An italian story September 28, 2007Posted by dorigo in humor, news, science.
I feel sorry to have to prefer posting on italian politics than on particle physics as I originally planned today, but the occasion is too juicy. What I read on the newspaper Repubblica today shows quite clearly just how “normal” the practice of abuse of office is in my country.
Marzio Strassoldo (see picure, right), a politician elected president of the province of Udine by Forza Italia (Berlusconi’s party) at the last administrative elections, has been sued by Italo Tavoschi, former vice-mayor of Udine, for breach of contract. The contract had been signed by the two politicians 50 days before the elections, on February 2006. It reads as follows (freely translated from italian by yours truly):
“Italo Tavoschi vows to support prof. Strassoldo to the next provincial elections, and he does so by joining a list headed by Strassoldo, by running for election in one or more counties, or in other counties of the territory, at discretion of the president. President Strassoldo promises to offer to Italo Tavoschi, for his personal involvement in the campaign, in case he is elected and thus confirmed as president of the Province of Udine, an administrative mandate, for a minimum duration of three years […]. Doct. Tavoschi will be granted a gross salary of euro 70,000.00, with retirement contributions paid separately by the Provincia. […] Signed, Mario Strassoldo and Italo Tavoschi.“
What that means is that Tavoschi used his visibility as a political figure in Udine to “sell” the 420 votes he obtained at the elections to Strassoldo, who was thus re-elected president of the province of Udine. In exchange, he was to be granted a very sweet job – one of those abounding in our sorry country, where you do nothing but collect a paycheck at the end of the month -paid by taxpayers, of course. 70,000 a year is about three times what a researcher makes, to give you a normalization point.
The fact that these two rascals had no shame of signing their names under such a blatantly immoral agreement, and that one of them even had no shame in using the paper to sue the other and thus making it public, speaks volumes on the way they perceive the normality of unlawful practices in public office.
In 1950 Achille Lauro (a shipowner, whose name is more famous for being the one of the ship where Leon Klinghofer was killed by arab terrorists in 1985) offered right shoes to people in Neaples before elections, with the promise of providing the matching left one in case of his victory. It seems things have not changed for good in Italy during these 57 years: at least, Lauro’s shoes were paid with his own money. Strassoldo’s offer means he felt no guilt in promising to waste 210,000 euros of public funds for a small help in getting elected.
The funny thing is the ending: Tavoschi is suing Strassoldo claiming he spent lots of private funds to sustain his electoral campaign, and that he even remained unemployed for several months after the elections in order to be able to accept a mandate which he was never offered. One cannot help feeling for him: he is the real loser in this play.
Oh, and there’s even a funnier detail: Strassoldo’s campaign was underlined by a sentence which aptly pictures him – kudos for having chosen it appropriately:
“The consistency of always doing the region’s interests” (it: “La coerenza nel fare sempre gli interessi del Friuli”).
Berlusconi did teach the guy well indeed! See his site: www.marziostrassoldo.it .