I’m starting to feel a little sorry for Italy’s new Prime Minister, Mario Monti. It looks as though all and sundry expect him to sort out Italy in the blink of an eye.
Such great expectations. Monti has already been asked to sort out the L’Aquila earthquake situation – something which fast talking Silvio Berlusconi half did and then conveniently forgot about as soon as the media mileage in the affair was exhausted.
What will Monti be asked to sort out next? Man handle the mafia? Or sort out the corruption in Italy’s political system? Actually, by sorting out the mafia, which is something a little beyond Monti’s remit, he would also reduce levels of corruption.
Will Italy’s political parties call on Monti to deal with corruption? Highly unlikely, seeing as many of Italy’s politicians seem to be doing very well out of all the graft and handouts such as boats, fast cars and fast women which quite a few appear to be under investigation for receiving.
No, what Italy’s politicians, the non-Monti nominated ones that is, will attempt to do is to divert Monti’s attention away from corruption and towards something like Italy’s education system which could do with a hand even if there is little money for much to be done. Still, by pestering Monti to wave his magic wand in the direction of Italy’s education system, they can keep his eyes off issues close to the hearts of Italy’s dear politicians.
Alas, Monti and his team, which appears to be one of the few sensible governments Italy has had in decades, if not the last 150 years, will have to keep Italy’s traditional politicians happy. This means reforming them is not going to be at all easy.
Italy’s politicians are hardly likely to vote for the sword which will be used to cut them down to size, now are they? So, what can Monti do to save Italy and keep the greedy scoundrels content in the meantime?
Well, what he could do is to delay some of his more radical reforms to future legislatures. This will mean the greedy ones will still receive their fat pensions – which seems to be one of the main reasons why people go into politics in Italy – and Monti will still be able to ensure, more or less, that Italy’s political system can be altered to make it actually work.
Italy’s political system has rarely worked, and rarely worked well. This is why Monti and previous technical governments have had to take control of Italy from time to time. Guess who caused these technical governments to come crashing down? Why Italy’s wonderful politicians, who else?
Big Brother Is Watching Italy
This time round though, things are a little different in that Italy is being watched by much bigger and more powerful nations. If Italy does not behave this time round, these bigger nations may well slap Italy’s backside, hard.
I’m certain intelligence services from other countries have some tasty pieces of information on the illicit activities, bunga bunga parties etcetera of a good number of Italy’s politicians. If such information were to be made good and public, well, bye bye fat pensions, for a start. Political careers will come to an abrupt halt, or in the Italian way, be put on hold for a few years. In Italy, politicians who misbehave or lose elections do not quietly fade away. Instead they lurk quietly in the background waiting for an opportune moment. Go on, admit it Mr D’Alema. Then they jump back into the fray, only they were useless the first time round and continue to be useless the next time they rear their little heads. Italy, as a result, has suffered. Monti might be able to put an end to perpetual rule of the regurgitated. Then again, he might not.
Whether or not Italy’s incredibly inefficient politicians realise that very big brother is watching them is open to question, although Monti may have spelt it out to them in words of one syllable.
Things sank to really low levels under Berlusconi who basically appeared to devote most of Italy’s parliamentary time to passing laws to either protect his back or benefit his businesses. And despite Berlusconi’s intentions being crystal clear to just about everyone in Italy and the rest of the world for that matter, Italy’s opposition parties did very little indeed to protect the interests of Italy. They moaned and groaned a little and then went on to vote through some little pay rises for each other. Left, right and centre mean virtually zilch in Italian politics.
Yes, poor Mario Monti, he has got a lot on his parliamentary plate. His only hope is the support of other nations.
Italy’s politicians are, in the main, hopeless – which is why Mario Monti is sitting where he is.
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