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Crisis? Not yet. But a problem…sure. December 5, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Educative to see a certain degree of walking back in the light of the defeat for Renzi (and really what was he thinking of by such sweeping changes and moreover putting his job on the line in quite that way?) from the predictions for immediate disaster.

It was clear from the high voter turnout – 68% of eligible voters cast ballots on Sunday – that Italians were indeed sending a message to the political establishment in Rome. But deciphering that message will not be easy, despite celebratory claims from Europe’s far right.


Italy is facing a number of big issues that were not technically on the ballot: a migration crisis in which the country feels abandoned by Europe; an unresolved banking crisis; steep unemployment and a debt load of 132% of GDP with no solution in sight.

The fact is that Renzi’s defeat was almost a foregone conclusion give the scale of the opposition he faced, and not just from Salvini and Beppe Grillo, the bombastic former comedian and head of the Five Star Movement. But even from within the Democratic party and leftwing voters who defied the prime minister for a whole host of reasons, including a former prime minister, Mario Monti.

But list the problems and issues and note the lack of cohesion in regard to those who might push a strong left line and it’s clear that the likely outcomes are a shift to the right by most political forces. So yet again the right and further right win a victory even if not quite the one they might hope for.

What’s also interesting and depressing is this:

The undeniable boost to the Five Star Movement and the Northern League could solidify a historic allegiance between Italy’s two traditional parties – Renzi’s Democratic party and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia – in order to block more possible gains for the anti-establishment groups.

Is that really the best that can be done? And has everyone forgotten how these ‘anti-establishment’ groups, or some of them, were in the Berlusconi camp in the past?

How does all this play out in the future?


1. GW - December 5, 2016

The idiot meeja’s amour fou for the fascist spectrum means they are painting this as a victory for said spectrum

Many people on the real(ish) left in Italy voted No to express a vote against

a) A continuation of an unelected technocratic government

b) A new constitution where the fascist spectrum could more easily come to power.

That said the political situation in Italy is so rotten & blocked that something has to give. And the banks there are kaput.

The situation is so complex and constipated that it’s hard to say what’s going to come out of it.

BTW – the In Our Time podcast about Garibaldi is well worth a listen for the background to the creation of ‘Italy’ as a thing. Especially for the bit at the end where three historians disagree violently about which social group benefited and lost from unification.


WorldbyStorm - December 5, 2016

Yep, the proposals were madly over the top from Renzi and he deserved to lose.


2. GW - December 5, 2016

Also the polls were way off once again.

Underestimating the vote against by between 10 and 17% is well over the margin of error, I would have thought.


3. Michael Carley - December 5, 2016

It’s a common Italian attitude to changes in the system of government: we don’t like this, but the alternative is even worse. I doubt that the EU or the euro came into it, though Renzi probably did since he would have benefitted from the changes.

I think that, on the whole, Italians prefer their politicians to be bound as tightly as possible, which is a quite reasonable attitude in the circumstances.


GW - December 5, 2016

Indeed – Berlusconi pretty much finished off public trust in the current political system.

It all needs renewing but on socialist and democratic principles, not ones that the fascist spectrum can make use of.


4. GW - December 5, 2016

Perhaps this article from someone on the ground in the Italian left goes to explain why the pollsters were again so clueless.

A big majority of younger Italians voted against Renzi’s reforms, perhaps because they couldn’t get their heads round local campaigning like this:

Perhaps for the first time in many years we now see a true popular campaign, picking up on some of the traditional practices of the socialist and communist movements. Activists have combined door-to-door canvassing with media savvy, leafleting, tagging, and banner drops, planning marches, protests, and flash mobs, spreading video messages and emails across social media, and writing open letters to other citizens that are then distributed in postboxes. Vans fitted with speakers have played No messaging in the streets. Young people have invaded public transit to pass out flyers, sing songs, and talk to other riders. Some transport workers in Florence even sabotaged Yes publicity by tampering with the bus ads.

This whole process has tried to overcome two obstacles: first, national structures are slow and inefficient (saying “if you don’t get moving no one can help you”); second, the media lockdown.

But all you’ll hear in the MSM is that it’s a victory for 5 stars or the Northern Fascist League.


GW - December 5, 2016

I mean the pollsters can track that kind of activity or mobilisation.


5. benmadigan - December 5, 2016

First of all – Renzi was sorta copying Cameron. When Cameron lost the brexit referendum and resigned, Renzi started saying even if he lost he wouldn’t resign. That tune changed in the last couple of pre-referendum days but in any case he lost by such a large margin he could hardly carry on.

Second – why did Italians vote NO?
a) Renzi was not a popular PM because he was not elected. He was the third after the PD won the last general election– The leader of the party Bersani couldn’t come to any agreement with the 5 Star movement, resigned and Letta took over to be dethroned in a sorta coup by Renzi about 3-4 months later. This was not a popular move, leaving rather a bad taste to Renzi’s administration.

b) Whether left- or right- wing or centralists, Italians do not want their constitution to be interfered with wholescale. Berlusconi tried and failed and now Renzi. Which is not to say small adjustments can’t be made but not sweeping changes such as Renzi was proposing


6. CL - December 5, 2016

‘In the economically struggling Sicily and Sardinia, which voted against the changes, the divide between the camps was as large as 44 percentage points. The pattern was similar in areas with high unemployment and social problems…
young voters rejected the proposed changes, while more than half of those over 55 supported them.

‘-James Walston, a professor of politics at the American University of Rome, said Mr Renzi had considerable political skills.

“In some ways he is the new Tony Blair, for example, he is a very good communicator,” he said.’-


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