[G]overnment officials said they would go ahead with legislation allowing unarmed citizen patrols to help beef up security in Italian cities and towns. The plan is part of a crackdown by the conservative administration on illegal immigration, which Italians increasingly link to crime.
And we all know what the defence of this lunacy will be, and indeed has been: citizens must qualify according to clear standards; there will be strict guidelines and protocols; this isn't a call to arms for nationalists and racists. Oh. Hang on.
A new vigilante group has been banned from walking the streets because of the similarity between its uniforms and those worn by Mussolini's Fascists in the 1930s.
The Italian National Guard was launched at a news conference over the weekend, sparking outcry from the centre-left opposition, Jewish groups, police unions and others that it evoked Italy's fascist-era paramilitary Black Shirts.
Benito Mussolini's Black Shirts violently attacked communists, socialists and other progressive groups, breaking up strikes and attacking trade union headquarters. Their 1922 march on Rome brought the fascist dictator to power.
The guard was introduced by the right-wing fringe Italian Social Movement at a Milan party conference during which at least two speakers gave the straight-armed Fascist salute.
Leaders of the Italian Social Movement said the guard's creation was made possible by the bill [yes, that bill], which must still to be approved by the Senate, leading the center-left opposition to say the case highlighted the danger posed by the plan.
See? It's a perfectly reasonable bill. Nothing at all happening here.