Thursday, 26 July 2007

Divorce Italian style

Church and State in Italy fought off the possibility of divorce with a unity of purpose, if not means, which underlined the levels of intrusion into personal lives practised there by the authorities.

When our everyday lives become the preoccupation of our moral, legal and political governance we need more than a general election every three or four years to get their noses out of our business.

Italians, like Americans, Germans, Frenchmen, Poles, Russians (I could go on) have highly codified relations between one another and between themselves and the state. In England we were blessed, until half way through the last century, with a very small state and so made do with a general election whenever compromise between parties could not be reached; referendums were outre foreign necessities, inappropriate in a civil, English political world.

We need to rethink this view. Just as Loris Fortuna and the Divorzisti took on the force of settled attitudes to inheritance, legitimacy, the exchange of women and wealth between social groups, personal notions of happiness and propriety, the vulgarity of affairs, the relations between Church and State, and relations between the generations - all of which are central to the cheap incompetent meddling of the Labour government (well, not relations between Church and State, as Church has been wholly vanquished in England), we too need the powers of enforceable popular referendums.

Across party lines and viciously enforced party discipline, across religious edict and thunderous denunciations and threats of excommunication from the pulpit, Italian men and women voted to annul the social, political, religious and legal repression of no divorce.

But they had the means of redress, if they were brave enough to use it - and it took bravery in the villages of the south, the red strongholds of the north, to get the church and state out of their hair.

We do not. We have no means whatsoever even to express our opposition to, let alone alter, what our 'democratic' governance imposes. For a state as enormous, over-arching, intrusive in every detail of our lives as the Labour state, a single vote, when the Executive unrestrained by any kind of constitutional system, cares to call it, is a totalitarian nightmare.


Newmania said...

Wonderful stuff HG....if you ever get divorced....let me know .

hatfield girl said...

As our constitution has demonstrated recently that we are with few liberties and that those we have, even of centuries' standing, can be stripped from us so easily, it is reasonable to look about for a better constitution.

My absolute Number 1 in the constitutional parade, a personal favourite too for the beauty of the language in which it is expressed, is the American Constitution.

Win that, and we win everything politics can offer.

hatfield girl said...

PS, if not then binding referendums like in Italy would be a goodish start N.

Newmania said...

Yes I agree HG, did you happen to notice on Bel is thinking what a tizzy Iain dale was getting into about this Rwanda thing.
Not been the best of times for him has it ..goodness the polls are appalling.

hatfield girl said...

N, I'll go and look.

Sackerson said...

HG: Yes to the American Constitution, provided we stick to it better than they have - especially the sound currency.