Following on from the welcome recent success of the Sweden Democrats, on Sunday we had the general election in Italy which, as you probably already know, gave all patriots even better news. The ‘centre-right’ alliance was victorious and Italy will now be led by a government committed to traditional, common-sense, nationalist politics. This will make a refreshing change! The alliance is made up of three parties: the Fratelli d’Italia (the Brothers of Italy) led by Giorgia Meloni, the Lega (the League) led by Matteo Salvini, and Forza Italia (Come on Italy) led by Silvio Berlusconi. As this was an alliance, not a united party, they polled separately, with FdI getting around 26%, the Lega 9% and FI 8%. Their two main opponents were the socialist Democratic Party who got 19% and the left-wing 5-Star Movement on 15.5%. 

The electoral system in Italy is extremely convoluted, with seats allocated partly on a first-past-the-post system, and partly by party list, using a proportional vote with varying thresholds, with special rules for linguistic minorities in two areas, with gender quotas and seats reserved for overseas voters, and even with a small number of senators for life! Not surprisingly, in view of all this, at the time of writing the number of seats allocated to each party is not yet precisely known. In practice, however, although the centre-right vote tallies up to a little less than 50%, they will have a comfortable majority in both houses of parliament: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. 

They will not, however, have what’s known as a ‘super-majority’ (ie. two-thirds of the seats), so won’t be able to change the constitution without a referendum. This is important because the alliance wants to change the way the President is elected. The current President – Sergio Mattarella – is not elected by the people (as the alliance would like) but by a complex electoral college of MPs, senators and regional representatives. Those who believe a monarchy is a bad way to select a head of state should look at Italy to see the alternative there. Mattarella was nobody’s first choice. Literally nobody’s – not even his own! At the age of 80, and having already served one term as President, the poor old codger wanted to retire, but because six days of repeated, fruitless voting to find a replacement proved that it was actually impossible to elect anyone else, eventually he was persuaded to carry on. 

The reason this matters is that the President, while largely ceremonial, does have some very real powers, including the appointment of the prime minister and cabinet ministers – and this is not a formality: Presidents veto ministers they don’t approve of. Given that the centre-right alliance will have an overall majority, and they agreed before the election that the leader of the party that got the most votes would be their prime ministerial nominee, the parliamentary arithmetic will force Mattarella to appoint Giorgia Meloni as Italy’s new PM, although he will probably drag his feet in doing so. There may, however, be a major conflict very early on: Salvini will almost certainly want to be the interior minister (a post he held a few years ago) and have responsibility for stopping bogus asylum seekers and other illegal migrants (as big a problem for Italy as it is for us!) but Mattarella – who is very liberal and pro-EU – is known to oppose him taking up this post again, viewing him as too hard-line. 

So what are we to make of Giorgia Meloni? First of all, let’s treat her left-wing critics with the contempt they deserve. They keep wailing that Meloni will represent a return to fascism when the complete opposite is the truth: she represents democracy, as opposed to the unelected prime minister – Mario Draghi – whom she will replace. Italian presidents have a habit of ignoring MPs and appointing completely unelected, ‘technocratic’ prime ministers, which is surely the real enemy of democracy. Giorgia Meloni, on the other hand, will represent a return to proper democratic politics. She preaches traditional values not trendy political correctness, she is passionate but not shrill, and she is viewed by the public as patriotic not extremist. What her enemies criticise as populism or bigotry the people recognise as common sense. In her own words: “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!” Meloni and the FdI are the natural allies of all sensible patriots throughout Europe. 

The FdI’s slogan is ‘God, country, family’, which is a clear indication of their traditional beliefs. The reason Meloni has been demonised by the marxist media and far-left, globalist politicians is that she refuses to bend the knee to the modern shibboleths of sexual, gender or racial politics. She does not support mass immigration, or homosexual marriage, or female-only quotas, or any of the other revolutionary, experimental and fashionable dogmas that are forced upon us in the marxist West. Meloni is the true democrat, believing that politicians should represent the people, rather than having unelected Brussels apparatchiks forcing their politics on the masses. Not surprisingly, Meloni’s victory has been hailed by both the Polish and Hungarian governments, as well as the Sweden Democrats, the National Rally in France, Vox in Spain, the Austrian Freedom Party and Alternative for Germany. The sovereignist bloc in the EU has just grown stronger! 

So what can we now expect from our Italian brothers? There will be battles with the EU, certainly. The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has already made a not-so-veiled threat to withhold the £170 billion of Covid recovery funds that Italy should receive from the EU – just as she is trying to block billions of euros that should be given to Hungary. The FdI/Lega/FI alliance has a united programme pledging lower taxes, a crackdown on crime and stricter action against migrant ships coming from Libya. Both Meloni and Salvini have vociferously opposed the migrant “invasion”, with Meloni calling for “naval blockades” to stop the boats crossing the Mediterranean. They also want to end the current ban on nuclear energy and the extraction of gas from offshore fields. And they plan to institute judicial reform to make trials shorter: in Italy these can last for years. In fact, Salvini is currently on trial for trying to bar a boat full of immigrants from docking in the Sicilian port of Catania way back in 2018 when he was interior minister. Believe it or not, prosecutors accuse Salvini of kidnapping! I can see him wanting to be in a position to make some changes to the law here …

Silvio Berlusconi, leader of FI, is the most centrist of the three party chiefs. He is pro-EU and could be the drag-anchor on the government’s pursuit of radical nationalist policies. But his is also the smallest of the three parties, and he has not in the past been afraid of controversy, so I don’t expect him to bring the alliance down over policy squabbles. Some people say that Salvini will be the one to do so, but again I think this is wishful thinking by those on the Left who want the alliance to fail. The three-party alliance has held together remarkably well for the last few years and seems pretty durable. In fact, having an alliance of parties is a strength, not a weakness. It means that the parties can adopt different stances on issues without losing voters overall, as if these are dissatisfied with the approach of one of the parties they will simply switch to another in the same overall alliance.

This is precisely what has happened. Four years ago, at the 2018 general election, it was Salvini’s Lega that was the dominant party in Italian right-wing politics with 17.5%; FI came second with 14%, and FdI had a mere 4.5% of the vote. So how come the dramatic turnaround? The fact is that while Meloni and Salvini have near-identical political views, Meloni is (and is certainly perceived as) the more consistent, more serious and more reliable of the two. Salvini lacks gravitas in terms of presentation and has shown less political judgement. After the 2018 election, for instance, he split from his alliance with FdI and FI to go into government with the 5-Star Movement, then the largest party and more populist than it is today. It has to be said that Meloni did not resent this and gave him her blessing, but refused to join as a junior partner. Initially it seemed as if Salvini had chosen well, and his popularity soared to a record 37%, but the government coalition was unstable and before long came crashing down – and with it the public’s respect for Salvini’s judgement. 

Salvini, however, did not learn his lesson, and when Mattarella appointed the banker Draghi as PM in February 2021, he again joined the ‘unity government’ – but Meloni, again, did not. She was the only party leader to refuse, stating that it was important for democracy that the government should have an opposition to hold it to account.  It is clear that she was the one who, once again, played her cards right.  Salvini and Berlusconi wanted to be inside the tent, believing they could influence the government, but the truth is that they were completely ignored.  They had no power but were held responsible for the government’s actions.  And those actions were to institute some of the harshest anti-Covid restrictions this side of China.  Meloni was the first to oppose these, labelling them “a regime of terror”, and cleaning up the support of the 25-30% of the population that was most opposed. By the time Salvini tried to do so he was too late to attract political support and was seen as trying to ride two horses, given that he was part of the government that was enforcing the policies he now criticised.

On Russia, Meloni is again more in tune with the public mood. She is critical of Russia’s aggression, but in a moderate and responsible way. Salvini however, and Berlusconi too, have far closer ties to Putin, and so their pro-Russian stance is seen as self-serving. While Italians are anxious about the looming winter gas shortage (Italy imports a lot of Russian gas), they do not support the war. And around Europe, Meloni has worked hard to cultivate contacts with other nationalist parties, attending rallies and making speeches; she is therefore seen as having a greater international status. So, all told, she is the right-wing party leader who has kept her hands clean of government failure and who is seen as the most political trustworthy. But if, as prime minister, she is too willing to compromise and betray her promises, Salvini will be waiting behind her to gather the votes of her disillusioned supporters. Having a two-headed beast to contend with makes it more difficult for the Right’s opponents, as they end up playing whack-a-mole and losing the game.

So let’s now congratulate both Giorgia Meloni and Matteo Salvini and enjoy the spectacle of the Left frothing at the mouth and convulsing with rage at a sensible, patriotic and traditionalist government actually governing for the benefit of its own people. Well I never, what a radical idea! Will it catch on, I wonder? I certainly hope so!

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