This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

The Utter Fragility Of The Eurozone: Even Democracy Is A Threat

testosteronepit's picture





 

Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com   www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter

“I’m appalled that two clowns have won,” said Peer Steinbrück about the Italian election, referring to former comedian, now hot politician, Beppe Grillo, head of the 5 Star movement, and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. One of them is “a professional clown who doesn’t mind being called that,” he explained; the other is “a clown with special testosterone boost.”

It was not the first time that Steinbrück, SPD’s candidate to knock almighty Chancellor Angela Merkel from her perch this year, put his foot into his mouth. His countrymen grinned and gnashed their teeth at the same time. In Italy, it caused a media tornado. “My impression is that two populists won,” he added, populists being even worse in Eurozone politics than clowns.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, who was supposed to have dinner with him that evening in Berlin at the swank Hotel Adlon, cancelled. But Steinbrück didn’t apologize. “What is said is said,” he confirmed. He wants to be the “plaintext” chancellor, the one that speaks the unvarnished truth, unlike Merkel.

There were feeble efforts from the SPD to protect him. “Regarding Berlusconi, ‘clown’ is the gentlest word that I can personally think of,” said SPD General Secretary Andrea Nahles.

Merkel’s government used this opportunity, handed to them on a silver platter, to lash out at their opponent. “With these kinds of statements, Steinbrück qualifies himself for entertainment TV, but not for the Office of the Chancellor,” said FDP deputy chairwoman Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. And so, the Italian election was inserted into the German campaign—and heavy breathing could be heard from all sides.

The government’s enthusiasm for the election results wasn’t palpable either. Spokesman Steffen Seibert only said that the government would work “confidently” with the new Italian government, “whichever it will be.” Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble mused on TV that “we’re all not really pleased, but that doesn’t help, that’s democracy.”

Yet there was nothing funny about the election in Italy. The enraged people whose belts had been tightened reacted in a democratic and peaceful manner by voting largely for politicians who opposed Merkel’s debt-crisis policies that had been imposed on them. And until Steinbrück opened his mouth, the biggest loser had been Merkel.

Her man, Prime Minister Mario Monti, the unelected technocrat, got wiped out. He’d been tasked to do the ugly work of pushing through labor reform, pension reform, and property tax reform. The political powers let him. Then, when the economy deteriorated, they blamed him. A convenient setup.

Merkel’s other man, Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani, didn’t get enough votes to govern, and would need to form a coalition with Grillo or Berlusconi.

With its tempting message to end austerity and hold a referendum on the euro, Grillo’s movement received more votes than any other party. But he is not in parliament himself and has refused so far to participate in a coalition.

Berlusconi’s economic record isn’t exactly sterling. He served as prime minster three times, for almost ten years. But from 2001 through 2011, Italy had one of the slowest growing economies in the world. Now he is back, scandals, trials, and all—and wants to abandon austerity.

Eurocrats got the willies. Because last July, the ECB set out what would become a trap when Mario Draghi promised to do “whatever it takes”—purchase unlimited amounts of bonds from teetering countries—to protect the euro. It calmed the fidgety markets. But attached to it was a conditionality: the country would have to request help and agree to undergo a reform program. Austerity. It allowed Germany and some other hard-money countries to swallow it.

If Italy abandoned austerity, it would become ineligible for Draghi’s promise. It would have to stare down financial markets on its own. In short order, it would be on the brink. There’d be some options, including “unlimited” support by the ECB without the conditionality. No-questions-asked monetization of Italian government debt.

If it worked for Italy, it would work for other teetering countries. Debasing the currency. Central banks master it. But Germany’s dream of a hard currency would be dollarized. Perhaps it too would pass, or perhaps it would lead to a monetary revolt. Eurocrats dreaded this scenario. So they turned their guns on Italy.

“There is no way back,” said EU President Herman Van Rompuy. “This we simply cannot afford.” European Commissioner and French politician Michel Barnier chimed in: Italy has no choice, he said. “This is a catastrophe for Europe,” grumbled Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. He too lamented the danger of populism.

“I hope we are not going to follow the temptation to give in to populism because of the results in one specific member state,” said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. He feared that anti-austerity passion would spread from Italy to other countries.

They all document with their own words just how fragile the Eurozone has become. Every little thing can break it apart. Democracy itself, instead of being a fundamental strength, is seen as a threat: if the “wrong” party or an anti-establishment populist or an anti-austerity billionaire gains the most votes in one country, the entire 17-nation construct might break apart.

In late January, the state-sponsored chorus about the end of the debt crisis was deafening. It even had feel-good metrics: the “Euro Breakup Index” fell to 17.2%, from July’s 73%. Just then, top Eurocrats accidentally exposed how rickety the system had become. Read.... LEAKED: Mario Draghi And His Triumvirate Shut Up German Finance Minister To Keep Tiny Cyprus From Blowing Up The Eurozone.

 


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Fri, 03/01/2013 - 09:01 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The enraged people whose belts had been tightened reacted in a democratic and peaceful manner by voting largely for politicians who opposed Merkel’s debt-crisis policies that had been imposed on them.
___________________________

That is an 'american' way to put it.

The part of the middle class that is sacrificed to save the other part is indeed enraged.

But it happens that in 'americanism', you cant vote a servant out, you must vote another servant in.

The enraged middle class wanted to punish the current incumbent. And they had no other choice but to vote for some other servants.

Ascribing those votes to some alledgedly hold positions by these servants is propaganda.

Both Berlusconi and Grillo are 'americans' and once in charge will do an 'american' policy.

It just happens that in 'americanism', you cant vote someone out, you can only vote someone else in instead.

From that moment,when the 'american' middle class wants to punish the incumbent, what matters the most is to stay in the game long enough to be the one the 'american' middle class will shift their vote to.

'Americans' who want to serve politically the middle class understood that point a long time ago.

Berlusconi is a good example. He knew all it would take is to stay in the game long enough so the enraged declining middle class shift their voting way to him.

All his energy, efforts were allocated in repelling the attempts to kick him out of the game. He endured long enough. He had to offer nothing more in order to collect the vote from the middle class.

That is the way it works in an 'american' society.

Of course, 'americans' will keep attributing grand ideas and goals to the voters, even though they know that the situation is a mere mechanical result of a structural feature in 'americanism': you cant vote someone out, you must vote someone else in. And Italy has probably entered that stage in 'americanism' when it no longer matters to try to be someone with propositions, ideas, concepts, course of actions, but it matters most to be that someone else who will collect votes only thanks to being that "else".

This is an 'american' world and this is the way things work in 'americanism'.

Fri, 03/01/2013 - 10:22 | Link to Comment TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

That is an 'AnAnonymoronic' way to put it.

The part of the Chinese Communautist Citizenism middle class, a.k.a. Emporer class, that is sacrificed to save the other part is indeed enraged.

But it happens that in 'Chinese citizenism', you cant vote a servant out, you must vote another servant in.

The enraged Chinese Communautist Citizenism middle class, a.k.a. Emporer class, wanted to punish the current incumbent by rolling him up and down the roadside. And they had no other choice but to crap on even more roadsides.

Ascribing those votes to some alledgedly hold positions by these servants is propaganda.

Both Bo Xilai and Wang Chung are 'Chinese citizenism citizens' and once in charge will do an 'Chinese citizenist' policy.

It just happens that in 'Chinese citizenism', you cant vote someone out, you can only vote someone else in instead.

From that moment,when the 'Chinese citizenist' Chinese Communautist Citizenism middle class, a.k.a. Emporer class, wants to punish the incumbent, what matters the most is to stay in the game long enough to be the one the 'Chinese citizenist' Chinese Communautist Citizenism middle class, a.k.a. Emporer class, will shift their vote to.

'Chinese citizenism citizens' who want to serve politically the Chinese Communautist Citizenism middle class, a.k.a. Emporer class, understood that point a long time ago.

Bo Xilai is a good example. He knew all it would take is to stay in the game long enough so the enraged declining Chinese Communautist Citizenism middle class, a.k.a. Emporer class, shift their voting way to him.

All his energy, efforts were allocated in repelling the attempts to kick him out of the game. He endured long enough. He had to offer nothing more in order to collect the vote from the Chinese Communautist Citizenism middle class, a.k.a. Emporer class.

That is the way it works in an 'Chinese citizenist' society.

Of course, 'Chinese citizenism citizens' will keep attributing grand ideas and goals to the voters, even though they know that the situation is a mere mechanical result of a structural feature in 'Chinese citizenism': you cant vote someone out, you must vote someone else in. And occupied Tibet has probably entered that stage in 'Chinese citizenism' when it no longer matters to try to be someone with propositions, ideas, concepts, course of actions, but it matters most to be that someone else who will collect votes only thanks to being that "else".

This is an 'Chinese citizenist' world and this is the way things work in 'Chinese citizenism'.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 19:10 | Link to Comment monad
monad's picture

TPTB need to stop leeching recent scripts that made it to the box office.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_of_the_Year_(2006_film)

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 19:06 | Link to Comment Decimus Lunius ...
Decimus Lunius Luvenalis's picture

Those poor bastards are just now learning what happens when you centralize short-sightedness!  Fools.  We would never elect a comedian to the Senate, and we definitely wouldn't allow for that level of centralization of power where the only way control is maintained is by doling out unearned benefits to the point where the government not only lives paycheck-to-paycheck, but also uses 0% balance-transfers as its way to pay off accrued debts.  It simply wouldn't happen in the ol' U.S. of A.  Poor bastards.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 18:25 | Link to Comment otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

The Adlon-now that was a swanky hangout for the Nazis

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 17:41 | Link to Comment Lordflin
Lordflin's picture

Guess it is time for the long honored bank sponsored assassination...

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 22:48 | Link to Comment Decimus Lunius ...
Decimus Lunius Luvenalis's picture

That's a bit far-fetched.  I mean, it's not as if major financial institutions such as one carrying the namesake of He Who Must Not Be Named were intricately involved in the Russian Revolution which began by slaughtering the Tsar and his family.  I mean, it's not as if a certain family said to be worth well over $1 trillion that funded the slave-trading Brown brothers who introduced a certain He Who Must Not Be Named Sr. to a certain English Lord aren't still around, incredibly wealthy, and have been known to say they make 10x more during wartime than in peacetime.  I'm just saying it's a bit far-fetched to say banks are or have been involved in such things.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 18:30 | Link to Comment otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

"The International" could serve as a blueprint-it even has a populist Italian poltician being assasinated by a powerful banking cabal.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 17:08 | Link to Comment Joe A
Joe A's picture

Well Markel can trash this Steinbrück as much as she wants but this is probably exactly how the majority of the Germans think about Italy. And other countries too.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 17:04 | Link to Comment Volaille de Bresse
Volaille de Bresse's picture

"“I’m appalled that two clowns have won,” said Peer Steinbrück"

 

Good to see the Establishment is starting to shit himself over the result of the Italian elections...

 

Steinbrück's shameful statement is not a sign of arrogance it's the sign of utter desperation and realization the party's over for bankers...

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 17:03 | Link to Comment Vegetius
Vegetius's picture

The Italians have a real chance to upset the apple cart all they have to do is nothing.  With the pressure that will grow as this year unfolds we should see the end of the Euro. The pressure across the world is growing with debasement of money the fashion and the lies that grow and grow

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:40 | Link to Comment WTFUD
WTFUD's picture

Think Amazed!!!
Where are the clowns? Send in the clowns!

I was nervous prior to the italian election that the peoples of Italy would " bend the knee " or put in another way " sucked de dick ".

Just when you lose faith in this scummy world a ray of light emerges. Kicking out the nazi technos is a GodSend! Clowns/ Muppets same speak ; heard it all before from Goldielocks.

Italy thank you very very much!!!

Now you have shown the balls let each and every one of us in this hellhole of a eurozone follow suit and rid ourselves of this Techno Plague and " Take no fucking Prisoners " in doing so.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:33 | Link to Comment lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Well obviously the solution is to make a super EU state where only the EU government control things and can be elected. No more national governments decising of economic policy.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:13 | Link to Comment shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Note to Merkle:

Never make an offer they CAN refuse.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:50 | Link to Comment thisandthat
thisandthat's picture

Italy to Seinbrück: vaffanculo, nazi di merda!

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:47 | Link to Comment Confundido
Confundido's picture

There will be drones soon flying over the Coliseum....

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:38 | Link to Comment ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

It's usually best to just keep your mouth shut.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:26 | Link to Comment Sandmann
Sandmann's picture

Peer Steinbrück is bizarre. He has a Party with the lowest membership in postwar history and likely to get 23% in the polls. He seems hell-bent on keeping Merkel in power. His rampant need to portray himself to Italians as The Ugly German seems boundless. For a former Finance Minister he certainly knows how to bring Bundesbank TARGET2 problems to the fore when Italy simply runs up the ECB credit line. Draghi has an MPS problem

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:20 | Link to Comment Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

I agree - sometimes he really looks as he wants to lose the elections - but he is truly just very, very blunt

not the only German built this way, I fear, there is a tradition there

he, Schröder, Schäuble, Berlusconi, Monti and Draghi are "typical archetypes" in their nations, imho, kind of versions of common themes

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:34 | Link to Comment Orly
Orly's picture

Exactly what I was thinking.  This all smells like a set-up for Merkel to walk away with the election.  So what, they throw John McCain in there to give it a good fight?  Bob Dole?  Mitt Romney?

Two of three of them are good people but they aren't presidential material and the establishment knows it.  I think this is the very basic definition of "straw man."

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:50 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Thieves and killers are good people?

I guess war is peace and slavery is freedom, too.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:49 | Link to Comment Clowns on Acid
Clowns on Acid's picture

2/3 - yes I agree on McCain....

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:23 | Link to Comment lasvegaspersona
lasvegaspersona's picture

Italy has a long history of currency mismanagement does it not? The Italians (and each individual country) must decide if they want a strong (minimally-inflating) currency or if they want to deal with ongoing inflation. There are advantages to both approaches especially in a world of debasement of currencies.

If they choose the Euro they will have to ride out the tough period of having a stronger currency and put up with decreased ability to export. Ultimately they could wind up with the world's new reserve currency and all the benefits of that.

The other choice (hyperinflation every generation or so) can be fun for a while but ultimately hurts...a lot.

I can only imagine how each citizen in the EZ tries to balance these choices. Neither is perfect but I do not see an honest  third way.

 

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:06 | Link to Comment poldark
poldark's picture

I think they want a job.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:14 | Link to Comment Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

eh, many Italians have also a lot of stash they want to protect - and the elderly remember the Lira

your comment is correct, though, for the younger generations, hence the vote for Grillo's M5S

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:58 | Link to Comment steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

 

The Italian election is the end of the technocrat phase of Italian insolvency and collapse.

 

The technocrats' job is to manage the privatization-theft of a country's assets ... period. When technocrats fail it is because there is nothing to steal or profitably privatize. Monti's technocrats failed months ago, the election was a formality.

 

Technocracy is a part of a longer-term secular decline, from ineffective government or conflict, to technocracy, to zero-government: the capitulation by the establishment, the breakdown into factions and chaos.

 

When the Germans and other northerners whine, it is because they do so automatically when throwing up their hands. The EU game is over: think of the whining as capitulation. In Italy, there is nothing to steal, sunshine and Roman ruins are not transportable, Italians are terrible slave-laborers.

 

There is one fly in the ointment: the euro = gasoline. Like the Greeks and the Catalans, the Italians will grip onto the euro for dear life even as the governments ... don't amount to anything and the country drifts onto political shoals. 

 

Maybe Italy will dollarize. Haha! That would freak out the ZH crowd! Dollars = gasoline, too.

 

 

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:09 | Link to Comment medium giraffe
medium giraffe's picture

Says nothing about plans to drop the Euro  - this was one of the main reasons the clowns won and for me the most juicy bit of this drama...

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:03 | Link to Comment are we there yet
are we there yet's picture

A while back Italy elected a porn queen actress to its congress.  Lots of good jokes there, but out of curriosity how does history treat her voting record. Was her voting record indicative of good governance?  If so she may be better than the other clowns in italies congress.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:12 | Link to Comment Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Cicciolina? Oh, if I remember correctly she pretty followed the party line

here is the party http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_Party_(Italy)

roughly libertarian

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:46 | Link to Comment Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

There is no such as "good governance".

Just less harmful governance.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 20:10 | Link to Comment are we there yet
are we there yet's picture

Thomas Jefferson defines good governance. It has been rare since.

Fri, 03/01/2013 - 08:31 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Yep, and that included using debt to expand the empire of liberty...

'Americans' are still on the page of good governance...

Sat, 03/02/2013 - 13:14 | Link to Comment akak
akak's picture

Communist 'chinese' citizenism citizens are still on the rage with their bad flatulence ....

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 14:59 | Link to Comment davidsmith
davidsmith's picture

"by voting largely for politicians who opposed Merkel’s debt-crisis policies that had been imposed on them."

 

Unless Italy actually defaults, it doesn't matter what government it has: Germany will continue to bail it out.  The real clowns are the Italian people themselves: they didn't vote to get out of the EU, which is the only way they are going to escape starvation at the hands of the fascist oligarchy.

 

And can we please, from now on, refer to every government as a fascist oligarchy?  It's simpler, and accurate, whether you are talking about China, the U.S., or Nigeria.  It's the international fascist oligarchy and it's out to starve humanity.

 

Wake up!  Overthrow the U.S. government NOW.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:09 | Link to Comment Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

blablabla - do you have any idea on how referendums in Italy function, and how often Italians had them in the last forty years

"EU starvation at the hand of the fascist oligarchy" my ass

stick to the one government you have and know

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:04 | Link to Comment Ayreos
Ayreos's picture

Italy never had a chance for such a vote. There wasn't a vote to join Europe or adopt the Euro either. Corrupt italian media practice terrorism on daily basis about how disastrous exiting the Euro would be for Italy, just as they practiced propaganda about great being in the Euro would be before.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:48 | Link to Comment dataanalytics
dataanalytics's picture

Spot on David

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:11 | Link to Comment hootowl
hootowl's picture

STARVE THE BEAST!!!

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 14:43 | Link to Comment bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

Would be nice if instead of just a press review - with most material already largely on ZH - the author added something deeper ... some new angle, or perhaps where he thought this could or would go ...

And it is not accurate above re Berlusconi's economic leadership. He was pretty good and got Italy's budget just about at primary surplus ... Italy did not have the 'super boom' because the smart Italians have very low household debt, and high personal wealth.

Italians are richer than Germans in net worth, believe it or not, and tho Italy's government debt is high their overall debt picture is among the best in Europe. Italy's only problem is the euro, and the debt service costs and export limitations resulting from that.

Yes, Italy saying 'No' could blow up the euro-zone, and the euro-crats are nervous that the 'Greater EU' programme is no longer selling, with all the brutality to working-class Europeans in the Mediterranean. Almost no one believes in the euro as it stands, except for people tied to the EU and EU bank lackeys in national governments.

Italy has taken the great step, as Jim Willie says, proving that they are the most democratic country in Europe right now.

It is a shame Beppe Grillo won't do the really courageous thing, cut a deal with Berlusconi and start to take Italy out of the euro-zone, something they are both ready to do. Grillo is a good guy, but his ego is in the way now. The larger picture is more important than Berlusconi's past peccadilloes.

Italy should act swiftly to end the euro choking of Italians, and thus of all Mediterranean Europeans ... the sooner the better

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 20:48 | Link to Comment John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

Superb comment on the situation, bank guy.  The monetary union is a tighening noose which will hang the typical european.  They need to get out now.

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:38 | Link to Comment steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

 

 

@Bank Guy:

 

"And it is not accurate above re Berlusconi's economic leadership. He was pretty good and got Italy's budget just about at primary surplus ... Italy did not have the 'super boom' because the smart Italians have very low household debt, and high personal wealth.

 

Italians are richer than Germans in net worth, believe it or not, and tho Italy's government debt is high their overall debt picture is among the best in Europe. Italy's only problem is the euro, and the debt service costs and export limitations resulting from that."

 

One thing the Italians have that the Anglo-American compact lacks ... including the Germans and other North Europeans ... is nice lives with close families, interesting things to do and beautiful places to do them in.

 

Far different from the grim and nasty march from birth to feared-for death ... in the totalitarian money factories of the market state ... every inch measured in wealth, net worth, government debt, debt pictures, debt service costs, exports, and the other infernal 'innovations' hung around everyone's neck like the expectant noose.

 

The ruinous journey of the flying dutchmen from gas station to gas station that is bankrupting Italy and the rest of this world under everyone's noses.

 

 

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:25 | Link to Comment OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

Anglo-American press views Berlusconi as a buffoon but he's not viewed that way at all within Italy. And very true about Beppe, yes he has a groundswell but his political instincts are failing him, he needs instead to compromise now and keep his eyes on the prize, instead he'll force a second election and that's a big risk point for his momentum. Most important for the country that invented the word "fascisti" is to deliver the knockout blow which they had in hand...but are letting slip away like the smoke from the Pope's chimney...

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:13 | Link to Comment mac768
mac768's picture

... so here we are again, the so called "Fiscal Union" with the ECB's pledge to do "anything we can to save the Euro"... and then the Clowns come in and destroy the fiction... it is just a matter of time until the people will find out that the clowns are really in charge of the asylum ...

... and IMHO the same applies to the so called "Housing Recovery" in the US

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 16:06 | Link to Comment Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

I agree with you, with two differentiations:

 

yes, it's fragile - because members can leave. in this way, current marriages are fragile, people can divorce

Grillo has repeatedly said that it's his opinion, and he absolutely wants only a referendum to clear the Italian eurozone question

 

one question, though: any country leaving has - depending on some factors - a brand new currency to debase quickly before perhaps re-pegging, most probably to the EUR itself

fine. and then? does it solve something or does it just buy some time? because the latter is commonly called

kicking the can further

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 15:18 | Link to Comment Orly
Orly's picture

The angle you refer to is probably common thinking in Brussels.  Here, in the US, we don't hear these "angles" every day, so when he lays out the basics, it is generally news to us.

Besides, I believe he was demonstrating that the elite establishment politicians and political class feel disgust at the very thought of two clowns taking office.  The same was expressed here in the States by Citi very shortly after the election.

Even Mario Monti himself went on TV, twice, if I am not mistaken, to complain that there needed to be election reform in Italy, implying in so many words that the idiots he wanted to lead had no clue what they were doing.

It seems to me that Wolf has it about right.  Perhaps for more details, a national Italian newspaper would serve you better?

:D

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!