Some of my comments on The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/23/beppe-grillo-italian-elections

23 February 2013 6:09pm 33
Thanks Tom for the first balanced article on M5S in the Guardian. At least you have redressed the balance a bit after the absurd editorial the other day which described Grillo as ‘irrelevant’. People have called him a fascist, a communist, a murderer, a demagogue, a nazi but ‘irrelevant’ was a first. Great stuff on the eve of Europe’s first, democratic, non-violent revolution.

Great to see Casaleggio yesterday;

‘I remember a famous slogan from 1968, ‘La fantasia al potere’. We need imagination and creativity in order to get out of the current situation which is much worse than perhaps you realise. However, beyond imagination and creativity, we need transparency, honesty and competence. With transparency, honesty and competence we will change Italy’.

And Beppe almost broke down when he saw the crowd;

‘What’s happening here in Italy is something that has never happened in the history of modern democracy; a non-violent, democratic revolution which is uprooting the powers at be, turning the pyramids on their heads, citizens are becoming part of the state and entering parliament after just three years…words like community, honesty, participation, solidarity, sustainability have spread like rolling thunder and shaken the old politics. There will be problems and conflict but we’ve finally found the right path…a new Italy awaits us and it will be great to be a part of it’.

I can barely believe how far the movement has come. These are momentous times in Italy, now starts the real work

Terrible weather here which may affect the turnout tomorrow.

———————

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/08/beppe-grillo-success-italy

09 March 2013 9:17am 9
@martinduncannon – They set up little parties, newspapers and magazines in order to get state funding. (These figures are annual and from 2007)

Agrotechics Today. 13,000 euros.
Friulii in the World. 2,200 euros.
Trentini in the World.23,000 euros.
Aeronautics. 42,000 euros.
Saint Antonio’s Messenger. 109,000 euros.
Libera. 563,000 euros
Sailing Boats Annual. 516,000 euros.
Motocross. 516,000 euros.
Born Again. 907,000 euros
Horses. 2,582,000 euros.
Linea. 2,582,000 euros.
Love Wins. 3,703,000 euros
L’Unita. 6,817,000 euros
Il Foglio. 3,511,000 euros.
(These figures are from 2010)
La Padania. 4,000,000 euros.
Secolo D’Italia. 3,000,000 euros.
L’Unita. 6,900,000
Il Sole 24 Ore. 19,000,000 euros.
Europa. 3,100,000 euros.
Libero. 5,500,000 euros.
La Repubblica.12,000,000 euros.
Il Corriere della Sera. 25,000,000.

They are paid by the state on the basis of how many copies they print rather than how many they sell. L’Unita for example, prints 120,000 copies and sells 60,000. The rest are given (thrown) away and the other publications are playing the same, neat trick.

Unfortunately, this is just a little example of how Italian politics works.The interests of the media and politics (as well as big business and the mafia) are intertwined. A different example of this can be seen in the fact that Grillo was the only person to forsee the Parmalat and Telecom scandals. If you were a shareholder in Parmalat and followed Beppe’s blog or went to his shows, you could have got out before it crashed. Since he is not part of the system, didn’t have vested interests, he was free to tell us that Parmalat was bankrupt a year before Tanzi’s arrest.

There are some journalists who continue to work freely and if you want to understand what is happening here a good starting point would be reading La Casta by Stella and Rizzo.

I dread to think about the ideas Guardian readers that don’t know Italy very well will have formed about the movement. First they were told he was ‘irrelevant’, then a right-wing infilitrator that wants to maintain ther status quo, then a Fascist. I think if you tried to explain the caste, readers would have a better idea of where the movement is coming from and why decent, honest citizens are trying to overhaul the system.

 

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01 November 2013 12:25pm 29

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/31/eu-unite-sceptics-populists-italian-pm

“The EU’s political mainstream must go into battle against a rise in populism”

Perhaps Mr Letta ought to focus on Italy’s problems for the time being. There are over 3 million unemployed, more than 40% of young people are out of work and we are into our fourth year of recession. It costs three times more than the European average to employ someone and the employee receives half the average salary, VAT has gone up to 22% and every few months there is a mad scramble to find a way of taking a few billion from the poor in order to pay some of the interest on our ballooning public debt which is almost 130% of GDP. Over 4 milion people are in poverty, 47% more than 2010.

Instead of trying to tackle some of these issues, he is working on a national amnesty. This will be music to the ears of three hundred members of local government and forty seven MPs and senators, accused of fraud, conspiracy with the mafia, bribery, fraudulent bankruptcy, abuse of office, illegal financing, instigating corruption, aggravated corruption, false testimony and illegal exchanges with the mafia. These are the people who will soon be voting on whether we should erase their crimes and punishment.

Italy has signed away its sovereignty to the EU and committed itself to twenty years of cuts and tax increases. The Italian people had no say in this. It was decided in secret by the same corrupt political class that created the spiralling public debt, the same corrupt, political class to which Enrico Letta belongs.

We are currently selling off some of our silverware in a vain attempt to fill a few holes in the books. It is not the first time we have done this. In the past, when the Lira was wobbling, this happened;

Benetton Group bought the Autogrills off the state and then sold them on to the French company Carrefour for ten times more that they had paid.

In 1992, we got €930 million for 58% of Credito Italiano. In 2002, Unicredito Italiano sold it for €26,593 million.

Imi got us €1,200 million and Sanpaolo sold it for €16,941 million.

We flogged 60% of Banco di Napoli to BNL for the special price of €32 million (once we’d helped out with €6200 million to clean up a few outstanding debts). A few years later, BNL sold it for €1000 million.

About 3% of our profits then went to banks and financial consultants who had lent a helping hand to the sales. A few other groups were also kind enough to help out, like J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, First Boston, Merrill Lynch, and they got 1% of the pie.

All this was managed by Mario Draghi and Vittorio Grilli who went on to work for Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse respectively.

One million Italians have left the country in the past ten years. There seems to be no future here. Last week, my boss told me that my little salary will be halved this year. He told me that if I didn’t like it, I could look for work elsewhere since there were many people that would be happy to do my job for €5 an hour. I’ll never be able to buy a house and I’ll never have a pension. Before I too decide to leave this godforsaken place, I want to try to change things. This can only come about by removing the corrupt, political class from power.
“The underlying issue facing the next parliament would be how to press ahead with continent-wide economic recovery, he said. “But if we want to move from the legislature of austerity to a legislature of growth, and we find ourselves with the most Eurosceptic, most anti-European parliament in history, this goal will be immediately crippled, halted.”
This is like an abusive husband that has spent the last twenty years beating his wife, promising he’ll stop. When she threatens to leave him nonetheless, he responds ‘Shut up bitch’.

“European citizens have to feel they are being represented by Europe and at the moment there is clearly a problem.”

What, that they aren’t?

“This, I believe, is the winning issue for [M5S’s Beppe] Grillo, for Farage, for Marine Le Pen, for all European populism.”

No it isn’t. Grillo, like all decent Italians, wants people convicted of crimes out of parliament, out of local government and out of the political parties.

“To bring back voters from the M5S, he said, the Italian mainstream needed to show it was “capable of reforming itself, and that [a storming of] the Bastille is not necessary”.

Crisafulli is a mafioso. The police know it, the people know it and Mr Letta knows it. Why doesn’t the prime minister throw him out of the Partito Democratico? The thing is, Mr Letta and his colleagues in the corrupt, political class have lied to us for more than twenty years and the people just don’t believe them anymore. There is no longer any point in making promises. Either they act or they cease to exist.

———–

Andrea Scanzi. 14/2/2014

What is the PD?

It’s the party that buried Rodotà and Prodi, that voted against itself on the homophobia and Giachetti motions, that saved Alfano and Cancellieri, that always supports Berlusconi and that does nothing without the permission of their babysitter Napolitano, who in the last two and a half years has lost interest in even the most basic rules of democracy and has nominated, in the name of the Sacred Cult of Coalition Governments, three prime ministers, voted by nobody, that are responsible (the first two) for having done nothing bar disasters. In Italy, we vote democratically but at the same time, and equally democratically, nobody gives a toss anymore about voting.

Now however, the collection of PD horrors has been enriched by the most precious of pearls. On the one hand, we have the were-rabbit 2, who snivels Iike a baby and gets in a huff because they said he was ugly, and on the other, going back on his word for the hundredth time, a man so corroded by ambition that he doesn’t even realise that everybody put him there in order to burn him, as happened with all the rest.
The champagne is flowing for Berlusconi, M5S, the PD nomenklatura and the entrails that are the Alfaniano and Casiniste. The ‘the most cunning wins’ Renzi has tripped himself up worse than even D’Alema in 1998. Convinced of being the new Kennedy, (not the old Peppa Pig) Renzi, who up until two days ago swore he didn’t want the job, has even said that he wants it until 2018. The mere thought that he wants to pass four years alongside Giovanardi and Formigoni, denotes a level of perversion hitherto unknown.
We have gone beyond the comic, even if there is nothing to laugh about. It is not often that this mix of ineptness, masochism, guilt, arrogance, psychodrama and the delirium of omnipotence can be put together, but the PD has managed it. They are phenomenal.

 

 

 

 

 

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