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At least there’s a campaign on in Italy

Posted on 28 May 2009 | 9:05am

Greetings from a
Rome strangely subdued despite pockets of happy Spaniards and deeply
disappointed Manchester United supporters.

Enough of
football. The better team on the night won, United did not play as they can.
Darren Fletcher was badly missed. Basta.

I have two
political observations to make before heading home.

First, may I
join in the rebuttal of Iain Dale’s suggestion that Nancy Dell’Olio might be
voting Tory
. This apparently emerged from a conversation they had while
reviewing the papers on Sky TV. I bumped into Nancy at a smart Roman restaurant
after the match and she was at great pains to tell me there was no truth in it whatsoever.
She demanded that I say something on my blog to assure any Labour supporters
who visit that she is sticking with us.

Iain, a West Ham
fan, will be very pleased that he was being discused in the early hours, and
Nancy will be pleased I did as I was told.

My second
observation  concerns the European
elections.

I have no idea
how Italian campaigns are funded, but you certainly know there is one going on.
There are posters all over the place. Big ones plastered on buildings and
hoardings. Small ones in cars and homes and shop windows.

In London
yesterday, between my home and the airport, I saw one solitary piece of
evidence that a campaign is happening. It was a Labour poster. In our front
window.

Not a thing
between there (Gospel Oak) and Heathrow.

I know politics
is not flavour of the month, and the expenses coverage has meant nothing else
can get a look in.

But politics is
not exactly top of the pops in Italy at the moment, what with Silvio Berlusconi
and mysteries over 18 year old girls. 

But at least
there seems to be a whole lot of activity on the ground that tells you
something is going on, and it kind of matters.

  • Jane A

    I haven’t seen any posters about the election per se, although I have seen stuff about registering to ensure you can vote, which I guess is heartening, but maybe it would be better if people knew why this was currently important. Still no Labour leaflets through my door, though I have a full set of all the others.

  • Scouse

    Hahahahahahaha … at least you got one victory parade this week. Open topped bus back in Old Trafford garage

  • Alex Matthews

    I assume bsrlusconi pays for all the posters out of the money from the tv which got him power in the first place. Our media may be a nightmare but rather that than what they have there

  • Stu

    Noticed that the upcoming elections only seem to be missing from mainstream media with the exception of the odd mention of how the BNP may do.
    However like the previous blogger i too have had a full set of leaflets through the letterbox, including Labour. The M25 is strewn with UKIP and Conservative bill boards and my registration card came through nice and early.

    So perhaps its not all as bad as it seems! Apart from of course Man utd losing last night…a win would of really stuck it to Platini!

  • Peter Farley

    Yep, posters up all over Europe for the elections (Spain and Portugal in last two weeks) as they naively still think the EU Parliament actually achieves anything. What they feel to realise is that the subsidies (handouts) they receive in the South come from the unelected in Brussels not the elected in Strasbourg. But if you talk to the locals none of the elections are being fought on European issues (Lisbon treaty/global trade/US relations etc..) as all are fought on local party lines. Which is pretty much the same here apart from the Conservatives who are using it as a referendum in calling for and committing to a referendum on the new Constitution. But all that is unfortunately overshadowed by the rows around MP expenses. Turnout will be even lower than usual.

  • Brian Hughes

    Just back from Paris (we saw little sign of McDo taking over as you alleged!).

    The European elections seemed more in evidence there than in England – plenty of earnest discussions on the telly, leaflets being handed out in the streets and some posters on billboards. Outside the polling stations the big metal signs on which pictures of the candidates are displayed were being put up.

    Depressingly the only evidence of the elections we saw on the way back from the airport over here was a huge UKIP poster on a trailer parked alongside the M5.

    Aside from vitriolic personality-based knock-about and bleak unfounded pessimism, we don’t really seem to do la politique this side of la Manche…

  • Ian Eastwood

    British politics is run buy the media and there is no getting away from that.

    The public feel disconnected with the whole system and that there votes and views count for nothing.
    Failure to get the message across of what politician can and must do to meet individual needs of the Local population has left the whole system discredited.

    People need to see a root and branch modernisation of the whole political landscape.
    This is needed to get some of that credibility back into our system.

    G.Brown must not let Cameron take a lead on this as he is threatening to do.

  • gary Enefer

    Dear AC

    V.sorry about my drivel on yesterday’s blog!

    I watched the BNP Broadcast – by accident I must say – and wondered how this deeply flawed party will do?It was all about getting rid of immigrants and keeping Britain for the British. What about the foreigners who fougth in two world wars,the sons and daughters of those immigrants who were born here,the people that escaped certain death in their own countries and the doctors and surgeons who have come from foreign part and saved so many lives?

    I once had my life saved in Africa by a surgeon who trained and lived in Scotland.

    What would the BNP do to these people – incite racial hatred and set this country back years?

  • Alan Quinn

    Come voting day my Labour flag will be in the garden again. Gary,the BNP leaflet features a Spitfire flown by a Polish squadron (look very closely near the propeller). Without the Polish and Czech pilots we would have lost the Battle of Britain. 120,000 Africans fought in WW2 as well as 2.5 million Indians, mostly in the Far East but 50,0000 fought at Monte Casino.

    Re United, the best team won, United did miss Fletcher, a remarkable thing since for a long while he was the boo boy of some of the fans at Old Trafford.
    He does have something in common with AC too…my charity begging letters never seem to reach him…….

  • Colin Morley

    Here in France there is some animation around the European election, though it would seem not as much as you have perceived in Italy.
    Sadly the difference is that the Italians and the French know that they can actually vote for CHANGE. There still exist clear cross-party differences and politics has not become as sterile as in the UK. I would hate to see either UKIP or the BNP gain a seat – but at least their presence MAY be a motivation to some to get out there and actually cast a vote.

  • Alina Palimaru

    This is a very disturbing observation regarding the campaign…

  • Iain Dale

    How strange that she told me the exact opposite. Hey ho! She said she was a great admirer of David Cameron because she said he reminded her of Tony Blair. I asked if she would vote for him and she said yes. Perhaps she misunderstood the question. We got on like a house on fire. Lovely lady!

  • Thomas Rossetti

    Colin Morley, you seem to be of the opinion that the UKIP don’t have any seats. They do! The BNP, however, do not.

    Although I’m largely Eurosceptic, I would like to see the European Parliament function properly if it’s going to be there at all. Could any Europhiles out there please answer me two questions:

    1. Why does the European Parliament have to sit in two places? It’s utterly ridiculous and no other political body in the world (that I know of) does this.
    2. Why can’t debates be conducted in English? (I know everyone’s going to accuse me of being a bigot, but it seems so wasteful to employ all these translators when everyone could just speak one language. English is the language of business in Europe; why not make it the language of politics as well?)

  • Kevin Johnson

    To be fair, AC, the Italians are used to having elections quite often. They also have a habit of putting up some colourful characters for euro elections.

  • Em

    From across the pond: the Briddish (as we term you here) are pretending there is no such thing as a European election, in fact, they still aren’t sure the Pope isn’t trying to get France and Spain to invade them again. Tee hee.

    The reticence is surely atavistic.

    (and, yes, I meant that double negative)

  • Jane A

    Election poster update: saw the more enormous billboard poster in Cowley, Oxford tonight, opposite the MINI factory. It was for UKIP.

  • gary Enefer

    Thank you Alan Quinn.

  • Jane A

    Sorry – *most* enormous, not more enormous.

  • gary Enefer

    Despite the expenses armageddon it is getting rather worrying I feel,if one has been involved or taken an interest in Politics over the years.

    If we exit our MPs and are left with celebrities who, let’s face it, just like the camera,then who is going to work 24/7 for their constituents – like Sadiq Khan does?

    Will Esther Rantzen want to spend 7 days a week in Luton,away from the cameras in two years time sorting out racial tension issues.Will she,and other celebrities, religiously perform her constituency duties such as
    sorting out toilets,constant evening meetings and dinners with civic leaders over next year’s christmas lights budgets and her weekly surgery’s at the office which need to be held every week.

    Anyone who isn’t truly dedicated is in for a shock.

  • Benedict Pringle

    The state of political advertising in this country is a joke. We want a civically engaged, educated and active electorate – but we thwart ourselves through underfunding of political parties and outdated legislation. I’ve just blogged about your article http://politicaladvertising.co.uk/2009/05/29/election-what-election/