Schizzi di fango

“Il dito medio che Umberto Bossi drizzava ai fotografi il mese scorso dice molto sulle condizioni della politica Italiana”.

Comincia così un pezzo pubblicato il 19 agosto dall’Economist.

Il noto periodico nord-coreano (almeno, così affermano alcuni nostri governanti dimenticando che si tratta di una pubblicazione della conservtrice Inghilterra) dedica una paginetta al “movimentato” agosto della politica italiana che già dal titolo “Slinging dirt” fa capire quale sia agli occhi della stampa internazionale l’immagine del nostro Paese, che continua a sprofondare – al punto che ormai anche le Repubbliche delle Banane prendono le distanze – grazie al governo retto da un uomo di cui – riferisce l’Economist – si dice che avrebbe affermato di essere entrato in politica per evitare la prigione.

Per farci un’idea della considerazione di cui la politica italiana gode all’estero, suggerisco la lettura integrale dell’articolo.

Lungi da me l’intenzione di aggiungere note polemiche, non allego al pezzo la traduzione: la scuola del ministro Gelmini ha sicuramente portato tutti gli italiani a leggere e parlare fluentemente l’Inglese. O no?

Italian politics

Slinging dirt

A lively August for Italy’s politicians
Aug 19th 2010 | Rome

THE middle finger that Umberto Bossi, leader of the Northern League, a partner in Silvio Berlusconi’s ruling coalition, raised to photographers last month says much about the condition of Italian politics. The degeneration has proceeded unabated into the dog days of August, spurred by a dramatic split in Mr Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PdL) party.

The decision, in late July, of 33 members of the lower house and ten of the upper house to split from the PdL and establish a group called Future and Freedom (FLI), under the leadership of Gianfranco Fini, a former ally of Mr Berlusconi, places the prime minister in jeopardy. The role of Giorgio Napolitano, Italy’s president, is crucial. Constitutionally, if the government loses the support of parliament, Mr Napolitano should sound out the possibility of a new administration and, if that fails, call fresh elections. But Mr Bossi and senior members of the PdL claim that Mr Berlusconi enjoys a direct popular mandate and so should have the right to dissolve parliament himself.

Now the attack dogs have been unleashed. On August 15th Maurizio Bianconi, a vice-president of the PdL in the lower house, gave an interview to Il Giornale, a newspaper owned by Mr Berlusconi’s brother, in which he accused Mr Napolitano of betraying the constitution. So serious was the charge that Mr Napolitano called Mr Bianconi’s bluff by inviting him to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Other supporters of the prime minister are calling for Mr Fini, the principal cause of Mr Berlusconi’s weakening grip on office, to resign as speaker of the lower house. They have not been above a spot of muckraking. Il Giornale has been raising questions about Mr Fini’s role in the sale of an apartment in Monte Carlo that belonged to the National Alliance, the party he led before merging it with Mr Berlusconi’s Forza Italia to create the PdL. Mr Fini’s supporters have threatened to retaliate by digging up details of Mr Berlusconi’s old property deals and investigating his murky relations with Vladimir Putin of Russia and Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi.

In contrast to Mr Berlusconi, who cultivates the image of a maverick, Mr Fini makes great play of respecting Italy’s judiciary, parliament and constitution. This has led to speculation that, should Mr Berlusconi fall, FLI might get together in parliament with centrist groups and the centre-left Democratic Party, a combination that would enjoy a slim majority, to support a technocratic administration. Yet such a heterogeneous grouping would be at serious risk of infighting and collapse.

Offstage, another actor is warming up. On August 12th, Italia Futura, a civil-society association launched a year ago by Luca di Montezemolo, a former boss of Fiat, published a note criticising the institutionalised conflict and mudslinging of Italian politics. Mr Berlusconi has little to show for his time in office, the note argued. Business leaders had expected much more.

Church leaders are also concerned. Addressing his congregation on August 15th, Dionigi Tettamanzi, the highly respected archbishop of Milan, did not refer to any specific individuals but said he regretted the way that in Italy the pursuit of individual power and wealth is so often put ahead of the common good.

Mr Berlusconi, a man once reported to have said he entered politics to avoid going to prison, has not always striven to present the impression that he heads a government free from taint. Denis Verdini, a national co-ordinator for the PdL, continues to enjoy the prime minister’s support, despite the fact that the bank he headed until July has been placed in special administration, with regulators reporting irregularities and potential conflicts of interest.

Yet calls for Italy’s best interests to be heeded are likely to be drowned out by the noise of politicians manoeuvring for position when parliament returns in September. Mr Bossi’s Northern League, flush with confidence, is calling for early elections and threatens to call its followers out on to the piazzas if it doesn’t get its way. Expect a lively autumn.