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Monday, August 22, 2005

The main difference between English and Italian parliamentary institutions

We are all familiar with the basic difference between English and Italian parliamentary institutions.

We all realize that this main difference has nothing to do with national temperament, but stems from their seating plans.
The British, being brought up on team games, enter their House of Commons in the spirit of those who would rather be doing something else.

The British instinct is to form two opposing teams and let them debate until they exhaust themselves.
The House of Commons is so arranged that the individual Member is practically compelled to take one side or the other before he knows what the arguments are.
If the speaker is on his own side of the House, he will say: Hear, hear.
If he is on the opposite side he can safely say: Shame!

The men who sit opposite are entirely wrong, while the speeches of the men on his own side have a singular blend of wisdom, eloquence and moderation.

But the British System depends entirely on its seating plan.
If the benches did not face each other, no one could tell truth from falsehood, wisdom from folly, unless indeed by listening to it all.

In Italy the initial mistake was made of seating the representatives in semi-circle.
The resulting confusion could be imagined if it were not notorious.
Instead of having two sides, one in the right and the other in the wrong, the Italians form a multitude of teams facing in all directions.
With the field in such confusion, the game cannot even begin.
Basically the representatives are of the right or the left according to where they sit.
But the semi-circular chamber allows of subtle distinctions between the various degrees of rightness and leftness.
One deputy is on the right of this, but on the left of that.

So, in the end, the final decision is decided by the votes of the centre bloc.

This would not happen in the House of Commons, where no such bloc is allowed to develop.

In nearly every matter of controversy to be decided by the will of people, we can assume that the people who will decide are members of the centre bloc.
Delivery of speeches is therefore a waste of time.
The one party will never agree and the other party has agreed already.
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