Mrs G and I have briefly emerged blinking from our Italian idyll – she nicely plumper from the excellent food, and me thinner from battling contractors and the Italian state.
Along the way we’ve found out that when a new law is passed in Italy, any law it modifies doesn’t go away, but hangs around being annoying. Thus when we bought a new Fiat there (recent law says any EU citizen can buy a new car in Italy), the authorities wouldn’t register it (old law says you have to be resident and pay Italian income taxes).
So we bought a fine German car in Hamburg, shipped it to the UK and registered it there, then ferried it to Italy via France and Switzerland – an excellent road trip.
Our Italian friends tell us this was a proper Italian thing to do.
The upside of this odd system of government is that Italians are pretty impervious to the EU – they pass its laws, but if they don’t like them, they go on using the old ones. That’s quite important, since now the EU is headed downwards, and that leaves Italy untouched, unlike the Brit and German polities that the EU has hollowed out.
The EU, like all empires, must keep growing, but with its Constitution rejected by every nation that got to vote on it (France, Netherlands, Ireland), it either has to send in men with guns, or accept it will never have its own president, state department, or army.
But the the EU, like the Pope, has no divisions – only the UK has significant armed forces, and these couldn’t pacify Basra (a city the size of Boston), or fight off a couple of the Mullahs’ speedboats.
No doubt the death will be prolonged, so we will all need hearts of stone not to laugh.