In Italian political debates about waht political form for the Nation, there exists a sort of mantra, well known as federalism, a term good for every times, since at least 1992.
If everybody use it, it isn't clear what means or what they mean by it: for anybody it means that Italy must become a federal republic, even if it remains unclear waht type of federal state, if with local states or regions; for anybody it means just to increase local powers than central powers, even if it remains unclear what balance must be between local or central too; there are some politics who use it without attaching to it a clear meaning ...
Tomorrow voting but in Italy hovers a ghost named federalism, and nobody knows what is it.
For me, this is a unpleasant consequence of scandal politics' tragic sequence in 1992, a historical conjuncture named Tangentopoli, or corruption in public affairs, when it seemed to all that there was only one way out: to change form to the State, even by carriyng out constitutional reforms of actual State.
Since, we run behind the term federalism without having clear ideas about it nor knowing its real social costs .
Meanwhile, however, some old back in the field and italians are ready to vote them again!
It's true: the history teaches nothing.
Perhaps, the term federalism, for our history, means nothing, but in political competition it is important because it moves votes.
(immagine tratta da: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dbOiYlXNVQE/TT3W84QvFnI/AAAAAAAAEqo/2S2piYD5Ai0/s1600/federalismo68740_img.gif)
Personally, I'm tired listening and reading the term 'federalism' while I think there are many other problems to be addressed, challenges to overcome, than to brandish the threat of separation of parts of the national territory ...