Bill Carmichael: Italy falls prey to the Brussels bullies

IN an entirely free and fair ballot the people express their will and immediately the establishment elite in the shape of foreign financiers, international bankers, multi-national corporations, unaccountable bureaucrats and corrupt politicians join together to use their money and muscle to thwart the democratic process.

Five-Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio meets reporters at the Italian parliament, in Rome, Wednesday, May 30, 2018. Italy will take more time to try to form a government rather than head for another election in order to avoid the risk of more financial market turmoil, the premier-designate said Wednesday. The two populist parties that got the most votes in the March 4 election failed to create a government over the weekend after President Sergio Mattarella vetoed their proposed economy minister. (Fabio Frustaci/ANSA via AP)

Collectively they demand the vote should simply be ignored – or at least that the people should be forced to keep voting again and again until they come up with a result our political masters find acceptable.

Sound familiar? Of course it does, but actually this time I am not writing about Brexit. Instead the latest battle in the war between ordinary people and the political establishment – in Italy.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

As in the UK, the Italian people have become thoroughly fed up with the corruption and waste of the EU and the arrogant refusal of the privileged class of unelected Brussels bureaucrats to countenance any possibility of reform of a clearly broken system.

But in Italy the situation is far worse. Unlike the UK, the Italians were stupid enough to join the doomed euro in 1999, and ever since their economy has tanked spectacularly, resulting in frightening levels of debt and unemployment, particularly among the young, that could herald total societal collapse.

The livelihoods and dreams of entire generations of ordinary Italians have been sacrificed to the mad – and failing – political project of a United States of Europe.

And we know as an established fact that whenever ordinary people in any part of Europe are given the chance of a vote they emphatically reject the EU – whether that is in Denmark, the Irish Republic, the Netherlands, France, Greece or the UK.

So it was little surprise that in Italian elections in March this year the two main anti-EU parties – Five Star and the League – gained 50 per cent of the total vote.

Let’s be clear of one thing here. These are very moderate critics of the EU. Neither of the two victorious parties wants Italy to leave the EU, although both have grave doubts about the euro that is destroying their economy. In the UK they would be firmly in the Remain camp, because they believe they can reform the EU from within. Fat chance!

But that is not good enough for Brussels. Any hint of criticism has to be ruthlessly suppressed and the perpetrators punished without pity to discourage anyone else having the same idea. Just ask the Greeks. So when those two democratically-elected Italian parties put forward a government the people had voted for, the country’s President Sergio Matarella, with full support from Berlin, Paris and Brussels, refused to accept it because the proposed Finance Minister wasn’t quite fanatically pro-EU enough.

Instead Matarella chose a pro-EU Prime Minster, Carlo Cottarelli, who nobody had voted for and who has no popular support. To give you an idea of his character his nickname is Signor Forbici – Mr Scissors – because of his enthusiasm for ruthlessly cutting front line public services at the behest of his EU masters.

What we have here is a bloodless coup d’état against Italian democracy orchestrated by Brussels and the international financial elite – and I am afraid it is unlikely to end happily.

The Remainers in the UK like to pretend that Brexit is the result of an internal squabble within the Conservative Party and all is well in EU-land. This is willful blindness. Open your eyes to what is happening across the continent, from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Catalonia, Hungary, Greece, France and Italy. There is a growing anti-EU insurgency that simply isn’t going to go away.

But instead of listening to the people it is supposed to represent, the EU is obstinate in resisting even the mildest of reforms. Instead, as we saw with David Cameron’s laughable “re-negotiation” and the current Brexit talks, the EU default position is to threaten and bully and refuse any compromise.

So what happens now? After last weekend’s Italian coup, public support for the anti-establishment parties has rocketed. If elections are held either later this summer or in the autumn the anti-EU parties will be even stronger. What is Berlin going to do then? Send in the tanks?

I hope and pray that someone in the EU will finally see sense and begin to respond to the aspirations of its 500 million citizens. If that doesn’t happen the whole rotten edifice could collapse in a horribly destructive manner. By then – thank God – we’ll be well out of it.