Photo illustration by John Lyman

World News


Former Italian MP: F**k You, Italy! We Are Back!

Last weekend in Milan, the first Congress of the new independent party, Grande Nord (the Great North), took place. Pro-European, liberal, and regionalist, the Great North was founded by former members of the Italian Parliament as a divergence from the nationalism of the Northern League (now League).

Seen as a traitor, the leader of the League, Matteo Salvini, is held responsible for having undermined the northern quest of autonomy from the central government and is guilty of transferring taxes from productive to unproductive regions without any visible return on investment.

Currently, regions like Lombardy and Veneto have been waiting five hundred days for a decree in line with the results of the referendum in October 2017, when a plebiscite voted for the administrative autonomy of the two most productive territories in Europe. Nothing, however, seems to be ahead.

The president of Grande Nord, Roberto Bernardelli, entrepreneur, former member of the Italian Parliament, and close friend of Northern League founder, Umberto Bossi, said during the Congress: “Italy is run by people who claim shops should be closed on Sunday, at a minimum cost of 150 thousand jobs lost, something that has never been conceived even in Communist countries like Cuba. Furthermore, instead of promoting job creation, this government has fought for a fake form of universal basic income, which will benefit people in the south of Italy and is just an incentive to stay home paid by the government with the taxes of the northern taxpayers.”

Pictured: Roberto Bernardelli, president of Grande Nord.

The party is also opposed to the anti-EU sentiment promoted by the current government. A former member of the Italian Parliament and historical leader of the Northern League, Pagliarini, said: “Europe is better than Rome.” One of the main topics discussed, indeed, is the necessity to make territorial interests prevail over national interests with the creation of a macro region that could make irrelevant the current national borders and promote a more radical economic freedom for companies operating in the north of Italy. Given this premise, it seems pretty clear how Grande Nord is promoting a vision of a federalist Italy in a federalist Europe, that could even make the central government irrelevant with more and more competences shifted to regional governments.

The Congress underlined the intention of the new independence configuration to pursue a political battle based on radical and non-negotiable terms. One of the leaders of Grande Nord and former member of the Italian parliament, Angelo Alessandri, was unanimously acclaimed by the attendees when he pledged not to transfer any money of the taxpayers in Rome if elected as president of the region Emilia-Romagna. “I want to be elected to be arrested. Every single attempt of negotiation with Rome has failed. Emilia-Romagna transfers on average twenty billion euros every year to the central government, and I will make sure this is going to stop,” said Alessandri.

After the recent data from international economic institutions forecasting worse expectations for the Italian economy, along with very little representation found within the central government by businesses operating in the north of Italy, a new wave of independence is growing stronger than ever and seeking a political party eager to welcome these frustrations.

After the Congress, there is one thing we know for sure. Coherently, with the words used by Angelo Alessandri to close his speech, “Fuck you, Italy. We are back,” Grande Nord seems to be serious in looking like a convincing promise.