venerdì 31 ottobre 2008

Seeing Red

This blog is not usually a place for highbrow political or cultural musings, as any regular reader will know, but having spent the best part of a week imprisoned under a blanket with just the TV and internet for company while Luca earned our daily bread, I have stumbled across some interesting reading. And by interesting I mean completely and utterly terrifying.
So, we are in crisi. Economic slowdown, recession, call it what you will – in short, the world is changing, and when the world starts to change, so do its inhabitants.
I’m not going to go into the whole Obama / McCain saga – mostly because I’m not American and so am following it with only one ear – although I appreciate that, like it or not, what happens in the US does tend to have an impact on what happens to the rest of us. I don’t like to be known as ‘the rest of us’ either, but there we go.
The issue is this: Italy is a pretty messed-up country when it comes to politics. 61 governments in 63 years, Fascist brigades terrorising the population until as recently as the 1990s, and Benito Mussiolini’s granddaughter, Alessandra - former glamour model / singer / actress – a prominent member of Berlusconi’s current right-wing governing coalition. Even more worrying than this, however, is the current level of tension between the authorities and the man in the street, or rather the student in the street, with demonstrations and marches in protest at recent education reforms having paralysed the country for the past few days. Whilst it is easy to write off such events as young people taking the opportunity to cause trouble and skip class with the excuse of taking an interest in political reform, I was reminded by Alex of, that this is exactly the way that real revolutions start, and judging by its social and political history, Italy is a prime candidate. As Alex points out, former Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga appears to be adamant that Italy is returning to the era of the Brigate Rosse (Red Brigades) – in other words, left-wing extremist terrorism, born out of the reaction to hardline right-wing policy in an already unstable political climate. Just last year a number of supposed ‘militants’ were arrested in Padova and a quantity of explosives uncovered and linked to bomb plots against national newspapers and one of Berlusconi’s luxury villas. The employment situation in Italy today is, quite frankly, dire. Aside from a 6% unemployment rate (roughly the same as the UK and US as far as I know), there is the even more discouraging reality of a working world which doesn’t support its employees, offering short-term contracts, low wages and poorly-paid ‘work experience’ which have all but replaced the ‘steady job’. High taxes, low wages, poor services, no job security, rising inflation and economic slowdown are not just interesting subjects for expat blog readers. The fact is that we are facing a winter of discontent, which some believe could bring with it a new era of extremism. Let’s hope for all our sakes that it doesn’t come to that.

3 commenti:

Anne in Oxfordshire ha detto...

yes we are heading for a recession...not good news.

You are right, things that happen in America always have a knock on effect with the rest of the world..especially Britain...

None of jobs are safe, unfortunately. My husband works in Formula 1, that is being hit, will just have to listen out, and see what it brings next year!!

Hope you don't get too down about it!

Piccola ha detto...

Everyday on the news here they announce the thousands of layoffs that are happening around the country. It's really scary. My retirement savings is dwindling daily. My Italian is an assistant professor at a university in Milan making peanuts and his career is going nowhere fast. He has a better chance to succeed here, even with the current state of affairs. If all goes as planned, he will be here early next year.

As an American, I can tell you that I feel terrible that what happens here affects the world. And without hesitation that if McCain/Palin win, well, I don't even have words. It would be devastating and I think there will be an American Revolution. Actually, no matter who wins, there's going to be a revolution because I have seen videos of McCain supporters that are so discustingly prejudice and ignorant. I'm positive there will be problems.

Election night is going to be nerve wracking.

Caro ha detto...

It's a bit scary alright. But Silvio says everything's going to be okay, and how can you not trust a man with such meticulous hair-plugs?