Well at least for Wheel of Fortune Renzi that it is. For the rest they found themselves also rans and flops.
As so often with Italy, as the rest of Europe apart from Germany moved into anti EU mode, the Italians decided to embrace it. In some ways it is not surprising given the Italian love of big government as a way to solve problems but also because Renzi had, to the surprise of many, picked these elections to ask for a mandate to govern till 2018 without ever having to have faced a General Election. To ease this daring ploy along he announced a series of popular tax cuts, government spending cuts and reforms of the bloated local government . All this went down really well with the populace though they are still raising eyebrows in Brussels as there seems no way he can pay for them. Though that often seems a mute point in Italy as such reforms then embark on a lengthy process to get ratified after the initial burst of publicity when they are announced. It is sobering to think that the local government reforms announced, also with huge fanfare, by Mario Monti another non elected leader of Italy ( we have had three ) were rejected by the Supreme Court on appeal from the local governments 3 years after, certainly I thought, they were a done deal. So I guess those waiting for their €80 a week tax saving might be holding their breath for quite sometime.
There were two big losers last night. The Five Star Movement that surprised the world when they grabbed 25% of the vote at the last election had made some big predictions over the last couple of weeks. Beppe Grillo the ” foul mouthed” comedian as all the press here dub him ( they obviously haven’t heard most British comedians ) had promised 10 million votes for his party and was today to have been marching on Rome ( like Garibaldi and Mussolini before him ) to demand the removal of our ancient President and the entire government.
He actually got 5 million or 21% of the vote and today instead of marching his blog just has a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s poem If on it :
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same
The other flop was Il Cavaliere Silvio B. and his new party Forca Italia.
He had promised to bloody Renzi’s nose but instead got just 16% of the vote, way below Renzi and his 41% . Being Il Cavaliere , of course, he put a good spin on it and more like a politician said it was a good wake up call for his party and that had he not been prevented by the left leaning judges from attending rallies and giving speeches throughout Italy because of his conviction for fraud earlier this year, the result would have been very different.
Renzi meanwhile is touring the TV channels delighting in his victory that he says came about because unlike other countries Italian voters chose hope over simple anger. No prizes for guessing which man of the three here was the one apparently offering hope !
Renzi will send 31 MEPs to Brussels which is more than Miss Merkel and he will become a leading light there. He is hinting he wants the EU to reform but is sharing no details.
Given his task here he would do better to focus on Italy rather than the EU but like most career politicians he sees his next job as being in Brussels and one only has to look at the self wealth creation of Baron and Baroness Kinnock to know why.
Still lest you think things are changing here in Italy with our ruling classes it was good to also read this morning of the arrest of the former Minister of the Enviroment Corrado Clini. He apparently mistook his own bank account for that of a charity in Iran and slipped a cool €3,000,000 into it instead of theirs. Big whoops.
Good to know that despite all that hope, nothing really is going to change in Rome isn’t it?
Back to normal Puglia stuff tomorrow