Should I stay or should I go?

eu_youthI have no good stories to tell you about the EU. The high ideals on which the Union was founded are currently burning in a banlieue outside Paris or drowning on the shores of Sicily. Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum have failed, at home and abroad, to inspire younger generations to believe in the European project and to reshape its revolutionary message for the new century. I’m not asking you to gallivant to the polls tomorrow, or to blindly accept an inevitable status quo. I’m just asking you not to give up hope, to stick together to answer crucial questions about our future and to plan, elbow-to-elbow, a more human project – not merely focused on economics only – to fully exploit the innumerable talents and the relentless passion of the EU’s dysfunctional dwellers.

Happy referendum!

British politics is just not sexy

I remember quite vividly Ashley’s Story, the 60 second video that brought George W. Bush in the White House for his second term in 2004. He doesn’t say anything but the video is memorable, motivating and feel-good. And I remember Barack Obama’s epic narrative, the identity, the timing, the metaphors and his new model of campaigning that made him the first ever African-American President of the United States.

Two different models of campaigning – the first one kept the old-age drama of threat, vengeance and salvation; the second one was the story of reconciliation that could unite a divided America – but one single way to deliver: create a story, don’t simply tick off a dry list.

Britons will be asked to cast their ballots in a month or so from now. I know, American and British politics are a million miles apart and it would be inappropriate to compare how the two countries deal with the res publica.

Although, a thing that strikes me the most when watching electoral debates from my privileged position as both a journalist and a foreigner, is the lack of narrative, of storytelling that permeates British politics.

In this electoral contest especially.

It is evident that these elections will be of paramount importance for the United Kingdom as we know them today and a lot will change after May 7th depending on who will result victorious. First and foremost because this won’t be just one election but a series (150 to be precise) of by-elections with very local issues. And because there are plenty of ‘existential questions’ for the UK that no politicians has yet addressed to make the electorate fully comprehend the massive importance of this electoral turnout.

The European membership and the role the UK will play with Brussels, Scotland, inequality and rising costs of living standards. These are just four of the issues at stake but both of the strongest candidates, Ed Miliband and David Cameron, are addressing these topics narrow-minded and with no narrative.

And with no story to tell and a clear crisis of authority, it will be impossible for the two candidates to convince the marginal voters and play tactics.

Of course, I don’t want British politics to turn into the schizophrenic American way of campaigning, nor into the dysfunctional Southern-European model of promising-and-never-delivering. But candidates – and their spin-doctors – should start adapting to the era we live in and stop managing their parties and dealing with the elections as if still was the 20th century.

In other words, sex it up – because we’re falling asleep around here.

The other side of prostitution

4742446607_0a6bdee315_oThe very first time I had to deal with a ‘belle de jour’ was several years ago when the Bunga-Bunga scandal broke out and we were trying to find girls that offered their services to former PM Silvio Berlusconi.

Though job, but somebody had to do it.

During the past year I came across, quite randomly, several ‘pretty women’ that lived in my neighbourhood, I discovered that there was a brothel right down the street where I lived and met people who shared a flat with gigolos – and were warmly invited to clear the flat on weekends due to planned orgies.

The underworld of prostitution is complex – many women are subjugated and forcibly dragged into selling their bodies for money; minors are thrown on the streets every day and human traffic still represents a stigma for first world countries.

For this piece I adopted another approach. I wanted to hear stories from suburbia prostitutes that independently decided to go into this peculiar business: immigrants that try to cope with London’s high living standards, webcam girls in search for easy money, full-time accountants and part-time cross dressers and male prostitutes who take their job very seriously.

No judgment, of course, just a glimpse in a line of business we think we know but we actually don’t.