Saturday, 30 May 2015

Vote 5 Star Movement in Italy Tomorrow

Italian regional elections are tomorrow.  They aren't really like UK local elections because regional governance is extremely powerful; Italy is deeply embedded in the European Union model of governance, of the the state, with regions holding direct and important relations with the EU.   So, Italian passport and electoral registration certificate in hand, I will cast my vote for who rules Tuscany tomorrow.

As ever, the political confusion is -well - confusing.  The national political parties all have candidates standing, as does the Movimento 5 Stelle, but the statuses of various candidates has been called into question both by the Anti-Mafia Commission and by the conflict between laws and the (remarkably slow) delivery of justice.  A recent law made it impossible for those under anti-Mafia investigation and/or convicted at various stages of the judicial process, to serve, if elected. More particularly the Anti-Mafia Commission is required to publish the names of those at various stages in the judicial process.  You might think such people would not be put forward for election, considering the inability to serve if elected but No, the Partito Democratico has allowed names on the list to compete in the primaries and, democracy being what it is, some candidates have been 'chosen' in the primaries and are therefore standing.

The PD candidate for Campania (listed, indeed convicted in the first degree but appealing) declared that to stop him standing he would have to be shot in the head.  Be careful what you ask for might be the response to that but his view is that he 'won' the Campania PD primary and stands even though  if elected he cannot serve.  Unless the PD national  Executive, Renzi's government, enacts some law by decree altering the current status quo, thus allowing a convicted (in the first degree) contravenor of the Anti-Mafia laws, to take office.  Forza Italia has candidates with the same defect.

So, as well as my Italian passport and my electoral registration certificate I shall have to have my conscience with me as well.  As far as I can see, only the electors can break through this unholy mess of: judicial slowness; ill-drafted legislation;  the instrumentalisation of what should be a super parties anti-Mafia undertaking by a faction of the PD (the old Left faction who want to derail Renzi's government);  and the mass corruption of the democratic process in some parts of the country during the primaries.

Any coalition or party with one of these iffy candidates ought to  be avoided.  So that's the Partito Democratico (centre left), Forza Italia (centre right) and all their bits and pieces unvotable.

Which leaves 5 Stelle,  (mass, anti political party movement),  Lega Nord,  (Italian UKIP), and SEL (Sinistra, Ecologia, Liberta', sort of Greens).  There are lots and lots of issues  here but only three coalitions meeting the primary requirement that all their candidates are eligible to stand and to serve.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Referendum: British Empire 1 - Roman Empire (Holy or Ancient) 0

British citizens, resident Commonwealth citizens and the Irish will be voting in the referendum on UK continued membership of the EU.  The protests from people living in the UK with various European nationalities, on discovering there is no such thing as a European passport, were many. 

My favourite was the Italians:  we're paying taxes in the UK they cried (but tribute never conferred Roman citizenship);  had they paid taxes in Italy perhaps they would have been able to stay and work in their paradise of a country and contest the failures of the European Union's economic and political rigidities from there.

As the EU unravels, starting from the fundamentally ill-conceived Eurozone, and continuing through the necessary reassertions of political realities it was supposed to supersede, the limits of 'extend and pretend' are reached.  The EU's democratic deficits are exposed in elections in Greece, Spain, the UK and now Poland; its wobbles over migration and settlement mark profound fault lines.

We have Renzi's Partito Democratico, Cameron's Conservatives, Tsipras' Syriza,  Iglesias' Podemos, and the new Polish President all calling for a new Europe.  But no forum.  The European parliament is a fake. 

The 'European' electorate does not exist.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Schenghen Suspended by Germany for the G7

"The imperative requirements of security measures have forced me to replace the frontier controls at Germany's borders from 26 May to 15 June 2015 in view of the G7 meeting."*  (at Elmau castle in Bavaria.) 

On 14 April 2015 Karl Ernst Thomas de Maizière, the German Interior Minister, sent this announcement to the EU, suspending the Schenghen Agreement while the great and the good of Europe were exposed to the threats of uncontrolled movements of peoples.

What a pity their concerns about their own security refer only to themselves and not to the populations of European countries stripped of their frontiers (and so many other democratic defences of their nation states.)  Recently Bolzano has been transformed into a major centre for the transfer of migrants landed on the Italian peninsula into Austria and Germany  - as has Ventimiglia for transfer into southern France.  

Attendees at the G7 can hardly consider themselves as threatened economically by these waves of migrants.  Perhaps they might care to recognise that resident European populations too are afraid for their  personal (never mind economic and cultural)  safety.

*"Le impellenti necessità di misure di sicurezza in vista del G7 mi hanno indotto a ripristinare i controlli ai confini con la Germania nel periodo compreso fra il 26 maggio e il 15 giugno 2015"

Friday, 22 May 2015

Voting in General Elections and Nation State Citizenship Statuses in the EU

The opening of the UK labour market to any EU citizen (indeed the opening of settlement rights to any EU citizen) has expanded greatly the presence of  people working in unskilled categories D, E or not working at all. It is these categories that slipped most in the Labour vote,  though C2s disappeared too. 

Much hand-wringing has gone on in Labour discussions of why-we-lost about the turning away of the WWC vote. It is worth noting that voting rights in a UK general election are not conferred by EU citizenship and that there are reservations by many EU nation states on their citizens holding the citizenships of other nation states without losing their own (though not on their EU citizenship statuses).

Lots of potentially Labour voters cannot vote in a general election in the UK in spite of Labour's brechtian efforts in dissolving the people.  Labour needs to  sort that and get all those C2,D,Es on the register asap.  Unfortunately (for Labour) doing so would open voter registration in the UK to further unwanted scrutiny and might even lead to a European-wide standard for electoral registration that would take more from Labour than it gives.

Identity cards would make an unwelcome policy return as well.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Goodwoman? Or Slithy Toviness?

An Italian citizen writing as Paola Buonadonna and married to a UK citizen has attempted to assert that she has every right to vote in a Brexit referendum.  Such a vote would affect her 26-year-long residence in the UK she claims.  She further claims that she has studied and worked in England.  I bet she has.  It's infinitely more valuable (and so much more rewarding, not to mention free before 1992) to study in  some UK universities than in some Italian universities.  It is what she doesn't say that marks her claim to a vote as tendentious.

Italian citizens put their citizenship at risk, or at least under query, if they adopt the citizenship of another nation state (except in very narrowly defined circumstances; marriage to a citizen of another state is not necessarily one of them). Conversely, someone 'marrying-in' had (though that too has shifted) Italian citizenship conferred upon them regardless.  The status of a married-in Italian is one of the very few dual citizenship types recognised by the Italian state as acceptable.  Mr HG has never taken married-in UK citizenship, so trikki is the interpretation of what's what.

Ms Buonadonna does not mention this inconvenience for her native citizenship status (has she children?) in her article in the Telegraph.   It is, after all, a propaganda piece, riding on the outrage bus  attempting to perform the usual progressive, common purpose trick of reaching beyond conferred statuses or powers.  She can have UK citizenship and vote: of course she can.  Someone might just denounce her though and her retirement choice of her own little bit of Italian paradise might  go up in a puff of smoke should the UK choose Brexit and 'European' citizenship be shown to be non existent, or not quite as existent as hoped, after all. Jus sanguinis is so past time, so incorrect, after all.  Except we're all beginning to look rather harder at citizenship conferral in these migratory days.

Englishwomen marrying Italians have greater privileges conferred by marriage than Italian women marrying Englishmen.  Perhaps she'd like to take it up under 'uman-rights'?  

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Seduction of Reductionism

Understanding the 'why' of the UK election results has become, in itself, a vast political propaganda battle;  as has the 'why' of the political polling failure.  It may be wiser to map and then consider the facts on the ground, the extant politico/social realities that the election expressed and the indicators for economic, social, political and diplomatic policies it gave.

Europe is on the back foot now.  We have had vivid, grecian demonstrations of the absolute priority of preventing the loss of any member of the European Union - let alone an EU member of the importance of the UK.  Unlike the impertinences offered to long-gone UK governments until a sufficiently grovelling Heath was installed, the EU is going to beg to prevent Brexit.  It can't accommodate treaty change (or the whole thing will come to bits) so watching with interest the contortions that will circumvent the Treaties and satisfy UK requirements of return of powers to nation states or else might become a national sport.

The electorate is well able to protect its requirement for a decent place to live, a decent wage and a chance for the kids even if its formally available opportunities to do so have been limited to once every five years rather than whenever we get cross enough in less than that time.  The London green belt will be turned into a vast Garden City  (London Garden City sounds rather well) in the next five years, just as was the Lee Valley under various administrations in the middle of the 20th century.

Having returned only yesterday from Welwyn Hatfield I can think of no better outcome for the scruffy 'agricultural' land ringing London then parks, manufacturing industry, sports facilities, and manicured landscape for public enjoyment, with extensive transport and communications, offering decent housing and excellent schools and local clinics.  It may be a 'realised socialist' dream but in truth it was realised by political visions very different from those of Ed Miliband and his ilk.

Economic policy, the proper domain of the state, seems to be in competent and remarkably flexible hands.  Economics has been called the dismal science; it has some claim to be called the dead science.  We know how economics works; we know how to respond to economic requirements and emergencies.   Economic disaster is almost always now political disaster.

Thank Goodness the UK electorate has seized their once-in-five-years' opportunity and rejected the political twerpishness of Ed Miliband.