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The Reform Process in Italy which Doesn’t

It’s reform time in Italy! Well, that’s what Italy’s government is touting. Pretty words are being spread around Italy’s media like rose scented petals. Big promises are as common as mozzarella topped pizzas.

The trouble is, many of Italy’s so-called reforms simply do not reform a thing. In fact, quite often, they make matters which were not overly good in the first place, even worse. This is what Italy’s magistrates suspect will happen in the case of the forthcoming, much trumpeted “revolutionary” reforms to Italy’s civil justice system. In a similar vein, reforms to Italy’s stodgy employment laws have got virtually nowhere. The reform which supposedly abolished Italy’s provinces hasn’t and probably won’t abolish a thing.

More non-reforms are incoming and the biggest and best of them all is Italy’s senate reform which is virtually unnecessary!

So, how does the reform process work in Italy? Not too well, as you may have gathered.

First of all, after multiple cheery announcements often made these days by Italy’s extremely talkative unelected prime minister, Mr Renzi, something is drafted. Well, something may have been cobbled together before the announcements, but not necessarily. Anyway, at some point in time, something is drafted, probably on the back of a cigarette packet. A full-blown draft is then produced, but only after having been discussed for several hours in the finest restaurants in Rome by politicians on all sides of Italy’s colourful political spectrum.  After copious bottles of super Tuscans, a working draft will come to light. It might even look half decent. This version of the draft reform proposal won’t last too long though.

After the effects of the glasses of super Tuscans have worn off, further amendments to the draft reform will be drafted. The re-drafting process will be repeated, as will the consumption of tax-payer funded bottles of super Tuscans until everybody with an interest has been consulted or is far too drunk to care.

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Upon the 374th, or so, draft, something may end up being considered by a parliamentary commission – over more bottles of decent Italian red wine, of course. Further amendments will be drafted and added to the draft. More talking will take place. Chat shows will be attended. Worried politicians will fear that the voters they’ve bought, er sorry, campaigned hard for, won’t be too happy. Cue more drafting, more talking and lots more wine – supplied, albeit indirectly, by Italy’s over taxed citizens.

Eventually, after even more wine, and yet more, slurred, talking, a working draft will end up in front of the two houses of Italy’s parliament. It’ll be debated and amended, twice, or forced through Italy’s parliament to avoid sensible amendments. Meanwhile, the spirit of the reform will have been watered down so much by endless attempts to keep everyone and his pet dog content, it’ll be nothing short of useless. Irrelevant additions, such as the get out of jail free card for Silvio Berlusconi and his cronies, may be slipped into to the draft, which may well now have become a bill of several thousand pages, if not more.

The text of the draft reform bill, much to the satisfaction of Italy’s veritable army of lawyers – many of whom sit in Italy’s parliament – will be about as comprehensible as James Joyce’s best efforts, think Finnegans Wake, not Ulysses, and then the Franken-reform will be just about ready.

More announcements will follow from government circles lauding what is considered to be reform which is revolutionary, except it isn’t at all.

Italy’s establishment friendly papers will run summaries of the details of the new reform and one or two, including, most probably, Il Fatto Quotidiano will pull the revolutionary reform to pieces and uncover the clauses inserted to keep Berlusconi and his buddies, and their pet dogs, content, or out of prison. Il Fatto Quotidiano will inevitably conclude that the reform is about as useful as used toilet paper.

To cap it all, someone within Italy’s magnificent government will then forget to activate the deformed reform. It may then expire and the whole reform process can begin once again, much to the delight of super Tuscan producers, if nobody else. Such is Italy.

By they way, signs are emerging that teachers in Italy have become the latest victims of Italy’s curious, er, deform, process.

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