Laws, more laws, and amendments. Reforms amendment proposals are raining in the Committees and in the Chambers for the sole purpose of putting a spoke in the wheels of one majority or another. This is the game of politics that has learned how to handle democratic tools and now uses them as a destructive criticism to knock down the rivals. Nothing illegal, of course, because asking to change a measure in the process of being approved, especially when it concerns relevant topics, falls within the representativeness to which every member of the parliament has the right. If at the centre of the debate there is the new Constitution and the abolition of the Senate, the temptation to break an already shaky bank – considering the quorum and the times set by the Article 138 – the temptation grows stronger for those in the opposition or in a party minority. Yet, everything has a price, not only in strictly political terms but also from an economic point of view. The whole thing does not have to be underestimated considering the sacrifices that we have been asked to do over the years in order to lead the boat of Italy away from the waves of the crisis.
The Boschi bill, the one concerning the reform of the fundamental Charter and the game that Renzi wants to win starting next autumn. At heart, it is exactly a passage to a de facto single Chamber. In a nutshell: The Chamber of Deputies will be composed of members elected directly by the citizens, whereas in the Senate will sit the representatives of the regions. And, as a result, the room will be the only one able to make laws, whereas the Senate will be endowed mainly with powers of control and demonstration of local bodies. A revolution that is far superior to the previous reforms, such as those on the title V, approved between the years 1999 and 2000. A change of attitude that many people, legitimately, do not like, but on which the government bets everything, including its own credibility. Thus, starting from last week, has arrived a true ‘hail’ of amendments. Roberto Calderoli of the Lega Nord alone has presented more than half a million of them, threating to reach a million. A mountain of papers that will cost money, and not little. According to the data that are circulating in the High Chamber, those amendments proposals have been collected in 100 volumes, 1,000 pages each. For a total sum of 100,000 pages. The price of a copy (each consisting of 100 volumes) is estimated at approximately 2,900 euros. If 321 of them had to be printed, one for each senator, the total cost of the operation would be of 930,900 euros, i.e. almost 1 million euros.
And let us not forget the human resources that will need to be employed in order to make photocopies and envelopes. According to Ansa, around 150 employees of the Palazzo Madama, the location of the Senate, had to give up on holidays and will be forced to work even on Saturdays, so as to close the practices in time for the resumption of Parliament’s work at the end of the month. The president Pietro Grasso has expressed great appreciation for the devotion to work demonstrated by the employees of the Palazzo Madama who have willingly accepted to change their vacation plans in order to allow politics to have everything ready in September for the examination of the reform”. The employees, perhaps, would have preferred to go on holidays. Then there is a problem that only a few have stressed: the weight of the paper. Which, according to preliminary calculations, considering that every 1,000-pages volume has an average weight of 2.5 Kg, would amount to 250 kilos (100 volumes). Hence, every senator who will not be willing to analyse the proposals online, will have to carry 2 hundredweights of paper (sic!) around. More than that, the total weight of the copies, one for each of the 321 senators, would exceed the maximum limit of 80 tonnes, causing thus serious risks for the floors of the ancient Palazzo Madama. To sum up: it is fine for democracy to have a cost, but this seems really too much.
Translated by Ecaterina Severin