I am baffled by Italians politics and especially how on earth the process works. The papers and TV today are all saying that the reform of the Senate one of Renzi’s many planned reforms was been approved. . By tomorrow this will have been picked up by the financial press around the world and economists will again start waxing on about how Renzi is busy saving the country and the Italy is through the worst etc.
It just isn’t true of course. The reform has passed the Committee stage. We have a long way to go yet. This bill will now spend at least 3 months bouncing between the Senate and the Lower House, much longer if it is contested and even then there is still miles to go. My god it is only 4 months ago that the Regional reforms bought in by Mario Monti (remember him ) way back in the year dot were finally tossed out by the Supreme Court and I have no idea how it ended up there.
Laws get “passed” and slowly disappear from view. Others are just plain weird and you wonder why on earth they bother with them. Take the latest move to try to reign in the massive black economy here. The plan, I guess, was to make small businesses like plumbers and electricians declare any transactions over €30. How ? Well they must allow the customer to use a debit card or credit card or cheque to pay for the transaction. Then there is a record of it and something for the tax man to get his/her teeth into. What a great wheeze you can hear the taxman saying as he pushes this into parliament. Oh yes says the treasury and Renzi will fill those empty coffers.
Well, like the reform bill, it is barely beginning it’s long and lonely road through the system. But whoever put it together has missed out two key bits. There is no penalty if the small business refuses to take a card or cheque and the law allowing cash payments up to €1,000 has not altered. So it is a useless law. Again as an headline for foreign consumption it looks great. “Renzi clamps down on black economy” . In fact it has no teeth. What it has highlighted is the huge charges made by Italian banks to process such payments be they credit card or debit card. It is never difficult to see how banks here afford to pay 16-18 month a year salaries. They squeeze their customers until the pips squeak. Lombardy has already said this cannot become law until the banks are forced to lower their charges to EU averages. Wow another pig just went by the window.
So who is this rowing the boat in a state of slight undress ?
Yes you’re right it is Charon or as he is known in Roman mythology Caronte.
Why is he on the blog ? Well he is arriving on Saturday according the weatherman today. Caronte as you all know was the ferryman of Hades who rowed you across the Rivers Styx and Acheron into the afterlife. He didn’t do it for free so Romans were buried with a coin in their mouths to pay the tip otherwise you were left to roam the shores of the river for 100 years.
Anyway he isn’t arriving to take part in a rowing regatta. He is a new anticyclone of hot air ( hurrah at last ‘cos we had yet more rain today) coming up from Africa. But like so many ferrymen he will not dally long before setting off back to Africa. By Tuesday the rain and storms are back again so make the best of the his visit during the no summer summer if you are down here.
My small swimming pool lies unused with me still throwing vast quantities of chemicals in everyday. At least with the rain I don’t have to top it up.
I’ve realised now I bought the wrong ruddy pool. Here is what I should have got:
This really isn’t a spoof you can buy them on Amazon. The bit on the left is a wood burning stove which you light. The screen protests you from the flames and you sit in the tub as the the water passes through those steel pipes to get heated by the stove.
The only problem is who gets out to throw more wood on it. Though there is a BBQ attachment that fits over the wood oven so you can cook whilst having a hot tub. Love the drinks tray don’t you.