Italians vote for the same old politicians year in year out and that’s why nothing changes. Unemployment in Italy is at record levels. The tax burden is crippling. Life for Italy’s small businesses is a nightmare. Young Italians are running away from Italy in droves to seek appreciation and earnings elsewhere.
Despite all the problems, Italy’s voters will, yet again, place the same ineffectual bottoms on seats in Italy’s parliament once again when elections happen in 2013. The same leopards with the same spots, who, like Italy, never, ever, change.
Italians just do not comprehend how bad the situation is, even if some, a very tiny minority, do. I met two such Italians last night for a pizza and a chat. Both were once right-wing voters. Both have a high level of education, and are very down to earth people. Neither knows who to vote for now. One described Italy as an antiquated “shitty country”. When the citizens of a nation with the potential that Italy has, and it does have huge potential, use such words to describe their country, you know there is a major problem.
One answer is awareness, and this is where Italy’s journalists come in, although I doubt the vast majority of them are brave enough to ask the questions which need asking.
Here are twenty questions Italian, and foreign, journalists should ask each of Italy’s many politicians, more than once, probably:
1. What have you done for Italy? Give 10 examples.
2. What are you doing to prepare Italy for the future? Give 10 examples.
3. Why have you let the tax burden in Italy become crippling?
4. Why have you made it so difficult for businesses to operate in Italy?
5. What have you done to encourage foreign direct investment? Give 10 examples.
6. How are you helping businesses in Italy export their goods? Give 10 examples.
7. How are you promoting Italy abroad? Give 10 examples.
8. Do you think you justify your salary? Give 10 justifications.
9. Why haven’t you reformed the court system?
10. Do you know anybody suspected or convicted of being involved with organised crime?
12. How many salaried positions do you hold?
13. Have you made a public declaration of all your assets and interests?
14. Have you ever helped a family member or friend to obtain a job?
15. What is honesty?
16. Is corruption good?
17. What have you done to change the mentality of the Italian people for the better? Give 10 examples.
18. How much time did you spend in parliament last year? And how much did you earn?
19. Have you ever been convicted of any crime? Are you under investigation for any crime now?
20. Do you think Italy’s electoral system needs reforming?
“You” could be extended to “you or your party”, perhaps.
The responses, should they be forthcoming, will be very revealing. Indeed, many of Italy’s politicians will feel affronted or insulted to be faced by such simple but probing questions and will probably refuse to answer them. Refusal could, of course, be read as being a tacit admission that those concerned really do not have answers which would indicate that they really do not care one jot about Italy. The answers, or lack of them, could help Italians understand who to vote for.
The ROI List
Taking this one step further, on the run up to elections, and perhaps mid-term, each and every politician should be required to complete a simple report entitled: What I have done for my country.
The list of items would be numbered and would have to include supporting facts and figures from independent sources. The report would be voluntary; an example of responsible self-regulation.
Then, Italians could see who is, or is not, doing what. This should help them vote more intelligently. Or, it may encourage the political parties to find new candidates.
Will Italy’s journalists ever ask such questions? Some do try, but few obtain real answers. It’s time to ask the questions again and the remove the “shitty” from Italy.
Journalists in other nations may like to ask the same questions to their countries’ politicians too. Comparing the answers would be very interesting.
If you have suggestions for other questions, please leave them in a comment.