Friday, 11 January 2008


Ratzinger's campaign against Italy's newly-formed Partito Democratico (PD) continues apace. Not content with planting his emotionally warped moles (read, self-mortifying Paola Binetti and the other so-called Teodems - though what they understand of theology or democracy is anybody's guess) into the heart of a party that continues to represent, numerically at least, the last gasp of the long and often great tradition of Italian communism, he used an address to the Roman administration yesterday to deliver a direct attack on its leader, Walter Veltroni.

God knows, I'm no fan of Veltroni, nor of the PD, but it's pretty rich when Ratzinger accuses the city's administration of allowing Rome to fall into a state of gravissimo degrado. He was probably too busy fiddling
with Georg studying theology to notice what Rome was like twenty-odd years ago, under the rule of the inept and effortlessly corrupt Christian Democrats backed by the Vatican, but I remember it well: dirty, degraded, inefficient, unkempt, stationary. It's true that a lot of Veltroni's reforms have been cosmetic, but hey! a little lip gloss and mascara is no bad thing. More to the point, Rome actually feels like the capital of Italy in a way it never did, especially as its only rival, Milan, slides into squalor and neglect, personified by the sadly abandoned state of its central station.

Ratzinger says the city doesn't guarantee the safety of its citizens. According to a recent survey, Rome is the safest major city in Europe. But what are facts to the merchants of revealed truth? He says that Rome has problems of homelessness, low wages, social inequality. He says this from his usual pulpit, dressed in his usual finery, exempt from VAT, the recipient of a slice of Italian tax money that would make a whore blush. He doesn't say it because he cares (he cares? come on!), but because it's what his real supporters - Italy's centre-right - want to hear. He's set his sights so low he's now an unofficial part of the opposition. He's there with Sandro Bondi (ex-communist) and Michela Vittoria Brambilla, Berlusconi totty, rooting around in the political muck for the odd truffle.

And what's the solution? (Apart from blocking
in its tracks a party that might - just might - manage to reform Italy.) That's right. The family. And what kind of family? Right again. The kind based on marriage between a man and a woman. So let's run through this again. Homelessness, poverty, inequality? All it takes to solve them is to stop gay couples having any kind of rights at all. It's all so simple, you wonder why Jesus didn't think of it.

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