I wish I had the opportunity to meet Matteo Renzi, I’ve read so many nice articles about him in the Observer, I think it’s safe to say the Guardian is IN LOVE with him. When he bulldozed his way to leader of the governing PD party they described him as relaxed and tieless in his acquasparta trainers. The youngest president of Italy ever was about to turn the country around.
I’m sure that he’s a much better choice than Burlusconi but he somehow just constantly grates on my nerves. He talks the talk and boasts about how Italy is improving and unemployment is going down but it just doesn’t seem like that from where I’m stood (in Sardinia).
When I moved to Sardinia in 2009 with my Sardinian husband, I felt like I’d moved backwards in time. Apart from everything being more complicated in a foreign language, most things are just unnecessarily complicated and long winded, still, I was optomistic things would improve and when our children grew up there would be opportunities for them.
It’s now 2016 and these are the changes that I’ve seen: Carrefour and Decathalon opened, a new 4 lane road between Olbia and Sassari is nearly finished, part of the Sassari – Cagliari road is being rebuilt, Some of the hospital buildings have been refurbished in Sassari (unfortunately not the one I gave birth in).
Outside of the main towns there’s not a lot to shout about. Before moving to Sardinia I travelled around India and can see more similarities between these two places than other European countries. It doesn’t seem like a developed country. It’s chaotic, unorganised and ill planned. Developments are left half finished all over the cities, buildings abandoned that should be demolished. A shambles everywhere. To reach my house you have to take a very bumpy and rocky unmade road for more than 1 mile. It’s not a private road, the council needs to surface it but they say every year they have no money because councils have been capped (thanks to limits set by Germany the Mayor said). Every summer we contend with water being turned off by Abanoa (the regional water company who like to hold the residents at ransom – obviously not those on the Costa Smeralda). Watchdogs don’t exist. Most roads need resurfacing, the suspension on my car is completely knackered but there’s no point fixing it. Affordable broadband for people in the countryside doesn’t exist either but it easily could via radio or satellite.
But really, these issues bare little importance to the fact that there are no jobs. So much of the economy in Sardinia relies on tourism yet the season lasts between 4 and 5 months in most places, Unusual for a place which boast a great climate for much more of the year. And what about the other 8 months of the year? Many head abroad or to the mountains for a winter season. This is fine if you’re happy to move around but for for many families it means children not seeing 1 or both parents throughout the summer and potentially the winter too. Makes living in Sardinia full time pretty tough. Average national wages are amongst the lowest in Sardinia and the unemployment rate sits at double the rate of that in Italy.
Renzi has recently pledged 2.6 billion euros, but really, it doesn’t seem like he’s adressing any the real issues in Sardinia, building a few 4 lane roads probably makes his trips here easier but it does little to effect the day to day lives of normal Sardinians.