Friday, 7 December 2012

Berlusconi's Response to Renzi's Defeat

The spread is now 332 the yield 4.60 having reached 336 earlier this morning.

Matteo Renzi, the man who should be leading the Democratic party (he received 1,096,000 votes against the 1,706,000 of the man who was hoisted into the PD leadership by the communist apparatus  dominant in the Party denying  a vote to up to a million centrist and leftish voters) is administering our beautiful city but wholly ignored by the Party.  Perhaps the crypto-communists should remember that they lost the last general election under the leadership of  'former' communist Walter Veltroni, and  lost badly, to Silvio Berlusconi and the centre right.

That legislature is still sitting: it has lent its support to Mario Monti's government because the markets would no longer lend to Italy at bearable rates.  But it has a centre right majority and if Monti loses a vote of confidence - at the moment the centre right is merely abstaining in the Lower House (it is abstaining in the Senate too but abstention there is counted as a vote against) - the President of Italy has little room for manoeuvre.

Napolitano can  invite Senator Monti to try again for a vote of confidence in his administration; he can invite the leader of the majority party in the Parliament to form an administration, ie Silvio Berlusconi; he can end the legislature and a general election will be held.   In truth he can delay a bit but he will eventually have to bring the legislature to a premature close and we will go to vote early next year.

How many million votes of the Centre and the anti-Berlusconi Right the Democratic party has so wilfully lost last week is difficult to estimate because the  schiaffo [slap in the face, ed.] delivered  to so many voters was two-handed: first the refusal of the vote to those who would not sign an intolerable declaration in favour of  all the primary candidates; then the refusal of the vote at the second round to all who had not voted in the first.   So voters were denied the right to vote for differing reasons in the two ballots.  But one thing is certain: those denied a vote by the Party will not forgive or forget their treatment, often delivered personally and rudely at the polling stations.  The communist comeuppance is arriving sooner than they wanted and too soon for any attempts to mend their fences.  They haven't even begun trying yet - too busy saluting their 'victory' with further inappropriate hand gestures offensive to many of their once potential voters.  A measure of the political and technical incapacity of their man is his announcement, off the cuff, in the media  that he would introduce a regular tax on wealth.  That an economic measure of such extensive effect upon an economy, any economy, should have been confirmed as a concession to extreme left populism  without consultation, and with  a demonstrated  lack of understanding of its economic content, shocked more than the democratic denial that preceded it.

The Italian media are advancing diverse reasons for Berlusconi's return to the fray and reassertion of his authority over his parliamentary majority.  The plain truth is that the Democratic Party has lost its internal battle for democracy and renewal of its policies and personnel and has lost the general election.  Of course Berlusconi is back. 

The euro is now falling steadily against the US dollar, the Pound and the Swiss franc . 


a musician said...

It was B.'s very first reaction to the PD's "election" results, he actually said it: what, no Renzi? Then I'm giving it another go.

hatfield girl said...

"Il presidente del Consiglio Mario Monti ha lasciato Roma diretto a Milano dove stasera assisterĂ  alla prima della Scala."

Now there's a man whose priorities, and heart, are in the right place Musician.

Caronte said...

Pier Luigi Bersani blotted his copybook with the PD electorate by rigging the primaries to his own advantage, both making it very hard to express a vote in the first round, then by making it virtually impossible to express a vote in the second round unless you had voted in the first. So much for democracy and transparency. He will have to do something spectacular to seriously ask for the vote of those whom he practically disenfranchised.

But suppose he did manage to get a governing majority in a broad, unholy alliance (with Berlusconi former ally and accomplice Casini, and other dubious allies perhaps on the far left). Bersani expects to radicalize the Eurozone with the help of Francois Holland, but FH is a ninny and in any case the two of them are a powerless minority, facing the formidable German opposition. No change in German policy before their September elections, and probably not after them either: Merkel’s rival , Steinbruck, is the one who insisted on a national solution to European banking problems, so he is most unlikely to endorse Eurobonds and similar co-operative measures to solve the euro crisis.

There are many radical policies that Bersani could follow, making fiscal space, for instance by cancelling 15bn worth of F-35 (instead he most infelicitously pretended, in his debate with Renzi, that such a decision required negotiations with Obama!?), withdrawing Italian troops from hot spots, cancelling pharaonic “grandi opere” such as the bridge on the Messina straits (that cost 600mn in the current budget just to keep ticking over). Then he could promote growth by paying up all the government arrears owed to private enterprises. But he never said a word – in government or in opposition – about these kinds of policies.

Instead he advocates a wealth tax on high incomes (imposta patrimoniale sui grandi redditi), revealing his crass ignorance of the difference between stocks (wealth) and flows (incomes) – which even Michal Kalecki regarded as an unforgivable error in economics – and restoring Berlusconi’s chances to renew general consensus. And Bersani announced such a policy without prior discussion within the party; an off the cuff remark AFTER his debate with Renzi, thus combining dishonesty, lack of credibility and alienation of middle class support.

Bersani in government would inexorably follow route taken by Papandreu and Zapatero. Communism and Socialism reached their best-by date in 1989-91. Time for the PD to update their calendar to 2013.