The English way


Having recovered from the electoral shock, I can’t help but wonder about the reasons that have brought our nation to the pathological political instability that has characterized us for decades. We have nothing wrong, for sure, we are a beautiful country with a gloriuous past, the cradle of civilization along with Greece and certainly much more could be added. However, even if we started so well, we must have missed a few steps in the path towards a mature democracy. One justification might be that we are a young nation: only 153 years old. We shouldn’t forget that before the unification, we had suffered dominations of any kind, whose positive heritage can be clearly seen in each of our regions in term of culture, food, music, language but in those centuries of oppression we had also gradually developed a higher degree of scepticism and distrust against any form of administration. Cunning, unreliability, deceitfulness, “virtues” that still characterize our being Italians abroad, were the weapons we had developed in time to defend ourselves from the foreign rules. The problem is that once free and politically united, we haven’t been able to work together for the making of a common identity, because our chronic distrust runs in our veins and has always made us choose for the “individual” way, That’s why the process towards a responsible,efficient democracy here is slower than in other countries. It’s this lack of a common political and social effort that still makes us always look for that charismatic one, who might solve all our problems. He has never showed up and never will. But as I told you before, we are young. In other countries, on the contrary, the path towards democracy has seemed somehow more natural. The last invasion in England, for example, dates back to 1066,  when the Normans conquered the country – fortunate event that might have happened in Italy as well, thus sparing us a lot of troubles, but for the Pope’s fierce opposition against the Normans’ advance from the South of Italy- therefore England, if compared to Italy, had an advantage of 800 years. It means they had plenty of time to make a lot of nice political experiments. From that moment on, and before any other country, England will undergo a gradual but constant weakening of the great powers of the Middle Age: Church and monarchy, and the growing of a modern one: Parliament. With the English Common Law, for instance, the king was not considered any longer above the law; therefore if the English ruler could be tried just like anybody else, he had started to lose that divine trait that his fellow kings all over Eupore would have kept for a long time. Furthermore with The Magna Charta the king could no longer impose taxes without that “general consent” of those who one day will become part of a fully elected Parliament. The nobles took advantage from this situation increasing their power, but they greed will bring England to the disaster of the War of the Roses. The Tudors’ were necessarily firmer monarchs whose recipe for a stronger country was the balancing of powers. They weakened the nobles depriving them of their private armies, avoided summoning Parliament, increased trade, developed alliances with the other countries, but above all, smashed the power of the Roman Catholic Church taking advantage of the Protestant wave from the north of Europe. At the dawing of the seventeeth century England was an Anglican country with a well defined Parliament and increasing middle class. The Stuarts who had been brought up in France at the court of Louis XIV, failed to understand the rooted dinstictive features of the country, and tried to make it more “European” if possible, but in this way they only succeeded in reinforcing its prior structure. After the Glorious Revolution, England had now become a modern country with a monarchy controlled by an indipendent Parliament and a growing middle class. It was therefore ready to face the great changes of the industial revolution and destined to be a long lasting power worldwide. But this is another story. As I told you before, we are young.


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