To understand the following two videos (especially the second one), a little background in Italian
sausage-making politics is required.
After last spring’s general election in Italy, lengthy negotiations produced a coalition government between the Lega Nord and the Five-Star Movement (M5S). The two parties were very close in the number of votes they received, with M5S slightly ahead. Neither party had enough of an advantage to claim the office of prime minister.
The position of M5S had always been that they would not work with the Lega. However, as is often the case in politics, the opportunity afforded the party was too good to be turned down, and they eventually cut a deal with the Lega. As a result of the negotiations, instead of a top figure from one of the two coalition parties, Giuseppe Conte was appointed prime minister. Mr. Conte, while not simply a figurehead, is not nearly as significant as the two deputy prime ministers, Matteo Salvini (Lega Nord) and Luigi Di Maio (M5S). Mr. Salvini also serves as interior minister, while Mr. Di Maio is industry minister.
After the formation of the government, Mr. Salvini’s popularity rapidly rocketed. The Lega thus gained in the polls at the expense of M5S. But both deputy prime ministers are still major players — Mr. Di Maio is no slouch.
In contrast, Giuseppe Conte is less well-known, and generally gained less attention in the media. All that changed, however, after the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos last month. An audio recording has surfaced of Mr. Conte holding a sidebar discussion with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which the Italian prime minister essentially told Mrs. Merkel not to worry, that Italy would still be taking in migrants, Mr. Salvini’s opposition notwithstanding. I don’t need to tell you that this caused a sensation in the Italian press.
In the past the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy), headed by Giorgia Meloni, had always been natural allies of the Lega Nord and Matteo Salvini. In other political circumstances, Ms. Meloni might well have been part of a Lega government. However, her party is much smaller than the Lega or M5S, so this time the sausages were made without her.
Since she is not part of the government, Ms. Meloni did not hesitate to speak out about Mr. Conte’s actions in Davos.
Before we get to the Davos issue, let’s listen to some classic remarks by Mr. Salvini, who was visiting the Adriatic resort town of Giulianova to talk about migration and related topics. Many thanks to FouseSquawk for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
Here’s what Giorgia Meloni had to say about the Conte affair, including a pointed remark directed at Matteo Salvini. Many thanks to He Ha for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
Video transcript #1:
|00:00||In Giulianova, the people of Giulianova in need come first,|
|00:03||then come the people in the rest of the world.|
|00:06||Here you have had… S***ty murderer!|
|00:10||There is a precious contribution from a gentleman who says that I am a s***ty murderer.|
|00:14||A round of applause for the gentleman|
|00:18||who has won ten immigrants for his home.|
|00:22||Give your first name, family name, fiscal code, we will send you 20, and you take care of them,|
|00:26||lunch, supper, dinner, my friend.|
|00:30||The (leftist) communists are fantastic because the more money communists make, the more they preach morality to others.|
|00:35||The Fazios, the Savianos, the Gad Lerners.|
|00:39||You take them, but with your money, so I think|
|00:43||that the murderers are those who have been the accomplices|
|00:47||of the smugglers who have transformed the Mediterranean Sea into|
|00:51||an open air cemetery, also because the gentleman does not know|
|00:55||that with those immigrants, the smugglers buy arms and drugs|
|01:00||which are then perhaps sold in Giulianova.|
|01:04||I will never in my life be an accomplice to drug dealers in Giulianova,|
|01:08||and I will send those people back home, from the first to the last, from the first to the last.
Video transcript #2:
|00:00||Look, I am definitely a person who does politics for someone, not politics against everyone.|
|00:05||The aim of my political activity is the defense of Italy’s national interests.|
|00:10||That’s why I felt deeply ashamed (as an Italian) of how Conte bowed to Merkel.|
|00:16||I felt ashamed of a prime minister of a G8 country, a world power, telling Mrs. Merkel:|
|00:20||“Angela don’t worry, the Five Stars are angry with France, but not with Germany.|
|00:26||Angela, even if Salvini has closed the ports, we will take in migrants by plane.”|
|00:29||I felt deeply ashamed. Ashamed.|
|00:33||And I am astonished by how Salvini is silent about this,|
|00:37||since we all agreed that we were supposed to face Europe with our heads held high.