Political developments in the UK and Italy

I did not know much about Liz Truss who was elected as the new leader of the UK Conservative party, replacing Boris Johnson and thus becoming the prime minister. Jonathan Pie says that she is the most right-wing ideologue to occupy the premiership, even more so than Margaret Thatcher, and that is saying something. And she has started off by doing what right-wingers love to do, and that is give a massive tax cut for the wealthy.

Pie thinks that the right-wingers are going for broke, trying to give away as much as they can to their rich friends as long as they remain in power.

Meanwhile, Italy has elected a far-right government too, though. as is usual in Italy, it will have to be in the form of a coalition government, since no single party got a majority.

The new prime minister will likely be Giorgia Meloni, head of the anachronistically named Brothers of Italy party.

She is set to win around 26% of the vote, ahead of her closest rival Enrico Letta from the centre left. Mr Letta told reporters on Monday that the far-right victory was a “sad day for Italy and Europe” but his party would provide a “strong and intransigent opposition”.

Ms Meloni’s right-wing alliance – which also includes Matteo Salvini’s far-right League and former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Forza Italia – will take control of both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, with around 44% of the vote.

Four years ago, Brothers of Italy won little more than 4% of the vote but this time benefited from staying out of the national unity government that collapsed in July.

The party’s dramatic success in the vote disguised the fact that her allies performed poorly, with the League slipping below 9%, and Forza Italia even lower.

Their big advantage, however, was that where they were able to put up one unified candidate in a constituency, their opponents in the left and centre could not agree a common position and stood separately.

Although she has worked hard to soften her image, emphasising her support for Ukraine and diluting anti-EU rhetoric, she leads a party rooted in a post-war movement that rose out of dictator Benito Mussolini’s fascists.

Earlier this year she outlined her priorities in a raucous speech to Spain’s far-right Vox party: “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology… no to Islamist violence, yes to secure borders, no to mass migration… no to big international finance… no to the bureaucrats of Brussels!”

Her priorities seem to be very much in line with the culture war issues promoted by the Republican party here.


  1. outis says

    In the UK, the Truss period is already shaping to be a fine mess with the pound in freefall, but after all it has been only a few days, with the death of the queen as a powerful distracting factor.
    For Italy, it’s too soon to say whether it’s going to be an ever bigger mess or not. I personally have no recollections of Meloni’s previous career, so no way of determining how she’s going to do as first minister.
    The portents however are not good: she joined the neofascists of MSI at fifteen -- yeah, when one is supposed to be at the most starry-eyed idealist phase, she went full-fat fascist. Wonderful.
    As is typical in such specimens, she seems to be suffering from the usual Catholic obsession for peeking in other people’s beds, a very small-minded and chesty form of patriotism that not even the memory of WW2 can dispel, and naturally seems to be very open to all forms of immigrant-bashing, the latest opiate of the masses. Plus, competence (of any kind) is extremely thin on the ground in her coalition, to the point that one wonders who exactly is going to form the government. Trumpian levels of boondogglery are more than likely.
    Only one thing I find grim comfort in: Italy is EXTREMELY resistant to change, and in this case it may turn out to be a blessing, very much in disguise.

  2. John Morales says

    Viktor Orban of Hungary and Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey are interesting.
    Both NATO members, both quite sympathetic to Russia.

  3. Dunc says

    Truss, along with the new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and 3 others, very helpfully laid out their views in a 2012 pamphlet titled “Brittania Unchained”… I have not read it yet, but the PDF is available for download here. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s not very long… The reviews on GoodReads are generally quite critical, mostly alongs the lines of “their research is laughable, their conclusions are nonsense, and they can’t write for toffee”. A slightly longer bit of recent analysis / criticism is Britannia Unhinged at the New European. It’s basically been panned by everybody who isn’t a hard-core right libertarian.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    Truss is the worst PM of my lifetime. I said that about the last PM, and the one before that, but really, she’s astonishing. At least Alexander Johnson was demonstrably clever and one of his biggest faults was laziness. Truss is actually evil, more evil, even, than Thatcher, and with none of Thatchers redeeming features (Thatcher at least had a plan -- an evil plan, certainly, but a plan, and some semblance of a chance of carrying it out. She also, incredibly at the time, followed the scientific advice (she was a scientist by training and respected it) and allowed needle-exchange programmes for drug users to combat AIDS transmission. For this, and very, VERY little else, she was to be admired).

    Truss lacks Thatcher’s coherent vision, she lacks John Major’s basic decency and solid steel balls, she lacks David Cameron’s media smoothness, she lacks May’s work ethic, and she lacks Johnson’s intelligence. She brings to the table her… er… nope, don’t know. Literally can’t think of anything. It’s also worth remembering that in a leadership election voted on by the tiny minority of people in this country who pay to be members of the Conservative party, she garnered the lowest proportion of the vote of any leader ever. A majority of HER OWN PARTY despise her. The English don’t really go in for assassination, but given how blatant and unrepentant her policies already are, after just a couple of weeks, so clearly giving the finger to anyone who isn’t a millionaire, I’d not be terribly surprised if she dies in office. There are going to be a LOT of people this winter who will be correctly blaming her for their dreadful circumstance.

    Johnson was a terrible, terrible PM, but you could at least understand how he’d got there, with a carefully-curated image designed to fool the proles into thinking he was their mate and a good bloke and funny and so on. Truss clearly doesn’t give a shit what people think of her… and not in a good way.

    All of this said: I no longer trust the Brexit-voting British public not to give a mandate at the first opportunity, the thick fucks.

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