Italian Brexit


#1

Bit insane.

Can anyone with a better knowledge of European politics than me explain what the hell’s going on?

Oh well, at least we don’t need to boycott Austria for now.


#2

Someone will def be able to describe it better than me but AFAI understand it (anyone who understands it better: please correct me if I’m wrong on anything!)…

It’s a constitutional reform referendum. Currently they have a perfect bicameral system, where both houses need to agree for laws to be passed, meaning lawmaking is a v slow process. Proposed changes in the referendum involve reshaping the role of the second chamber of senators so that they are only consulted on major bills, and having the number of senators cut to 100 (unelected). It’s a lot more complex than that, I think, but that’s what I’ve understood as the basics?

Italian PM said he’d quit if it didn’t go through; looks like he’s lost it by a wide margin (as predicted in advance of the vote) - not a surprise really as most political parties, constitutional experts etc opposed it. Some people think reform doesn’t go far enough, some think it hands too much power to the government.

As with Brexit, for a lot of people it’s not really a vote on the issues as much as a vote of confidence in the governing party/leader, and as Italy hasn’t really recovered from the recession/has 36% youth unemployment rate, people are pissed off with Renzi and everyone’s favourite whipping boys, The Establishment.

The anti-establishment party of choice are 5 Star Movement, who baffle me a bit in all honesty - read into them but all I properly understood about them is that they’re anti-career politicians (want a 2 term limit for anyone in any political position - so a 2-term councillor can’t then become a senator, for example? I think?), and want a referendum on using the Euro (which they oppose). I think they also support ‘internet democracy’, but not really sure how that works. They’re leading in some of the polls, and won the Rome mayoral elections, although they’d struggle to become the national governing party as they’re not keen to go into coalition with anyone (and vice versa). Anyway, a No vote is being seen as a victory for 5SM. Lega Nord, the Italian UKIP, were also strong opponents of the referendum and their strongholds saw high turnout today.

If Renzi goes then there’ll need to be new elections, which 5SM could win, and the consequences of that are further Euro destabilisation (short-term if a referendum on it fails, long-term if it succeeds), further EU destabilisation, and maybe Italexit.


#3

oh mate. that was a bit longer than i thought it was


#4

Yeah pretty much. It was a vote for the status quo.

Beppe Grillo seems like a bit of a populist chancer who says whatever he thinks will make a splash.

Lega Nord could basically not give a shit about anything outside their corner of Northern Italy. It would be like if UKIP was actually SurreyIP.


#5

italian banks are fucked, that’s where the real fun and games will be

and then we get to see the EU bail in rules used, which will fuck over loads of normal people who own bank bonds

and then deutsche bank goes down

and then money stops coming out of the cash machines

and then we start eating each other

woo!


#6

Read that as NEGA LORD


#7

read it as LEGO NERD


#8

Trying to find Beppe Grillo’s weird anti-science/medicine rants in English.


#9

Oh here he is:


#10

Aaaand Renzi’s gone. Lots of Eurosceptics having a little Twitter party about how the EU is finished (bit weird, not sure they understand what’s actually going on).


#11

Fucking hell.

An interesting read: https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertonardelli/italys-most-popular-political-party-is-leading-europe-in-fak?utm_term=.orWRG5Wvm#.bumEOz4b7


#12

When I was looking at M5S’s website just now when I was looking up the anti-vaccine stuff, they seemed to have some sort of weird crowd-sourcing thing in effect for their policy section.

Lega Nord are full of shit when they claim that it’s Southern Italy dragging them down with their backwards, corrupt ways. The North might be richer, and not have to deal with the various regional mafias, but they’re still as corrupt as hell up there. I used to visit schools in Lombardy and Veneto, their heartlands and some of the richest parts of Italy, for work (and might be again after xmas). The course budget would always include a bribe for the school caretaker so the electricity wouldn’t “mysteriously” be turned off, and the chairs wouldn’t “surprisingly” be locked up in a cupboard. You didn’t have to do that in some of the way poorer ex-Iron Curtain countries.

Plenty of schools in these rich area of Italy would have no computers, and one place had maps on the wall still showing the USSR (that was a free gift from a bank). The kids had to buy their own textbooks. The teachers always said “there must be some budget allocated officially somewhere, but we never see it”.

(Italy has definitely improved over the years in some ways from how it used to be though)


#13

That’s fascinating.

It really is flabbergasting that Putin seems to have successfully harnessed the internet as a mass propoganda machine. I mean to the extent that the US has effectively elected a kleptocracy on Putin’s orders.

You’d think when Le Pen et al are extolling the brilliance of Putin someone might point out to voters how most ordinary Russians live and maybe they’d like to have a think about whether that is what they aspire to.


#14

Yeah Lega Nord are just racists as far as I can tell.

I’ve lived in the South (Puglia though so little high level mafia) and the North and I agree with what you are saying about that sort of low level systemic corruption. It’s too complex to go into here but it is very culturally ingrained and nothing about M5S suggests they present an alternative.


#15

yeah it’s literally nothing to do with the EU… and as Italian governments go this one lasted a while.


#16

A lot of British journalists probably spent yesterday asking one another ‘so what’s this referendum about exactly?’


#17

Political instability in Italy? Whatever next!


#18

ah remember the glorious days when this was actually the case


#19

The school with the freebie 1980s maps still on display was so sad. It was just outside Verona, so hardly a poor area, but the school was literally just some empty rundown classrooms and a gym with no sports equipment + a vending machine that looked like it was from the 60s and sold those kinder cakes with the creamy filling, which were rancid from being in there too long/not being properly refrigerated.

Italy has definitely improved since I was a kid though. You see very few buildings with the plaster just falling off or huge potholes in the road these days, unless it’s a really poor area, when they used to be common in prosperous places. Also glad the practice from the lire days of handing sweets out instead of change is long gone (officially because there was a shortage of the right coins, but blatantly a way to fiddle the books), and places seem way readier to let you pay by card and actually issue a receipt.


#20

Yeah that’s really interesting. Italy of course has that cultural aspect of taking incredible care of private spaces but complete disrespect and lack of care for public spaces.

In rural Puglia some of the schools look like prisons from some 1970s film about the American South. Hospitals aren’t much better either and the state of the roads is so bad people regularly die from flash flooding under bridges etc (no drainage, massive craters in the road etc). People are amazing though!

I’m in Bologna now and many of the schools are in incredible historic buildings but many of them are very run down inside even though Bologna is very affluent and many of the kids are from very wealthy families.

One thing I have to say doesn’t match the stereotype these days, in my experience anyway, is the not getting receipts etc, I think the Guardia di Finaza must be pretty effective even if the rest of the police aren’t.