A strong leader stands in an un-drained swamp.
“It’s so easy to laugh,
It’s so easy to hate,
It takes guts to be gentle and kind”
Lyrics by Morrissey to ‘I Know It’s Over’ by The Smiths
A recent survey carried out by the newspaper La Repubblica found that 80% of Italians think the country needs to be run by “un uomo forte” (a strong man). In 2006, only 55% of the populace subscribed to this view while 60% held this belief in 2010.
This rising trend is worrying and depressing on many counts. It indicates that more and more voters are willing to be represented by leaders solely on the basis that they adopt strong opinions and maintain a posture of decisiveness.
On the surface this may seem logical and uncontroversial. After all, who would want a leader to be weak and indecisive? The problem lies with what exactly is meant by the word ‘strong’. Continue reading
Silvio Berlusconi defecates live on Italian TV.
In Italy they are calling it a video message but the European press are rightly calling it a rant and a tirade.
Silvio Berlusconi, a man who knows no shame, is not merely ridiculous but dangerous.
He claims once more that he is an honest, decent man who is just trying to serve the country he loves.
Today he railed against the injustices he has had to endure but the very fact that he is allowed to voice this criticism in a 16 minute uninterrupted political discourse on national television is a further example of the corrupt and biased media which lie at the root of the Italy’s crisis. Continue reading
GIRLFRIEND IN A COMA directed by Annalisa Piras (UK / Italy, 2012)
This documentary film ,co-written and narrated by ex-editor of The Economist, Bill Emmott, looks at Italy as an open wound in the heart of Europe.
As with Emmott’s book (Good Italy, Bad Italy) it examines the nation’s virtues and vices, borrowing the image of the country as a metaphorical girlfriend from the song by The Smiths and quoting liberally from Dante’s Divine Comedy.
In my view, it spends too long looking at the background to the crisis and too little on proposing a way out of the mess. The strongest messages rightly assert that ,if change is going to come, it is going to be the result of the more active role of women and a more enlightened attitude from the new generation.
Lorella Zanardo, who made the film Il Corpo Delle Donne, is therefore right to target her message at schools since the older generation already seem like a lost cause. This is also why it is less important to hear what Umberto Eco and Nanni Moretti think and more crucial to find out what the younger generation have to say. Continue reading
I live in Italy but am not an Italian citizen. Though I was unable to vote in the general election, I do obviously have a vested interest in the result.
I am writing this post before all the votes have been counted but already a number of things are clear.
The number of people who still view Berlusconi as a legitimate leader remains frighteningly high. To my mind, this indicates a level of ignorance that difficult to understand. With large parts of his support coming from the South, it shows that the Mafiosi are also still on his side. Continue reading