Thursday, 8 March 2018

A man who hopes to save Italy and Europe


 Asylum permits per thousand inhabitants across Italian regions

I recommend this interview in The Spectator with Matteo Salvini, leader of Lega, the League, which did better than the other right-wing parties in the Italian election and came ahead of Signor Berlusconi's Forza Italia. 

Matteo Salvini may become Prime Minister but I imagine the Italian president and establishment will find a way to prevent this. The interview makes him seem a very attractive figure.

I wonder why some British papers call him far right. His party was founded to break up Italy into pieces, something that, as a nostalgist for the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and pre-1861 Italy before it was conquered by Sardinia, I very much want to happen. Now the League campaigns not to take more migrants and to deport illegal immigrants. 

This is not in any way fascist but a consummation devoutly to be wished.

I don't know why the press calls him populist, which to me means someone who advances policies to appeal to ignorant people without believing in them or caring if they will work.  He passionately believes in his policies and they have an excellent chance of working, if the E.U. cannot prevent their implementation. 

As for the E.U.'s policies, to quote Sir Christopher Wren's tombstone in St Paul's Cathedral, reader if you seek its monument look around you. 

Populist, in fact, usually nowadays means wanting to implement the people's wishes. Another word for what used to be called democratic, but populists are considered undemocratic. Referendums are undemocratic, we are told, and now even general elections can be, if they are won by people who want to do what the voters want.

The Washington Post has a headline that sums up how the word democracy now means the opposite of rule by the people.

It’s up to Merkel and Macron to rescue democracy in Europe

The Economist, which has a knack of almost always being in the wrong on everything, says 

Italy votes for irresponsibility

In other words, the electorate has let everyone down. 

This seems to be a pattern and one at which I rejoice.  

Except that what the Economist calls irresponsible I call responsible. The electorate were far more responsible on Sunday than when a third of Italians used to vote for the pro-Soviet Communist Party and the country was always governed by short lived, hopelessly corrupt Christian Democrat-led coalitions.

What next? 

Perhaps, in Al Jolson's words, you ain't heard nothing yet. 


  1. Best section: "Populist, in fact, usually nowadays means wanting to implement the people's wishes. Another word for what used to be called democrats but populists are considered undemocratic. Referendums are undemocratic, we are told, and now even general elections can be, if they are won by people who want to do what the voters want."

    Love it!

    1. Thank you very much. Praise from you means a lot to me.

  2. In other words, the electorate has let everyone down.

    I don't understand why voters keep doing this. The rules are very simple. You vote for the candidate that the media tells you to vote for. What could be easier? And yet voters keep getting it wrong.

    The answer is to simplify the voting system. Having candidates from multiple parties just confuses the voters. It would be far better if only one party was permitted. That system worked well in the old Soviet Union.

    1. Dr. Yascha Mounk who describes himself on his website as "one of the world's leading experts on the crisis of liberal democracy and the rise of populism" is very unhappy. This, then, is the kind of politics you get when trust in liberal democracy hits rock bottom, mutually hostile anti-system parties proliferate, and ideologically coherent coalitions become impossible. Welcome to 21st-century Europe.

      "The consequences for Italy are likely to be tragic. The country is not only unspeakably charming and beautiful; it also retains real economic strengths, including a vibrant manufacturing sector in the north. But its history of corruption and over-regulation has, for many decades, been sapping its strength. While Italy had a higher per capita GDP than the United Kingdom as recently as the early 1990s, it has barely experienced any growth in the past decades and now lags far behind."

    2. He doesn't think the euro has been a tragedy for Italy nor the influx of Africans into Sicily. He thinks the country would continue to be charming if only the last government had remained in power. This man says he is an expert on the rise of populism.

    3. "Similarly, it is tempting to think that things will go back to normal if Donald Trump leaves the White House in 2020. But as the experiences of Italy and many other countries around the world show, it is not enough to beat an authoritarian populist to free a country from the threat of strongman rule. Anybody who wants to save liberal democracy has to resolve the deep reasons for public frustration about the political system, not just combat its most immediate and glaring manifestation." The deep reasons are the migrant influx, first and foremost, and the devastation caused by adopting the euro.

    4. Mounk clearly doesn't care about authoritarianism in Israel even though its treatment of Palestinians and African migrants makes Orban look like a liberal cuck. No mention of Israel in the entire article.

      Mounk whines about "authoritarianism” and "strongman rule" in Europe because he instinctively knows it builds strong countries and societies. Jews are powerful in weak, oligarchic countries so they will always attack strong leaders. They understand it on an instinctive level.

      Of course Mounk knows the African influx has been a tragedy for Italy. That's why he likes it! He supports it because he knows its harmful not because he thinks its good.

    5. They could dissolve the electorate and choose a new one. In fact this is exactly what they are doing.

  3. Bravo … thoroughly enjoyed it!