The English papers have been writing about how Livorno (Leghorn) has dramatically dropped its ‘red’ mayor and turned to Beppe Grillo’s M5S as some sort of indicator of Italy’s political system. Its unfortunate they didnt explain it. In the first round of elections the PD candidate and incumbent got 49.6% of the vote, the M5S 19% – so for 0.4% of the vote there had to be a run off. At which point the FI, Lega, ex fascists, lunatic rightwing,etc all decided they would campaign and vote for the M5S mayor just to spite the PD and Renzi. So they did. The PD voters stayed at home thinking it was in the bag. So we now have a M5S mayor with 19% of the vote and who has been voted in by mad right wing loonies.
And the unsettling right wing looniness doesnt end there. The M5S on line liquid democracry has apparently voted to sign up to a Euro pact with UKIP and Farage, on the basis that Farage and Grillo make each other laugh. It will come back to haunt them. I hope.
And then we move to Venice where the flood barrier has gone up from costing 1.6 billion to 5.8 billion and they have just realised that 1 billion of that money has gone in bribes and sweeteners. The mayor of Venice was arrested last week for taking 1 million plus in bribes. As is so typical here, he has ‘pateggiato’d’ ie agreed to help the police and accept his guilt. He has been fined 40.000 euros and released from house arrest and gone back to being mayor. Not bad – 960.000 euros profit and no criminal record. The word deterrent doesnt seem to exist here.