Giorgia meloni

Can Italy reverse its falling birth rate? 

Anne McElvoy is on the road again, exploring the state of modern Europe. Following her Radio 4 programme, The Reinvention of Germany in April, the Politico journalist has travelled to Padua, in northern Italy, where reactions to the rise of the right-wing populist Giorgia Meloni appear to vary. Is the 46-year-old PM a breath of fresh air – the best chance Italy has for a future – or a hypocritical dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist? The reinvention (or rather restoration) of Italy is very much Meloni’s goal. Clinging to the familiar principles of faith, flag and family, she has eschewed measures that would allow those born in Italy to define themselves as Italian,

Italy is under attack from a killer crab

Italy is under maritime siege by a foreign invader known as the granchio blu (blue crab). Like some terrifying alien that lies undetected for decades in a hideous secret lair, untold millions of the crustaceans (whose shells can grow up to nine inches wide) have suddenly emerged and are causing havoc in the country’s delicately balanced marine environment.  The blue crab arrived in Italy from America in the late 1940s in the -ballast tanks of merchant ships, but no one talked about it much until the past couple of years, during which its numbers have exploded. Some blame global warming, but the blue crab is not especially bothered by water

Britain is stuck in a fertility trap

Pope Francis wants you to have sex. Or at least he wants Italians to have more sex. The country, he says, is facing a ‘Titanic struggle’ against demographic doom. Last year, the population dropped by 179,000 people – and Italy is projected to lose another five million by 2050.  What’s happening in Italy is, to a greater or lesser extent, being repeated across the western world. In the UK in 2020, there were four workers per retiree. By 2041, the ONS projects there will be just three. We’re getting older, there are fewer of us and, all other things being equal, we’ll poorer for it. Either we tax the declining population more to

Giorgia Meloni’s first 100 days have proved her critics wrong

Macho Italy’s first woman prime minister Giorgia Meloni has now governed for 100 days and I cannot help but notice the enormous elephant in the room: the failure of the global media even to acknowledge, let alone apologise for, how wrong they were to warn the world that Italy was on the verge of a far-right, ergo fascist, take-over.   During the election campaign and immediate aftermath the crème de la crème of the world’s media were chock-a-block with warnings that Meloni and her party – Brothers of Italy – were the equivalent of a Biblical plague of locusts in jackboots about to engulf Italy and from there Europe.   These awful people were the heirs to the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, we

What does it mean when Giorgia Meloni quotes G.K. Chesterton?

For a UK audience, the most striking moment in the new Italian PM Giorgia Meloni’s victory speech will have been that she anchored its peroration to a quote from G.K. Chesterton. ‘Chesterton wrote, more than a century ago,’ she said, ‘“Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer.” That time has arrived. We are ready.’ G.K. Chesterton? The creator of the excellently herbivorous Father Brown mysteries, the Isaac Newton of what we now call ‘cosy crime’? That G.K. Chesterton? The author of a poem, memorised by many a previous generation of English schoolboys, about

The BBC’s Meloni problem

Here is a quote from the BBC Europe Editor, Katya Adler’s, very short piece on the BBC Radio 4 Six O’Clock News this evening, concerning the electoral victory of Giorgia Meloni in Italy: Millions of Italians didn’t vote for her. They say they do not recognise themselves in her nationalist, protectionist proposals, her anti-immigration rhetoric and her conservative family mores. Isn’t that remarkable? Can you imagine the awful Adler, or indeed any correspondent, commenting on the victory of a left-wing candidate:  Millions of people didn’t vote for her. They say they do not recognise themselves in her mentally unbalanced identity politics, ranting support for cripplingly high taxation, foreign policy characterised

Why are only Italy’s ‘far right’ opposing vaccine passports?

Dante’s Beach, Ravenna Here is your starter for ten. Which Italian political party believes that individual liberty is sacred? Answer: the party invariably defined by the international media as ‘far right’ or ‘fascist’ and jointly Italy’s most popular party in the opinion polls: in other words, the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy). Here in Italy, birthplace of fascism, the 44-year-old leader of the right wing Fratelli d’Italia – Giorgia Meloni – has been busy promoting distinctly anti-fascist values. In defence of human liberty, she has spoken out passionately against the decree issued on 22 July by Italian premier Mario Draghi which will introduce the ‘Green Pass’ to Italy. As of