Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Leaders come, leaders go

So Howard steps aside gracefully, leaving chaos in his wake; Blair clings to power even after saying he’s going to go, breeding resentment and fear respectively among his heir’s and his own supporters; Kennedy faces down his internal opponents and defiantly states he’ll carry on ad infinitum even though nobody can ever imagine him in Number 10.

We Brits really aren’t much good at this whole getting rid of political leaders lark, are we?

It’s time to take some pointers from our continental cousins – and where better to look than Italy, home of the original Et tu, Brute? moment, and home to a positively ridiculous number of governments since they got rid of their last genuinely strong leader by executing him and his cabinet, before hanging his body upside down in the middle of Milan to be pelted with fruit and rocks by a braying and jubilant crowd.

Just picture that happening to Blair and co… Wonderful, isn’t it? And we’d get a genuinely fluid, responsive democracy in the process. (And probably all kinds of chaos and confusion as a side-effect, but you can’t have everything, eh?)

Anyway, I digress… Italy’s longest-serving post-war Prime Minister (at an impressive four consecutive years) looks – finally – to be in a spot of bother. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

So, Tories, non-Blairite Labourites, anti-Kennedy Lib Dems – keep an eye on how Berlusconi’s enemies get rid of the guy, as could and should be happening soon. He’s got a far stronger hold on both his party and his country than anyone in Britain’s managed since the days of Charles I – if the Italians can boot him out, it’s final proof that Blair and co really shouldn’t be that much of a challenge.

And hell – worst comes to the worst we can always follow the example of our forebears and do to Tony what they did to Charlie, or what those happy crowds did to Il Duce. We can test the axe out on Clarke, Blunkett and co first – it’ll be great! Fun for all the family! Although knowing the way things work Sky will probably buy up the rights to the execution and whack it on pay per view… The bastards.

(Or does advocating the killing of the Prime Minister count as incitement to terrorism? Can’t work it out these days… Anyway, if we’d overthrown the government in a popular revolt and instituted our own laws making our actions legal, we’d be acting with the authority of the state, so it couldn’t be terrorism, right? I dunno – maybe I ought to just shut up now. Probably taking things too far. Brevity is better and all that – and makes you less likely to get locked up in a windowless cell for three months on the Safety Elephant’s whim…)


  1. The big story in Italy, which Der Spiegel didn't really get, is the reconstruction of the 'centre' (the Christian Democrat/'Socialist' axis – what in most European countries would be called the Right). This is what Follini (of the UDC) is trying to achieve, by way of a split in the governing alliance. But I don't think it's going to happen, not least because neither the government nor the opposition wants it to happen. I'm willing to bet Berlusconi will stagger on until the elections next year – which, if he has his way, will be held under a revised electoral system, which in its first draft was finely tuned to (a) destroy the 'centre' project (b) give the Right a big majority if it won & (c) give the Right a big majority if the Left won. It's been modified to meet some of the UDC's objections to point (a) and some of the Left's objections to the other two points, but it's still a dog's dinner. The Left (which, incidentally, includes around half of the old Christian Democrats, although the old Socialists are now with Berlusconi) is having none of it & threatening total non-cooperation in Parliament.

    Oh, and Forza Italia the party is on its way out – although, again, I wouldn't expect anything to happen until next year. There was some talk a while back about turning the current alliance into a single party of the Right, although the UDC effectively torpedoed it. Berlusconi's obviously planning to revive it, at least to the extent of a merger between Forza Italia and the Alleanza Nazionale; he recently anointed Fini as his successor as leader of the overall alliance. Fini (another point which outside observers invariably get wrong) is quite definitely post-fascist. This is partly, of course, because he'll always have his past to live down. But by this stage of the game I really don't think there's anything insincere or cynical about his political positioning; on some key issues (notably immigration and the Fascist past) I think he's genuinely to the Left of Berlusconi. Not to mention Bossi of the Northern League, who is a real piece of work; picture Meir Kahane crossed with Kilroy. Stood between Bossi and Berlusconi, Fini is the good guy. He's a right-winger, of course – he's way out on the Right on some 'social' issues (particularly drugs and gays – he's agin 'em). From my p.o.v. he's the enemy, but he's an understandable political enemy – not a cowboy millionaire or a racist troglodyte.

    So no, I don't think the Cavaliere's going to be getting his any time soon, more's the pity. But thanks for [giving me an excuse for] writing about Italy!

  2. Cracking post, NM. Trouble is, if you get done for glorifying terrorism, do I get done for glorifying your glorification? And, if I link to you, does that make me doubly culpable?

    Oh, well, if they come for me they'll already have come for many more people with more integrity than me, so I'll be in good company when I get inside…

    (PS Phil is right about the Right in Italy, as far as my own knowledge goes.)

  3. Since disagreeing with New Labour or forming any kind of protest is apparently terrorism (hence the 600 arrests at Labour party conference [source:The Scotsman]) just about anyone that blogs is going to be classified as a 'terrorist'. So mentioning the relative position on the old chopping list of Blair and his cohorts isn't really going to affect things.

  4. Good stuff, NM.

    As I've said, there's a bottle of Moet – although I may up it to a good Dom Perignon – to the man who bring's me Clarke's head on a lead platter…


  5. It's twenty past three on a Sunday morning, I'm pissed out of my skull and I probably shouldn't be saying this, but earlier tonight I offered five English pounds to a friend of a friend who's a policeman on Charles Clarke's protection detail – if he'd cap the fucker in the head. He seemed nearly convinced… I said I'd bunk it up to a tenner if he'd include Ian Blair as well, and he didn't seem too fazed.

    So, basically, if this blog goes dead without warning in the next day or so, you now know why…

  6. Terrorism doth never prosper: what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it terrorism.

    Or summat.