Saturday, April 08, 2006

Italian election cut'n'paste special

Just in time for tomorrow's Italian elections (which will hopefully see Berlusconi booted out on his corrupt backside), Tobias Jones in the Guardian provides one of the best brief summaries of the complex madness that is the Italian political system I've seen in a fair while. Read the whole thing, but if you don't have time, an expigated version (more traditionally known as wholesale plagiarism and copyright infringement, but at least I'm giving him credit...):

"There are 174 officially registered symbols in this election... That astonishing number of symbols is part of the reason why political debate is so rare. Much of the electoral discussion in the last few months has been about coalitions. The central element of debate is partitica, not politica: it's about party politics... there are 33 parties represented in Romano Prodi's coalition, 35 in that of Berlusconi...

"Unlike Britain, the politicians are all older and more established than their parties. Of all the major parties, only the Partito Radicale was founded before the 1990s... In the previous parliament, a staggering 158 politicians changed party or coalition. Above all, it means politics appears characterised by old-fashioned patronage, in which reciprocal favours are more important than ideals and policies...

"The First Republic (1945 to 1993) was the archetypal PR system. It meant the Italian equivalent of the 1997 "Twigging" of Portillo was simply inconceivable. Proportional representation "lists" guaranteed that the mighty never need fall... At the birth of the Second Republic, 90% of Italians voted to adopt a first-past-the-post method. But what emerged was 75% first past the post and 25% still PR. It was a system so complicated that at every election, large newspaper graphics were dedicated to explaining something called the scorporo. The next time you're idling in Italy, try asking someone to explain it. You'll need a calculator, a lot of coffee and at least a couple of hours...

"To top it all, the process is hostage to outside influences. No one knows how influential they are, but various mafias certainly make their presence felt during elections. Read what you like into the fact that Berlusconi, in 2001, won 100% of the parliamentary seats in Sicily. Organised crime also means politics is affected by the bullet as well as the ballot box... More strangely, this election sees 12 seats in the Camera and six in the Senate decided by the worldwide diaspora of Italian descendants in four electoral colleges (North and Central America, South America, Europe and the Rest of the World)...

"Yet such are the contradictions of the country that its democracy is envied throughout the west. Voter turnout at the last general election, in 2001, was 82.7%. Compare that with 61.3% in Britain in 2005... everyone understands the responsibility of casting their vote. And that despite the fact that proxy and postal votes are unheard of. As you read this, Italian trains will be overloaded with electors returning to their home town to vote. Casting your vote is still seen as of such importance that, for instance, Parma town council offers to pay the train fare for foreign-based Parmigiani to return on election day...

"everyday life is extraordinarily politicised. You can tell someone's politics by the strangest things: which football team they support; which coffee they drink (the Illy brand has leftwing connotations as its owner, the president of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region, Riccardo Illy, is part of the centre-left alliance); which books they read (Tolkien was, during the 1970s, an unlikely icon of the fascist movement); even which shoes they wear (Tods shoes are made by Diego Della Valle, the owner of Fiorentina football team and vociferous critic of Berlusconi). In a country in which politics is so often conducted through symbolism and gesture, there's a kind of livery that allows you to recognise, almost on first acquaintance, someone's political sympathies.

"But the democratic engagement goes deeper than symbolism. There's a quality of debate that is rarely seen in Britain. There are frequently referendums on topics that are politically soft but morally hard, like stem cell research; the debates regarding such subjects are impressively profound...

"In any democracy there's a simple equation that suggests that voters get the politicians they deserve. For more than a century it's been one of the greatest enigmas about Italy. How did a country with such intelligent, inventive and generous constituents end up with such uninspiring politicians? The generous reply is that the democratic equation is invalidated because Italian democracy is skew-wiff. The harsher reply is that the iconic politicians of postwar Italy - Giulio Andreotti, Bettino Craxi and Silvio Berlusconi - really are representative of the Italian majority. The greatest hope for tomorrow's election is that, for once, the result may reflect the idealism, and not the cynicism, of the voting public."
For more, check out a nice overview of the campaigns from di Gondi at European Tribune, and Beppe Grillo getting angry:
"The world press... continues to give the image of an Italy that is like a poverty-stricken ruffian... They are right. They say things that we would be aware of, if it weren’t for the media control here. When will we be free of it? I feel that I’m carrying a weight on my back. I feel a leaden atmosphere around, it’s sickly, it imprisons thoughts, it’s oppressive. Basta! Enough!"

6 Comments:

Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

It is a good thing that if you are an Italian citizen abroad you can vote from here (or anywhere else you are registered) much as I would have liked a quick weekend break in Italy. I voted about 2 weeks ago. The Italian consulate sends all the stuff (in English and Italian) and you just put your cross on the parties you want for The Senate and Chamber of Deputies. There were about 7 parties on the ballot. The problem was working out the coalitions, but I think they often worry about that later when whoever wins tries to form a government.

4/09/2006 09:55:00 am  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mmm..

You unashamedly cut n paste others, but you won't let me cut n paste you, even after politely asking permission and promising to credit the source...

Tut.

4/09/2006 09:56:00 am  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

Ok, you inspired me. I wasn't going to write about the Italian election, but after reading your post I felt guilty (after all, I've spent all these months slagging off Blair and leaving Silvio unscathed). I hope I've made up for that now. My infantile sense of humour found this particularly funny.

4/09/2006 12:23:00 pm  
Blogger MatGB said...

Meestor Cranmer? I just had a look at your blog. I see lots of articles, no outgoing links, lots of quotes from people with no accreditation.

Ergo, it appears to be blanket plagiarism. Link and source everything you write, fair use summaries, etc. Copying the entire thing is simply copyright infrigement.

I try to blogroll every UK based political blog, let me know when you start righting your own content and I'll stick you in as well.

NM; thx for the summary. I don't think it's 100% right, fairly sure they didn't vote for direct FPTP, as they dismissed it for the ludicrous electoral system it is, I think it was AV, not sure, it's 13 years ago after all.

4/09/2006 12:36:00 pm  
Blogger Cranmer said...

MatGB,

Umm.. Plagiarise: to take and use the thoughts, writings, inventions etc of another person as one's own.

I clearly credit sources - The Spectator; The Guardian, etc - and I would hardly be on here promising to credit Nosemonkey if I were involved in such deception.

The lack of outgoing links is more to do with my ignorance of HTML. If I knew how to create a hyperlink 'here' instead of a 50-character webpage address, I'd do so! I am working on it!

4/09/2006 01:56:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Cranmer - I didn't say you couldn't cut'n'paste my stuff if you provide a link and credit to the original, just expressed mild concern at what you might do with it. This site has one of those Creative Commons things after all, so as long as you don't use it for commercial purposes or claim it to be your own original material I'm not too bothered - again, as long as there's a link and a credit.

4/10/2006 12:54:00 pm  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link


(Mostly) Britain
(Mostly) Europe)
Regional Expertise
Misc
New Blogroll Additions

Archives by Date

02/23/2003 - 03/02/2003 | 03/02/2003 - 03/09/2003 | 04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004 | 05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004 | 05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004 | 08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004 | 09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004 | 09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004 | 09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004 | 09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004 | 10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004 | 10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004 | 10/17/2004 - 10/24/2004 | 10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004 | 10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004 | 11/07/2004 - 11/14/2004 | 11/14/2004 - 11/21/2004 | 11/21/2004 - 11/28/2004 | 11/28/2004 - 12/05/2004 | 12/05/2004 - 12/12/2004 | 12/12/2004 - 12/19/2004 | 12/19/2004 - 12/26/2004 | 12/26/2004 - 01/02/2005 | 01/02/2005 - 01/09/2005 | 01/09/2005 - 01/16/2005 | 01/16/2005 - 01/23/2005 | 01/23/2005 - 01/30/2005 | 01/30/2005 - 02/06/2005 | 02/06/2005 - 02/13/2005 | 02/13/2005 - 02/20/2005 | 02/20/2005 - 02/27/2005 | 02/27/2005 - 03/06/2005 | 03/06/2005 - 03/13/2005 | 03/13/2005 - 03/20/2005 | 03/20/2005 - 03/27/2005 | 03/27/2005 - 04/03/2005 | 04/03/2005 - 04/10/2005 | 04/10/2005 - 04/17/2005 | 04/17/2005 - 04/24/2005 | 04/24/2005 - 05/01/2005 | 05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005 | 05/08/2005 - 05/15/2005 | 05/15/2005 - 05/22/2005 | 05/22/2005 - 05/29/2005 | 05/29/2005 - 06/05/2005 | 06/05/2005 - 06/12/2005 | 06/12/2005 - 06/19/2005 | 06/19/2005 - 06/26/2005 | 06/26/2005 - 07/03/2005 | 07/03/2005 - 07/10/2005 | 07/10/2005 - 07/17/2005 | 07/17/2005 - 07/24/2005 | 07/24/2005 - 07/31/2005 | 07/31/2005 - 08/07/2005 | 08/07/2005 - 08/14/2005 | 08/14/2005 - 08/21/2005 | 08/21/2005 - 08/28/2005 | 08/28/2005 - 09/04/2005 | 09/04/2005 - 09/11/2005 | 09/11/2005 - 09/18/2005 | 09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005 | 09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005 | 10/02/2005 - 10/09/2005 | 10/09/2005 - 10/16/2005 | 10/16/2005 - 10/23/2005 | 10/30/2005 - 11/06/2005 | 11/06/2005 - 11/13/2005 | 11/13/2005 - 11/20/2005 | 11/20/2005 - 11/27/2005 | 11/27/2005 - 12/04/2005 | 12/04/2005 - 12/11/2005 | 12/11/2005 - 12/18/2005 | 12/18/2005 - 12/25/2005 | 12/25/2005 - 01/01/2006 | 01/01/2006 - 01/08/2006 | 01/08/2006 - 01/15/2006 | 01/15/2006 - 01/22/2006 | 01/22/2006 - 01/29/2006 | 01/29/2006 - 02/05/2006 | 02/05/2006 - 02/12/2006 | 02/12/2006 - 02/19/2006 | 02/19/2006 - 02/26/2006 | 02/26/2006 - 03/05/2006 | 03/05/2006 - 03/12/2006 | 03/12/2006 - 03/19/2006 | 03/19/2006 - 03/26/2006 | 03/26/2006 - 04/02/2006 | 04/02/2006 - 04/09/2006 | 04/09/2006 - 04/16/2006 | 04/16/2006 - 04/23/2006 | 04/23/2006 - 04/30/2006 | 04/30/2006 - 05/07/2006 | 05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006 | 05/14/2006 - 05/21/2006 | 05/21/2006 - 05/28/2006 | 05/28/2006 - 06/04/2006 | 06/04/2006 - 06/11/2006 | 06/11/2006 - 06/18/2006 | 06/18/2006 - 06/25/2006 | 06/25/2006 - 07/02/2006 | 07/02/2006 - 07/09/2006 | 07/09/2006 - 07/16/2006 | 07/16/2006 - 07/23/2006 | 07/23/2006 - 07/30/2006 | 07/30/2006 - 08/06/2006 | 08/06/2006 - 08/13/2006 | 08/13/2006 - 08/20/2006 | 08/20/2006 - 08/27/2006 | 08/27/2006 - 09/03/2006 | 09/03/2006 - 09/10/2006 | 09/10/2006 - 09/17/2006 | 09/17/2006 - 09/24/2006 | 09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006 | 10/08/2006 - 10/15/2006 | 10/15/2006 - 10/22/2006 | 10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006 | 10/29/2006 - 11/05/2006 | 11/05/2006 - 11/12/2006 | 11/12/2006 - 11/19/2006 | 11/19/2006 - 11/26/2006 | 11/26/2006 - 12/03/2006 |

Blog Pimping

«#Blogging Brits?»
Blogwise
Feedster
Blogdigger
Blogarama
blo.gs
Is my Blog HOT or NOT?
Eatonweb portal
Bloghop
Blogdex
BlogExplosion
Daypop
Who Links To Me
Technorati profile
BlogSearchEngine

Rate Me on BlogHop.com!
the best pretty good okay pretty bad the worst help?

Politics Blog Top Sites

Top of the British Blogs
blog search directory
Advertise on blogs
.