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December 12, 2016

The long, slow fuse on Italy’s time-bomb has been lit. The crushing defeat of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s constitutional reform proposals in the national referendum on 4th December has left the whole country—indeed the whole of Europe—wondering whether...  read more >>>

 
 
 

November 30, 2016

Everyone wants to list Italy’s constitutional referendum on December 4th as the next stage in the Great Global Populist Revolution. But here’s a funny thing: among the campaigners for “no” are not only the insurgent...  read more >>>

 


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Welcome

I am an independent writer and consultant on international affairs, write columns for La Stampa in Italy, Nikkei Business in Japan and Project Syndicate worldwide, and was narrator and co-author, with the director Annalisa Piras, of a documentary film about Italy's 20-year decline, Girlfriend in a Coma, in 2013 and then executive producer of a documentary directed and written by Annalisa, "The Great European Disaster Movie", in 2015. In May 2016, the documentary won Germany's prestigious CIVIS Media prize. In April 2016, the Japanese government awarded me the "Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon". My new book, "The Fate of the West: The Decline and Revival of the World's Most Successful Political Idea", will be published by Profile Books and Public Affairs in April 2017, and by Nikkei Books in May 2017.
Annalisa Piras and I have set up The Wake Up Foundation, a charity dedicated to using film, text and data for public education about the decline of Western societies. Our first big initiative, Wake Up Europe!, was launched in October 2015, aiming to start a pan-national conversation about the future of Europe.
From 1993 until 2006 I was editor of The Economist, the world's leading weekly on international current affairs, a publication for which I had worked since 1980 in Brussels, Tokyo and London. More biographical information can be found here.

Girlfriend in a Coma is now available on DVD from Amazon in the UK here
and in the USA here.

Or it can be found online: watch it here

Good Italy Bad Italy

My new book, "Good Italy, Bad Italy", is now out in paperback, in an edition updated to take account of the disastrously messy outcome of Italy's general election in February. It looks at why Italy is now at the centre of Europe's economic whirlwind, and at its prospects of emerging from it stronger. The truth is that Italy, which is the euro-zone's third-largest economy and has the world's third-largest government debts, has been in a political, economic and moral crisis for the past 20 years, as it never really succeeded in achieving agreement over reforms following its earlier collapse, in 1992. And the story of this book begins in 2001 when I was editor-in-chief of The Economist, and when our decision to declare on our cover that Silvio Berlusconi was "unfit to lead Italy" caused a huge political and media storm which formed the beginning of my professional engagement with that country but also of a great personal fascination and affection for it.
Read more >



The bittersweet life - FT Review

- Review by John Lloyd

A sympathetic but clear-eyed assessment of what ails and sustains Italy

Early in this lucid and thoughtful book, Bill Emmott cites Dante’s Divine Comedy, with its Hell and Paradise at opposite poles, as a way of understanding the split nature of Italian society: “a very Italian sort of a divide”, he calls it.
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A land of virtues and misdeeds - Evening Standard Review

- Review by Ian Thomson

In the 1980s, Italy surpassed Britain to become the fifth industrial power outside the Far East. Italians spoke proudly of il sorpasso — “the overtaking”. During those Thatcher years, however, Italian politics acquired a showbiz tawdriness.
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