chapter  8
22 Pages

An Italian people?

The First Republic had been run by responsible people who had, or claimed to have, shared values; men who had personal experience of real regime collapse and who realized the need to compromise. In 1992-93 a regime based on Christian Democrat practices and values, run by an lite educated in the traditional humanities, collapsed with remarkably little violence. The successor rulers were more secular, even sometimes Masonic. The collapse was helped by many other factors, national and international: dreadful public services, the Northern revolt against Rome and the South, the old parties being abandoned by their international protectors, the end of the Communist threat. It also marked yet another defeat for the institutional reformers, and one inflicted by their own favourite mechanism, the referendum. Italy's burst of reforming zeal, imposed on parliament and parties by referenda and judges, seemed clearly over. So in 2000-01 the two Northern entrepreneurs patched it up, and fought the Centre-Left side by side.