Ice Cold Conscience and Hot Tempers Will Mark-Out Italian Election

Ambascitore Trombetta, Ambasciatore Jill Morris, Maurizio Bragagni

As the Beast from the East pulls up a chair and settles a serious chill over the UK, temperatures are rising in Italy.

While the UK is still frosty over Brexit’s progress and politicians’ wrangles over the best way to achieve an amicable and fruitful relationship going forward — Italy is staring down the barrels of its own fiery withdrawal from Europe.

Anti-migrant and anti-EU fever is running high as Italians prepare to go to the polls, carrying a growing grudge against the politicians who have failed to steer them out of economic hardship.

Ten years after the crash of 2008 and Italy is still in the recovery position, confidence is at an all-time low and it’s rapidly being replaced with hardened resentment and a real appetite for change.

In short, most people find it difficult to identify anything to like within the country’s political community. And of course, this is just the sort of moral climate that makes a fertile breeding ground for radical thinking and an ill-advised selection of narrow ideas that, on the face of it, may look like a solution.

But, as we know, nothing is simple and nothing is without consequence.

Kicking out illegal immigrants, putting Italians first for jobs and housing, slashing taxes — it all makes for great sound bites — but exactly how can any government do more with less, and, is fanning the flames of racism ever to be condoned? No, of course it isn’t.

Italians are explorers, innovators and appreciators of great music, art, food, design and great business people. Italians are mobile and export their talents alongside as they find new countries to work and live in. In those countries, where they are making an economic contribution, broadening their life experience and work skills, are they the immigrants to be kicked out, flung to the bottom of the pile, considered of no worth? Again, no.

Four years ago only 4% of Italians put immigration at the top of their electoral concerns. Today it’s moved to 33% according to recent surveys. Worse, that swing in opinion is translating itself into direct action on the streets as far right politicians continue to fan the flames of a blame culture focused on a migrant population.

It’s time to ask, before we commit to an ill-thought-out ideology in the heat of temper and growing resentment — is that really who we want to be?