Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Italy's descent into fascism

I don't want to, you know, pick on Italy or anything but they're sending the army into "help" the police with crime. If you've not been worried so far, maybe you should consider that as an option now.

Unfortunately, the opposition doesn't seem to have much of value to say about the fact that thousands of members of the armed forces are going to be patrolling Italian streets, as well as those of Afghanistan (pictured). Marco Minniti (shadow interior minister) said "Soldiers patrolling the centres of cities that are our greatest tourist attractions is not a very nice calling card for Italy at the height of the tourist season."

No it isn't very nice when you're country is slowly turning towards fascism. It probably does effect tourism.

Worse, one opposition parliamentarian, Antonio Di Pietro, was worried that sending in the army simply did not go far enough saying, "This is a task force without any force." Yeah, it's all a bit wet isn't it? Sending in quaddies with guns is just the kind of limp wristed proposal this "soft on crime" government would make.

At least the head of the police union had something a little more useful to say describing the proposals as "dangerous operationally and inopportune in a democracy." I think I agree. In a democracy sending in the army to do "police work" is most inopportune, it doesn't get much inopportuner than that.

One of their main roles will be "dealing with" immigrants in the midst of a wave of anti-immigrant legislation and propaganda, as well as protecting the country from terrorism. How? By standing around looking tough? By turning everywhere into a military target? Hmmm.

The defence minister said that "This proves that we are determined to eliminate citizens' fears." I wonder if this is one of those moments where, if you are afraid, it proves you're not really a citizen after all. This policy is actually designed to make people afraid and it does nothing to make Italy a safer place.

The army are actually pretty rubbish at dealing with crime, causing far more than they prevent - which is why they are called the army and not the police. With the left in disarray and the far right stalking the corridors of power it's difficult not to be worried about the news from Italy.

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