Italy Goes to the Polls

Nicholas Farrell, American Renaissance, 4 March 2018

Can it solve “the migrant crisis”?

One sentence in a shining jewel of a novel by the Sicilian aristocrat Giuseppe Tomaso di Lampedusa about Italian reunification has become a proverb that defines modern Italian politics: “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.” During the Fascist era, things really did change, for once, in this impossibly beautiful country, which is so very difficult to govern, but those few words from Il Gattopardo—perhaps the greatest Italian novel ever written—are a good starting point.

The Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, comparing himself to Michelangelo and Italians to marble—the raw material the Renaissance genius used to fashion his sculptures—once complained to German journalist Emil Ludwig: “It’s the raw material that I lack. Governing the Italians is not impossible. It is useless.”

Since the fall of Il Duce in 1945, Italy has had 65 governments, and today the Italians return to the polls to choose the 66th. Incredibly, for non-Italians at least, since the media tycoon and four-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was forced to resign in November 2011 at the height of the Eurozone debt crisis and the “Bunga Bunga” sex scandals, Italy has had four Prime Ministers, none of whom was actually elected.

The last time Italians voted in a general election was in 2013. No party got anywhere near a majority of the votes but the post-communist…

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