Fiddling While Rome Burns

Time has just published my essay on Italy’s dysfunctional political scene.

It says something about Italian politics that the most potent political figure to enter the arena since scandal-ridden former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a frizzy-haired bombastic comedian named Beppe Grillo, best known for organizing nationwide protests against government corruption called “Go F Yourself” days. And what it says is this: that as a desire for change sweeps the European electorate, Italians are feeling starved for choice. Indeed, with the exception of Grillo, Italy doesn’t have a single national leader who wasn’t already in politics in 1994, the year Berlusconi first came to power

read the rest.