Friday, 18 November 2011

Good Luck

The Italian parliament has handed out yet another vote of confidence (they're really good at this if at nothing else) and the Monti administration is now in full possession of the powers of government that pertain to the Executive.  Using this circumlocution is necessary because much of the media has objected that Italian democracy has been replaced by a commission of technocrats. (Mr HG argued that though ugly, the word 'technocrat' means 'technician in power' and is more accurate than 'technician'). It has not.

Democracy is not homogeneous in form.  Italy is different from the UK.  The head of state has clearly-delineated, and wide, powers under the democratic constitution to act in specific sets of circumstances.  This clarity of powers and of occasions for intervention does not exist in the UK, nor is the head of state democratically elected, nor is there a constitutional court to hold parties to the rules.  Under the democratic principles and rules governing Italian democracy the Monti administration is not just acceptable but was required to be called into being.  Now that it has been voted on and confirmed in the Upper and Lower house (with massive majorities in both votes) it's as democratic and representative as any other western government, though validated by different parts of the democratic structure.

The test is very simple: when Monti starts cutting, taxing, stripping privileges, opening closed shops and removing undeserved special statuses we will all see if the interests concerned can overturn his administration or are forced by the greater democratic will expressed through Parliament, head of state, and constitution, to accept their lot.  He's not there at gun point.  And his remit is much, much wider than driving down spread and yield in the interests of sustaining the Euro.

Monti's intention is to govern until the elections in 2013:  he intends electoral reform, trade union reform, reform of the professions, bank restructuring, extensive changes in the levying and collection of tax, and to take a sword to the proliferation of the political classes.

He starts first thing Monday morning.


Nick Drew said...

... by selling all the gold ?

hatfield girl said...

Yes, ND Italy seems to have an enormous heap of gold, 3rd or 4th in the world; something like that. Which is handy.

No suggestion it's to be sold though; after all 94% of the Bank of Italy is privately owned. The owners probably aren't keen.

(The Bank of Italy used to be owned - apart from the Treasury - by 'banks of public interest', ie public banks. And then when these public banks were privatised (with the assistance of Goldman Sachs) somebody forgot or neglected to exclude Bank of Italy shares from the assets being privatised.) Woops.