Sunday, February 03, 2008


British MP Derek Conway has stated in today's newspapers that "I did nothing wrong".
[The photo is of course not Derek Conway, but Silvio Berlusconi]

This relates to the discovery that he allegedly paid money from public funds to both his sons, and a boyfriend of one son, for work they never did. Many families are really struggling to help their children get through university, and then pay off their student loans after university.

The news that Conway's children were paid by the taxpayer, and he does not think he did anything wrong proves conclusively that we are really in the heart of Europe. [hat tip to Peter at Detectives beyond Borders for this idea]

The culture of clientelismo in looking after your friends and family, and keeping outsiders out of the loop, and the importance of having the backing of a famiglia importante seem endemic in Italy.

Millions compete in Italian society for the soft clerical jobs, a poltrona, an armchair, which offers the prize of a contract for tempo indeterminato, time immemorial.

If you go into some provincial post offices, and you will see the beautiful daughters of the local famiglia importante draped behind the counters.

We used to laugh at this European behaviour in the UK, but now it seems government avarice and bureaucratic incompetence have become fully established here.

What happens eventually when the people no longer trust their rulers to deal fairly with them?

"Instead we see Italian ministers of every party setting the example by engaging in those interested transactions that are the ruin of Sicily...." Lepoldo Franchetti 1876

In the short stories in Crimini [I have only read the first two so far] corruption is the major theme. The search for the "quick buck" and also the creeping moral corruption with the subsequent removal of any limits to behaviour if it brings rewards.

The other two themes of the foreigner, as a disruptive criminal force rather than an invigorating benefit to a jaded society, and the obsession with success are well developed in the UK.

The desire to be a celebrity is all pervasive with talentless people becoming famous for sleeping with some other talentless individual, or even just for taking heroin.

The ordinary hard working person feels desperate as the government even awards medals to these "glitterati" and the dangers are clear.

The IRA, Mafioso, and even the Klan cultivated an image of helping the poor and downtrodden from the "carpetbaggers" and other oppressors, but in fact never hesitated to use violence to further their own interests.

"The desire to prevail over the competition, combined with the lack of a credible state, cannot bring about a normal marketplace: the common practice is not to do better than your rivals but to do them in."

Paolo Borsellino, anti Mafia prosecutor killed with his five bodyguards by a car bomb in Palermo 19 July 1992

Sources: Excellent Cadavers,The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic, Alexander Stille; The Dark Heart of Italy, Tobias Jones and Crimini edited by Giancarlo Cataldo.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I shall show this post to Jenny age 12, who has just attempted to charge her father £20 for helping to wash the car.

When I reminded her that (1) this is a bit steep and (2) she still owes us her quarter of the cost of the "family present" of a Nintedo Wii that we bought last year, so we could take her £20 out of that, she told me that the £20 demand was a clever scheme, in that it is so outrageous that her Dad would decline her services, hence she would not have to wash the car (or get £20, which she said she didn't want anyway, as she has plenty in her savings account).

To which aforementioned father replied that this child is obviously not deprived enough.

I am wondering, in fact, if we should make her the next Prime Minister of Italy (or MP for Bexley Heath or wherever it was).

6:31 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

It sounds like she should be Governor of the Bank of England or Chancellor. "Plenty in her savings account" more than most of the country can say at the moment.;)

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it is amazing how quickly £10 per month pocket money can accrue when you don't ever have to actually spend any of it ;-)

12:53 PM  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

If she were in the the U.S., I'd suggest that she was a business student in the making.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

12:16 AM  

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