Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Be Careful What You Ask For

Everyone in Italy has residenza: the listing in some comune or other, that confers access to the society and its social provisions, beginning with a simple identity card that costs 5 euros and has a photograph, a date of birth, a place of residence, and the mayor's signature. Then you are in.  Health services, schooling, social housing, means-tested benefits, access to passports, driving licences, down to car-parking and  driving about in  one's place of residence (don't even think of doing either in restricted zones in other cities) - all this requires residenza.  Angels has it in Florence - well,  there are lots of angels in Florence, makes any Angel feel quite at home -  but there are requirements (other than wings and conformity to anachronistic and monocultural aesthetics).

These requirements, taken together with the longstanding demands of trade unions, and social pressure groups, some of which have been enshrined in law, - a minimum annual income; a stable contract of employment; housing meeting health and safety standards (which include notification of any non-registered persons even temporarily in the dwelling), etc. are being used now to eject economic migrants out of towns and cities in the north of Italy.  If you cannot conform to these requirements and thus  obtain residenza, be listed on the anagrafe, then you are evicted from whatever means and place in which you have established yourself, and even the most basic social claims die - no health service, no schooling. Resisting can lead to the  foglio di via obbligatorio  by which you are sent back where you  came from, but no-one wants to set that in motion, so they just go. 

And why is all this of interest to English readers?  Because much of what Labour and its hinterland wished to establish in our society leads to this: the unforeseen consequences of demands for minimum standards and equality of treatment results in means to judge and then act on outsiders unable to establish their conformity with well-meaning rules.


Elby the Beserk said...

Labour and the Law Of Unintended Consequences. Even when they meant well, they caused havoc.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I've often wondered - how do these requirements sit with the fundamental principle of the EU - free movement of people?

Do the Italians just ignore the rules that don't suit them, as the French do?

Or is there some over-riding principle of which I'm not aware?

hatfield girl said...

I'm no specialist either, Yacht, but I think that even member-state citizens must support themselves, at least on arrival, or be liable to being returned to place of origin. It isn't true that EU citizens can settle anywhere without work and be wholly reliant on social provision; it is the case that if they are in (legally valid) work they have the same claims as others on the welfare system of the country they are in. If they are not conforming to legal requirements for working conditions and housing etc, they can, and are, removed to their own country.

As for the extra-communitari, it's best if they do not come to the attention of the Northern Leagues.

Odin's Raven said...

So, will much of the riff-riff be turning up in London shortly, as they never seem to be deportable from this country?

Odin's Raven said...


Is 'bear-hug' the Russian for 'ever-closer-union'?

Forget Berlusconi the tinpot Caesar. How about Putin, President from the Aran Islands to Kamchatka?

hatfield girl said...

You DON"T want `Learco Chindamo living in London Raven? Gosh. And it's hard to think that he arrived alone at the age of five, or that he has been independently supported by his family's efforts ever since.

I cannot understand why the right to free movement inside the EU is so differently interpreted by each member state.

Also any EU passport has become so valuable, partly because of the free movement, that unsurprisingly there is a market, considering Italian citizenship can only be acquired by descent or by marriage, not by place of birth. I wonder what the price for acknowledging a child borne by an extra-comunitari is, never mind marriage.

It really is time for the government to set out plainly, in whatever colour paper they like but possibly best to avoid White, precisely what powers are ours to determine who can settle in the UK, on what terms, and how they can be refused when asking inappropriately.

Underestimate Berlusconi as tinpot at your peril, Raven; he is deeply and permanently a buffoon, but deeply and for now represents interests that stretch through Italian - and, indeed, EU, society and governance via Italy. And he is the bestest of best friends with both Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev.