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Unfit for purpose June 1, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Discussed how unfit for purpose right populists have been proven to be by the pandemic last week. And it’s key to keep in mind that the virus is subject to political, social and economic contexts. Pre-existing dynamics fed into the spread and the response. Some very very perniciously.

For example, read this in the Guardian about the situation in Lombardy and one has to think that this goes beyond ineptness and into the core of their ideological approach. One which has a cosmetic veneer of concern about the working class but in practical terms cleaves to the same old same old approach economically as used by the centre right and onwards.

There are many curiosities about the virus, oddities that should make anyone hesitant about hard and fast determinations as to how it will spread and so on. But, the course it took in Italy appears in no small part to have been driven by ideological and political approaches by the right and far-right – and with an uneasy echo of dynamics closer to home at present, business demands. Lombardy, for example, is surrounded by regions that had many many fewer cases and deaths. Again the virus itself may in part be at fault, and there’s the issue of population density too, but there’s also another factor.

Michele Usuelli, a doctor and regional councillor for the small, leftwing party, Più Europa, pins much of the blame on politics and healthcare mismanagement. He said Lombardy’s fate began to be charted out in the late 1990s when the Italian government decentralised healthcare, giving regions more autonomy.

At the same time, the privatisation of healthcare became more prevalent. Although other regions continued to mostly maintain the public health system, a succession of Lombardy governors, including Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia between 1995 and 2013, and Matteo Salvini’s far-right League since then, allowed the private and public systems to compete for funds based on efficiency.


Even though Lombardy developed one of the most enviable healthcare systems in Italy, the strategy left private firms free to invest in areas of care that made more money, inevitably leading to a reduction of beds in the public system and leaving the region less equipped to meet all types of health needs.

And the political effect of this?

With the enormity of what the region has endured in recent months starting to sink in, anger has been mounting towards the League’s regional president, Attilio Fontana, so much so he said he now needed a police escort. Fontana and Giulio Gallera, Lombardy’s health councillor, are to be questioned by prosecutors in Bergamo, the Italian province worst affected by the virus, amid an investigation into criminal negligence that focuses in particular on the failure to immediately close a hospital where an outbreak occurred and care home deaths.

And business?

Lombardy authorities also delayed closing Bergamo, partly because they were under pressure by business associations to keep things going. “Across Lombardy, production never completely stopped,” said Arnaldo Caruso, a professor at Brescia University and president of the Italian Society for Virology. “People continued to work during the lockdown and without all the precautions that came later.”


1. benmadigan - June 1, 2020

Similar analysis of the Lombardy situation is filling the Italian press at the moment. Privatization of the Health Service over the years under Rightwing administrations seems to have been a major factor in the tragedies.
The Governor of Lombardy has certainly come in for a lot of flak on TV programmes. He seems thoroughly disliked. The Mayor of Bergamo was on TV recently, apologising for the ads “Bergamo is open” which were broadcast as the death toll mounted.
However, there were other Lombardy-linked factors – population density, pollution, lack of awareness of the danger at the beginning of the outbreak, particularly in the Bergamo area. For example, lack of proper sanification in one hospital after the first case was diagnosed led to infecting patients, visitors, staff. and spreading the disease through all the surrounding villages.

On another note, people might be interested in this UK homegrown example of how one member of the right-wing elite apparently behaves


Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - June 1, 2020

Thanks Ben – that’s great additional info


2. gregtimo - June 6, 2020

‘More Europe’ seems to be a liberal formation, not left . They are in the centre-left coalition around the ‘communist tradition’ neo-liberalised (though lately a bit less) Democratic Party (PD), which is in itself a long long story (in part rescued by the Sardines in recent times) . The hard to far left there all but died electorally in the past few years due seeming intense sectarianism and changes in the electoral system . There are some soft left elements in the coalition that left the PD or left the harder left (afaik) . An apocryphal story, it seems wise to be in the PD coalition at this time , though some may think that a pop ext right Lega+Brothers victory is eventually inevitable given the opinion polls
The region being an old Left stronghold, esp the former ‘Red Bologna’ so a damned relief that the ‘centre-left’ managed this in fact https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/2020/01/how-italian-left-defied-far-right-emilia-romagna

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