Italialand*

Understanding the perverse ways of italian politics can be arduous. Here’s a quick Q & A to grasp the present situation, less than two months away from the elections. Is Mario Monti out? His government is, having resigned in december, but he isn’t: contradicting earlier explicit declarations, he’s actually running for prime minister. Does he have a chance? Slim, according to the latest polls. Is he left or right? Neither, he says: “I’m about reforms”. But looking at his allies he’s right-leaning center, ultra-catholic and very conservative. How about Berlusconi? Wasn’t he out? He was, but came back – to the dismay of younger politicians in his party: he’s 75, if he wins and his administration will last, by the next election he’ll be 80. What about the scandals and the trials? He has three ongoing trials but doesn’t flinch: he’s all over the media (especially his own), bragging about his brand new “49 years old younger than him” girlfriend. His slogan? No more taxes. How’s he gonna do it? He won’t say. And the left? Lame, as usual: hazy politics, unclear goals, contradictory statements, and no actual progressive proposals. They might actually win, and blow it again like they did in the past 20 years. How can italians bear all this? Easy: we’ve got other stuff on our minds – like the highest taxation levels in EU (of which very little actually comes back in services, ecc.).

* The title of a successful (and rather funny) italian satirical tv show.