, but it has no political parties, nor leaders.  Ah, you may utter, but doesn’t it have lots of funny little political parties, some with similar sounding names, such as PdL and PD?  And what about the UDC and the IdV and all the rest?  Aren’t they political parties?  The answer is no, they aren’t.  They are merely clubs, and their members bounce from one little club to the next at the blink of an eye.  In actual fact, Italian club members will dance from one club to another and then back again, once, twice, or more, during their seemingly endless club careers.

Actually, calling the members of Italy’s so-called political parties politicians is something of an exaggeration, in that politicians are supposed to govern.  Italy’s club members don’t seem to know what the word govern means, or conveniently forgot, long, long ago, that governing is what they are supposed to do.  Indeed, the club members make such a pig’s ear out of running Italy that from time to time technocratic governments are called in to attempt to sort out the mess made by those who pretend to be politicians.  Indeed, such was the mess club president Silvio Berlusconi – the businessman who played something approaching a politician for a good few years, mainly to keep himself out of prison – left Italy in, everybody, with the possible exception of Italy’s mainstream club members, agreed that Mario Monti needed to be brought in to do the things Italy’s club members were unable to do.

At the end of the day, the simple truth is that Italy has never had any political parties, even if the clubs which pretend to be political parties have held more than a few parties.  The club presided over by one Silvio Berlusconi, for example, has a reputation for holding really wild parties.  Local political club members down in Sicily used taxpayer’s money to finance their bashes – lots of money.

As for the club run by Berlusconi, one day it is called the PdL, the next it’s called Forza Italia, and then it isn’t.  Even the club members themselves have become exceedingly confused.

On paper the PdL club, or whatever it might end up being called, is supposed to represent Italy’s right.  In truth, while the PdL club pretends to represent right-leaning Italians, it tends to stand for little more than the interests of its president, one Silvio Berlusconi, and that’s about it.  The PdL is little more than a fan club with lots of groupies.  There is, however, some confusion as to who is the PdL club chairman.  Is it a guy called Alfano?  Or is it the club founder, Silvio Berlusconi?  Who knows?  Not even the members of the club seem to know who runs the show nowadays.

PdL club president designate, one angelic Angelino Alfano, was nominated future club leader by former club president Berlusconi, then Berlusconi whipped the chairman’s chair from under the posterior of poor Alfano.  Being a subservient little chap, Alfano was more than happy for Silvio to pinch his, designated, seat.  Alfano is still all smiles over the chair-pulling affair.  It’s almost as if the poor chap is happy he did not become club president.  As for who will end up as club president, well, that is still not really known; nor is the name of the new club, for that matter.  Rumors flying around suggest Silvio Berlusconi is on the look out for a new president.  A double snub for that poor Alfano fellow who has gone from being a nobody to an almost somebody and then back to being a nobody in the space of a few weeks.

Such confusing goings on could only ever occur in a club, not in a political party, as I’m sure you will agree.

It’s not that Italy’s left leaning, or should that be left ‘wavering’, clubs are much better than the right wing PdL club, which isn’t really right wing.

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While it is true that a sort of wishy-washy left-leaning little club exists in Italy, nobody really knows who leads it nor what the heck it stands for.  The left wavering club really has much in common with the right wing club.

The left-leaning club chairman might be an affable chap called Bersani, then again, it might not.  For the moment the left-leaning club is not considering a name change, as far as anyone knows.  However, if Berlusconi’s PdL fan club becomes something else, the PD might decide a name change for its own little club would be a good idea.  Why?  Because PD looks very similar to PdL, and Italy’s already thoroughly confused voters might become even more confused.  Then again, it might work to the advantage of the PD club, as confused voters would vote for it thinking they were voting for the PdL.

Italy’s poor voters really are horribly confused.  They’ve been voting for people they thought were politicians for years.  Instead, what they got were lots of people who were glee-club members who spent most of their time on the telly, writing books, partying, or arguing, and being paid vast amounts via subscriptions forcibly extracted from Italy’s population.  Some joker cleverly labelled these subscriptions taxes.  Most of the subscription revenues went towards funding club parties.   These parties, when they are not of the bunga bunga variety, are called congresses, and this fools most of Italy’s already really confused population most of the time.

Many Italians have no idea which club to vote for, which is not a great surprise because none of them are worth voting for.  Italians could vote for the right wing club, and they did before, and the club bickered and messed up royally.  Or, they could bravely opt for the left wing club, which has also messed up royally, and bickered too.  Both clubs are bickering to this day.  They bicker internally and with each of the other clubs too.

If Italy’s voters actually take into account the track records of the two biggest clubs in Italy, they really will have no idea who to vote for and will end up sitting in corners mumbling incoherently, which is more or less what the club members do anyway.

Italy needs politicians, real ones, and it needs politicians who are statesmen, and women.  As non-politician Mario Monti recently commented, though the words were not his own: “politicians look to the next elections, whereas statesmen look to the future.”  Contemporary Italy, alas, has neither politicians nor statesmen.  Not good.

Guess what Italy’s club members are thinking about at the moment?  You got it!  Elections.

Electoral reform might lead to the creation of real statesmen, but I would not bank on it.  Would you?

Very, very few Italians have realized that Mario Monti is a statesman.  You cannot blame them, they are oh so terribly confused.  The world’s investors, on the other hand, have known what Italy’s biggest problem is for some time, hence their reluctance to invest in Italy.

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