As Italy's economic and political disaster takes form - a new dawn has broken, yes it has (to borrow an image) - the Head of State, Giorgio Napolitano is summoned by the magistrates of Palermo to give evidence in the processo per la trattativa tra Stato e mafia [the trial of negotiations between the State and the Mafia]. It is unprecedented in Italy for a sitting head of state to be questioned even, as here, as a witness, in any judicial proceedings, never mind judicial proceedings of this order.
There being no provision for such an event in the Constitution, the magistrates will go to the Quirinale rather than requiring the nearly 90 year-old President of the Republic to go to them. After all, Blair helped the police with their enquiries in Downing Street when the unthinkable happened in the United Kingdom, although the Italian version is more like Elizabeth II being questioned as a witness than the questioning of a mere prime minister.
Meanwhile the Fourth Estate in the form of the Corriere della Sera - Italy's paper of record - publishes an editorial of such notable aggression and spite against the Renzi government (and this in the middle of Italy's 6-month presidency of the European Union) that Christ driving out the Pharisees from the Temple comes to mind as a measure of what has happened to Roman power circles. It seems that a bunch of incompetent, inexperienced, unforgivably young Florentines, unaware of the realities of power, have taken over the rightful offices and positions of the salons of Rome and (to a lesser extent) Milan. Masonic corruption is hinted (after all, the P2 kept its records only 50 kms from Florence, ooooh), Tiziano Renzi (the prime minister's father) is suddenly under investigation, while his son observes mildly from the UN that it would be difficult to get further from free masonry than he and his family are (boy scouts, yes, Liccio Gelli, no).
Matteo Renzi himself stands accused of being young, with that Tuscan facility of speech that is of itself suspect, and being leader of both Executive and Party; and so extremely popular (evidently a drawback). Worse, he won't put up with the Troika-isation of Italy by the EU. Which brings the Presidency of the Republic, particularly in view of the questioning, into consideration.
Even Napolitano can't manage a third go. He should have gone at the end of his term not stayed for a second in such an iffy manner, so as to foist the awful Enrico Letta on the country. The choice of the next President of the Republic is upon us with Renzi in power - what horror. For the European Union and particularly the Eurozone, Italy cannot be seen to be treated like Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Ireland - it's much to big and founder-memberish. To put Italy under EU discipline the best thing would be to move Mario Draghi from the ECB into the Quirinale. As President of the Republic he can save the Euro better from there than from any other position; after all, now that the line the ECB will take, is already taking, is settled, Germany can provide a suitable executor.
Renzi isn't having that either. He (and we, the people, that is) see no reason why Italy should be reduced to penury for the sake of neo-liberal economic orthodoxy pretending to be a 'peace-loving' European Union. Italian national debt stands at 136% of this year's GDP. The growth rate has been negative for the last three quarters. Unemployment stands at 42% of people 18-24. A start has been made on paying government debt to enterprises. Yet the most pernicious aspect of the economic situation is the resistance to any reduction in the returns to the entrenched political classes at any and all levels, Still, at least we can now hear their pain
Bread and circuses
26 minutes ago