On Sunday, Italy sadly voted to reject a set of sensible constitutional reforms designed to streamline their government and allow Italian politicians to push through important legislation more efficiently. The proposals behind the referendum aimed to reduce the power of the Senate, while empowering a group of highly accredited politicians in the Chamber of Deputies to run Italy with minimal interference.
The new political system proposed in the referendum would have allowed Italy to overcome political gridlock and move forward with a range of political goals, such as helping more Syrian refugees, tackling climate change and delegating more powers to the EU. But sadly, the “No” campaign used scare tactics, lies and smear attempts to convince the Italian people to vote against these reforms. Just like the Brexit vote, this vote was driven by a combination of racism, Islamaphobia and an irrational fear of government. Italians were led to believe that these reforms would allow their leaders to overrun their culture with violent ‘Islamic extremists’, when in fact the majority of Muslims are peaceful people simply seeking a better life abroad. Italians also feared that the reforms would give the government too much power, when in fact all they did was allow the politicians to enact legislation more efficiently.
At the root of this shock result is the same movement that is spreading hatred and intolerance throughout the Western world. The same movement that elected Trump and pushed through the Brexit. It’s time to end this hatred once and for all, and to start prosecuting extreme right-wing bigots for hate crimes before they influence important election results and cause untold destruction. These hateful right-wing movements are hindering legislative progress at a time when we need global integration more than ever, to tackle the range of pressing global challenges such as climate change, racism and global economic growth. It’s time for us to come together as a planet to end hate and rally behind a common cause. We can no longer deny the need for a new world order, based on love, peace and equality; as without it we risk succumbing to fascism and entering a new dark age of hate and intolerance.