Interviewed by Vanity Fair Italia on the new 5S-Lega government – Read the original Q&A in English

Vanity Fair’s interviewed me on the new Italian government (see here). The complete, original Q&A follows below:

So, Italy has finally a government. New Premier is Giuseppe Conte, a technician who was never elected. Do you think this is acceptable? 

The new government has the consent of the majority of parliament. So, it is legitimate. My regret is that the Left has failed to garner enough electoral support to put in place a progressive alternative to xenophobic populism.

Would you call it the “government of change” (like Di Maio name it)? Or it’s just the same politics but with other slogans? 

It would be a mistake to assume that this government will mimic the previous ones by changing nothing. Donald Trump has proven that rightwing xenophobic governments can change much. What is not clear, to say the least, is whether this is change for good or for bad.

Paolo Savona has been “transferred” to another ministry (European policies). Do you approve the choice? 

The question is not who gets what office but what gets done. Will the Tria-Savona duo manage to put forward constructive proposals to the Eurogroup and back them up with a credible disobedience strategy when Berlin says no? This is the real question.

Would he been “dangerous” for the Italy at the ministry of finance? 

Not more dangerous for Italy than the policies that are being pursued since 2009…

Many observers defined the new government (the program and the ministers) just a confused mix of left and right wing. Like a minestrone. Do you agree? 

I would liken it to something Dr Frankenstein might have created, putting into one body the parts of several dead agendas: The Presidential ministers, that will continue business as usual, the Xenophobes, like Salvini, who promote racism as the solution, the ‘flat’ tax nonsense of American neoliberals, and a standard guaranteed minimum income which is being sold, fraudulently, as a ‘universal basic income’.

This morning, Repubblica first page was: “Populists at the government”. Do you agree? Does Italy has populists at the government now? 

It does. But it also has populists like Renzi and D’ Alema in the opposition – figures of a pseudo-left who have for years practised what I refer to as Establishment-Populism: promises to everyone that, as long as the Establishment’s playbook is adhered to, everyone will be better off

From 0 to 10, according to you how probable is the Italexit? 

If the current policies and stasis remain, 10. If the eurozone is reformed 0.

Today, would you invest in Italian bonds? Or would you prefer german Bund? 

I would invest in neither. Europe is not the place for patient, non-speculative investment because it is being run by speculative short-termists.

Could you give me a definition (a phrase, an image, an anecdote or an adjective) for these men?

– Luigi Di Maio (New Deputy Prime Minister)

Heterologous

– Giuseppe Conte (New Prime Minister)

Figurehead

– Sergio Mattarella (President of Italian Republic)

Salvini’s unconscious helper

– Matteo Salvini  (New Deputy Prime Minister)

Xenophobe-in-Chief and Italy’s next Prime Minister

– Paolo Savona (New Minister EU Policies)

The Fall Guy

–  Giovanni Tria (New Minister of Finance) 

The Great Unknown