17 May The quality of wine – March 2018
On 4th March a general election was held in Italy with results that we are all aware of (I mistakenly predicted in December that the 5 Star Movement would win 27% and not 32%, and that PD would get 28%; and I predicted a PD-Forza Italia government).
I think the Italian political situation is very critical, and also very dangerous, as the two parties totally against the EU and the Euro have an absolute majority of MPs and Senators and, therefore, the numbers necessary to govern; however, there also remains total human, behavioural, cultural, social and working incompatibility between the 5 Star Movement in southern Italy and the League in the north; I think that such different-thinking people meeting around the same table to decide on government policy will be of short duration (who knows which force has the power to say: “I’m in charge”).
Of course the future government will have to tackle the rules of European expenditure as well as those of our Constitution; it will have to respond to the underwriters of the public debt, who will not be prepared to give credit to those who want to leave the EU and the Euro; it will have to reassure foreign investors (also because there would appear to be no Italian investors and companies, banks etc are being bought up by foreign companies).
The news that a well-known surgeon from Campania decided to undergo an operation in Lombardy for a problem that he specialises in, caused quite a stir; the said doctor explained that they don’t have the necessary equipment for the operation in Campania; what this surgeon wrote raises huge questions about the management of general public spending:
- Should resources be donated to charity in favour of citizens or, on the other hand, should they be managed to promote efficiency, research, top knowledge and both Italian and global technology? The answer clearly conditions the future of Italy.
The new parliament has elected the presidents of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies: Forza Italia’s Senator Casellati, elected with votes from the Centre-Right and the 5 Star Movement and a staunch supporter of Berlusconi for over 24 years, has declared herself to be anti-abortion, an advocate for reopening brothels, and a champion of ad personam laws in favour of Berlusconi; she is against civil partnerships (this is a summary of what the national press puts forward as Senator Casellati’s curricula); how the 5 Star Movement’s Senators could possibly have voted for her is a mystery that I absolutely can’t explain (except power for power’s sake).
When he was the president of the RAI Supervision Commission, President Fico predicted the end of Berlusconi’s favourite talk show (Porta a Porta) and even went as far as to say, “it’s absurd that in 2017 Berlusconi still has the power of speech to do Italy harm”; Fico who has always been against nepotism, is in favour of Casellati, who was involved in the recruitment of a woman as head of the ministry’s administrative office; a year ago Fico said, “we are very different. The League wants a naval block and we don’t, for example. The 5 Star Movement and Salvini are worlds apart.” And when on the edge of the abyss, “we won’t make agreements based on seats, but on topics.” Meaning? What topics?
Two months later he returned to this point, sending a message to his “non-friend” Matteo guilty of having opened a slim chance of agreement with Grillo’s party, “Dear Salvini, I would like to reassure you about the fact that the distance between views, ideas and content between the 5 Star Movement and the League, between Beppe and you, is light years apart.” Then he brought up the question of bulldozers and immigrants, “for us human rights prevail over everything else. The 5 Star Movement doesn’t believe the solution to every problem is to attack the lowliest.”
And if the tracksuit-wearing leader of the League claimed “I can’t wait to win the elections so that I can put them all on planes and send them back home,” Fico didn’t. In fact, “What world do we really want to build? A world that cultivates a culture of discrimination and intolerance or a world that fights discrimination in order to build community spirit? The 5 Star Movement has no doubts about this and its vision of society is light years away from that of the League.” However, he had already made his opinion of the emerging leader of the Italian right-wing clear a year ago, to the radio programme Un giorno da Pecora: “Salvini? I find he hasn’t grown much as a person.” Let’s return to the question: if they hadn’t turned a blind eye to the fact that they were as different as chalk and cheese, would they still have voted for each other?
These are the mysteries of power and not politics, in my opinion. But power for power’s sake never has stood and never will stand for justice or for the good of everyone, but always has favoured and always will favour a few who grant favours to subordinates and never rights to citizens. Italy must also consider the public debt and the economic situation, latest ISTAT figures show the following unemployment rates:
- North 6.5%
- Centre 11%
- South and islands 20%
This shows that wealth is concentrated in the north and poverty in the south; but is the north prepared to give some of its wealth to the south?
President Trump’s policy continues with the dismissal of his closest collaborators:
- The Secretary of State has been replaced by Pompeo, head of the CIA; and has thus obtained the great result of disqualifying and rendering non credible all the US ambassadors, since the whole world will now be talking to the head of the CIA and no longer the ambassador.
- He has also dismissed General MacMaster, National Security Advisor and appointed John Bolton in his place (a Fox News Channel commentator and a leading conservative on international politics); it should be pointed out that Bolton is the third NSA appointed by Trump since January 2017.
- Trump has also sacked McCabe, ex number 2 at the FBI, 26 hours before he was supposed to retire (so in theory he won’t be able to cash his pension cheques). The press links this dismissal to the investigation that District Attorney Robert Mueller is leading on Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential elections.
- The duties Trump is threatening Europe (Germany) with and which he is applying to China for about 60 billion US dollars, will only result in weakening the global market and, in the medium and long term, will have negative repercussions for the US economy (as has always happened in the world with protectionism).
What do you think?