29 April 2008

What's wrong with Italy?

Dear readers,

This morning, the results of the elections in Rome have been confirmed and published: The PDL (People of the Freedom Party) Gianni Alemanno, actually a Neo-Fascist, has been elected mayor of Rome by a large margin of 7.4 points. The centre left Francesco Rutelli admitted his defeat, due to a combination of voters bored with the 15 years of ruling of the capital city by the left and to their adhesion to the anti-immigration and security promises of the right. The right wing party scores is also a reflection of the national level elections two weeks ago.

But what does this mean? It means that it is nowadays perfectly ok for millions of European voters to put a yes bulletin in a ballot box for parties which are openly claiming the inheritance of Benito Mussolini. And I can already hear the allegations of some pundits that this is an Italian specificity and that Italian elections and politics have never been really that serious. To these I will tell: wake up! Italian elections might have some folkloric elements (how could it be different with a clown like Berlusconi heading the right wing alliance), it is very serious that only 63 years after World War II, Europeans have learned nothing. And it is really not limited to Italy.

The positive point with Italy is that at least they don't mind calling the thing by its name. After all, how could they hide it when the head of one of the right wing parties is Alessandra Mussolini? But look at facts: Austrians have voted neo-nazis in a coalition government for years and "tolerant" Dutch regularly vote for parties such as the PvV (Party of the Freedom, a fascist group) or ToN (Trots op Nederlands, from ex-prison guard Rita Verdonk). What is wrong with Europe?

In my views, two things, none of them easy to reach:
- lack of ambition and vision for its politicians and intellectuals
- lack of education and awareness for its citizens.

Edit: thanks Paco for the correction about ToN... ;-)

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