Saturday, November 24, 2012


Back in 1965, the then British Prime Minister Harold Wilson appointed one Barbara Castle as his Minister of Transport and caused a sensation, firstly for having appointed a woman but mainly because Mrs Castle could not drive. I remember the fuss and ever since I have been amazed at the alacrity with which governments everywhere put people with little or no knowledge of a given sector in charge of it.  Most people would not ask their lawyer to carry out dentistry so I've never understood why they are happy to allow decisions regarding their children's education to be made by men and women whose only experience of school has been as pupils. Yes, I would expect an education minister to have taught, and not in a Cameronesque private school or √©lite grove of academe!

However, on the rare occasions when experts like Mr Monti's not-so-merry band of "technocrats" are appointed as government ministers, they tend to disappoint. I am convinced, as I've said before on this blog, that this is because such "experts" are usually well-off individuals with little understanding of the day to day struggles of those they are called upon to govern.

Hats off, then, to Sicily's new Governor Rosario Crocetta who has appointed a young female student as Regional Councillor for Training:  29-year-old Nelli Scilabra is a law student at Palermo University, where she is a member of the Academic Senate.  She is also Palermo president of Rum, the Mediterranean University Network.  Ms Scilabra says that she knows what it is like to be young in these times and that she hopes to be able to help young people to stay in Sicily rather than leaving it, as so many feel they have to, in order to find work.

The appointment is one of the latest to the "committee of intellectuals" that Mr Crocetta feels the island deserves in its regional government.  ""At last", he says, "young people will be represented."

It might just work and I hope it does.  And what do Sicilians think of it?  Before I wrote this post I voted in an online poll on a Sicilian newspaper site.  Readers were asked to decide whether the appointments announced so far have pleased them not at all, a little, enough or a lot.  I voted "enough" and found that I am with the majority of voters. [You can't see the number of votes until after you have voted.]  Hope with a dose of Sicilian cynicism is the order of the day, then.


Lee said...

It's frightening when you really think about it or dwell on it...the people we vote for!

We've got a messy lot down this way at the moment. And next week is the final parliamentary session for 2012 - we're going to see more fireworks than on three Guy Fawkes' Nights put together!

It'll beat the new season of "Downton Abbey's" ratings! They're all a mob of actors, anyway!

And as you say, some with no or very little experience are handed certain portfolios, beats me!

amy lucinda said...

Interesting post- I enjoyed reading it! Hopefully this young women can make some good, and much needed changes :) Have a great weekend!

jams o donnell said...

Her's hoping she can make some difference

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It certainly is, Lee. I'll watch the news from over there next week! Happy weekend to you and cats. Thanks, Amy Lucinda. I hope she can make a difference, too. I'll drink to that, jams!

James Higham said...

a young female student as Regional Councillor for Training

She'll have to be careful she doesn't go the way of that Mexican Mayor. Dangerous for a woman.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, I think she'll be looked after, James.


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