Tuesday, 6 December 2011

It's my country and I'll cry if I want to!

Italian ministers weeps while announcing austerity drive. Meanwhile pensioners, high on cocaine and clutching absinthe cocktails, are too busy with their bunga bunga parties to notice. Only one of these statements is true. But they both sound unlikely, right?

Take a look at the extraordinary footage of Elsa Fornero, new welfare minister in Mario Monti's technocratic government and erstwhile tough-cookie-banker-person, who burst into tears at the thought of the sacrifices she was about to exact from above mentioned pensioners. Who, you guessed it, were not drunk and bunga-ing at all at the time. More likely, pissed off and shivering in their homes.

People back home don't know what to make of blubber-gate and nor, I confess, do I.

I feel mildly irritated that as soon as a woman of substance, the highlight of whose professional career is NOT a Pirelli Calendar, is allowed to the to table she ends up making a feeble spectacle of herself.

Come to think of it, I feel extremely irritated by the self-pitying subtext of her quote, that this is taking a psychological toll on her and her colleagues.

Most of all, I'm puzzled at her apparent shock and surprise. Are we to presume that when Monti called he didn't mention the small difficulty of cash flow experienced by the state at the time and relative need to slash and burn in manner of marauding Huns? (What on earth did he say?? "Yo, Elsa? Fancy a spin in ma motor? Gonna Pimp My country, cos shit is going down, you feel me?" I mean, did she think it would just be bit of naughty fun ?)

But also...

I feel strangely moved by her un-political, un-manly, profoundly human surge of empathy and despair.

I feel sad that we've been so badly managed and ruled that we are on the brink of this strange, (war-less, famine-less, bomb-less) silent catastrophe and the wrong people as ever will pay. And those left to clean up the mess they didn't cause have to act like butchers rather than surgeons. And those who were in power in the last ten years can relax and sit back on their plush padded parliamentary seats, shouting and jeering from the sides, eating pop corn while they watch the drama unfold, as if it had nothing to do with them, eyes and ears sharply trained on what will look and sound good in terms of re-election.

Most of all I feel ashamed of myself that forty year of the same hopeless cliches, four years of recession and four months of bad/scary headlines is all it took to drive me to the verge of an unspeakable thought, namely: when it comes to Italy why bother at all with elections, ever again? When is the last time that our parliament wasn't run like an exclusive private club, a career in politics not used as a straightforward cash machine?

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