Spin the wheel and dress up your Minister

“Spin the wheel and find out which uniform will be worn by Minister Salvini to save the country”. 

salvinification.it the site to dress your minister

Matteo Salvini, the Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister has a well known obsession for wearing different uniforms, such as police uniforms, jackets of fire department and hoodies with the logo of the city he’s visiting.

Apparently a strategy studied to play with the feeling given by those uniforms and clothes, associated with Salvini. Sounds quite basic and quite surprisingly seems to work, with Salvini growing the share of his supporters more and more every week.

Today, all his supporters will be finally able to dress him, everyday, with something different. All thanks to Salvinification.it

Matteo Salvini dressed as police officer

The site motto is ‘‘l’abito non fa il monaco, ma il ministro dell’interno”, literally, the dress isn’t making the priest, but the Interior minister. which stands for the British expression: you can’t always tell a book by its cover.

Spin the wheel and find out which uniform will be worn by Minister Salvini to save the country”.

 Photomontages inspired by historical figures and comic book heroes, from RoboSalvini to Salvini Balotelli
The final result is a Salvini always different that can be declined in superhero: Wolverini, RoboSalvini, SuperSalvini. Or in the TV version of the boys: Salviniteletubbie, Sailor-Minister, Salvy Potter. But also reincarnate in characters that really existed or existed: Salvini Bonaparte, Salvini Balotelli, Regina Elisalvetta.

 “Salvinification” also has an account on Instagram where the images sent by users are collected and where a screenshot that captures the success of the site: 1860 users read the release published on the social on January 31 a few days after the launch of the app.

And you, which Salvini you prefer?

Legalize or penalize it. Two voices, one government and a plant

The government risks to fall for a spiff, but the two main parties will avoid to talk about it.

growing indoor marijuana

The current Italian government is built by two parties with quite strong different views on many things. Actually almost everything.

The coalition is built around a contract, signed by both parties before taking the lead of the government back in early summer of 2018. This contract regulates the decisions that the government will take and most of all, the laws and directions that it will be working towards.

Albeit this formula, there have been already multiple cases where the two parties have been in conflict. Probably the most explicit being the High Speed Train (TAV) project.

Due to the negotiations that led to the creation of the contract, several topics have been only slightly touched in the document, and some completely ignored, because not of high priority and because the two parties had two irreconcilable different views.

A clear example is the debate around drugs and in particular to the eternal debate on whether legalize the soft drugs, such as marijuana, idea supported by the Movimento 5 Stelle, or keep them illegal, as for the right wing Lega party.

Today in Italy the there’s an hybrid law which doesn’t clarify really the status, but there’s a very high consumption, as Italians are among the heaviest users of cannabis.

Cannabis for medical use in Italy

Cannabis for medical use in Italy

In Italy, medical cannabis has been legal since 2007, recognized with a decree the therapeutic use of the cannabinoid delta-9-THC. In 2013, extended the legalization of cannabinoids in vegetable form, therefore also in Italy the uses of the cannabis plant (plant parts, in particular the inflorescences of the plant), of its extracts and extracts were recognized for medical purposes. get ready.

From that year on, various regional regulations were created to regulate the use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes with executive decrees in most regions of Italy starting in 2015.

Cannabis legal light: the law of Italian law of 2016

The term legal cannabis light or legal hemp means that type of cannabis that has an active ingredient lower than 0.6%. According to the Italian law 242 approved in December 2016, its production and marketing are legal in Italy if the cannabis has a THC content (ie the active principle) that does not exceed 0.2%. Thanks to this law, therefore, there are no more doubts about it: the cultivation of legal marijuana is no longer prohibited and does not need any authorization. In the event that the percentage of THC is higher than 0.2% but falls within the limit of 0.6%, the farmer is relieved of any kind of responsibility. If, on the other hand, the 0.6% limit is exceeded, the judicial authorities may destroy or impede the cultivation of hemp.

Movimento 5 Stelle has recently proposed a new regulation and includes three basic points:

  • allow, under certain conditions, the cultivation of cannabis, individually (up to 3 plants) or associated (up to 30 people and after communication to the Prefecture);
  • provide for the lawfulness of the possession of cannabis within certain quantities (15 grams at home and 5 grams outside), in addition to correcting the law on inflorescences, which are now sold in the so-called “cannabis light shops” for technical use, providing for the possibility of be sold for food or herbal use (they will be subject to all the checks due and linked to that type of activity) and raising the percentage of thc which may contain up to 1%;
  • regulate illicit conduct by providing a differentiation of sentence in relation to the type of substances (heavy drugs, light drugs).
Cannabis legal light: the law of Italian law of 2016

Lega, (former Northern League) strongly oppose this approach and is instead considering to strengthen the legislation around it, and reduce the freedom of use, with strong penalties for abusers.

The most probable outcome will be some small attempts by individual members of the parliament, without a real support of the entire party.

Which will lead to maintain the current status quo and will not risk the collapse of the government for a spiff.

Silvio is back, 25 years after. Is it time for the swansong?

He’s still here, and ready to run for elections and become a member of the parliament. What does it move him still?

berlusconi smiles

It was 1994, a cold January day in Milan, and Mr. Silvio Berlusconi, rich and famous thanks to its media empire and successes as sport entrepreneur, was announcing his entrance in politics.

25 years after, again in January, he’s still here, and ready to run for elections and become a member of the parliament. This time with a little difference. Berlusconi won’t be able to get a seat in the Italian parliament anymore, due to his previous issues with justice system, therefore his focus this time will be to grab a seat at the European parliament.

berlusconi

Back by then, in 1994, he claimed it was due to the communists growth in the country. 25 years after he made it clear that its main opponents would be the grillini, so who in the Movimento 5 Stelle. Grillini is a nickname in honor to one of the founders of M5S, the comedian Beppe Grillo. The parties that most probably will be part of the right wing coalition with Berlusconi will be Lega and Fratelli d’Italia. Interesting to note that Lega is currently leading together with Movimento 5 Stelle the current government. After an election round that had seen these two parties been separated. More detailed explanation on how this happened in the previous article on Italian budget law for 2019.

Berlusconi political story is full of successes (mainly at elections) and big defeats (mainly with the justice system). His political actions have seen him trying to get the world stage in a new, some times bizarre, approach.

Friend with Putin, Bush jr. and Mu’ ammar Gheddafi, had troubles inside Europe, with attritions especially with French president of the time Sarkozi and to the still in charge German Chancellor, Mrs. Angela Merkel.

berlusconi kisses sarkozi and merkel laughs

Italians loved him and hated him. Some times more the former, others the latter. Only a few other politicians had been able to win with him at elections, when in direct challenge. Mainly Mr. Romano Prodi, who was then associated with the introduction of Euro currency in Italy at launch.

Berlusconi efforts in politics, good and bad, have been completely overshadowed by the scandals that were happening one after the others. In particular in the last years of his career in the Italian parliament.

His impact on Italian society has been tremendous. The laws called ‘ad personam’ meaning for himself, the disasters in economy, the drop in international prestige and a series of tv channels on copy of the lowest level american cable channels.

After 25 years is still ready to show to the world his unique approach to communications and style.

From the top. First picture from La Repubblica, second picture from youtube, third picture from The Telegraph

Italy’s historical heritage comes as full package, including the tedious too

Publio Cornelio Tacito used to say that ”Laws are many when the nation is highly corrupted” still the same today?

tiber river, history, heritage, corruption


Bureaucracy, and public administration, the guardians of a country efficiency; what should allow both society and economy to run on safe path, growing towards their specific objectives, may be their main obstacle.

The results of a study from Cgia of Mestre – Venice, Italy, based on European commission data according to ansa.it were quite clear. And its index too.

The index looks, at quality of services offered by the public administration in 19 countries of European Union, and rank them after a quite techincial scoring. This rank sees Italy as the second last country. Down at the bottom. Only Greece does worst. The country very well known for having suffered (and still partially) high stress on its society due to the collapse of its economy.

On top of the chart instead Finland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Costs and hopes

The overall costs of this inefficiency is about 31 Billion Euro for Italy alone.
There’s multiple reasons the keep this poor standard of public administration. One explanation seem connected to a cultural mindset that facilitates this. Already in the second century A.D., the Roman senator as Publio Cornelio Tacito used to say that ”Laws are many when the nation is highly corrupted” to define how bureaucracy and a corrupted system was weakening the potential power of Rome.

Also today, public administrators looking for opportunities from their power and the finances they administer, are the main obstacles to the growth.

The political system doesn’t seem to oppose as seems almost colluded. Keeping the complex system that doesn’t allow changes to the status quo, keeping comfortably stable the position.

A slow machine that lose energy from the inside, and doesn’t find a way to fix it.

That legendary unfinished tunnel in the Alps

No TAV, Si (yes) TAV. What is all about and why does it matter?

very fast train view

Italy shape is known to everyone, as a long shoe with beautiful cities and beaches and surrounded by crystal clear seas. But maybe not everyone knows that the ”boot” is not flat and smooth, but is mainly made of mountains and hills.

So, as everywhere there’s mountain, transportation on the ground can become quite difficult. Alps and Apennines are covering almost 70% of the soil and create a real obstacle for train and cars.

Drive up and down the hills

To enter in Italy, coming from France, Switzerland, Austria or Slovenia, which are the country Italy has border with, you need to pass through the Alps, unless in the two coastal road on east (Friuli) and west (Liguria).

Next to beautiful mountain and lakes, you’ll be able often to admire man made miracle to facilitate transportation, such as tunnels long more than 10km through majestic mountains. Frejus or Mont Blanc just to name two of the most fascinating ones. But also San Gottardo in Switzerland has its charme.

Now, those tunnels mainly support transportation via vehicles, such as cars and vans, but there’s no real good solutions when it comes to train.

This is a missed opportunity. It excludes the transportation by train in and out the peninsula and doesn’t leverage the impressive internal investments, made with regards to fast trains.

So, there’s a project, which is running now since early 2000s to build an impressive. TAV, Treno ad alta velocity. High Speed Train.

It consist in a railway line of 235km for train transportations, for goods and people, in between Turin and Lyon, connecting the two cities, separated today by a wall of mountains even more.

Via High speed train anyone will be able to travel quickly and safely from the south of Italy to the North of Europe. Reducing the distances and improving drastically the connections.

The reason of No TAV

The Turin-Lyon railway sound as an idyllic plan that everyone should love, but isn’t. It isn’t because the project brings together with a fast train connection, also very high expenses and an immense work on the beautiful alpine landscapes between the Italian and French city.

Citizens grouped under the name ”No TAV” have been expressing their opposition to the project since the very beginning, trying with several method from institutional to more radical approach to stop it.

The reason of Si TAV

As the new Italian government, led by the quite explosive couple made of 5 Star movements and Lega are reviewing if this great effort is necessary at all, a new group of citizens has emerged, the ”Si TAV”.

”Si TAV” is a group led by 7 women and 1 man. 7 influential business women and a former secretary of the minister of transportation of Berlusconi government. To lobby for the realization of the project, claiming the immediate benefits for the economy and to generate new business, directly and indirectly thanks to the new easy way of transport goods and people.

Some of the points raised by the ”Si TAV” group includes the fact that 70% of italian export need to pass through Alps and it could connect via train Paris to Turin in circa 3 hours.

What’s next

As mentioned, the new government is evaluating the project, although in reality is trying to find its own internal balance to come with a joint conclusion. The two souls of the government couldn’t be more far on this topic, with the 5 star movements that has always claimed that once on power will stop the project, while Lega much more in support of the realization.

News and decisions are expected for this spring. And consequences may be way bigger than expected.

Municipalities and Government just started an unprecedented war

Majors of the most important italian cities are rejecting Rome approach of zero-welcome as it’s outlaw.

There’s a harsh discussion in between local municipalities and the Italian central government ongoing since a few weeks, but that may grow more in the next few months.

Historical reason, like at Dante’s time

First a little bit of background. Majors, or sindaci, can be very much influential in Italy. This is due to multiple reasons, among which the fact Italian unification arrived very late compared to other countries (1861). Somehow Italians still identify their selves more on the local cities (comuni) rather than the in the voice of the entire nation, so different by region an often hard to identify with. Who has been in Italy, knows how difficult to find a common denominator of identity that can be share across the entire nation.

The national association of comuni has a strong political power and allow the multitude of different majors to have one single voice at national level. Quite often the local municipalities have had attrition with the local government. Often when it comes to apply locally the directives coming from Rome . Given how close the municipalities are to the life of the citizens, they have strong social aspects.

2 laws on one territory, hard to implement

It has been the case in the past when municipalities were asked to register same sex marriage, with for example the ones rules by far right parties to push back and try to put hurdles on the way. Recently the debate is instead related to migrants and the possibilities of municipalities to welcome or not migrants.

The line of the central government, constantly repeated by vice-deputy Salvini is of zero tolerance and zero welcome. This very often justified with the fact that in the recent years Italy has done (as per minister words) too much and enough and it’s now time for other countries to welcome migrants coming from Africa or Asia.

migrants walking their way

Propaganda or real deal?

This approach, which we won’t debate here, and that the goal to stop the growth of migrant population in Italy, has created though issues not only for incoming migrants, whose boats aren’t anymore allowed to stop in Italian docks, but also for the ones who are already in the Italian territory. In some cases for example, due to the new laws being recently pushed by Rome, would not allow to host migrants in facilities, making them basically complete homeless.

Majors of the most important italian cities, with Palermo in the lead, and strong supports from Naples, Bari, Parma, Milan and Florence among others, are rejecting this approach, claiming that it will attack the basic human rights and therefore outlaw.

It’s unclear on whether this will mean a real action by these majors against the law, in order to continue guarantee human rights to migrants, or the central government will need to use the strong ones and look for the (very remote) option to fire those majors (democratically elected). Salvini has already shown his options in the past months against the major of a small center, Riace, which was supporting actively the welcome of migrants.

If those arguments and positions won’t be followed by direct and concrete actions, will still be evaluated by the voters in the European elections in March.

Football, money and a match for human rights.

Football match of human right one. Let’s figure out now what to wait the 16th for..

On January 16th, in Jedda, Saudi Arabia there will be the match of Italian SuperCup in between Juventus and A.C. Milan. The winner of last year Serie A, versus the winner, albeit in this case runner up of the National cup. Runner up, as Juventus won both competitions and needed an opponent.

Milan supporters

As this prologue suggests, the match may not be the most interesting one, given the distance still clear in between the two teams in terms of shape and skills. Juventus is a giant, in Italy and Europe, since almost 10 years in a row. A.C.Milan instead, hardly remember the joy of the past 20 years.

This match may become more memorable instead for the human aspects and in particular on the role of the woman in Saudi.

Italian politicians for once with one single view

As a matter of fact, Italian politicians, from right to left, have suggested the possibility to have the match played elsewhere, given the restriction to women to visit the stadium. Two of the figures more far in the political landscape, Mr. Salvini, currently Inner Minister, with far-right view and Mrs. Boldrini, far-left wing and previously head of the senate, have vowed together against the choice from the Football Association of having the SuperCup hosted in Saudi Arabia.

muslim woman

In the meantime instead, Saudi government is keen to allow women visiting the stadium alone, without a partner. Which in the Islamic country seems to be a radical change of habit.

The debate continues and seems to move away the attention from the sport event, and more on topic related to basic human rights. The push from Italian politicians may actually have for once a much broader range of actions, amplifying the voices inside the countries against the limited freedom given to women in Saudi.

Italy budget law 2019, a really important matter

It’s time to see 2019 Italian budget law in action. What does it really mean for Italy ant the EU?

Italy 2019 budget law has been just approved by the national parliament and it effectively become official as of January 1st 2019

What does it mean for Italy, its citizens and the EU? And why so much discussion and work behind this.

Let’s take a little step back, also as this is the first article on this topic.

Italy current government started its operations after the election of March 4th 2018 and its path hasn’t been the smootest so far.

2 parties, quite far from each other and surely far before the elections found theirselves to be ruling together the countries after the general vote. Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) and la Lega (former Northern League) joined the forces together to start a government together, despite the large distances in between. It seemed the only options, after Partito democratico (PD), previously in charge of the government, has refused talks with M5S and didn’t achieved enough votes to be alone in charge.

M5S, a populistic party that moves from left to right views, with an attempt of being revolutionary in the way in which is built (internet based and first party) and la Lega, definitely right wing, often showing extremist views, albeit always refusing any allegations with extreme right politics.

Both parties very far in basically everything, from infrastructure to migrations, from economics to society, but with one single fundamental common point. Being both declared anti-EU establishment. Not anti-EU per se. But definitely shouting loud versus the doctrines and the leaders in Brussels.

Now back to today and the 2019 budget law

Budget law requires a more involvement and participation from the national government and parliament and in accordance with the EU. It’s the most important bucket of laws issued every year, with the financial, fiscal and social plans to come.

In the Italian case, this become a of particular interest, when it touches the possible creation of debt, given the Italian National Debt being one of the highest in the world, and in EU behind only the one of Greece. And the initial plans from the Italian government were exactly in this direction. Main motto being: more debts, more investments and liquidity to restart the economy.

European Union

In the last months there has been a real arm wrestle between Italy and the EU on the 2019 budget law.

An arm wrestle which didn’t leave any winner and has been handled quite poorly by both sides. Italian government went backwards, from an initially quite strong point of view on how loose being with regards to deficit and debt, launching significant investments and plans in support of citizens, to a more comfortable plan for the EU. Being more tight on producing debt (already way out of control) but also with internal investments and plans. One step back, showing weakness and not accomplishing what promised during election campaigns. Main visible lost, moving from over 2.4% of deficit to presumably something around 2%..

EU and its leaders didn’t win either. Yes, they may have reduced the risks from an economical stand point on the short run, but mid and long are all to be seen.

The impact on Italian voters may have been harder then expected. The image of EU went deteriorating also because while using the stick with Italy, seemed to use the carrot with France which pushes to expand its deficit. Doesn’t matter to voters that the two situations were different in many reasons. They seemed the same and that’s what matter. An unfair treatment.

2019 will have EU parliament elections and if we may see the first signals of that.

In any case, what is the law all about?

  • National Basic Income. A bold move strongly requested by M5S. Provide a basic income to almost 5M italian citizens. For 9 months, presumably starting as of March 2019. Much more ambitious before. It has been reduced in costs.
  • Gold pensions (pensioni d’oro): cuts to retirement pensions (in Italy fully public) from 90k EURO per year and above.
  • Age for retirement: introduced 100 quote. 100 as sum for years worked + age. Still unclear on how will be implemented. Definitely a risk for the debt.
  • Flat Tax: what Lega was asking for during election campaigns (15% flat tax for business entities) hasn’t been achieved. But something similar for who made less than 65K Euro with tax reductions for a few (5) years
  • Write off: government writes off old small debts under EUR 1000 made before 2010 and support the returns of newer with lighter payment plans
  • Children care: up to EUR 1500 as bonus to subscribe babies and toddlers to public and private day care
  • R&D: more support (up to EUR 90Millions) to National research Center. Not too much, but wasn’t included with too much relevancy in the parties plans.
  • A long series of small improvements, with no major impacts on the overall budget, which may still be amended as law will be executed.

So, here we are.

Now will need to become effective in the next months and the eyes of Italians and the entire EU will be following closely the events.