The Corner

Politics & Policy

Italy’s Upcoming Referendum Signals Trouble Ahead

On December 4, Italians are to hold a referendum on a question that goes like this: Do you approve the text of the Constitutional Law concerning “dispositions for the overcoming of equal bicameralism, the reduction of the number of parliamentarians, the containing of the running costs of the institutions, the suppression of the National Economic and Labour Council and the review of Title V of Part II of the Constitution” approved by Parliament and published in Gazzetta ufficiale n.88 on 15 April 2016?

Which, being interpreted, means that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is seeking more power for himself. Granted the assumption current in Italy that every politician is out for himself and can’t be trusted, the vote has a good chance of going against him, in which case he has promised to resign. Nicholas Farrell is an English writer who has lived long in Italy, and written a good book about Mussolini, the country’s previous crisis-maker. Titled “Italy’s Brexit Moment,” Farrell’s article in the London Spectator makes the case that a yes and a no in this referendum are equally unable to stave off what he sums up as “big trouble ahead,” namely the recession, unemployment, and debt that stem from membership of the European Union and must end in its eventual break-up.

Italy is in the race with the Netherlands and Greece to see who will come in second in the Brexit stakes, with Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic coming up fast behind. People in general are well aware that the sole policy of the elites who have led them into the EU dead-end is now to reinforce error. Here’s a Spanish journalist speaking with the sense of superiority of the entire European elite: “The victory of Trump represents a rebellion against reason and decency. It is the triumph of racism, of misogyny, of stupidity — or all three things at once. It is the expression of the poor judgment and bad taste of 60 million Americans.” Much more of that, and every European country will have its version of Donald Trump in power.