Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

       A happy and prosperous New Year for 2013

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Few Taking Part in Italian Democratic Party Propaganda Exercise

The aparatchiks of the Partito Comunista Italiano, embodying the remnants of the Italian Democratic Party, are holding primaries this weekend to choose that small section of the Party lists not reserved to the Party Secretary for the February general elections.  Of those conferred with a ballot (these are not democratic elections, merely a propaganda gesture and only those who got under the wire to vote in choosing the party leader are eligible at this day's fiasco)  over 70% have declined to be instrumentalised in this way.  Matteo Renzi's voters are saving their breath to cool their porridge for a genuinely democratic ballot on 24 February.

The communist faithful have duly turned out to select the ideologues and the dead wood that Renzi  sought to consign to the past and the political cemetery.  These numbers are devastating  for Bersani's hopes of coming to power in alliance with his even lefter allies.  Those of us who would have voted for a Renzi-led Democratic party freed of  just the influences on display now will be voting for Monti.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Italy Is of Interest to Us All, Not Just a Another Continental European Election

Prime Minister Monti* is reconstructing the centre-right.  Not a Christian Democrat Right that, post-War, covered a multitude of Fascist sins but a lay, civic, gangster-free Right: a right Right.  Early polls suggested derisory levels of support - after all populist-right parties alla Berlusconi exist by catering to personal interest and lack of propriety in civic action, and voting against instinctive self-interest requires ethical effort.  An effort Monti is calling for.

On the well known Italian principle, "First God makes them and then He pairs them," the Democratic Party is the centre-left pair of the Berlusconi right.  The old Communist party personnel, party management and control delivered a party Leader and even further left alliances that most of us wouldn't touch with a barge-pole.  And for the more politically innocent amongst us, a brutal lesson in real, live socialist practice.  Both of the pair are now hopping with rage that Monti is upsetting their applecart.

On 24 February we are to vote not for self-interest, or an ideology, but for an agenda - a clear set of polices that might reasonably be expected to lead to growth in the Italian economic sector and to stability in the eurozone.    Berlusconi attempts to dominate the media (well he would, wouldn't he, owning lots of it?) while the Democratic leader Bersani attempts to paint Monti as a man who should be above party politics and serving his country in some unspecified and rarefied sphere (with the pretence that the last thirteen months of Italian governance was merely technical rather than profoundly political and driven by a centre-right agenda whole-heartedly supported by the Democratic Party itself.)

Both so-called Right and so called Left are utterly discredited and utterly dishonest: also they are incompetent, economically and politically.  The opinion polls are dated and slow to respond to political movement and have yet to show greater preference for Monti than 20%, although 12-15% was quoted long after the political ground had shifted.  At the same time and undeniably much of the Italian electorate is set in its ways.  However this time truth and right and justice is on the side of the Angels.  Should it be otherwise then the importance of Italy to the European Union  will be reflected in  the downgrading of the importance of Member-State elections and a swift and notable shift of power to European Union institutions.

Monti will win at home or Europe will win over nation states.  The elections in Italy are of wider significance than our local concerns.

* Mario Monti  now is a caretaker prime minister in Italy until the general election in February 2013.  This status underlines just how false was the pretence that the previous thirteen months were apolitical, technical governance.   It is worth  thinking also about  just how much power he has for the next eight weeks with no requirement to answer to Parliament, the Parliament having been dissolved.  He and President Napolitano could be surprisingly constitutionally innovative.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

For Shame, Italia, For Shame

Professor Monti has handed Italy back into the hands of President Napolitano.  It is in a far, far better state than it was a 13 months ago.  Whether or not Monti will decide to take a far, far better rest and return to the Bocconi is yet to be revealed, despite the media elaborations over the last few weeks.

Mario Monti was not alone in what was achieved.  The list of ministers and technical advisors is long and distinguished, though not part of the Italian political world.  Work, and earnings, were put aside in the huge effort to salvage the country from Berlusconi and the gangsters', and Bersani and the unions', wreckage.  Lawyers, accountants, scientists, academics at the levels Monti was able to call upon do not work for government wages.  But they did, for Italy.

There has been not one word of thanks, nor acknowledgement of the extraordinary effort that was put in by all these people as well as the officers of the administration, the carabinieri, the police, the doctors and teachers, the mass of workers in the private and state sectors.  Nothing.  As the ministers formally thanked Parliament  for any support that has been given they were met with empty benches or, in some cases, abuse. 

Already the politicians are hurrying to heap rebuke and accusations of intellectual incompetence if not falsity on those who have saved their bacon.  No wonder Monti himself is considering most carefully if he even wants to know such people as the brute-faced woman Camusso roaring from the trade union deadlands about workers spontaneously applauding our former prime minister when he visited the Fiat factories at Melfi; the  economic idiocies being emitted by the 'Democratic' Party hack Fassina  who would fail to be even admitted as a student of the Professore yet pretends to the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer; the ranting Northern Leagues placeman resenting the loss of regional client-jobs who caused the out-going Minister of Labour to physically block her ears at his insults in the Lower House.  Some of these people and their ministers risked a lot -  in the case of the Home Secretary you can imagine hauling off all those mafiosi to prison, the Minister of Justice charging and trying all those corrupt 'untouchables'.  It was very noticeable that, apart from Monti himself, some of the hottest seats were being sat in by women - learned, brave women not trade union time-servers -  who did what needed to be done.

Italy could have done a far, far better figura than to let them leave the stage to indifference and worse.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Monti Spells it Out at the Weekend

The Italian general election is now fixed for 24 February 2013 (there were problems with the overseas vote).  Also fixed, or at least much clearer, is who are the serious contenders:  Mario Monti and his Memorandum for Italy (which we know as a manifesto but the word carries unfortunate connotations in political Italy);  Silvio Berlusconi and whatever he can hold together of the People of Liberty party (think total populism, anti-euro, anti-German); Pierluigi Bersani and the hard-Left controlled Democratic Party backed by  extreme Left and eco-parties (no trade union reform, no economic recovery policies, depending on 'they have nowhere else to go' for support from anyone other than their control centre and leftist loonies).

Italy is now two trillion euros in debt.  The cost of that debt has been reduced by half since Monti took over.  Berlusconi and Bersani couldn't care less - they are in this for the gaining of power for whatever ends they have in mind (they aren't sharing their thoughts with the rest of us).  Power is draining from the presidency of Italy as the President's term of office ends and as the reassertion of political gain above all else's dreary steeples of corruption and statist authoritarianism emerge once again.

As goes Italy so goes the Euro - and the world economy with it.   When the Prime Minister addresses the nation at the weekend let's hope that those professorial tones, and complexities, will be enough to communicate, to a perfectly ordinary and very disgruntled electorate, that we need him for another couple of years and by then our impoverishment will have been rewarded with growth and stability.  

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

President Napolitano Not Stepping Down Early

President Napolitano has confirmed that he will proffer the invitation to form Italy's next administration.  He had expected to leave the task to his successor but it falls to him, much to his regret.  So he's not stepping down early with the early demise of the current Monti administration, but squaring up to the complex political choices and soundings he must undertake in the next couple of months.

He stressed that the influences upon his choices will be political, not the institutional pressures that he responded to in November 2011 when Berlusconi's administration fell and the President appointed senator Monti to  a 'save Italy'  role.

Profumo di Sinistra

When the leader of the Solidarity Ecology Liberty Party lost in the first round of the Italian Democratic party primaries (thank God) he endorsed Pierluigi Bersani (former communist) for the leadership vote in the second round against Matteo Renzi (who is for scrapping the old guard in the Democratic party.)

"There is a scent of the true Left about Bersani, a profumo di sinistra",  eulogised the greenery-yallery primitive socialist from away across the rainbow.

Here is the list of those  yesterday guaranteed seats in the next Italian Parliament by the scented Left:

Mauro Agostini, Rosy Bindi, Gianclaudio Bressa, Anna Finocchiaro, Giuseppe Fioroni, Maria Pia Garavaglia, Giuseppe Lumia, Franco Marini, Cesare Marini, Giorgio Merlo.

The scent of an open sewer drifts across the Italian Peninsula.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Voting in Italy

Italian electoral rules in general elections (il Porcellum) are such that  55% of the seats in the Lower House will be assigned to the coalition party that comes in first, regardless of the number of votes obtained.

At the moment polls are giving the Democratic Party/Solidarity, Ecology&Liberty coalition some 34%, 10 points and more ahead of nearest rivals Beppe Grillo's anti-party 5 Stars movement, followed by Berlusconi's People of Liberty at 15%.  A notional Monti party is at 15%.  There is a long tail of also-runnings but Angels don't do nerdy.

It should be all done and dusted.  But it's not despite frantic appeals for calm, steady as she goes, we are serene in our expectations, from the Left and extreme Left  (to the point of insanity) PD-SEL.  Il Corriere notes this morning that almost half the  electorate of the Democratic Party, 44%, intend to vote for a Monti coalition if  available.  There are unmeasured numbers of voters stumbling about in the electoral fog without the least idea of what to do and the Church is standing ready to direct them to Monti. Both the People of Liberty party and the Future and Liberty party are tainted by their leader (Berlusconi) in the first, and by their origins (the former Fascist party Alleanza Nazionale) in the second.

Italians vote:they don't chicken-out and abstain.  60-70% of them loathe what progressive Comrade Bersani and his apparatchiks are, still, against all the evidence of the 20th century; and when it comes to the wilder shores of  Solidarity, Ecology and Liberty they might well be inclined to take up arms.  The North has had more than enough of the Mezzogiorno,  nor will they accept alliance with Berlusconi's morals, political or otherwise.  

Somehow Monti must find a container for the thing contained, in this Thurberesque tale, for which a hugely diverse coalition of the electorate  can vote without any sense of abandonment of principle or political or ethical shame.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The European People's Party Develops its Italian Constituency

The European People's Party welcome to Mario Monti yesterday was remarkable, if something of a shock to Silvio Berlusconi who had gone to Brussels thinking himself the recognised leader of the Italian Centre and Right.  Prime Minister Monti expounded Italy's current economic position and the means his government had used to recover it from the near disaster a year ago.  The confirmation that  his decision to resign once his budget is passed next week was due to the withdrawal of support for his administration by a part of the centre right under Berlusconi only reinforced the alienation of the EPP leaders from any acceptance of a Berlusconi candidature as leader of the centre right in Italy at the general elections there in February next year.

It is novel and most interesting to see a cross-European political party playing such a role in a member-state general election.   Berlusconi's leadership of the centre and right in Italy is at an end, as he well recognises; his calls for Monti to formally take on this leadership are an attempt to retain some influence and a bit of face where once he led the majority in the coalition.  In Rome on Sunday there will be a convention of politicians of the centre right to form a differently composed coalition which, they hope, will attract Monti's leadership.

Meanwhile the progressive and hard left minority party coalition that has gained control of what was once Romano Prodi's Democratic party are on the anti-Monti offensive, particularly after the socialist President of France joined in the chorus of support for Monti from the European People's Party.  Massimo d'Alema, once Leader of the Italian Communist Party but now sent for political scrap by Matteo Renzi's onslaught on the dinosoaurs dominating the partito Democratico   told the Corriere della Sera in an interview that Monti's position would be 'morally questionable' if he allowed his name to go forward at the general election.  He continued to offer barely veiled threats that candidature for the Presidency of the Council (the office of prime minister) would destroy Monti's usefulness to the country and, in particular any eventual candidature for the Presidency of Italy.

It seems that if Monti dares to peel off the centrists (identified by Renzi's valiant stand) from the 'progressives' in control of the PD then there will be no support from the Left and its placemen in the new Parliament in the election of the new President of Italy.  So he'd better watch himself.

Tomorrow is the global meeting of various 'progressive forces' from Europe and the world in the Acquarium in Rome.  Sunday it's the refuseniks of the Right who've dumped Berlusca cheering along in a Roman theatre.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bersani Shows Global Progressive Politics at Work

The politburo of the Italian Democratic Party has issued the regulations for choosing Democratic Party candidates for the Italian general election (which is to be held on 17 February 2013).

 - Some 25% of candidacies will be at the disposal of the Party Secretary.   (Leading cadres subjected even to Party voting would be detrimental to discipline and balance within the Party structures).
 - For the rest, voting will take place on 29 and 30 December.  (What do you mean that's the middle of the Christmas holidays? Of course the Party expects an outstanding effort and response in the name of democracy from Party activists).
 - Those eligible to vote in these 'open' primaries are those who voted on 25 November for the election of the Secretary of the Party. (No there was nothing improper or exclusionary about the eligibility of that electorate.  Evidence to the contrary is merely rightist propaganda).
 - Regional Party executives may restrict this electorate further. (The regions of Tuscany, Marche, Umbria, and Lombardy displayed  levels of false consciousness on 25 November that will require local adjustment to national Party standards as expressed in the South and some correct urban areas of the North).

This system is proclaimed as an extraordinary and innovative democratic renewal of Italian politics, and an example to us all of global progressive politics in action.  (Mind you, the UK Labour party is just as progressive).

UPDATE
Above are the requirements for qualifying as a voter; all will be revealed on meeting the Party rules for becoming a candidate  after the Politburo's further deliberations.  Their edict will be issued next Monday.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Browned Off by Bersani

On Thursday the Leader of the Partito Democratico,  Pierluigi Bersani, will present details to foreign press assembled in Rome,  of the International Conference of the Progressive Alliance which will be held on Saturday as the opening event for his advance upon the premiership.

So who is gracing this get-together in the Casa dell'Architettura

Pascal Lamy, director general of the World Trade Organisation;
Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation;
Harlem D├ęsir, Leader of the French Socialist party;
Peter Shumlin, president of the US association of Democratic governors;
Sigmar Gabriel, Leader of the German SPD.

These are the A-list of this gathering in the former Rome Aquarium.  We are promised Progressives not just from elsewhere in Europe but from Asia and Africa as well as the US and Latin America.  It will, it is trumpeted, be the first time Italy has been host to such a gathering.

'For the economic crisis is a global crisis and requires global governance, national governments are not enough any more '.

Now where have we heard that before?   The array of 'international' figures doesn't quite match that of London immediately after the financial collapse in 2008 but we'll just listen to the echo.

In the meantime the freshly 'elected' Leader of the Partito Democratico Bersani continues to advise the Prime Minister of Italy to 'keep himself out of political competition, and not to be the leadership candidate of a political list of the Centre in case he doesn't get many votes which would reduce his value and would make it difficult for him  be used as a resource by Bersani and for the country'.

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Real Enemy is not the European Union or its Currency

The 30%  of Italians who are lower-middle and working class people are frightened of the economic constraints they are living under.  The next 30% fear they too will be degraded by a sort of 'proletariatisation'  (una sorta di proletarizzazione Scalfari calls it in La Repubblica) with the continued declines in some older sectors  of the Italian economy, reports  the Italian Socioeconomic Research Institute, Censis.  It states further that this fear should lift gradually in the next few months as the Italian economy displays consistent improvement and growth.

Monti's administration has stabilised the outlook for growth in the region, reduced  the capital outflows, attracted inward investment again,  and advanced the shift in European policies from austerity and debt reduction to investment and growth in the modern economy.  Berlusconi saw his chances of re-establishing himself slipping away, particularly when there was the chance that the centre Left might also be led by a reasonable and centrist politician. 

However, with the reassertion of the Left as defender of worn-out industries, worn-out ideologies and the   entrenched and privileged groups of unionised workers and pensioners (the very proletariat working people feared they might fall back into) he has taken his chance and chosen aggressively  anti-Europe, anti-Euro, anti-taxes, anti-institutional reform, anti-Napolitano, anti-Monti and everything he stands for, policies to appeal to the people delineated by the Censis.

These are not moderate positions that Berlusconi adopts, nor could they remotely be described as centrist or of the majority of the electorate.   They are the views of the disaffected, the poorly informed,  the disenchanted  clustered round Beppe Grillo and his 5 Star no-parties party.  But they are so more dangerous in Berlusconi''s hands because of his resources and outstanding political skills. 

Matteo Renzi, the Florence mayor whose attempt to drag the 'Democratic' party into the 21st century and democratic relevance was destroyed last week is now a man with an electorate but without a party (Berlusconi's invitation to join him at any time in his political last fling -' la porta e sempre aperta' -  has been met with  a flat, if elegantly phrased, rejection).   Mario Monti is another with an electorate but no party.  So we are in the faintly ridiculous position, though none the less dangerous for that, of Berlusconi  and Bersani claiming to be the leadership contestants for Right and Left,  and Monti and Renzi commanding the votes of Right and (non-communist) Left.

Those who think to use this stand-off in Italian politics as an argument for dismantling the Euro or even the European Union, have misunderstood its essential political nature.  What is at stake here is the rejection of the West's largest communist survivor movement, and equally the rejection of the bedrock of Europe's grey and black criminal economies.   Before welcoming the success of either as a means to beat on a European Union that, for all its faults, is less loathsome than either 'progessivism' or 'gangsterism ' they might consider the weapons with which it is legitimate to pursue their anti-Europeanism. 

The spread is now at 360, the yield at 4.87.   

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Italian Political Earthquake Damage: Will President Napolitano Step Down Early Too?

The President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, has  stated repeatedly that  he does not wish to be the person who invites the post-election party leader, whoever he may be, to form an administration in the new legislature.  The President's term of office is drawing to a close and he will not stand again.

After Prime Minister Monti's resignation we are expecting now to go to the polls in mid February, not in April.  Italy must expect President Napolitano, too, to leave office early and not in May 2013.

Tomorrow's market reactions to  Berlusconi's resurgence, after the Democratic Party's leadership primaries installed an old communist as the PD candidate for prime minister, may well be much more severe than the fall of Monti's government alone creates.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Contempt

The Prime Minister of Italy is in Milan for the Opening at La Scala.  He has left Rome and behind him all the revolting scrabbling by dead politicians of Right and Left for shreds of nation-state power and party/personal profit - reminiscent rather of John Major on his way to the Oval to watch the cricket, mutatis mutandis.

He cannot hear this tonight (as once did a  very small Hatfield Girl).  But he will be listening to Lohengrin with an extraordinary cast of singers;  Jonas Kaufmann sings this evening if you prefer a more 'modern' interpretation under Barenboim.

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. 

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

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Political Commedia

The political abyss into which Italy is falling was created last week.  The Partito Comunista Italiano redux drove through their candidate to lead the Partito Democratico.  That this was done by the crudest of exclusionary and  brutally confrontational-towards-eligible-voters tactics is undeniable.  Now we face the results of their clenched fists.

The spread is 324 and rising (from under 300 only days ago) as markets react more quickly than Bersani's henchmen to the fact that there is an enormous part of the Italian electorate now looking to the Right for an administration after the general election.

Most would vote for a Monti government again but there is no institutional or constitutional mechanism to deliver such an administration.  Nothing would induce most of the electorate, Right, Left or Centre, to vote for the Partito Comunista currently posing as the Democratic Party.  The Centre and Right is also trying to cope with a Berlusconi redux, not least because he is giving off a faint air of being gaga.  So while it is politically the case that a clear call from the Right will attract a majority, Berlusconi is now unable to make that call.

Perhaps there is a constitutional solution to keeping Monti in power but it's hard to think what it might be.  The President of the Republic has used his democratic powers to their limits  enabling a Monti administration during the current legislature which ends in April 2013; as does Napolitano's presidency in May.  Italy has: an indecent electoral system; an embedded, elderly nomenklatura  of both Left and Right fighting for their lives and life-styles; a potential prime minister of the centre right denied leadership of his Party by communist apparatchiks (of all ages); and a highly competent administration about to be driven from office early by this destruction of democracy within Italian political parties spreading to the entire body politic.

 The Mayor of Florence is sooooo right: to the scrapyard with old men and their old politics.   Otherwise it's only reasonable that a comedian should lead the country.  

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Celebration

 Eviva il Communismo e la liberta'

Forty percent of the  Partito Democratico electorate voted against this destructive world view.
These people have beaten open the door to Berlusconi's return with their clenched-fists.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Defeat in the Italian Primaries for the Leadership of the Centre Left



 We lost.  39% to 61% we lost.  We lost  on the technical, infighting, no-holds-barred voting mechanisms, and we lost the referendum on the question: Do you want to abandon your myths and redefine the identity of the Left?

And they answered No


The results that really mattered were  Emilia Romagna, Toscana, Umbria and  Marche.  It is in these four regions,   the regioni rosse, the red regions,  that the Democratic Party must bring out the vote in any general election; it is here that the Democratic Party has its electoral roots and its electoral force.  As Sole 24 Ore notes  this is the political core , the more general interest, of  the last week's Democratic primaries.  For at a general election the southern end of Italy will be voting for other parties entirely and in the North there are powerful alternatives to the Partito Democratico.

It is no surprise, really, that the old Left and its organisation defeated us.  What sort of communist  worth his salt can't deliver an election?  Elections were delivered from 1917 till 1992 in the heartlands of democratic centralism, and from 1946 till 1989 in the conquered territories of realised socialism,  when the people gave up voting and tore down the Wall with their bare hands.  But  in a general election, how can a Bersani-led Party win?   Why ever should it, mired in its old, corrupting, dead form.  Indeed the rules of the game for the general election haven't even been settled yet and, until they are,  it's almost impossible to work out what government Italy will have in the springtime of 2013, but the centre and Left is now in as much disarray as the centre and Right.

The voters who gave Renzi Tuscany and, at the first round, even Umbria and the Marche and took almost half the Party vote in the regioni rosse will not have their ideas of a capitalist, liberal, caring, small state changed by the charge of the communist heavy brigades.  Nor will they simply abstain: Italian voters do not abstain, Italian voters vote -  and with a clear idea of their own interests well to the fore. Berlusconi knows this better than any other politician.  He is circling the anti communist voters of the PD in his beastly way, working out what needs to be done to remove their principled stand against his last administration.  Bersani can do little to regain them because his victory was delivered by those we want removed from office and from influence.

Does all this matter in the wider world?  Probably yes.  In the West we have not had the cathartic experience of the East that removed utopian pretensions of socialism, having been fortunate enough not to live under  its fully realised version.  We still need our velvet revolutions (let's hope they are velvet and not blood-stained) and our Transition though,  and if the Coalition efforts in the United Kingdom are any kind of exemplar we are going to need trench warfare.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

They Can't Stop Us Voting With Our Money

The Italian media reports this morning that some 130,000 people have registered to vote in the second round Democratic primaries tomorrow via the facilitating proforma published in yesterday's newspapers, and that twice that number have applied directly to the Partito Democratico  site.  Renzi is asking all those who have signalled their requirement for a vote to go to the polling stations with their documentation and insist on voting.  Bersani has called for the vote to be denied to anyone who didn't vote last week and cannot produce eg. a medical certificate to explain their absence. 
Angels have been told by the village PD representatives that those who didn't vote in the first round,

".. will be stopped by the Provincial  Committees.  After all that's what they are there for, to make sure there is no infiltration from the Right." 

Disenfranchising up to 300,000 supporters is 'preventing infiltration from the Right'.

'Partito Democratico secretary Pier Luigi Bersani told Rai2 radio that he wants to introduce a personal wealth tax on large fortunes in Italy: not a one-off tax, but a structured tax on higher incomes .... Italy is facing huge challenges, and needs more fairness in its fiscal system. ' (Eurointelligence Newsbriefing)

'The Italian central bank reported a constant outflow of money from Italian to foreign banks which was at €200bn at the end of December 2011, and is expected to have reached €274bn at the end of March.
Data included all payments, imports and foreign investments completed within the Italian economic region and intermediated by domestic banks through the Bank of Italy.
According to the Bank, since the onset of the financial crisis, the European interbank payment system Target 2 has recorded a strong capital outflow from Italy to safe- haven countries.'