Giuseppe Conte’s government decided to take back a 33 percent public share in the company that manages Italy’s highways, twenty years after it was privatized. This was perhaps a rather tepid move, given the appalling — in recent years, deadly — neglect of the highways under private management. Yet comparisons with Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro abounded in national media, presenting Conte’s move as extreme and illegitimate.
It’s hardly surprising to hear that Farage is interested in helping out. Along with the Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands and – risibly – Ireland, Italy is a country he’s mentioned repeatedly as being prime for the ‘next Brexit’. Until recently, the polls were firmly against him, with the Italian research institute Censis reporting late last year that only 25% believed leaving the EU was a good idea against 62% who thought it a bad idea. But the union’s muddled response has been another silver lining from coronavirus for Farage; in April a Tecnè poll put the numbers at an uncomfortable 51%-49% in favour of Remain.