I do appreciate Gaddafi, Egypt and the Middle Eastern Revolutions having been your focus for over a month now, but today do me a favour – spare five minutes of your precious time to consider the fate of Europe’s naughtiest member: Italy.
It’s true that the country has been a sort of joke over the past year (admittedly so since the start of its Berluschoma in 1994), but for once try to forget the old Italian stereotype: greasy-haired, sleazy-looking, wannabe French-intellectual, mafia-minded, mamma-dependent, nymphomaniac perverts. Let’s not talk Berlusconi. Today, let’s talk Bossi.
For those of you lagging behind with Italian politics, Mr Bossi is the 70-year-old leader of right-wing party Lega Nord (Northern League) which has been asking for the secession of Northern Italy for about 15 years. A medicine student in the late 1970s, Bossi had experienced the whole hippy-student-Beatles movement and started off as a left-wing sympathiser and underground boogie-woogie singer. Twenty years later, his left wing sympathies were gone and so was the singing. After a decade of alternating results, the man had managed to present himself as He Who Will Save The Fate Of The North From The Dirty South.
The plan was easy: draw a line right before Rome’s outskirts, dig out trenches and call the rest of the Boot ‘No-Man’s Land’. The idea was turned into a dogma after his breathtaking speech at the springs of river Po, where disciples, dressed in their Medieval ancestors’ clothes, gathered to hear their Messiah in what must have somehow resembled an ordinary LARP session.
If you think this is funny and only adds up to your stereotyped image of Italy as a proper screwed-up country, but in a cool way, then blame it all on me. This article is a screed. And Bossi is no cool man. He’s the one who said he’d use the Italian flag to wipe his ass with. He’s like Enoch Powell but this time his hatred is against your own people. It’s Rivers of Blood topped up with weird mythologies, sinister allusions to the Aryan race and very awkward gastronomical ties.
At the time of publication, Italy will be planning the Big Party for its 150th anniversary this Thursday. If you didn’t know, it’s fine, I didn’t expect you to. The problem is that no one at home knows it either. Or if they do, they don’t care.
You know there’s something deeply wrong in your country when a massive poster of your national hero (Garibaldi) gets burnt by a bunch of drunken teenage self-proclaimed secessionists outside a club and everyone starts clapping. You know there’s something very wrong if proclaiming the day your country was unified a bank holiday becomes a day of national mourning for a moronic sect of haters.
It was in the midst of this trepidation for the Big Party that an online newspaper uploaded a clip of a fifteen-year-old girl speaking of her love for Bossi and his Northern Talibans.
She says the revelation came to her when she was eight: “The Muslim people had started attacking the West. We talked about it in class and while no one knew what to say I had a strong view on this”. No doubt. Who’s your favourite politician? “Bossi. I painted my room green (NB: the party’s colour) in his honour”.
Now, let’s get this clear. For one thing, the man looks like he’s come out of Jurassic Park. Hit by a stroke on the same day Madrid’s railways were destroyed by Al Qaeda (weird connection here), he’s been ranting ever since with a Darth Vader sort of voice. I fail to see how this could turn on a teenager’s sexual drive. Perhaps it is the middle finger, or the fluffy gray hair. Does the girl know that the man was the king of boogie-woogie? Will she celebrate this Thursday? She hesitates, waffles a bit – no, she won’t.
Here’s something for all of you out there. Freedom of speech is a universal right, so unfortunately I won’t be able to silence the League’s adepts on the basis of their bullshit. But there’s one thing I can do – I can always piss them off.
I will carry my flag around this Thursday and if you’re Italian, do it too. I might as well speak Italian to my seminars, sing Mamma Mia on the fifth floor of the Library and go clubbing half naked, my torso painted red, white and green. And to Mr Bossi, the nationalist cutie and all you secessionists out there: have a nice hot cup of shut up and supersize it.