Well, on a day that sees the partial nationalisation of the British banking system (Cue quick chorus of the Red Flag?) who would have figured that the EU represents a safe haven from global economic woes? Italians, that who – and the BBC was there to convey the news to us! I caught a report on Today before 7am this morning which sang the praises of the EU and the Euro in particular. It revolved around a gathering of businessmen in Northern Italy and they were oh so happy to be part of the wonderful EU. Then again, with Italy being a basket-case of an economy, is that really surprising? Still, what excellent luck the BBC managed to track down this group of Italian Europhiles, eh?

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  1. Grant says:

    And the Italian government was one of the first to “guarantee” savers’ deposits, although it is not quite clear what with. Maybe the UK’s contribution to the EU budget will help out. Isn’t the EU wonderful ?


  2. Fabio P.Barbieri says:

    As you are ignorant about Italy, keep your trap shut. As a matter of fact, Italy is an average European economy, with one difference: our banks did not spend the last thirty years ramping up house prices and lending money like mad on the back of inflated house prices. Therefore there is no banking crisis in Italy (a commentator on Italy’s second largest newspaper, La Repubblica,/i>, stated in so many words that “the crisis is an American problem and the Americans have to solve it”, which underrates the British and German contribution but is otherwise quite right). An attempt by international speculators on Italy’s largest bank, Unicredit, has been completely defeated, because the bank was able to recapitalize itself from its own funds and shareholders, without a penny of public money. Compare and contrast events in Washington DC and London. And shut up about things you know nothing about.


  3. Helmut says:

    Fabio P. Barbieri 1:39

    Well the story isn’t over yet, so time will tell whether the Italians’ famous financial prudence will succeed in the long run.


  4. Milton says:

    Fabio 1:39

    Nice to see Fascism is alive and well in Italy.

    This blog is about bias on the BBC, including the BBC’s fanatical pro-EU bias, so it would be interesting to have an Italian’s view of the BBC.

    I can understand your emotional response to any slight criticism of anything Italian, but in free democracies, we don’t just tell people to shut up, we debate with them.

    I suggest that you run back to Mama and ask for her opinion and tell us what she says.


  5. David Vance says:


    Thanks for that. Are you familiar with the works of Joe Dolce? I repeat that Italy is a economic basket-case. Seems I am not the only one who thinks this..


  6. Ron Combo says:

    As a Brit living in Italy I would say Signor Barbieri is bang on the money (if you’ll excuse etc etc). Italy has nothing like the credit culture, both on mortgages and personal finance, that the UK has; of course in other areas it may well be an economic basket case but I am not competent enough to comment. I think Milton’s response is both ignorant and unfair.


  7. whitewineliberal says:

    fabio – attaboy!
    milton – I call Godwin.


  8. Spinoza says:

    Helmut 1:47

    The strength of the Italian economy lies in the black economy, not Government finances.


  9. Chuffer says:

    I was always taught that the ‘revolving door’ system of government in Italy meant that no government was ever in power long enough to do any damage.


  10. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Italy has had record highs in public debt, separate from any banking issue, and I believe is currently in violation of the European Union’s Stability and Growth Pact. The banks are a separate issue, and probably are suffering more from the drying of the international tap.

    Mr. Brown’s plans will take Britain there next.


  11. David Vance says:

    We’re all Italians now! Mamma mia.


  12. Cassandra says:

    I think Fabio has been taking a ‘debate the issues’ course run by the EUSSR school of the Nu democratic method!
    I happen to love Italy and the Italians having been there many times and I also happen to think that Berlesconi is doing a good job, much better than the last lot of socialist halfwits!
    Keep posting Fabio, just understand its a free forum and everyone has different views, it doesnt mean we are being anti Italian!


  13. Cassandra says:

    I am very pro Italian and love Italy and its people, I think Fabio is just a little sensitive to critisism and I can understand why!
    Keep on posting Fabio but be aware this is a free forum where people have different views.


  14. Cassandra says:

    Oooops sorry, having trouble with me connex!


  15. jeffD says:

    I’ve had a couple of holidays in Italy recently and consider it a 3rd world shithole.Garbage everywhere,no modernisation of existing houses (or tower blocks to be more precise),crappy transport network,lunatic driving,no regard for any laws,’backhanders’ rule if you want anything doing…..and don’t get me going on the sanitation!!!!!


  16. Jon says:

    If the euro is that good and especially for the North as the BBC has it – then why does the Northern League want to bring back the lire?


  17. NonTVLicencePayer says:

    The BBC and the EU are like two corrupt peas in a pod aren’t they?

    By the way, beeboids, how’s the soft loans corruption case going?

    Not heard anything… must have been swept under the carpet. One more reason not to pay the TV Licence.


  18. Pete says:

    We’ll see how happy they are when Germany decides to re-introduce the mark, and that might well happen the way things are going. The BBC will love that!


  19. George R says:

    “A Tribute to Italy” (by Fjordman)


  20. Martin says:

    Pete: Spot on. The Germans had fantastic economic stability when they ran their own economy. Now they have to bail out the dead wood like France, Italy and Spain.


  21. archduke says:

    “It revolved around a gathering of businessmen in Northern Italy”

    northern italy – that would be the home of the ultra-nationalist Northern League, who are calling for the return of the Lira.


  22. archduke says:

    “Pete | 08.10.08 – 5:36 pm |”

    I pointed this out elsewhere – unlike previous downturns , this time round there is nowhere for European investors to go – except OUTSIDE of Europe, in terms of capital safe havens.

    in the past, if Spain, for example, was in trouble, the money would flow to the “safe” Deutschmark.

    And because of the variety of currencies, you could hedge your bets and lower the risk to your portfolio.

    Now, with the Euro, the only option is capital outflow from the entire Eurozone.

    No wonder the Germans want the Mark back. I cant blame them.


  23. archduke says:

    sidenote: i wonder if anyone can dig up figures on how much banks were making in pre-Euro days from inter-European currency transactions.

    i have nothing to back this up – but, is it possible that the introduction of the Euro removed that cash cow – and forced the banks into riskier ventures – such as mortgage securitisation?

    just a theory. would be interesting to see the figures.


  24. Jon says:

    “France and Italy, were also expected to stagnate during the second half of 2008, with Italy confirming its status as “the sick man of Europe” thanks to an overall growth outlook for 2008 of just 0.1 percent.”


  25. David Vance says:


    Which part of “the sick man of Europe” do you not understand?


  26. whitewineliberals says:

    They make damn fine cars and motorbikes. Nice food and trousers too.


  27. David Vance says:


    All of it, evidently. Mind you, agree about the clothes and food. (And scenery)


  28. Martin says:


    “…They make damn fine cars and motorbikes…”

    I assume by that comment you’ve never owned a Fiat or an Alfa?


  29. Grant says:

    Whitewine 10:31

    Please come clean about Italian “trousers”. Is there something you are not telling us ?


  30. betyangelo says:

    I was in Italy once, a long time ago. I’d like to back to see if I can still warrant a pinch on the bottom. 😉


  31. Grant says:

    betyangelo 11:44

    I am sure that you are a very attractive lady. But, even if you were the most ugly, repulsive old hag, any Italian man would pinch your bottom. The Italians call it chivalry.


  32. Jon says:

    betyangelo | 08.10.08 – 11:44 pm |

    Is that still legal in Italy – isn’t it sexual harrasment – 15 years in prison in Britain for that kind of thing.


  33. Jonathan Boyd Hunt says:

    Martin | 08.10.08 – 11:09 pm:
    Oi! There’s nowt wrong with Fiats – it’s been a few years since I’ve owned one, mind, but I’ll never forget that jewel of an engine that they put into the Fiat 128 – back at the time of its introduction in 1971 it was the only mass-produced production engine that would rev in excess of 8,000 rpm without tuning, valve-bounce or blowing up; and with a power output of 70bhp in 1300cc guise, it was still outclassing the atrocious asthmatic 56 bhp 1300 lump that VW were putting in the Golf MK2 two decades later.


  34. betyangelo says:

    Viva Italia!

    You are right. I never got my bottom pinced in Britain. I always figured I’d have to go to Australia for that sort of thing from a Brit.


  35. Martin says:

    Jonathan Boyd Hunt: The engines in Fiat’s were OK, but the bodywork rusted faster than a beeboid taking Cocaine and the electrics were hopeless. And yes, I did own a Fiat once!


  36. Grant says:

    JB Hunt the Shunt 11:09

    Respect !

    I had a Fiat 128 2-door “sports” when I lived in Turkey 1974-76. Great suspension and I drove it everywhere. Great car, but the turning circle was a bit crap.


  37. Grant says:

    Martin 12:05

    Classic car, classic comment.

    But, apart from the speed of light, can you tell me what is faster than a beeboid taking cocaine, er, apart from shirt-lifting, that is ?


  38. rightofcentre says:

    `cmon, the Fiat 128 was nothing but an expensive Lada!


  39. Jonathan Boyd Hunt says:

    rightofcentre | 09.10.08 – 5:36 am:

    The Lada was based on the 124 (rwd) not 128 (fwd) – and the 124 twincam was another corker, now you mention it…


  40. Bob says:

    Italian society, culture, industry, technology – and of course, the art, architecture, stylishness and sexuality – have always excited envy in small-minded, peevish, miserable Brits – they always fail to understand why life is so much better in Italy when it’s so “chaotic, disorganised, mafia-run etc etc [fill in your cliche here]”. This isn’t a BBC issue


  41. Bob says:

    PS – nor do they have native-born muslims self-exploding on the public transport system


  42. George R says:


    “Islam, Islamism and Jihadism in Italy” (Lorenzo Vidino)


  43. Original Robin says:

    Why do Italian men wear moustaches ?
    Because they want to look like their mothers.


  44. Kill the Beeb says:

    I went to Italy once. But some bloke told me I’d got on the wrong bus. And it wasn’t Italy at all. It was the Poundsaver in Enfield Town.

    Since then I’ve never trusted Italians.