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In my post entitled Cracking Down: the Rom Problem, illegal Immigration, and Crime, I looked at current attempts to resolve some of Italy’s long standing problems.

Recently, to sort the illegal immigration problem out, some bright spark suggested criminalising illegal immigration. At first, Berlusconi went along with this proposal, and it was close to becoming law. Now, however, Berlusconi has had second thoughts.

Indeed, much to the disdain of the his government’s xenophobic Northern League coalition partner, Berlusconi has decided not to make being an illegal immigrant a criminal offence in Italy.

In addition to the United Nations, the Vatican had also come out against the criminalisation of illegal immigrants, and both organisations had been levelling charges of xenophobia against Italy.

However, despite the external pressure, one also suspects that others may have been having a few quiet words in Mr Berlusconi’s ear. In fact, there are many businesses in Italy which appear to rely on immigrant labour, and it’s a fair bet that many of these non-Italian employees are not all that legal. Turning such people into criminals overnight would potentially cause more than a few embarrassing problems for a number of Berlusconi’s supporters and open a Pandora’s box full of problems. The net result would have been that things could have become rather hot and sticky for Berlusconi.

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Fortunately for Berlusco, the pressure from sources outside of Italy’s influence wracked political system appear to have given the ever tanned one a convenient way out.

Bossi and the rest of his Northern League clan will bay and howl about this, but Berlusco will just say, ‘I tried, but the matter just got way out of my hands’. This is, to an extent, true.

Now, though, Berlusco’s allies, including the not too foreigner friendly Fini, will be looking for a way to stick a few knives between Mr B’s traitorous shoulder blades, as soon as the appropriate opportunity presents itself. Read: yet another Italian government will come crashing down.

Italy may have, on paper at least, it’s most stable government ever since the end of the Second World War, but the government is still full of those personalities who made up the continual stream of weak Italian governments since the war, and such people seem to take selfish delight in exerting what little real power they have by causing governments to collapse. And they will certainly try this tactic once more. What the squabbling politicians do not seem to take into account is that what they love to do is detrimental to the very country which produced them.

Beppe Grillo and Co may have made enough noise to have forced Italy’s politicians into creating some semblance of stable government, but behind the perceived stability the foundations are the same as they have always been – wobbly.

The true consequences of Berlusco’s major u-turn remain to be seen.

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