Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The government crisis in Italy over US bases and Afghanistan reflects the increasing gap in Europe between rulers and ruled
Tuesday February 27, 2007
"The states of western Europe continue to resist harmonisation. On the same day last week that the chicaneries of every antiquated careerist vying for the New Labour deputy leadership were made public, each justifying his or her grotesque decision to support the war and occupation of Iraq, the centre-left Italian government - not yet a year old - fell after a debate on foreign policy in the upper chamber.
It was not Iraq that was at issue here. Unlike New Labour (protected by undemocratic electoral laws and MPs unmoved by the suffering in Iraq), all of the Italian left and 80% of the population opposed that war. The dispute concerned two issues: Operation Enduring Freedom - the satirical self-description of the Nato occupation of Afghanistan - and the expansion of the US military base in Vicenza in northern Italy......
Nor is this just an Italian disease. The fact that the leaders of the Refounded Communist party cave in to the Washington consensus in return for government posts reflects a far wider problem. Increasingly, official politics in the west ignores public opinion at will. Britain is a striking example. Mass hostility to Blair's wars and the replacement of Trident barely finds an echo in parliament. The BBC had to be neutered and only 12 Labour MPs managed to vote for an inquiry into British involvement in Iraq. It is the increasing distance between rulers and ruled that threatens the functioning of democracy and leads to desperation."