Crazed lunacy from Italy

The Italian state auditor, Corte dei Conti, notified Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch that the rating agencies may have violated Italian law by downgrading the country during the 2011 Eurozone debt crisis. An Italian prosecutor representing the audit body may demand damages of up to $316 billion, Corte dei Conti said. According to the auditor’s letter to S&P, one of the reasons the string of downgrades could be deemed illegal is that “S&P never in its ratings pointed out Italy’s history, art or landscape which, as universally recognized, are the basis of its economic strength.”

You do realise that we’re in an economic union with these fools, don’t you?

31 comments on “Crazed lunacy from Italy

  1. Bloody hell !!!
    I never knew Romania was such an economic powerhouse.
    (If we’re counting those as the basis of economic strength, of course)

  2. Not that foolish if they can screw a few scores of millions out of S&P etc on trumped-up grounds like these.

  3. It is (or at least was – my personal experience of it is five or six years old) pretty routine for the Italian financial regulator to call in senior people from stockbroking arms of large banks for doing things like putting a “Sell” recommendation on large Italian companies. The regulator. They are held in complete contempt for this, of course.

  4. It could arguably acheive the opposite and result in a lower mark. Under the current sovereign criteria of ” •Institutional and governance effectiveness and security risks,”-Using a state auditor as a tool for “frivolous” claims, seems more Venezuela than Switzerland.

  5. Perhaps they should also take into account Cosa Nostra, La Stidda, Camorra, ‘Ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita and Mala del Brenta as well as the corruption and incompetence of the beaurocracy. Might balance things out a bit.

  6. Why did he not cite the renowned excellence of Italian engineering, such as the number and complexity of reverse gears in Italian tanks?

  7. It wouldn’t be much use as collateral because it can’t be exported any more (or not legally anyway).

    It could of course be the basis of a tourist industry, except that the museums have a habit of being closed while the staff sell off the more valuable of the contents.

  8. BraveFart-

    To be fair, the Italians were generally praised courageous and tenacious fighters, let down by hopelessly inadequate equipment. An Italian tank was basically a more heavily armoured dogdem with a machine gun duck taped to the front.

  9. Is it Saturnalia? Or are the Mafia running the Italian State auditor, and trying the biggest protection racket in history?

  10. Ian
    Shhhh….
    We’re not supposed to mention the Italian Army chased the British 8th back to the Egyptian border. SE might be around.

  11. Yet another useful reminder that when you get down to the essentials, the biggest difference between Europe and the Third World is that Europe gets better press. That, and nothing more.

    The Brits didn’t come up with the observation that “The wogs start at Calais” for no particular reason, after all.

  12. “Why did he not cite the renowned excellence of Italian engineering, such as the number and complexity of reverse gears in Italian tanks?”

    Hell, if they’re anything near as reliable as Italian automobiles they’d have broken down before anyone could put them in reverse.

    Back in the day when I was driving an Audi, my mechanic worked at a shop that specialized in servicing exotics. Once when I was in there he showed me a Lambo Countach that was in for repair. He called it a POS. When I asked him why he went over and pulled on one of the front headlights; it came off in his hand. Why? It had been attached with a wad of duct tape at the factory. Evidently the attachment assembly had snapped when built and rather than fix it, the Lambo workers just taped the headlight in place and sent it off. This on a $250K automobile.

    Nothing sends a chill down the spine of a reasonably sane car owner like the phrase “Italian build quality”.

    Although I must admit it’s fun these days to drive past all those hipsters and their shitty little Fiats that are stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow.

  13. The wogs start at Calais” for no particular reason, after all.”

    I am reminded of Tom Sharpe’s book The Throwback, and the observation of the old man that these days rather than starting at Calais they mostly ended at Dover.

  14. SE might be around.

    Hmmm. British military officers are usually quite aware of the inanities of their forebears. Having served in three “Iraq Wars”, amongst others, I’m not bothered, j the slightest, about people querying the necessity of military action.

    Crown servants rather than civil servants but the point isn’t that different.

  15. “I am reminded of Tom Sharpe’s book The Throwback, and the observation of the old man that these days rather than starting at Calais they mostly ended at Dover.”

    Over here, anything east of Pittsburgh or west of Phoenix is qualifies as wog-land.

  16. Many of you have clearly never owned or driven an ALFA. Well, one of certain ALFAs at least.

  17. BIG, does a Sprint Veloce count ? And when the Italians did get as far as the Egyptian border against the 8th army, they did out number them around 10:1 at the time. The 8th army’s problem is that what worked a charm against the distinctly unenthusiastic Italians was a recipe for disaster against the numerically inferior but much better organised and equipped Germans.

  18. Lots of Iraq wars were there? I can think of 3, though those who were in the first one I can recall were dead almost a century later for the 3rd one.

  19. @BiS: umm exactly when did the Italian army ‘drive the 8th Army back to the Egyptian border’? They invaded Italy from Libya to kick off the Desert War, got 65 miles into Egypt, stopped, then got pushed all the way back to Beda Fomm in Libya, and surrounded and captured. The whole thing took about 5 months from initial invasion to total surrender of the Italian forces, who outnumbered the Allies 5 to 1. Not exactly a glorious record it has to be said.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AfricaMap1.jpg

  20. That should be they invaded Egypt from Libya of course, the Italians probably wish they’d invaded their own country from Libya, they might have had more success.

    When is this site going to get a comment edit function? Its hardly rocket science.

  21. I’ve had two FIATs, two Lancias and four Alfas. All excellently engineered with bulletproof mechanicals. None of them ever broke down, unlike the BL shit I drove before I discovered Italian cars.

    I drove one of the Lancias (once) and one of the FIATs (three times) from the UK to Morocco and back to do geology fieldwork in the Atlas mountains. Each trip was a month of scrabbling up and down mountain tracks. I’d happily repeat the exercise in either of them, although I’d prefer a dedicated 4wd.

  22. “The wogs start at Calais”
    Walking the dogs on the beach at Bleriot Plage & looking at that menacing smudge on the horizon, inclined to agree with that comment.

  23. @Jim
    But the Italian soldier did kick Tommy ass, for a while. For both sides it was materiel & logistics problems more than individual soldier’s fighting capability. Much the same in most wars.
    Brits had the same attitude to the Japanese soldier, ’til he ripped ’em a new asshole.

  24. Returning to the last line of Tim’s comment, ordinary Italians aren’t really the problem, are they? Not much different from ordinary Brits. It’s only a member of Italy’s elite political class could come out with bollocks like that.
    Much the same for the UK, isn’t it? Who’s largely public schooled, university educated socially connected political parasites are about as representative of ordinary Brits as the Italian ones would be if they moved to London & took over.

  25. “But the Italian soldier did kick Tommy ass, for a while.” Rubbish. The Italian invading army never even reached the British defensive positions at Mersa Matruh. They stopped 80m west of it and dug in. And then were comprehensively routed by a much smaller force, to the extent that 130000 prisoners were taken for 2000 British casualties. One of the most comprehensive victories for the British Army in WW2. There was some ass kicking for sure, but the Italians were in the receiving end of it.

  26. Iran / Iraq. British contribution was Op ARMILLA. And, yes, I did get shot at in 1987.
    1st Gulf 1990/91
    2nd Gulf, repeatedly.

    Among others? Kosovo, Afghan.

  27. bloke in spain – “Returning to the last line of Tim’s comment, ordinary Italians aren’t really the problem, are they? Not much different from ordinary Brits. It’s only a member of Italy’s elite political class could come out with bollocks like that.”

    I am not sure that is true. The elite do, after all, reflect the population. If they did not like their lizards, they would vote for some other lizards. Rather I think the problem is the utter moral depravity of most Italians. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Everyone likes Italians. They are charming by and large. Nice to their grandmothers and little children. But they are also utterly cynical about everyone and everything to the point they think things like this don’t matter because everyone does it. They need to think everyone does it or otherwise they would have to ask questions about their own behaviour. That is why Roman Polanski is safe in France and why the Italians have no problems voting for the utterly unrepentent Communists or the three different types of mainly unrepentent Fascists. And Berlusconi.

    See The Moral Basis of a Backward Society

    “Much the same for the UK, isn’t it? Who’s largely public schooled, university educated socially connected political parasites are about as representative of ordinary Brits as the Italian ones would be if they moved to London & took over.”

    We have been very lucky with our political elite until recent times. Until the decline of the British gentleman. If nothing else, we could rely on them to do the decent thing and die bravely leading their soldiers. Can’t say that about Italians.

  28. @SmfS
    I hadn’t actually noticed our political elite leading & dying anywhere. Historically, that’s been the task of the not so bright, largely public schooled, university educated, socially connected, elite. And their leading soldiers to do likewise is not a benefit..

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