Italian elections approach fast, and the electoral campaign is in full rage.
DIscussion among the various parties has concentrated around a few points, like who is the most corrupted (the contest continues without a clear winner, but with a mass of participants), or about decreasing taxes.
All very emotional, often pronounced in a simplified syntax so that "all can understand" (and almost all can be equally disgusted).
In this campaign, many things are still missing, while I'd like them being mentioned for me to give my informed vote.
The first, all encompassing, is: what future for Italy? Debate has concentrated on fiscal politics, trying to reassure both tax payers and tax dodgers they will see their individual situation to become "better". But this is just about gathering cash to allow the current state of affairs go on. It isn't about future.
Trying to split this big question in manageable smaller ones, I see this:
1) What about environment?
You may remember on of my posts about Stelvio National Park. In that occasion I denounced mr.Berlusconi having promised two representatives of Südtiroler Volks Partei to intervene in favor of splitting the National Park in smaller units, operating independently on regional and province scale, and allowing Trentino Alto Adige to loosen restrictions about hunting in the National Park. This, in exchange of votes allowing mr.Berlusconi's government to survive some days more.
Now the very same proposal has been issued by mr.Bersani, leader of the Democrat Party and, in theory, political adversary of mr.Berlusconi's "Popolo della Libertà".
A few weeks before, the Ministry of Environment pushed in favor of ILLVA for continuing production even after measurements have shown pollution limits had been severely exceeded at Taranto.
Quite clearly, in Italy the environment is seen as a "plus", just matter for environmentalists and sweethearts to discuss on. Something we Italian can not afford to have.
I would like to know, seriously, if this is true. I'd also would like to know what is the qualification of the politicians involved in environmental policy really is. My strong suspect (let's say so) is they have no specific skill in the field, and the policies they are able to devise strongly reflect this lack of culture.
2) What about culture? What about research?
This, too, is a totally missing point in electoral campaign. The only known fact is, money to public schools and universities has been cut just proportionally.
It is true that in Italy we have really too much universities for example - many of them constituted to please local administrations and power groups, beyond any real need. But then, why not closing the ones really less important, and concentrate resources on the fewer big ones? Maybe, on the subjects of higher future return?
This did not happen, and the effect can be seen in the 8% decrease of university enrollment.
As we Italians have no significant oil reservoir, nor wind energy, our only hope to survive global competition is to use our creativity. But in today's World this may only be successful with excellence, and this is not something easy to attain without a sound preparation.
3) What about fighting criminality?
Italy is renown as the motherland of Mafia. But this is nly a small part of the story: many other groups exist, more or less rooted in local and national power. There is 'Ndrangheta, of Calabrian origin but now strongly rooted in Lombardy. There is Sacra Corona Unita. There are various other Mafias.
I'd like to know what our future leader will do about, beyond generic declarations. I'd like to understand how much resource will be allocated, when, and why. Which kind of military action will be taken out to convict the "bosses" and their accolites. How, once they have been convicted, will it be ensured they are not any longer dangerous. How will the immense money flow run by Mafia stopped, and re-routed to development.
4) What about Italy's position in Europe and the World?
The only things I've heard or read about are the fancy declarations of mr.Berlusconi, who oughts the policy of Europe to be "not dominated by Germany" - with the annex threat to destroy the Euro if this will not happen.
From mr.Berlusconi I'd like to know how will he counter the likely European countermeasure to an aggressive Italian move: selling back our public debt titles en masse, and leading Italy to bankrupt within hours. Mr.Berlusconi is a well known international clown however, and surely in case of victory will say "Oh, you have misunderstood me."
More importantly. I would like to know what plans are about Italian geo-political position. Will we get most of our energy supply from Russia, Algeria, Libya as usual? Somewhere else? Where? Will we be allied to China, or adversaries? What about our relationships with the US? Other European countries?
Where will out products travel to reach their markets abroad?
5) What about energy?
Italy is still one of the few countries in the Western World which has not conduced an extensive assessment of energy real needs and usage. This has permitted an absurd rush to building biomass and co-generation power plants just out of the once generous government funding ("green certificates"), but with no relationship to whether that energy would be actually used by someone. The consequence was we buy a lot of electric energy from France, while selling power to Croatia and other power-hungry countries nearby. That is, with pollution and environment degradation - not counting the fact power dissipates during transport so that generating it close to where it's needed is far more economical than letting it travel.
6) What about women?
Women too have vanished from electoral campaign. This is a scandal in the scandal: politicians rave about women votes (indeed, women constitute the majority of Italian electoral force), but they have removed issues like lack of representation, gender discrimination at work, concrete help to families, stopping violence against women, and many others.
With not a hint of a justification.
I'd like to know, dear Italian politicians, how will you correct the blatant problem of gender-based discrimination, and close the gap with other countries.
I'd also like to know how the immense resource of women creativity, might and knowledge will be channeled to growth - understanding the lack of progress in 20 last years in Italy coincides with the worsening of women conditions, so timely that a causal relationship is more than a suggestion.
These are the main questions I'd like Italian politicians answer, before I give them my own vote.