Should I stay or should I go

bre3There has been a lot of debating about the words Giorgio Napolitano; former Italian President, used to comment the so-called “Brexit” :I am among those who hoped to the end that  the desire to remain in Europe would prevail. The outcome of the referendum in Great Britain is a very heavy blow, a great element of economic, financial and political destabilization . We should reflect on how imprudent it was to propose this referendum on such extremely complex matters. ” “ Napolitano spit on democracy“, “the old communist has finally shed the mask“, were some of the angry reactions to his words, but even Mario Monti, former Italian PM and former European Commissioner reinforced Giorgio Napolitano’s concept.  During his speech at the Council for the United States and Italy relations meeting in Venice, in fact, he said:I disagree with those who think that EU referendum is good expression of democracy. Cameron abused of democratic power giving the referendum. Good that in Italy the Constitution prohibits the referendum on the EU’s treaties”. It seemed such a display of arrogance and distrust, of course. However, I cannot help but wonder: are we really submitted to the politicians’ will, who do not allow us to vote on such important matters? Is this a leak in our democratic system? Had I had to vote, upon what ground would I have made my choice? Do I possess the required know-how to vote in a responsible way?

bre4At this point I have to mention a survey which dates back to 2015; however, I don’t think those figures  have changed significantly this last year. The survey states that 80 % of our population are “analfabeti di ritorno” that in English could be more or less: those who have” relapsed into illiteracy”. 80 people out of 100 may be able to write and read, but they don’t fully understand given messages on various matters, graduated included. I don’t want to discuss the causes of this glorious outcome here, but this is a fact, and I am sure that even in those countries which may exhibit better figures, the percentage of those “analfabeti di ritorno” would still represent a majority. Politicians know these surveys well, that’s why their speeches have become a sequence of catch-phrases in time: they talk to that 80% of people, to their hopes, dreams and above all fears.

bre1Yes, fears. The Brexit campaign, whether you were for the “remain” or “leave” side,  was all about fears. For those who voted for” leave” there was the fear of immigration and  that being part of the EU meant accepting the free movement of people without being able to limit or control them ; fear of losing national sovereignty, as half of the laws in force in the United Kingdom are approved by EU bureaucrats who nobody elected; fears of the restrictions of European burocracy, hence Britain would boost the economy freeing itself from the bonds imposed from Brussels and be free to negotiate bilateral trade agreements with developing countries like India and China. For those who supported the “remain” side was pretty much the same: fear of isolation; fear of giving impulse to nationalistic and populist movements around Europe; fear of losing the advantages of the common market; fear of being economically more vulnerable in the age of globalization; fear of the risk of separatism. Whatever you wanted to vote, there was something you had to be afraid of. Hence, the most deep-rooted fears won.

bre2The European Union we live in today is not the result of fears but of a dream of some visionary leaders, who possessed that degree of foolishness Steve Jobs talked about at Stanford University. That meant going beyond the troubles of a disastrous present with its post war political, economical and social instabilities, to imagine and work for a peaceful, prosperous Europe and above all united, as that could and will be guarantee of peace and stability. But this is forgotten and we give for granted the hard reached stability to welcome populisms and nationalisms of any kind with all that means. I don’t mind if a democratically elected politician acts as guide of a country rather than giving voice to its basest fears. Very likely, modern politicians don’t possess that kind of foolishness, that’s why they seek the comfort of democratic exercise, causing ….who knows?



26 thoughts on “Should I stay or should I go

  1. Now post about the fact that Italy is one of a number of countries within the EU who are demanding the same referendum, including one of the big hitters – France…

      • That means all politicians. They are only out for themselves and their paymasters I know. But, if they work together, maybe, just maybe we will see a light at the end of the tunnel. Otherwise…

  2. Direct Democracy is far too easily manipulated to be an effective and positive way forward. Representative Democracy works because it, presumably, puts the decisions in the hands of people who are educated and skilled in handling them.
    Obviously representative democracy is full of problems as well, but I think it is not quite a susceptible to the fear mongering that pushes a referendum like this forward.
    It is still susceptible of course. Donald Trump is a classic example of this.
    But of the two, representative democracy is the lesser evil.

    • I agree with you. Representative democracy should be the lesser evil, but if those people who take the decisions, rather than being educated and skilled as you said, are quite the contrary and with no political experience let alone a political vision, isn’t it all frightening? This s the Italian situation more or less 😕

  3. Okay, I am an instant huge fan! I resist writing too much about politics or social issues, but cannot remain silent long of late. These are interesting times and it’s important to voice our thoughts. Yours are clearly stated and you make some good points. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I hope that as much as it will piss off 17 million people, the British government will grow a pair and not act on the referendum since it is and advisory, or non-binding, one as I understand it.



    • You understood well, but there should be MPs with the guts to act against the will of the majority of Brits. We will see and as you said : interesting times 😕 Thenk you so much for dropping by, Michael. It is a pleasure to have you here.
      Stefy 🙋

  4. I think everybody should realize what the Brexit vote was really about. The Brits felt that they didn’t need a bunch of EU bureucrats mucking things up for them. They could do it quite nicely themselves.

      • A mistake to compare UK relationship to EU based on nationalism and independence movements of the past. UK is an independent country that entered into trade agreement with the 27 other European countries. Those agreements and the means of implementing them needed reform. Instead of reform, the UK will now have to renegotiate like any other country.

        On top of that, Scotland and Ireland have less reason to be part of the United Kingdom, so they can heed the words of the likes of George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Garibaldi . Technically Wales is slowly waking up to the reality that they were better off with EU than UK.

        There is a price to working on a union on a continental scale; the models that show this are Canada and the U.S.A. . One issue is what we refer to in Canada as the have and have not provinces. These areas will either lack resources or workers. It creates an imbalance. For example, the Maritime provinces on the East coast often does not have sufficient work for its population. Many workers were working in Alberta in oil related industry – sending money home and commuting across continent every few weeks. Some moved permanently.

        I find this situation very similar to EU. In place of have not provinces, it is countries of regions that overlap several countries. This is one of the problems that the EU failed to address effectively. Balancing trade and movement of people from regions, which through no fault of their own, lack adequate resources to support the current economy.

  5. Many elected officials here in the US don’t venture too far away from the polls. Some specialize in finding the deep-rooted fears and then, as you say, gives voice to those emotions. It’s all around us these days. Thanks for your introduction to the poll about “analfabetismo di ritorno.” I do not know Italian, but it is funny how I read your post today, because I recently read about a similar statistic relevant to voters here in the US that caught my eye. I may have to find it again and then read more about Italy’s analfabetismo di ritorno.

    • Hi Simon, apart from what I wrote, we have to think that nowadays we are overwhelmed by a sort of hit and run information, which generates misonformation and chaos. Hence the shrewdest politicians win, as they know how to move masses in that chaos. Uk, Italy, US…everywhere.

  6. Late to the party, Stefy, as I usually am! You say it well, this ill thought-out referendum, what it has allowed people to express and wbat the implications are. The only positive things that are emerging (from an insular viewpoint) is that not much seems to be happening, that no ody seems to be in a hurry, andtgat if enough pressures are brought to bear legally and democratcally, Brexit may never happen. What that means for the wider malaise that Europe is suffering from I don’t know.

  7. I am sure that vast majority of people understand very well major events in life of their country. It is also clear to me that we can’t trust politicians very much.

    • Major events are often too complex and require particular attention and competence. For example, in about a month time , we are requested to give our positive or negative vote on the constitutional reform, so I guess people should read (and understand ) the constitution first, before deciding, but this dors not happen. That majority doesn’t even know what it is all about and will decide according to slogans and populisms of any kind.

  8. I wrote a lot about this issue on my other blog last year.

    I voted to leave, but as a former Communist who still has very Left-Wing views, I resent being labelled as a racist and xenophobe by many of the critics, and almost all of the British ‘Intelligentsia’. Whilst there were undoubtedly many who voted to leave because of those reasons, there were also millions like myself who always knew that this European fiasco was never going to work. I am old enough to have voted against it in 1975, and had to wait a long time to make my protest again.

    The argument that underprivileged or poorly educated people are too stupid to vote because they cannot understand the complexities of politics is not new. We had the situation here many years ago, when Thatcher became Prime Minister on the back of a huge female vote by many women who claimed to have only voted for her ‘because she is a woman’. History now shows us that they were mistaken in their admiration of that awful woman. But does that mean we should now deny them the right to make choices? if you want to live in any form of ‘democracy’, you have to be prepared to be on the losing side much of the time, like it or not.

    Best wishes, Pete.

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