In a bizarre mash-up, caught between Andy Warhol’s ‘famous for fifteen minutes’ dictum and the moment in Spartacus when Tony Curtis cries ‘No, I’m Spartacus’, Italy’s hugely unpopular Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini has confessed that she too is Obama – or rather that her ‘reforms’ are inspired by Barack Obama.
Gelmini’s ‘reforms’, which are primarily cuts in funding for schools and universities, were ushered in not by parliamentary debate but by decree. A move usually reserved for ’emergencies’ like the Napoli rubbish crisis – -“Good God Man! Batten down the hatches, send in the national guard, we’re paying too much for our education system!”
Briefly scanning Obama’s education policy we see that he intends to recruit and retain teachers nationally. Gelmini’s decree provides for up to 87,000 teachers leaving the system over the next three years.
Gelmini is just one of the figures scrambling to associate themselves with the widely-percieved dynamism of Obama – on both the left and the right.
Earlier in the year we had the pathetic attempts by Walter Veltroni to galvanise his election campaign by co-opting ‘yes we can’ slogan, which translated by political wags became a ‘yes, we can?’.
Minister for Culture Sandro Bondi, a man with a profound and poetic insight (or delusional?) sees parallels between Berlsuconi and Obama – “they’ve points in common, above all else in their way of communicating”. Searching through Obama’s biographical details I’ve yet to discover the television channels and newspapers that he should own were the comparison to be realistic.