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Don't let yourselves be fooled by the ideological aspect of issues. Or at least not too much.
Ideology is important, but only when it's grounded in reality, not in fantasy.
First of all, welcome back on Breaking Italy and happy 2018. Let's start by talking a little about politics.
Ok, a little for real. In 6 seconds we'll be voting for a screwed-up Parliament that is going to sustain an even more screwed-up State, which will run the risk of lasting less than a sneeze.
But first, there will be the election campaign.
If somebody would let you eat everything you want when you wanted it, would let you not pay rent, bills, fees and car fuel and would let you work when you wanted it,
would you do that?
No, you wouldn't.
But you would want to do that because the thought of running away from responsibilities to have a new reality, a new relationship, a new group of friends, a new family,
a new world that has no problems, it's perfect and makes no compromises is typically human and common to all.
But is also typically fantastic. It doesn't exist and you know it. You know well that for everything there's a price to pay and that's how the universe works.
You get your blanket, you cover your nose from the cold, and that's all.
But what about your feet? What will protect them from the cold and from the monsters that notoriously stay under the bed waiting for the blanket to uncover them?
And in that case, how many resources, effort and time would cost you trying to make the blanket bigger?
What do I need to do that?
Play any resource management game and you know what I mean.
The Democratic Party (PD), for example, has proposed to lift Rai's (Italian broadcaster) TV fee.
Is that good?
Maybe. Maybe not.
But if the discussion is abstract and nothing else it goes nowhere.
Since when PD has put the fee in the electrical bill, it has become difficult avoiding it.
And apparently this new system, which paradoxically lowered the fee, increased revenue by 272 million euros, helping Rai, along with advertisements revenue, go back in business.
Of course this hasn't stopped us from having Amadeus (Italian TV showman) and other people sing pre-war songs on Rai 1 on New Year's Eve
or read subsequent analyses that declared the success of Ambaradan (Italian song),
but that's a different kind of decay and closing eyes, ears and the respiratory tract is enough to not notice it.
If you take that revenue out Rai would need to be financed either by itself, which is very improbable, or by general taxes.
And here's the first issue, common to every proposition of every political party.
In Italy we forget that the income generated by taxes doesn't come from the State, as in the saying "Who's paying for this? The State, of course.".
No. The State is jobless and walks in the living room with a stained wife beater.
The income comes from the citizens.
Therefore, discussing the good or bad of the fee it's useless, but discussing how, when and if it's convenient for everybody to lift it isn't.
Maybe you don't like Rai, as I would never watch it if it wasn't for Alberto Angela (Italian scientific popularizer).
But lifting the fee increases every other fee or takes away a service?
And also, will Rai still be capable of becoming a private TV like Mediaset, which lives only through advertisements?
Will it still be capable of giving a decent public service anyway, even if it has to deal with the fear, typical of private broadcasters, of having sponsors take away their advertisements?
Look at Youtube's Adpocalypse and how an increasing number of creators is changing their revenue system to sustain their content.
With a fee.
It's easy to say "Let's lift the fee", but the word lift very often hides either the verb "to change" or the verb "to reform".
This discussion is valid for every single promise that we'll hear in these months. All of them, no exception.
Liberi e Uguali, extremely on the left and Rossi's side, proposed to lift academic taxes. Is that good or bad?
But first is that a proposition of the left or the right? Is it acceptable that everybody doesn't contribute to the sustenance of the University, even who can?
And if the answer is yes, which is ok for me, will we be ready to pay the price for that?
It's the same discussion all over again because there's a price to pay even here.
If the italian academic system costs you 100 euros and all of a sudden that money doesn't directly come from academic taxes anymore, then it needs to take it from general taxes again,
causing either tax increases or tax cuts, because the State is jobless and it needs your money like the TV fee. And that's not all.
If you open the door to anybody you create a parking effect; and prices increase, going over the starting 100.
So, will we be ready to pay the price of maybe having all courses of study be limited to a very few people, with systems that eliminate anybody who stops doing exams regularly?
This clause hasn't been heard a lot, hasn't it? It should have been written in small letters.
In these weeks the election campaign will come up an awful lot, or a lot at least.
I'll try to talk about it in a teasing way as usual while accumulating inside me small calculi, stress clumps and dangerous thrombi.
But I want to bring a discussion that is important for me back up.
Promises are free of charge, but implementations have huge difficulties and consequences, and the moment a politician goes away after five years, purifying them of every fault, the bill is paid by you.
Always. Often for decades and without the option of opting out.
You pay it through a VAT increase, through Fornero's (Italian politician) law, through project contracts of Berlusconi's (You know who I mean) era (Remember those?),
through police force budget cuts, through car fuel excises, through school and healthcare budget cuts, and so forth...
Somehow everything needs to go back the way it was anyway, because the State is jobless and the one pays for them is you.
They say that they love you and will change, but they won't and never will.
Don't be a lovestruck teenager.
Politics is selling you promises at the moment, but it's not compelled to follow any of those in any shape or form and in Italy nobody asks for it to pay the bill once things go awry.
It looks a little like an investment that others do for you and that you'll have to pay whenever you like it or not.
Of course this doesn't mean that nothing can be made or that voting means nothing or that politics can't be wishful, suggestive and promising, which we'll discuss later;
probably never in history a few votes have made such a big difference in Parliament.
All it's needed is to keep in mind that our interests coincide only partially with those of politics, which right now is interested in being elected to only represent ideals, not solutions.
Those come maybe afterwards, but now it's time to sell because politicians are mercenaries, not paladins, and so they sell fantasies.
Securities, citizenship salary, very low taxes, higher pensions, lifting of Fornero's law, abandonment of euro, overthrowing of the system through referendums, and so forth...
All things, however, that come with a weight on the political scale that has to be balanced with something else.
And just as we know that there are no foods that doesn't make you fat and no job that doesn't make you work,
we must see over the smoke of promises that look ideologically tempting because in politics, like in life, there are no shortcuts, just the thought of not having found them yet.
How great it is to be back, my dears!
Have you heard Oprah's speech at the Golden Globes?
During the ceremony that awards movies and TV series, the famous television personality and businesswoman Oprah has made a speech during the delivery of a special career award;
which can be effectively summarized as one of those extraordinary stories where someone who is born very poor and part of a disadvantaged minority succeeded in becoming one of the most rich and famous figures in the country anyway.
And humble origins, being a woman and being black were the major points of the speech.
"I don't give a fuck!" ("sticazzi" is used to express indifference in a vulgar way) you would say, which is right.
Except no.
Oprah is said by many, even journalists, to be a future ally or even protagonist of the next presidential elections.
She is thought to be the next democratic candidate, and I've seen a lot of different reactions to her speech and this idea.
I leave the speech in the description and if I'll remember it I'll link a translation.
Essentially the debate is "Oprah for president or not?".
Some say yes because she's a woman who represents the famous american dream without the greed or distance from others that comes with wealth, with her being generous and close to problems considered not important.
Therefore she's distant from accusations of being radical chic; accusations nowadays moved to anybody including me, who has always been a poor person.
There's a great piece on Repubblica (Italian newspaper) that talks about this. The term "radical chic" that is, not me and my low wealth.
On the other hand others say that americans should stop putting actors and celebrities in charge of the country and start voting for educated politicians,
even though Obama's international education mixed with european inspiration was one of the aspects that were critisized for being not american enough. So, everything is always relative.
What's interesting about the speech, though, is how it conveyed strength and zeal in the eyes of many;
I literally got goosebumps hearing her talk about hope, future and change without connecting those words with an enemy to blame and submit.
The change that #MeToo , Weinstein, Spacey, etcetera have brought upon was the central theme of the event, with a powerful woman speaking to a wide audience.
While I, if you remember, said that after the first scandals nothing would have changed in the end, after seeing this I have hope that I was wrong.
The capacity of leadership, of trying to make someone dream and be inspired is an important part of being a leader, and Oprah undoubtedly has it.
All of that being said, the president of the council Gentiloni has been interviewed by Fazio (Italian TV presenter) on Rai.
The interview is in the description because it has to be seen and I have to say that I have truly appreciated the intellectual honesty of a part
where he avoided taking merit for the economic reprise and the reasons for that reprise by saying that it wasn't politics that did that but the collective effort of millions of italians that have tried and try every day.
And that's what we're talking about: work.
Do you remember what national and international newspapers and even Le Iene (Italian TV programme) have talked about
in regards of Sardinian bombs sold to Saudi Arabia who then drops on Yemen and often on its civilians?
Great, because the issue has apparently just become even more lively.
The factory in question is in an isolated part of Sardinia, since every part of it is isolated by proxy. It's like saying that water wets and that everywhere was farmland. It's always true.
And it's actually owned by a german company which manages it through a south african holding through the usual routes, but production is in Italy;
it makes the bombs and it sends them to Saudi Arabia for a turnover that reached 411 million euros on 2016.
Two problems: the first is that some countries, like Netherlands and Germany, have stopped selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, or at least offensive ones, due to their low ethical usage.
This has caused many protests from pacifists and organizations, who asked why Italy didn't do the same even though the desire for peace is written in the Constitution,
and from families of workers who live on a country that thrives on that and who are afraid of losing their job;
the second, which effectively helps summarise the question, is that the workers risk to lose their job anyway because the german multinational company that controls the production of the bombs
has recently inaugurated in Saudi Arabia a factory that will, once is up and running, produce the same bombs that are produced here in Italy,
but with lower costs and already there, generating even more concerns and worries from territory unions.
I found the story really interesting because it's one of those stories that is easy to see from different points of view based on how little or big the framing of the story is.
If the focus is on civilian bombings and on selling weapons to countries like Saudi Arabia then it's easy to have a certain kind of idea,
but if it is on an assured depletion of the country's income and on the fate of the workers who studied and got a specialization and will lose their job then everything becomes something more complex.
And if it's discovered that a conversion of the system was being discussed and that unions rejected the idea, the story changes again.
Let's take this as an ode to the complexity of issues, just to remember that who will run the country on March will have a lot of issues of this kind to solve, which is not easy.
As well as the problem of plastic bags, which is serious and I hope the army intervenes to see what can be done about it.
Well, that was all for today. Thank you for watching and welcome back. We'll be together everyday from Monday to Thursday as usual and live on Friday on 7 PM.
Let's brace ourselves because this year some changes will come here on Breaking Italy. I'm working on them a lot because it's clear that 2018 will be a year full of things to talk about.
From tomorrow onward we'll start with the bishops and the queens, but for today this is all.