Thursday, 10 November 2011

Tax the Church and Deal with the South

There are two enormous elephants no-one wants us to look at in the salotto.  The South and the Church.

Neither of them pay in any taxes and both of them slurp tax-payers' money out like, well, pigs at the trough (to borrow a phrase). Who wishes to govern Italy accommodates the South and the Church.  And while the South  has geopolitical form in many other European member-states, every one of which has its crosses to bear from regions of under- or post- development,  none of them have to put up quite so much with the pretensions of the Holy, Roman, Catholic and Apostolic church as well.

Berlusconi bought the compliance of the Church in all his goings-on by exempting from tax all property associated with it; not just churches and monasteries, but land, commercial developments, businesses etc.  Who wouldn't be a  client for that?  And deliver a micro-managed flock of voters.

The South, the Church, and (how shall I put this: more primitive governmental practices than democracy and the rule of law?) are intimately entwined with the governance exemplified by Berlusconi and his henchmen.  The South, too, is wholly committed to the provision of a vitalizio for all (southerners, that is).  The English word for vitalizio is annuity but it doesn't at all cover the extraordinary expectations of the South that it should be supported for life from wealth generated elsewhere in Italy and, indeed, the rest of Europe.

There wouldn't be an Italian  public debt without the Church and the South.  And   public debt throughout Europe would be much reduced if the 'south' problem in Europe, North and South, were faced up to.



worried said...

But is Monti any good?

hatfield girl said...

Good for what Worried? Not good for democracy but good for the re-establishment of lower yield and spread on Italian debt.

After consultation with those who know him he is regarded as a man of integrity, technically highly competent, tough.

I would have preferred a great deal more transparency in the negotiations, and a general election. Perfectionists, Angels are.

worried said...

oh ok that's what I was Worried about. The democracy can come later.

hatfield girl said...

I'm undecided if there has been a democratic breach. The powers of the Italian president are constitutionally considerable (in these circumstances thank Goodness) but haven't ever been fully extended (like Fangs, I've been reading vampires again). But the threat from Berlusconi and what he stands for, or on, is also exceptional. He should have resigned months, years ago, facing all these criminal (and disgusting) charges.

Mr HG is getting stopped and questioned in the village a lot. One conversation, typically, went like this:

"So who's this Monti then?'
"Highly prestigious academic, international experience, absolutely reliable..."
"Because that individual [Berlusconi, people won't even name him for fear of malfortuna] won't go unless driven off by cannon fire. I suppose if Napolitano has made him a senator for life he must be a goodie. What colour is he?"
"Centre, absolutely dead centre."
"Well then, in the situation.. hmm."

Sums it up really.

Elby the Beserk said...

The EU IS a democratic breach. Simple. And the breach gets worse, it seems with every day. Bill Cash, bless his socks, was very forthright on this on Today this morning. That the leaders of three main parties should be so complicit in this farrago means that they won't see my vote again, that's for sure.

hatfield girl said...

The EU is undemocratic, we agree Elby. Italy's president is within the democratic rules, though, under the Italian constitution. He asked Berlusconi what he was going to do after the great abstention and B said he intended to get through legislation that had been already announced months ago and save Italy and the world as we know it. After that he would resign and there would be elections.

Napolitano takes this at face value - B will resign after the legislation promised is through. Napolitano then asks the two houses of parliament to pass the legislation in 72 hours and the speakers of both houses seem to have used their powers to rush it through.

Berlusconi thought he had 3 weeks - even up to 3 months to fix things as he wanted. When Napolitano made his favoured candidate a senator (fully within his powers and wholly deserved) we had Berlusconi's promise to resign conditions achieved (or they will be by tonight) and an eminently suitable alternative candidate for prime minister. Bravo Napolitano, he used his powers in ways wholly unimagined by anyone.

B's party are now crying foul, but the foul thing was their failure to get rid of their leader when they should have, long ago. It's hard to think that any party leader can democratically remain when facing the criminal charges Berlusconi faces. Had B stood down (or been stood down) when indicted then the centre-right could have chosen their own replacement.

Too late now - they allowed room for the constitutional powers of the president to come into play. And he played a blinder. But it wasn't undemocratic.

Neither is it over yet.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"Deal with the South"

Easy to say.

Every Italian government for as long as anyone can remember has been trying to deal with the South.

All have failed.

I remember thirty years ago my father's friends in Savona and Genoa saying that "South of Rome it is Africa".

It still is; probably, it always will be.