Old Europe lost its empire after 1950, and the EU is, in effect, a futile attempt to force the regionalisation process without the benefit of powerful demographics being in place to drive this. And so both Italy and Britain fall into a phase where poor leadership is the norm, until frustration and collective suffering drive a new energy that changes the nature of government fundamentally. In Britain’s case Mrs Thatcher was an exception to this rule, creating a minor bubble of expansion that, once it had peaked, has taken less dynamic leaders some 20 years of incompetence to destroy.
Both countries are affected by a political system that creates leaders and parties who are really not that dissimilar in policies and whose values lack the qualities of true visionary leadership. The result for the electorate is an unappetising choice between one shade of grey and another with the result that deadlock between parties in elections is commonplace, and collation governments created are even less likely to arrest the headlong dive into economic contraction.