Public Service, Italian-Style

by Michael Walsh

Mamma mia!  

A BIZARRE row has erupted in Italy over the pension entitlements of Cicciolina, the porn star who served a term as an Italian MP between 1987 and 1992.

It was revealed yesterday that the actress and singer will soon be picking up a E39,000-a-year pension from the Italian state as a result of her five years in parliament.

Italian voters are up in arms at the news, coming as it does hot on the heels of Italian legislators voting through an austerity package last week which has increased VAT and is cutting income tax allowances.

An outrage? No — perfectly normal. Even a one-term member like Cicciolina can cash in to the tune of 39,000 euros per annum for the rest of her life. Throw in handsome salaries, free public transport and “attendance allowances,” and you’ve got the reason Italian lawmakers have their hooks into the electorate for some 1.3 billion euros a year. No wonder tax avoidance is a national sport.

By the way, the Hungarian-born Ilona Staller (her real name) is a member of the Radical Party, and once offered to have sex with Osama if he’d mend his terrorist ways. Quoth she of the pension flap: “I earned it and I’m proud of it.”

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