Watered Down Policies will see Italy’s Electorate the loser

A few days ago, it emerged that it’s not ‘power at any price’ for Italy’s Five Star Movement leader as he drew the line at coalition talks with Silvio Berlusconi.

Although open to coalition talks with the largest parties he has confirmed he will not do a deal with Mr Berlusconi.

The devil, as the saying goes, is in the detail — but there’s little to commend options where diametrically opposed parties try to find a way to work together. Impossible when both will always be engaged in pulling in opposite directions.

The answer of course is sensible revision of Italy’s over-complicated polling system and — dare I say it — another election. This is not because many don’t like the result — it’s because we still don’t have a result. Italy is a country where, if you ask someone in the street who is in power, it would be surprising if anyone could give a straight answer without qualifying it with a ‘…. but’.

Luigi Di Maio of Five Star — the party with the biggest vote share — is ready to hold direct talks with Matteo Salvini of the anti-immigrant League and Maurizio Martina of the centre-left Democratic Party to explore a German-style coalition contract. He described his party as ‘neither of the right or the left’.

Five Star campaigned on corruption, bureaucracy, poverty, immigration, taxes and unemployment but was keen for the international community to view his party as a ‘steady hand’ on foreign policy and engagement with Europe.

Mr Salvini, at the helm of the right-wing League (17 per cent of the vote), says he will put his own ambitions aside to make a coalition work. But will it? Can it?

It’s clear that there has to be movement and it has to go beyond simple pledges of ‘settling for’ a number two role in government. It has to be real movement on issues. And there lies the problem. Sacrificing allegiance, the issues and the campaign manifesto for one party is dangerous territory. A partnership of parties so far apart inevitably means that a huge number of the electorate whose chosen party is the junior partner in the power-sharing is going to be represented by a party unable to deliver its promises. So how is that going to feel?

Even if politicians pledge to shift their political stances in order to make a government partnership work, then it is coming with the scent of betrayal for voters who have not signed up to a watered-down version of their party’s policies.

The extended wrangling does nothing for public confidence in Italy and nothing for Italy’s economy. Imagine the effect it’s having further afield.

The policies and electoral bases of Five Star and the League are poles apart.

The League offers tax cuts to small businessmen in the wealthy north and Five Star is waving banners for a “citizen’s salary” for the poor in the depressed south. When a donkey and a horse fall in love — the union is often blessed with an Ass.

However small steps toward a meeting in the middle are dressed up, the two parties are never going to be ‘in step’: and thereby hangs the Italian parliament.

A few days ago, it emerged that it’s not ‘power at any price’ for Italy’s Five Star Movement leader as he drew the line at coalition talks with Silvio Berlusconi.

Although open to coalition talks with the largest parties he has confirmed he will not do a deal with Mr Berlusconi.

The devil, as the saying goes, is in the detail — but there’s little to commend options where diametrically opposed parties try to find a way to work together. Impossible when both will always be engaged in pulling in opposite directions.

The answer of course is sensible revision of Italy’s over-complicated polling system and — dare I say it — another election. This is not because many don’t like the result — it’s because we still don’t have a result. Italy is a country where, if you ask someone in the street who is in power, it would be surprising if anyone could give a straight answer without qualifying it with a ‘…. but’.

Luigi Di Maio of Five Star — the party with the biggest vote share — is ready to hold direct talks with Matteo Salvini of the anti-immigrant League and Maurizio Martina of the centre-left Democratic Party to explore a German-style coalition contract. He described his party as ‘neither of the right or the left’.

Five Star campaigned on corruption, bureaucracy, poverty, immigration, taxes and unemployment but was keen for the international community to view his party as a ‘steady hand’ on foreign policy and engagement with Europe.

Mr Salvini, at the helm of the right-wing League (17 per cent of the vote), says he will put his own ambitions aside to make a coalition work. But will it? Can it?

It’s clear that there has to be movement and it has to go beyond simple pledges of ‘settling for’ a number two role in government. It has to be real movement on issues. And there lies the problem. Sacrificing allegiance, the issues and the campaign manifesto for one party is dangerous territory. A partnership of parties so far apart inevitably means that a huge number of the electorate whose chosen party is the junior partner in the power-sharing is going to be represented by a party unable to deliver its promises. So how is that going to feel?

Even if politicians pledge to shift their political stances in order to make a government partnership work, then it is coming with the scent of betrayal for voters who have not signed up to a watered-down version of their party’s policies.

The extended wrangling does nothing for public confidence in Italy and nothing for Italy’s economy. Imagine the effect it’s having further afield.

The policies and electoral bases of Five Star and the League are poles apart.

The League offers tax cuts to small businessmen in the wealthy north and Five Star is waving banners for a “citizen’s salary” for the poor in the depressed south. When a donkey and a horse fall in love — the union is often blessed with an Ass.

However small steps toward a meeting in the middle are dressed up, the two parties are never going to be ‘in step’: and thereby hangs the Italian parliament.

Father of four. Consul @consolatorsmuk CEO of @Tratosgroup & @eShareLife Chairman. @CassBusiness MBA.