Salvini's Migrant Heist
Italian Senator and former Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has been accused of ‘kidnapping’ migrants during his time in office.
Out of office, the far-right leader lost his immunity after a Senate vote and now faces trial over his alleged maltreatment of migrants in 2019. In July, the interior minister used his powers to prevent 131 migrants from disembarking while he looked for other European countries to take them in.
A lot has changed in one year. Who could have foreseen that in 2020 it would-be plague-ridden cruise liners refused entry to Europe instead of boatsful of African migrants?
Catania Magistrates will now consider whether to bring criminal charges and if found guilty Salvini could face up to 15 years in prison and a ban from politics altogether… how to fuel populism 101.
Naturally, Salvini has jumped at the opportunity to play the persecuted defender of his country’s sovereignty stating ‘in a democracy judgement is given by the people’ – a reasoning that would have made most SS officers blush.
Mind you, the League are currently in opposition and if they hope to enter government again, so they could do with some controversy.
Yet even worse than all the kidnapping is the latest accusation that he had made plans to visit the bleak English city of Liverpool.
And who is a better source of controversy in Italian politics than the Mayor of Liverpool?
The local government politician this week said in response to rumours that Salvini might visit that ‘the only audience he’ll find here is one that won’t be shy of telling him what they think of fascists like him’.
Salvini responded by inviting the Mayor to Milan to ‘eat osso buco or palenta’. Though the leading populist can hardly expect him to leave the comfort of Liverpool, a city which he labelled ‘beautiful’ in his retort, for a holiday in northern Italy… a deeply unequal trade-off.