So lots of data being bandied around. Ultimately it’s all depressing. It is now officially easier to run a business in Botswana than in Italy. Unemployment will rise further, the GDP will fall even more and Italy is now 23 out of 27 European countries for culture. The usual argument of ‘it costs too much’. If those in power had a minute understanding of economics they might grasp the fact that culture can provide work, make profits, pay taxes and generally be ‘a good thing’. But as usual they see it only as a bottomless pit to chuck money to enable La Scala to run at a eye watering loss. Italy too has a national lottery – the problem being that the ring fenced profits are not, and never have been allocated to the deserving causes. They just disappear into the money pit. Even the special lottery set up in the wake of the Aquila earthquake has never sent a cent to Aquila – after years of inactivity. And more European data show that the reconstruction of Aquila with European money has been inept, slow and expensive. The centro storico hasn’t been touched after 5 years. The much trumpeted new housing promised by Berlo has cost twice what it should have, and there are still thousands of families living in hotels, temporary accommodation and containers. The only people who have made money are the select band of builders and the Church.