Talking about a revolution

I suppose it’s not really for me to say anything given that a) I don’t really understand Italian, b) I don’t really understand the politics and c) I never vote (any more) ……

but …….

A bit of background. In the recent elections, the Five Star Movement (M5S) got something around 25% of the vote and were the largest “party” (in terms of votes) but, because of the way that the system works here, they got far less than 25% of the MPs in the parliament.

They were elected on the basis that they would change the system. Removing the corrupt practices (and people); reducing the enormous expenses run up by the parliament and MPs; give the power back to the people. They promised to do certain things like, take a wage cut when they were elected, not form an alliance with another party just to get power (see the Lib Dems in the UK – need I say more?), etc.

Then came the first thing the new parliament had to do. Elect a Speaker. It seems that there was this final run-off between 2 candidates and, at the vote, Fat Pete (Pietro Grasso) won. Now, he could only win with the support of some (maybe even a few) of the M5S MPs. Now, before the vote, it had been agreed that the M5S MPs would submit blank votes (it seems this is a secret vote done by paper) – but the reality was that some, quite obviously, did not submit blank votes.

Beppe Grillo is angry. He wants to find out who the M5S MPs are and expel them from the “party”. Some of the M5S supporters are suggesting that BP is trying to run the “party” exactly like the existing system whereas the M5S MPs were elected to represent the people. The new Speaker is a well-known anti-Mafia campaigner. It is said that the M5S MPs from Sicily were the ones that voted for him, since they have been successful in Sicily because of their anti-Mafia stance.

It is also said that some M5S MPs voted for him to ensure that Schifani (a ultra-right-wing candidate proposed by Berlusconi’s party) didn’t get in.

BP accuses these MPs of having “lied” to the voters.

So, here it is, my opinion (for what it’s worth):

You can’t stop the corruption and the huge expense by working “within the system”. It’s important that this parliament fails (and fails quickly) to enable people to vote again. Having seen how well the M5S has done, more people are likely to vote for them. Now they are seen as a force for change and change is what Italians want (I think). If they get a much bigger vote, they might be able to form a government and actually DO something. Already the MPs have said they will only take a proportion of their salaries – but they cannot change the system to make this compulsory – unless they get control.

If they start trying to work “with the system”, they will, ultimately fail (as have the Lib Dems in the UK) and disappear from view (as will the Lib Dems at the next election).

So, they need to make the parliament fail and quickly.

This is the bigger picture. This is the road to salvation. This is a revolution.

C’mon guys – get with the bigger picture!

p.s. I like the name “Fat Peter”. It makes me smile.

Tracy Chapman – Talking About A Revolution

The Lives and Loves of Hana Lee

I’ve just read my first “real” e-book (or is it ebook like email. Perhaps, in time, it will become an ebook).

This is one written by someone I know. Well, I say “know” in that I’ve been following his blog (The Ugly Truth) and he came to stay one night at my place on his way somewhere else and we had a pizza and a beer.

Anyway, it’s good and you should read it and not only to support him in his first venture in self-publishing (but not his first book).

The book is The Lives and Loves of Hana Lee.

It’s rather good and I read it in a few days (which tells you that it’s good) even if I would have preferred a paper copy.

I warn you now that it has quite a lot of sex in it – but, for those of you who like sex, I guess that’ll be just fine.

I recommend it. Read the sample in the link above and then, of course, buy it. You will buy it ‘cos you’ll like the sample and you’ll just HAVE TO find out what happens. :-)

Like a porn movie

Well, it was supposed to look something like this:

It didn’t look so bad after he’d done it but the next day it really didn’t come right.

Nor yesterday.

Today seems a bit better. I’ll see how it goes over the next week.

But, it might be the closest I can get, I suppose.

I’ve always found it quite traumatising, having my hair cut. I really don’t know why but I’ve been like this since my early 20s. I know it may sound stupid but I feel it’s somehow invasive. Invasive of my privacy and, in an even weirder way, a little like sex. But without the thrill of having sex. Probably more like starring in a porn movie – or, at least, as if I was starring in a porn movie.

I wonder if anyone else has this problem?

Probably not. In fact, surely not.

So it’s just me then :-(

Dino is 5

Well, he was 5. Yesterday.

Above is the cake, lovingly prepared by F.

It looks rather good, doesn’t it. Obviously, unless you’re a fan of steak tartare and dog biscuits and little dog treats that said, on the pack, “chicken sandwich”, which, of course, they weren’t, then you wouldn’t be so keen.

However, Dino liked it a lot. There was a smaller version, without candles, for Piero.

He also had lots of presents

as you can see. Although, I think that Piero enjoyed them even more than Dino did. All of the above were bought by Frankie. I bought chewy things like the one below

And, once again, the place was full of balloons :-)

I think Dino enjoyed it. Also Piero.

Their favourite toy is the big white chicken thing, at the moment.

Next is Piero’s first birthday at the end of April and, I suppose, we shall have to do this all again.

M5S Manifesto

Further to my last post, here is the manifesto, in English for the biggest vote-catching party in Italy at the recent elections.

Some of it you (and I) don’t get since it is the repeal of certain laws here.

However, most of it seems just like common sense. Doesn’t mean they could achieve it though.

M5S Plan for Government

In the meantime, there’s talk of another “Technical” government. That will be a whole new disaster, for sure.

And the leader of the left-wing majority coalition (who still need M5S to pass any laws) says he won’t try to win over Beppe Grillo.

And now some people are saying that BP should start talking to them – which, of course, he absolutely should not. His whole point has been that the people currently “in power” are corrupt and are the reason Italy is in bad shape. And he’d be right. If this thing is going to work, they (the M5S) HAVE to stay out of it.

As I’ve always said, for the politicians we have, the only way forward is to get rid of them all and start again – with people who will do it for the good of the population and not for the good of either themselves nor for the good of the bankers or big business.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Italians are NOT crazy and a comedian is NOT in charge.

I have to say something about it because it’s not just mildly annoying but, rather, very annoying.

A comedian was NOT elected to the Italian Parliament. A comedian did NOT win more votes than any other party. A comedian CANNOT, in any way, be compared to the other person they consider a clown – namely Mr B.

That’s just like saying that Ronald Reagan was an actor when he became President of the USA or Arnold Schwarzenegger was an actor when he was the Governor of California.

There should be a “used to be” somewhere in these headlines and media reports.

For a number of years now, Beppe Grillo has been campaigning against corruption and waste in Italian politics and Parliament. That’s not really a funny thing and nor was he doing it to boost his status as a comedian. Nor, in fact, given his party’s “rules”, can he ever take a seat in the Parliament given that one of the major “rules” is that no MP should have a criminal conviction – of any kind. And as he has a criminal conviction, he won’t be an MP.

From outside Italy, there’s so much misunderstanding about Italy and the way that it works (for good and bad).

For a start, there isn’t a system here like the UK/USA. There aren’t two or three parties. Beppe Grillo’s M5S (5 Star Movement) had the biggest share of the vote in the whole of Italy – 25% – and 75% of people voted (they have a very high turnout in Italy compared to, say, the UK) – this means that, as the biggest party, only 19 people out of every 100 voted for M5S.

It’s hardly a mandate.

And, that’s part of the problem. If his was the biggest party (from the votes) and, yet, less than 20% voted for him, what about the other parties? Well, the other parties are smaller. And there are lots and lots of them. What happens is that the bigger parties form groups with other, smaller parties and hope that they can get through a whole parliament without having to go back to the polls. And this is one of the reasons there have been so many governments since the war. They don’t last very long (in general) because the ties that bind the bigger parties to the smaller parties depend on the smaller parties getting what they want.

So, in reality, at no time has Berlusconi ever been truly elected to Parliament. But, on a number of occasions, he HAS been able to form a government by getting into bed with some smaller parties who, in a broad sense, share his and his party’s views.

The other thing to remember is that this is not really a united country. This is, in fact, a country of regions. And the regions each have their own parties. Take the Lega Nord, for example. They are a Northern Italy party. In fact, one of the things that they really want is to separate North and South Italy. The North is the “powerhouse” of Italy and the South the very much poorer cousins. So, if they want to separate and let North Italy be it’s own country, it will be unsurprising to you that they don’t have anything to do with the South and, therefore, there are no Lega Nord representatives from south of, say, Florence (I don’t actually know how far south they go).

We don’t have the equivalent in the UK but it would be like having the South East Party – who only operate in the South East of England and want London to break away from the rest of the UK. It’s difficult to imagine because they just wouldn’t get enough votes for any of them to become an MP and, if they did manage, they would only get one or 2 MPs at the very most. It is not the same here.

And, because of the way that Italy is, people vote, not for the main person but, rather the local person. Politics is localised. Sure, they know that, by voting for a local person you will end up with one of the bigger politicians but, still, it’s about who you know locally that’s the reason that you vote. And, by being local, I mean almost a neighbour. Or the friend of a friend. Or the friend of a relative. And it’s by word of mouth. M5S changed this generating its support via the Internet. Via websites and Facebook and Twitter – something the bigger parties are only just getting used to (and in to). Beppe Grillo, having been banned from TV for saying some things that the ruling elite didn’t like, had been using the Internet and his website to campaign for years. They just got a bit more serious this time. And it shows.

But let’s look at why 20% of the population voted for the M5S. It wasn’t really against Mr B. It was a vote against the ruling elite (which includes Mr B – as well as ALL the other parties); it was a vote against the corruption, against the excessive number of MPs, their excessive salaries and their enormous pensions (for which they become eligible almost as soon as they step through the Parliament doors), against their expenses (they have hundreds of cars available to them) and against their over-riding desire to make sure that they are OK, even at the cost to the taxpayer.

Of course, it’s not over yet. There’s no overall winner. There’s little likelihood that there will be a government that lasts even a year (even lasting until Summer seems a bit far-fetched) and so, as normal, it will be back to the polls.

I’m not saying, for a moment, that BG and his party are the “saviour” of Italy. Remember Obama? He was going to be the saviour of the USA. Remember Clegg? He was going to control the excesses of the Conservatives. It just doesn’t work like that. Once these people get into power, they find that it’s not so easy to wipe the slate clean and start again. And so, it will probably be for BG and his MPs.

We shall see.

However, what this is NOT is those insane Italians voting for a comedian (as opposed to a buffoon) to lead them. It’s not a joke nor even slightly funny and, if they do manage to get some sort of real power AND they do all that they say they will do (and are seen to be doing in Sicily – i.e. giving back a large part of their salary to lend to small businesses, for example), then there is real hope for Italy to lead the world away from this undemocratic and, frankly, quite disgusting ruling of the plebs by the elite. It’s time that the rest of the world caught up with the Italians.

And, of course, THAT’s exactly what worries the “markets” (aka the banking elites). Now they have control. Give people real freedom and you get something like just happened in Switzerland. Or worse – they get thrown out all together.

It’s good to be back.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s over …….. for now.

Which means that I can get back on track. It’s been over a month and it’s been tiring, to be honest. Still, it seems that this part may be done apart from one, smallish thing.

In the meantime, I’ve missed being able to comment on horsemeat, comedians in elections, UK elections, etc.

So, starting tomorrow, or maybe Tuesday, I’ll get back to writing a post or two.

It’s good to be back.