Sbranare, verb, transitive - to rend, to tear off limbs, to rip open.
The faction controlling the Italian Democratic party has descended from politics into threats against the electorate and, specifically, those who pin down their co-involvement in the Monte dei Paschi bank scandals. The whole country fell about laughing when Bersani and D'Alema tried to pretend, and then argue, that the Party's relationships with banks, particularly localised banks, is not of central interest in an election turning on the effects of the financial crisis on employment, growth and living standards.
Prime Minister Mario Monti's 'ascent into politics' is now mirrored by this descent into unheard of aggression and promised violence towards the voters, the media and the regulatory authorities. And by the descent of the Democratic party polling lead by a couple of points in the last 48 hours.
If anything is being sbranato it is the veil over Democratic Party/ bank relations. The Monte dei Paschi affair has already completely over-shadowed the set-piece presentation of the Party Five Year Plan (yes, Angels knows we are not in the USSR in 1928, but the CGIL - the Italian General Confederation of Labour - doesn't; 600 pages of central planning regurgitated thudded onto desks in Rome this week) and ruined CGIL Leader Camusso's (the Bessie Braddock of Italian politics) harangue on Friday.
We are going off the rails again, Bersani barks at us. We're supposed to be discussing the Party and Union Plan for all our futures; and if it isn't 1928 in the USSR it ought to be and just wait until they get their hands on power at the end of February. Once again Silvio Berlusconi spoke the simple political truth:
"The Left can't even run a bank, let alone a country. The pressing requirement is to secure the interests of the Bank and its shareholders and customers. Blame can be sorted out later."
Worse, the Prime Minister has remarked that nationalising the Monte dei Paschi probably won't be necessary. Between the government and regulatory authorities enough has been done to save it and other banks and credit institutions and municipalities from the Left and their financial behaviour. Mario Draghi, then Governor of the Bank of Italy, put his foot down very hard on the Monte dei Paschi behaviour elsewhere in the Peninsula in 2007/8.
The crude attempt to threaten further by dragging the conduct of the Bank of Italy and the Treasury into disrepute has been dealt with by President Napolitano. They must fear greatly that the Monte dei Paschi will have independent commissioners sent in to run it for they are demanding commissioners' powers for the current Bank administration, which the Democratic party admits it helped to instal. "Don't you dare touch the current Managers," warned the Party economics spokesman, Fassina (who has a proto-communist political past as well).
"There are forces in this country that will do anything to prevent us gaining power," joined in Massimo D'Alema, former prime minister of the centre left after Prodi stepped down in 2008 (and former leader of the Democratic Socialists, successors to the PCI, the Italian Communist Party, faction of the Democratic party in its Prodi manifestation) hinting at extra-democratic elites and shadowy groupings. Which may or may not be so, but the only Party, the only Leader of a large political grouping in any nation state in which I have been a voter, to tell me I'll be torn apart if his Party is attacked and fails to gain power, is the Partito Democratico Italiano.
A win for Sir Cliff could be a win for us all
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