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San Bonifacio and Italian Demographics

A Little Italian Politics, July 2009
We stopped at the market in the town of San Bonifacio to buy some bread for lunch. And I noticed the people passing in the street, and I thought: these people could be Austrian, or German, or British; they do not look like the archetypal Italian, ie swarthy and posing, they look like the sort of people you might see in London or Manchester. This is the north of Italy, where most of the wealth of the country is made. The Lega Nord, who form a major part of the Berlusconi government, want to separate the north of Italy from the south, seeing the two as different countries, in particular they are galled that much of the money generated in the north goes to support he unproductive south. Many in the south, too, would like to be a separate state, seeing the people of the north as bigheads who effectively block their development. This separation is unlikely to happen because economic difference between regions is not a good enough reason for making different countries of those regions: such a move would set an unfortunate precedent; if you have economically-depressed regions you take steps to help them grow, though there’s no denying that in Italy this is an enormous challenge.


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