Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Italy - You've been Tangoed

The phone rang yesterday afternoon and when I picked up the voice on the other end was my Mum. She sounded terrible. I thought someone had died. “Berlusconi's winning” she said.

It's a sad day for Italian politics when the man the Italian nation chooses to vote for has been constantly linked to allegations of corruption, advises women worried about their financial future to marry his son, calls his opponent a 'recycled Stalinist' and has a hideously orange face (but the last part's not important in running the country I suppose, but it is ridiculous isn't it?).

The problem is, Italians are worried about their future. Italy now has the lowest wages as well as the lowest birth rate, growth rates and levels of foreign investment in Europe along with unemployment which is low at 6 per cent, but rises to 10 per cent for those aged 15 to 24. A recent survey indicated that 53% of Italians feel worse than ever.

The man the Italians could've had in power was praised for his message for the criminal syndicates: 'Don't vote for us, because we will destroy the forces that prevent development in the South.' That may well be, but if the Italians are struggling economically, they want reassurance that things will get better economically. During his campaign, Berlusconi vowed to slash taxes and boost the economy. In stark contrast Romano Prodi's government raised taxes and collapsed only after 20 months.

There is a similar quandary with the 2008 elections for the Mayor of London. Who to vote for on 1st May? The right wing gaffe-prone buffoon that is Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone who successfully introduced congestion charges in London and who clearly has the Londoner's best interest at heart - but who has also been accused of corruption and wasting tax payers' money.

So as much as I hate to say it, I can understand why the Italians voted Berlusconi in. There just isn't a decent alternative. If you were in their situation, what would you do?


Anonymous said...

If I was in their situation, especially living in northern Italy, where the majority of wealth is been produced, where Malpensa airport is going to be 'second best' (losing a lot of jobs) to Ciampino Airport, where all the money made and sent in the South of Italy is not been used to develop the mezzogiorno, but instead Naples and the Campania region is buried under a pile of rubbish,where all the illegal immigrants are not looked after properly, but instead resort to crime to keep alive......and, I could go on forever in favour of the disillusioned, hard working people of Northern Italy that have voted for Lega Nord which have made Berlusconi's victory possible.
Also Southern Italy has voted for Berlusconi, including the Campania region and Sicily. Out of 25 Italian regions only 6 were in favour of the PD. Which makes me reflect that all Italian people have been disillusioned by the previous government which has done nothing but tax the people even more without giving them any benefits to soften the blow.
I think that the majority of Italians do not understand that the recession has also played a big part in their predicament, that the reasons their food bill had gone up is because some of the ex poorer countries in the world like China and India are beginning to eat more meat, that they need more grain to feed their animals and also that a large proportion of corn is been used for biofuel, ceating a shortage needed to produce food.
But the problems in Italy are deep rooted as everyone probably knows. In Berlusconi, a successful businessman, the Italians see someone that will save them from total ruin. I think that he will do it, because you can see some passion in him, orange face or not (by the way, he is not so orange this days).
I hope that I have answered your question.

* (asterisk) said...

"Better the devil you know" is the most apt phrase for this turn of events...

martinobhoy said...

Easy to say when I'm hundreds of miles away that I wouldn't have voted for Berlusconi but if people see 20 months of a left wing government that they feel didn't improve things it is only natural they will turn back to Berlusconi.

As a country it has so much going for it, the food, wine, people and of course il calcio but when it comes to politics....

And over here in a couple of years time we're going to have the choice of Brown or Cameron. Oh joy!

ginkers said...

I was depressed when I heard Berlusca was back but it was all quite predictable. A lot of people believe his business expertise is right to run the country - whatever methods he may use.

It also worries me that Fiorentina President Andrea Della Valle is a vowed opponent of Berlusconi. It makes me fear for the Viola's fortunes.

a.c.t. said...

anonymous - let's hope you're right, although he stil looks pretty orange to me.

asterisk - definitely especially as corruption seems to be linked to them all, not just Berlusca.

Martino - I know, what a choice! You're right about Italy, so much going for it. But maybe the mad politics is part of it's charm?

Ginkers - Andrea Della Valle had better watch out or else he might have a 'pazzo' type insult coming his way. I'm sure it had Totti quaking in his boots.

* (asterisk) said...

I thought there might be something about Italy's 3-0 defeat over here, but nope...

Hope they do better today!