The Italians are good at some things.
Making Ferraris, for example.
Making pasta, pizza and gelato, too, and – Mrs Grumble threw these in – making expensive clothes and brands, and gorgeous shoes.
Mind you, they are not so hot on construction. A tower they built in Pisa would not stand up to a building inspector’s demands, here in Eketahuna.
And while we are at it, let’s not get around to adopting their ideas on governance.
Italy’s new prime minister Mario Monti has been sworn in, Alf learned this morning.
The ceremony at the Quirinale Palace took place after Mr Monti presented the details of his new Cabinet.
And guess what?
The Cabinet line-up contains no politicians.
Did you get that right, Alf?
Yep. A cabinet with no politicians.
Instead, all the ministers are non-political experts in their fields, the BBC reports.
Mr Monti himself will look after the new economy portfolio – another indication that he regards economic reform as the overwhelming priority of his administration.
Banker Corrado Passera will lead a super ministry of development, infrastructure and transport.
The head of the anti-trust authority Antonio Catricala has been made under-secretary to the prime minister’s office.
Alf doesn’t actually give a toss about how capable these blokes might be.
It doesn’t seem to matter who they get to run the show, governmentally, in Italy – they always finish up with a circus.
But appointing a cabinet without politicians might go down real big, with the Italian people.
And if that happens, John Key might adopt the idea here. He is keen on ideas that go down real big with the people.
Alf’s cabinet ambitions would then be dashed – unless, of course, he retired from politics.
Let’s see how things work out. With a bit of luck it will soon be demonstrated that Monti is as much a fool as Berlusconni has been a clown (albeit a bloody rich one).
When the system breaks down, and the Italian economy collapses, and the collapse brings down the European economy and scuttles the euro …
Then Alf would be sure in the knowledge we will not be adopting the Italian cabinet idea and Alf can cling to his hope of getting gthe Racing and Rugby portfolios while remaining MP for Eketahuna North.
But Alf is not putting his money on this outcome.
He is daunted by news that Monti “brings credentials from a decade as a European commissioner that his technocrat government will need as it faces a financial crisis threatening to spin out of control.”
A sober and reserved figure who makes a stark contrast to his flamboyant predecessor Silvio Berlusconi, Monti expressed confidence that his government could calm markets that have come close to full scale panic as the euro zone debt crisis spreads.
He made his name as the powerful competition commissioner who took on U.S. corporate titans, blocking General Electric’s planned merger with rival Honeywell and imposing a record 497 million euro ($683 million) antitrust fine on software giant Microsoft.
His technical expertise, sharp intellect, diplomatic skills and his refusal to bow to intense lobbying made him a highly regarded commissioner, first in the internal markets portfolio and then in competition.
Could be he is just the bloke to get Italy out of the mire – and to show what can be done by a cabinet with no pollies.