In recent years, the West has launched military campaigns against dictatorships, or actively encouraged citizens living under such regimes to rise up and overthrow their oppressors.
Yet amazingly, these same Western leaders actively supported the removal of Silvio Berlusconi as Italian Prime Minister, to be replaced by an unelected ‘technocrat’ Mario Monti.
Whatever Berlusconi’s faults - and he had many - he also had a democratic mandate to govern. He may have turned Italy into a laughing stock and economic basket case, but the Italian people knew who and what they were voting for when they elected him.
The new Prime Minister, Signor Monti, has announced that his new cabinet will be comprised of fellow technocrats. Not a single member will have been elected by popular vote. This is an affront to democracy and, given Italy’s not too distant history of dictatorships, a dangerous precedent.
To the unelected and unaccountable EU bureaucracats who are desperately trying to prevent the Euro from collapsing, Monti’s appointment is like manna from heaven. They cannot bear the idea that the voters of Europe, who must now pay for the reckless folly of the Euro zone, should actually have a say as to how to resolve the crisis.
Berlusconi might not be missed on the international stage, but his replacement sends out a chilling message that democracy will no longer be tolerated in Europe. Will David Cameron commit British troops to help restore democracy in Italy, or will he simply roll over like a puppy and do as he is told?