Supreme Court II & Italy!

A packed episode: we catch up with Catherine Barnard on the Supreme Court's unanimous decision against prorogation and we discuss what's going on in Italian politics. Plus we explore the links and differences between the two, from fears of an election to the role played by presidents and monarchs. Boris, Berlusconi, Baroness Hale and politics on the beach: it's all here! With Lucia Rubinelli and Chris Bickerton.


Talking Points:


Is it surprising that the Supreme Court’s judgement was unanimous?

  • There’s a strength in unanimity—it also makes it harder to attribute political motives to individual judges.
  • This is only the beginning of what could be a series of contentious judgments, but because the decision was unanimous, it’s hard to read the room.


The Supreme Court didn’t want to get into motive… or monarchy, so it focused on the effect of prorogation.

  • If the power to prorogue were unlimited, it could be used for unconstitutional purposes.
  • But Parliament did have an opportunity to hold the government to account and it chose not to.


Are there parallels between what’s going on in Italy and the UK?

  • The government has broken down, and the opposition is scared of an election. Both Johnson and Salvini are polling at around 30% and facing divided oppositions.
  • But in Italy, the opposition has behaved very differently. Despite extreme contempt for each other, Renzi and De Maio are in coalition.
  • This is in part because of Mattarella, the President, and the EU.


Does going into coalition with Renzi mark the end of 5 Star’s anti-establishment credentials? 

  • They might go forward with a new leader, Di Battista, who is more left wing. 


Renzi is trying to position himself as a Macron-like figure.

  • The dominant feature of Italian politics is fragmentation: if you can get even 5-10% of the vote, you can be the kingmaker.
  • Renzi thinks he can sweep up Berlusconi’s voters.
  • But unlike Macron, Renzi isn’t an unknown entity. And the next election might be fought in the midst of a recession.


Further Learning:


Upcoming Events:

  • On 5 Oct. David, Helen, and Chris Brooke will be LIVE in London. Tickets here!
  • And on 16 Oct. David and Helen will be LIVE at Cambridge Junction with Ayesha Hazarika. Get your tickets here.


And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking


 

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