Commenting on Italy’s recent elections, the Economist jeered that Italy had sent in “the clowns” (Berlusconi and Grillo). Maybe, maybe not, but, to many, a clown might be better than a puppet.
The Guardian reports (my emphasis added):
In a bitter valedictory statement to a two-day EU summit that ended in Brussels on Friday, Mario Monti, who was crushed in the recent Italian election – a result that stunned the EU elite – pleaded for greater scope on economic and fiscal policy in the crisis.
He complained that other countries such as France and the Netherlands were being granted more breathing space on their spending targets than he had been given over the past 16 months, and said that he had followed EU orders in his policymaking, an admission he did not emphasise during the election campaign.
I am shocked, shocked to learn this.
Those who monkey with a country’s democracy should not be surprised if they do not get the results that they want. And as we are on that topic, let’s pause to note that Italy still has no government, and that new polls show that Grillo’s M5S has risen to 30%, while the Economist’s Monti has sunk still further—to 8.3%.
That’s not what any Italian bank depositors made twitchy by Cyprus will want to see. The ECB’s agreement to come to the rescue of an embattled sovereign borrower (through so-called Outright Monetary Transactions) is dependent on that country agreeing to just the sort of budgetary discipline that Grillo rejects.