Kings Road, Fulham. It is 7 pm and I am waiting for the bus to take me home. It is freezing cold. Another man is waiting for the same bus, he reassures me: “the bus is due soon”, and I answer “I hope so”. I am freezing. Takes the opportunity to chat me up, and asks if I am Italian. 60 per cent of my conversations in London start with the line: “Are you Italian” and then the follow with:
1 – Where do you come from in Italy?
2 – How long have you been living in London for?
3 – Do you work here?
4 – Do you miss Italy?
The bus stop man says out of the blue: “If you are from the North, you are going to vote for either Berlusconi or for the Northern League”. I politely explained that I wasn’t going to vote for either of these parties. The bus finally arrives, so I can jump on it and stop this slightly awkward conversation.
The Italian elections are due next weekend. This is one of the most important elections in decades. Not only is the vote – for a new parliament and government – crucial for the future stability of Italy itself. It could also have ramifications for the wider eurozone and the financial markets. The world is looking at us.
I voted yesterday and posted my vote today.
I didn’t feel hopeful choosing my candidate and posting my ballot. But I decided to vote anyway, against the army of people who say that the best thing would be not to bother at all. I could complain, joining the choir of people who have been doing it since the election campaign started. On the other hand, I want to tell to the aspiring or well established politicians, one or two things that I feel they should bear in mind, if they are willing to be elected:
Make yourself available, because as per today, you are not. I cannot contact my local MP in Italy, while I can do it in England. I can even go and see him/her, as they make themselves available at certain days/ hours every week.
Stop using made up sentences. Your electors are not as stupid as you might think. Messages and slogan are design to communicate, not to fill up the space around your head on the election posters.
The brains behind messages like:
One of you
At the citizen’s service
A field’s choice
Should consider a different career.
And now let’s talk about the pictures….I am not suggesting to abuse Photoshop and imitate Berlusconi’s style. But flirting with lights and a bit of makeup is not going to hurt. The worst thing that can happen is that you will look less like a post office’s employee.
I know, I am superficial, as I look at the pictures, the colours and the fonts. So let’s take a look at the political messaging. If I look at the campaign plan for the MPs for Italians residents abroad, the first thing I notice is that they never mention Italy.
We all would like to alleviate taxes, but how many people are really interested in getting more Italian schools abroad, or to revert our foreign pension and adjust to the Italian system, as it happens already anyway?
I am interested in very simple and practical things. I would like to go back to Italy at some point, and I would like to go back to a place where I do not hear people moaning at all times and where nothing seems to work in a sensible way. I am not here to list all the things I do not like, so I am going to stop right now.
Anyway, I voted. I voted for someone that will not represent me, with objectives that I do not find achievable or even relevant.
In or out of Italy, the level of hope and faith is very low, despite the fact that the world is watching us.