Seeing as I’ve been out of action for a while, I thought I’d kick off with a brief post-flu round up of what has been in the news in Italy recently.
To be honest, there is not much which is all that new. It’s all variations on old themes really.
Theme 1 – Berlusconi
Let’s face it, Italy would be a dull place without Silvio Berlusconi.
Berlusconi has weathered quite a few scandals remarkably well, which is more than can be said of transsexual prostitute frequenting ex, but not quite, head of Italy’s Lazio region, Piero Marrazzo. Nearly former politician Marrazzo, however, is rumoured to be trying to find work on television. The program he is to present is to be called ‘Alternative Nights Out’, or so I think I heard, probably, maybe. Sorry, I was digressing.
It’s odd that for all his power and cash, Silvio remains utterly terrified of Italy’s legal system. His recent attempt to effectively grant himself immunity from prosecution failed when the requisite law was inconveniently declared unconstitutional by a bunch of Italian judges.
As a consequence Silvio screamed, wailed, and complained, rinsed and repeated, but then realised that not much could be done. Or so it seemed.
Behind the scenes though, Berlusconi’s erstwhile legal adviser and politician Nicolo Ghendini has been dunking heaven knows what into his cauldron (It was Halloween recently, so bat wings and frog undercarriages may have been thrown in there) and cooking up plan B. Actually, there is likely to be a plan B, C, D, E, F, and G, by the sounds of things.
One of these plan Bs might involve tinkering with Italy’s time barring rules.
Time barring combined with a legal system which moves about as quickly as a snail wading though thick syrup has helped a number of Italians avoid legal woes over the years.
Chances are that Ghedini will reduce the time barring provisions to something like 30 seconds for those whose names happen to begin with ‘Sil’ and end with ‘oni’, and hold the office of prime minister. Thus will guarantee that someone slippery can keep his teflon coating, and cease to be terrified of Italy’s commie judges.
OK, you get the picture – Berlusconi’s name is still everywhere.
Theme 2 – Swine Flu
Everybody in Italy is worried about it. Vaccines are supposed to be here, and then they are not. Some say the flu jabs are safe, others do not. Drug companies are making zillions, and the rest of us stand confused, but not vaccinated.
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.
A friend of ours told me of a lovely conspiracy theory. He says that there are 2 vaccines – one, which works, for Italy’s politicians, and the other, which does nothing or worse, for the rest of us. When I suggested that it should be the other way round, he smiled.
This brings me nicely to that other variation. A real old chestnut:
Theme 3 – Italy’s Politicians
Well, they don’t work – in every sense. It’s true, at least Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper claims this to be the case.
Italy’s political power mongers, when they are not partying in Sardinia, appearing on television chat shows, writing books, drafting devious little laws or enjoying transsexual extra curricular activities, only do 8 hours work a week for the country they purport to serve.
Theme 4 – Italy’s Economy
“It’s strong, it’s robust -it’s better than Britain’s”, are the gleeful shouts coming from the lips of Italy’s big. Indeed, Italy’s economy is in such a great state that Italy’s power mongers can’t afford to extend the internet in Italy.
Italy’s internet extension funds are being diverted to ‘benefits’ for those without work.
If Italy’s economy were really that healthy, why would it need to divert such funds?
And many (employers’ federation, unions, people with brains etc) are saying that delaying the expansion of the www in Italy is a false economy which is likely to do far more harm than good.
Could the real reason why Italy’s politicians, not all, want to delay the expansion of the world wide web in Italy be because it allows Italians to communicate – all forms of information – more effectively? No, perish the thought – and there is only one swine flu vaccine too.
Theme 5 – Religion
That the European Court of Human Rights in its wisdom, decided that crucifixes should not be displayed in Italian school classrooms has led to ructions. The Vatican is not at all happy. Italians are not at all happy. Indeed, everybody is downright cross.
This attack on Italianness will likely lead to Italy ceasing to be a member of the European Union. Or something like that.
Yes, you go down with flu for the best part of a whole week, and when you surface you find that Italy is still just the same as ever it was.
In an odd way, it’s quite comforting.