Italian democracy is under siege

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Italian democracy is under siege

Instability among her European neighbours, matched with political instability at home are testing the very foundations of Italian democracy, says Paula Diana. 

Italy is on the brink of the abyss, dancing and partying while the iceberg is straight in front of us. I saw it coming and that’s why I chose to get away from a country rapidly sinking into a sorry state of affairs by which ‘true democracy’ is becoming a distant ideology, to move to the UK.

In Italy the situation is very complex. There is a structural crisis, low employment rates, especially with women, low figures for undergraduates and a dwindling number of people who read newspapers and books. The average voter make their opinion based on fake news via social media or by watching TV with 3 channels owned by the State and 3 owned by Berlusconi, who deliberately looks to ‘dumb’ people down with his superficial and misogynistic shows. The idea is to take the eyes away from what is truly happening.

In this new era of direct democracy mixed with populism that Italy is experiencing, we have a movement owned by a private company and represented by a comic, who opened the doors to Parliament to a host of low educated and unsuccessful people. On the other side, forming a government with this movement, we have La Lega of Matteo Salvini, a populist political party that is only focusing on immigrants as if they were the major problem of Italy, which of course they are not. These politicians are simply incapable of understanding the causes of the Italian crisis and they are simply seeking the consent of the people, following their belly instead of their brain.

In Italy we have a two-headed government with completely different political views regarding the economy. The 5 star movement is a mix of new communism and pauperism, while the Lega is more industrial orientated even though it is leaving the economy in the hands of the 5 Stars in order to have its hands free on the immigration side. Both parties think that all the problems that Italy face are caused by Europe, which is of course an easy excuse. They choose to fight Europe, alone, with no allies, in a clearly suicide move that way that will only damage the country even more. October and November will be a disaster as the words finally run dry, and they will be forced to produce facts and the financial law. Then all their unrealistic promises will have to crash in front of the hard reality and the market response. God saves the Italians.

I agree with Winston Churchill’s famous remark, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Maybe now it is the time to find a better version of democracy that will guarantee a minimum of wisdom in its candidates? Why don’t we set higher requirements for them? Why don’t we have candidates who own a Master Degree, who worked for at least 5 years, who have developed a decent level of empathy, who have a general standard of mental stability? I wonder if these standards where in place in the USA, if Mr. Trump would have been elected? Salvini or Di Maio certainly wouldn’t.

As International Day of Democracy looms, it seems as though Italy is distancing itself from the word altogether. The hard-line attitude towards immigration and other sensitive topics will not stand to benefit the country, but risk losing the ideology of democracy and freedom. It is a very scary time to be an Italian.”

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    Paola Diana
    Ms Paola Diana is a renowned women’s rights activist bestselling author and female entrepreneur who has herself experienced harassment throughout her life because she is a woman. She is also a political activist who fights for the rights of women, especially during her time in Italy where she successfully helped with the campaign for former Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
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