Shortest Italian book ever written? Great Italian War Heroes. No wait, I have another one. Great post-war Italian political leaders. Longest Italian book ever written? Post-war Italian governments. Man, they have had a few.
Yes. Italy was at it again. Another year. Another election. And another new government. Guess how many governments Italy has had since the end of World War II? Hold on before you answer that one. Remember, it has been 63 years since the end of the war. You would think maybe 20 odd right? One every four years and maybe one or two that didn’t last the whole 4 years – or whatever the term in office might be. Try again. 30? Nope, try again. 40 maybe? No sirree. Come on, be bold. 50? Nah, but getting slightly warmer. 60! Almost there. It’s 62 in fact. Yes, 62 governments in 63 years… America has only had 43 Presidents since 1789… Bah! Call that a democracy? Only 43 in 219 years. Amateurs.
Guess who won? Berlusconi won again… How does he do it? I mean this guy make Bush sound like Shakespeare. He once told a German member of the European Parliament, ““Mr Schulz, I know a movie producer in Italy who is making a movie about Nazi concentration camps. I will suggest you to play the role of a Kapo. You are perfect!”. And he also said that he had to “dust off my playboy skills” when he met with the (female) Finnish president, Tarja Halonen. And here is a favourite one… At an awards dinner in January 2007, Berlusconi was quoted as saying, “If I wasn’t already married, I would marry you right away,” and “With you, I’d go anywhere” to Mara Carfagna, a representative of Forza Italia and former showgirl. These flirtatious comments prompted his wife Veronica to demand an apology in a front-page letter to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, one of Berlusconi’s rival publications. In a statement released through his political party, he begged for forgiveness and stated that he would “always protect [Veronica’s] dignity.” And he has been rumoured to be linked to the mafia and a (previously) secret masonic lodge. How does he do it? Well, I guess it helps a bit that he owns about half of the media in Italy.
But really. 62 governments in 63 years? Can you even say that they had a government at all? Imagine you are the new Prime Minister. You just won the election. Start getting all your sh*t together and get ready for the move into your grand new palace, Palazzo Chigi. Picked out the new Italian designed furniture and drapes. Bought the Fiat and Ferrari to fit into the garage. Got the new pizza pans and pizza pots. Had the last party in your home town in Sicily – to show respect to the Don. Said goodbye to mamma because you are at last leaving the house. And just as you arrive to move into your new government residence and take up office they tell you that a new government has just been elected and you are outta there. Damn. You blink and you are out.
I think I know why they keep on changing governments in Italy. You see, Italians are very community orientated. The family is very important. And the uncles and aunts and sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews – all of them. They are close. Share meals together. Go to the market together. Fight and lose together. Make a noise together. Throw their arms up in disgust and annoyance together. They do everything together. So they love all equally and truly believe in the principle of a government by the people, for the people and of the people. But the push it just a tad too far. They also want everyone they know to have a chance to be in government. Today Papa Prodi, tomorrow Uncle Giuseppe. And don’t forget little Rosalina wants a chance too.
And don’t forget, Italy is run by men. Women hardly ever try to enter politics in Italy. The last well known Italian female politician was porn-star Cicciolina. And there is a very good reason for this. Women have brains. They know that trying to be an effective politician in Italy is like trying to win a major modern war. It just doesn’t happen in Italy. And someone must run the actual Italy. Seeing that the men are always busy with the move in and out of parliament – women might just as well do the real work to keep the country up and running.
You know why the men move in and out of Palazzo Chigi apart from losing the vote before they even won it? Because Italian men can never stay away from their mothers. They live with their mothers until they get married at age 40. And then hope that their wife will treat them like their mother did. They don’t, because they have their own sons to look after and spoil so the men go into politics to get away from their wives who don’t adore them day in and day out – rather just a clip behind the ear. Then they “fix” the results so they can lose quickly and move back in with their mothers. Sigh… Italian men and their mothers…
These Italian politicians won’t be able to organise a piss-up in a brewery. They just don’t organize anything. Blame their mothers who organized their lives including their drawers and selection of hair-gel. These men manage to run nothing and do nothing in politics – and then ride of those credentials for years. Thank god they don’t run the economy. But it leaves me with another problem. How can they call the mafia organized crime? How do they organize crime? I mean really, these guys can’t organize jack. How the hell do they organize crime?
But here is the thing. I actually think that the Italians are way ahead of us. They know what happens when a government gets too comfortable. Or when government actually tries to run a country. It is all downhill from there. They believe in a “light touch” government the conservatives in America and UK can only talk about (but never actually do or want). And how do you ensure that you never get a government who actually govern? Just don’t give them a chance to settle in. Change them as often as you do your underwear. Or as quickly as what you surrender. “Hey, Prodi is talking about politics and people in one sentence – I think it is time to elect a new government before they get some weird idea of actually doing something as a government”. And, in any case, we are into the fourth month of 2008 and need to change the sheets. Might just as well change the government as well. It’s called Spring Cleaning in my house. We did it last weekend – and so did Italy.
And we can learn a few things from them. Let’s look at Zimbabwe compared to Italy. Zimbabwe has had three governments since World War II – the Queen of England, Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe. Three in 63 years. And see where that got them! Stability in government = instability of country. Italy? 62 governments in 63 years. Instability of government = stability of country. I say let’s hire a few Italian political consultants to advise a few leaders in Africa on how to run their countries. Bye-bye Bob…
This might be tongue in cheek, but I love Italy for being Italy. They give me an easy target to shoot at. But they win in the end. I would rather be them than against them (except in war). What’s the alternative? Switzerland? Let’s see… mm… With all the turmoil, lost battles, animated talking, general chaos and joke politics Italy has given us what? Well, they have given us Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, Picasso, Vivaldi, Verdi, Versace, Armani, Pavarotti, Domingo, Carreras, Bocelli, Ferrari’s and pizza and pasta, to name but a few. And Switzerland? Land of continuous peace and stability? Where nothing ever happens and it carries on for months? Well, all that peace and stability gave us Swiss cheese and the bloody cuckoo clock.
Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick with the Italians. I think they are on to something. It could be the next election for all I know.
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