Monday, December 10, 2012



"Massimo!  Good of you to call. I was hoping..."

"No, shesa not so good.  Shesa bad, Charlie, really bad."


"Si Berlusconi. This...this...accidente!"  (Not a really nice thing to call anyone in Italian). "Questo stupido!  Is not so bad his people leave the coalition but he today decide that..em beh...he gonna run for office again!"

"Oh come on.  He hasn't a chance. He wouldn't get a vote."

"You think no, eh?  Listen to Massimo my friend.  Monti try to do good things; he try to do what Italia need to do, but they fight him every way.  But it seems that the people look and say, 'eh, we doing better, maybe Monti should stay.'  Europe say the same things.  And Berlusconi and his people say, 'this go too far,' so they leave the coalition because they know if they do then Monti resign because no can govern and he no want to be a politician and run in election."

"So he backs someone else."

"No, no Charlie, it no work that way.  The reforms are Monti and Monti are the reforms.  No one like them but if Monti say do them, Italia does because Monti is the only one you say...La Statura.'

"The Stature."

"Si, the stature and the trust.  But he is no politician and unless he run Berlusconi think he can run and win."

"Can he?"

"Sure, ma he no can form a government.  So what he do will be to make deal with everybody.  He cut the cake as we say and maybe he get enough support and finito la reforma. He is a fox Charlie; we think he just want to stay in Parliament so he no go to jail but I pretty sure he want the whole thing again.  Draghi, he mad as hell.  You see what happen in the markets today?  Not only us but Spain.  No good, Charlie, no good.  This is going to be hard, ma we have to win.  I go, eh.  Ciao Charlie."

"Ciao, Massimo.  Good luck and eh, Buon Natale"

"Ah Grazie e a lei.  I almost forget."

When it comes to Italian politics, Massimo, who is wired, is generally right...I hope he's wrong this time.  He went further than the general commentary but if his scenario begins to play out the calm we have seen the past month or so will end quickly.  Self interest has always been the rule in Italy and there are powerful forces that would be quite happy to see the continuation of the status quo despite the effect that would have upon Italy or Euroland.

Meanwhile, The Greeks announced out of the clear blue that the auction fell 3+ billion Euros short of success and that the books would remain open until midnight tomorrow.  I must admit I'm surprised.
Admitting that highly positive reports were inaccurate is never a good thing much less overseeing a flop, but it is especially troublesome in the environment in which Europe and Greece find themselves.  It may be a touch too soon for a definitive statement on the matter but somebody may have blown something big time.  We'll know in a day or two.  Keep watching.

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