ISSUES,INSIGHTS AND COLOURFUL MOMENTS-FROM THE DESK OF AN ENGLISH AUTHOR.
The Worm Must Turn.
At this moment everything seems to be tainted by a lost cause. A sad spectacle of division that has no validity except to those divided. Indeed, ‘de eius voluntate’ seems to have arrived, then vanished with every new panic, and restrictions, if not more varied, grow more draconian at every instance. If the United Kingdom has shown a clean pair of heels to the rest of the hemisphere in vaccinations, it has not protected it against the Sisyphean burden of an endless variety of new variants curried from what is now an old enemy. In the face of this onslaught, it is too easy to forget that governments share the same fate as its constituents, giving some credulity to their efforts in containing the spread of the epidemic. Boris speaks from real experience, so give him the space. Didn’t we used to say ‘What’s good for the goose etc.’. I notice that the majority of those who curse and berate the scientific and common-sense advice have little or no expertise in these things, and know no more than I who admits having not the faintest chance of understanding, for example, the complete genomic sequence of the virus. Is it really necessary that we do? All I can say is the further I’m away from a source the better, and a shot of a creditable vaccine with a little distancing is no big deal, and something to be applauded!
The same cannot be said for European nations who seem to have been blindsided by the jaundiced bureaucrats in Brussels pretending they have it all under control, while hurriedly making sure they will be personally in line, if not at the front of the queue, for Covid vaccinations. ‘The buck stops here’, is in reality, somewhere else entirely. God knows where! Meanwhile their childish endeavours to mask their own failure by blaming other more successful endeavours has merely exposed the failure of an integrated European ideal. Having been modelled on Hitlers Europaische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft we mustn’t expect anything but misanthropy from such a regime. I’ve always thought it a little remiss that Brexit pundits haven’t pointed out this anomaly that rubbishes the Remainers expectations of their blessed European Union. I remember reading that in East Germany one had to present a good dissertation on the benefits of Communism to obtain a degree. Apparently, Mrs Merkel did rather well. To be fair, it was necessary if you wanted any sort of career. But in the end, one can’t help feeling they carried a lot of baggage into the future. Her recent attitude, at variance with her calm authoritative figure, demonstrates its lingering, furtive and ugly side. One might say that Merkel has lost her mojo. Macron, of course, is still looking for his. As a matter of interest, the only EU state that has this sorry business under control is Hungary. Why? Because they ignored EU orders, striking out on their own. They’ll be for it. And no, here in Italy, we haven’t had the vaccine yet.
There can be no doubt that the so-called leaders of a handful of EU nations have risked the animosity of a new and independent UK, ready to hold them to account for politically motivated actions designed to undermine the well-being of a free and sovereign nation, let alone the quasi-criminal act of denying their own people an assessed and acknowledged World Health Organization, (and their own European Medicines Agency) perfectly safe vaccine. Little Greece alone has said bring it on! Not that they were pointing out that this threat to international property rights might have a draconian effect on industrial investment. The EU not being a good place to do business. The doomsayers have been helped in all these aspects by a large section of an appallingly perfidious UK media and press whose comeuppance is long past its ‘sell by’ date. The recent attitudes of the dysfunctional EU should have been a clear indication of the hypocritical machinations of that body to media charlatans, and I do hope that the large portion of EU citizens, especially in France and Germany, will also open their eyes and hold their Governments to account. I’m reminded of the opinion of Holbach who held that a populace, stupid and deprived of enlightenment and good sense, were capable of becoming at any moment the instrument and accomplice of turbulent demagogues. This has sadly seemed to be a matter of fact. European nations may be beginning to wake up to the underhand motives of the EU, but not yet to the fact that they are often led by sycophant leaders who bask in the importance of their ‘club’ to the detriment of any necessary national political action. Without replacing the driver, the bus of state will continue to career wildly off course. I think a new bus would also be a considerable asset!
However, the light has been seen by a body of savvy EU nationals who have upped sticks and moved to the UK. It seems that 5.1 million of them have seen that the other side of the fence is greener and applied for resident status. Getting the better of both worlds, 1.5 million have settled in London which is a tad more than UK nationals parking themselves in the whole of the EU, a less than complementary 1.3 million, of which currently only 30,000 are based in Italy. How many Italians in the UK? Try 600,000. During a hospital stay, I met one of these young Italians, a chef from Pisa working in Sheffield having flown home to visit his ailing father. He’d apparently just been promoted to Head Chef and was already eyeing up the possibility of opening his own restaurant. On enquiring about his residence status, he informed me he’d already done that - on his mobile phone! Needless to say, he has no interest in returning to Italy where, according to him, such opportunity is as rare as a hooker in the Vatican. Not least, it’s only 3 hours away, home to home. As I said, getting the best of both worlds.
So, what’s wrong with Italy? Obviously not your everyday Italian, that’s for sure, given their brave independence and ‘get up and go’ hard working ability. It’s the bureaucracy, don’t you know? That and a typical regulation such as the ‘marca da bollo’, or stamp duty. Just recently, no longer being subject to the EU, ex-pats have to pay a bollo to authenticate their existing permanent residency status, while joining the locals in forking out for another stamp to have a new boiler fitted, a passport, driving licence or virtually anything official. In fact, the bollo is so ubiquitous, you can buy them from the tobacconist. Can you imagine having to pay a tax for a solicitor’s signature? Normal in Italy. This minute attention to financial trawling in French fishing mode makes you wonder why the nation has accumulated a 2.09 trillion-pound debt. How you pay off such a deficit makes the mind boggle. Enter Draghi still batting for the EU despite the whole sorry Euro monetary system being rubbished by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who quietly picked it apart. What Warren Buffet said about it is better left unsaid. Still, Draghi will know how to deal with it. Borrow, borrow, borrow! Watch out for more bond buying, as though that was a smart move. At the present rate, Italy’s debt to GDP will be 200% by 2025. This will mean little to the average citizen unless you explain to them it means such a debt is twice their total annual salary. As I’ve pointed out before, technical governments do more harm than good especially as no citizen voted for Draghi, but was foisted upon the ailing country by a President who wasn’t elected by the people, only by a compliant parliament whose members weren’t elected either! No, you don’t always get what you deserve. Italy won’t free itself from debt until it disposes of all the independent bureaucracy that creates it. The new Prime Minister will likely continue with his quasi-criminal maliciousness backing overleveraged commercial banks already swamped by bad debts, capable of dragging once flourishing businesses into the financial wilderness. He might be a big noise in the EU, but the ECB has a 300 billion plus debt of its own, and certainly not enough money to cover the debt of an intemperate Italy.
Meanwhile the vaccine roll out stutters along in Italy with no real idea how it’s supposed to function. There are mutterings of the most vulnerable first, but little of simple instructions among the bureaucratic twaddle. Plenty of confusion on the internet where the target audience has difficulty in comprehending how to access a web site, let alone find their way to a centre thirty miles away!
This in a country where the bureaucracy has everyone recorded on a Tessera Sanitaria, a health card that is instantly identifiable, and should always be carried. A computer could track a citizen down to the last time they sneezed, select a convenient time, date, and telephoning them before processing their jab. This is 2021, not 1921 where the bureaucracy still seems to be operating.
‘On your bike’ Italy!