Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Italy's governing Five Star party dismissed concerns that the Morandi Bridge could collapse as a fairy story

At least 39 people were killed when the Morandi Bridge in Genoa collapsed, sending 20 cars and three HGV's falling 45 metres to the ground, and crushing everything below under vast mounds of concrete.

The initial response of the Italian government was quite extraordinary. The Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the fascist Northern League party Matteo Salvini actually attempted to deflect blame for the tragedy onto the EU, and then set about deliberately deflecting attention onto Mediterranean refugees.

Salvini's desperate attempt to blame the EU for 'budget restraints' that supposedly prevented Italy from repairing or replacing the bridge is absolutely ridiculous.

Of course the EU has imposed ruinous austerity measures on countries like Italy, Greece, and Spain, but nobody in the EU has ever vetoed a bridge repair budget, (in fact the EU has distributed vast amounts of money for public infrastructure projects like road upgrades).

Then came the revelation that Salvini's Five Star coalition partners actually opposed repair work to the bridge, and publicly dismissed concerns that it could collapse as a children's fairy story ('favoletta') in 2013.

The Five Star party hastily removed the offending article from their website once people began looking at it, but it still exists in archive form as you can see here.

Only the very worst of Internet illiterates imagine that you can simply make a story go away by deleting the page in question, but this IT illiteracy is something that the Five Star movements have in common with their UKIP allies in the European Parliament, who also have a habit of deleting incriminating web pages once people come across them.

So while one coalition partner gratuitously blames the EU for the disaster, the other coalition party actually led the campaign to prevent repairs to the bridge and patronisingly dismissed concerns that a tragedy like this could happen as a fairy story!

One might hope that Italian people would wake up to the folly of electing a bunch of extreme-right populists and outright fascists to lead their country. But it'll probably take more than a bridge collapse followed by a bunch of blame-shifting lies and evidence deleting evasions to turn public opinion.

I mean just look at how quickly the Grenfell Tower tragedy was lobbed down the collective memory hole after the Tory council left 72 people to burn to death in an absolute firetrap.

If the Tories can simply walk away from an outrage like that after most of the public forget about the sheer horror of it, no doubt Italy's far-right coalition will walk away from this horrific bridge collapse too once the news shifts onto something else.

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