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Government ministers: from Idem to Bray

Di Antonio Caneva, 27 Giugno 2013

Repetitively, in the attempt to overcome the difficulties often affecting our country, it is pointed out that a suitable and necessary measure for recovery is the fight against tax evasion – a widespread practice that is hard to eradicate.
Time and again, politicians holding various offices of responsibility in the government are found to hold behaviours that are not exactly ethical, which seems to justify a generalised tax evasion.
Josefa Idem, a minister in the Letta government, was charged with a number of irregularities which were subsequently rectified. The issue was closed with her resignation from office only after the Prime Minister so requested.
I find it unseemly that a minister was in the condition to be exposed to serious accusations, but I was particularly struck by two statements she made, which show how distant from reality our political class has become (she was quick to catch up), and which sometimes make me despair of this country’s possibility to overcome the present impasse. The first statement: “I accept my liabilities, if I am at fault I will pay what I owe, but I am not resigning”. Does this mean accepting your liability, paying what is owed, when you are found at fault?
The second statement: Josefa Idem, originally from Germany, said “even in Germany people would not resign for this reason, therefore I am not resigning”. Apart from the fact that, in Germany, an influential politician had resigned for much less (having copied his university thesis), it is absurd that a minister of the Italian Republic should make reference to a foreign country in order to justify unlawful actions committed in Italy, and the conjunction “therefore” sounds particularly heavy.
This is the ongoing debate, while tourism, neglected and in need of strong leadership, is going through difficult times. The City of Milan is now planning to raise the tourist tax by one euro (a new tax increase, while many, even in the same government, are emphasising the need to reduce taxes); in the meantime, one of our most important attractions, the Colosseum, for two days in a week was closed to the public for hours while the striking workers assembled inside the monuments, and visitors from all over the world were left waiting in queue under the scorching sun.
Our current Minister of Tourism, Massimo Bray , comes from the world of culture, and we hoped he would work towards building a bridge between culture as an end in itself and its economic use to favour tourism-related enterprises. We are seeing no signs of it; on the contrary, as in the case of the Colosseum, we are witnessing a regression.

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