Some foreign publications, in commenting on the situation in Italy after the recent electoral results, have reverted to the offensively superficial and trite image of “bring on the clowns”. The term could be used both in a derogatory and a purely descriptive sense, as the only real winner of the election, Mr. Beppe Grillo, a professional comedian, could be called a “clown” without causing offence. Politically speaking, however, the epithet would not apply. Grillo has shown remarkable ability, and has created a powerful political movement, the party which has received the greatest number of votes (around 25 percent), from scratch, with no public financial backing, and in the teeth of first ridicule and then very violent criticism on the part of almost all the media. Whether this structure will show itself to be stable and lasting is another question, but it certainly wields decisive weight at this time. The same publications apply the epithet also to Mr. Berlusconi, mainly because, in their very superficial view of the situation, they consider him one of the “winners”, even though his Party has had the poorest electoral result in its history. The Italian press, in this case perhaps more imaginative and aiming at a higher cultural level, has preferred to describe the present political situation with the term “Perfect Storm” – much more suitable.
It would be wrong to state that there is no solution to the problems arising from Italy’s recent elections: the art of politics, after all, thrives on the search for unlikely solutions to complex situations, and this has very often been the case in Italian republican history. Doubts can be raised, however as to whether there are any good or lasting solutions to the present state of chaos.
Italy is no stranger to tense, unwieldy and even potentially dangerous political situations, but never, not even in 1948, when the charismatic leader of Italy’s powerful Communist Party was shot and severely wounded as he left Parliament, not even during the terrorist years in the seventies, culminating in the kidnapping and assassination of a former Prime Minister, has there been a storm as “perfect” as this one.
The elections held last February resulted in a virtual tie among three political groups which show no inclination of wanting to work together towards a solution, albeit temporary, for the crisis. Former Prime Minister Mario Monti, had he abstained from entering such a violent, unproductive electoral fray, could have emerged once again as a suitable choice to lead an emergency government, with the aim of guaranteeing sufficient stability to enable the government to continue on its very controversial path towards reform. As it is, having suffered a humiliating electoral defeat, he appears to have burned his bridges, and one of the few areas of agreement among Bersani, Berlusconi and Grillo is their refusal to envisage any form of cooperation with Monti or his coalition.
Full Article: Italy’s ‘Perfect storm’ | openDemocracy.