Davide Trotta is a friend whose number I once blocked after he shared particularly strong anti-EU, pro-Trump views. A while later, I braved asking him to explain and listened.
I’m from Turin, Italy, nice little town, around one million people. White, middle class family; my parents spoilt me. I’d lived in Turin most of my life before moving to London seven years ago.
The EU exposes
Since joining the European Union, Italy has been part of a system that exposes its weaknesses and that doesn’t help fix them. Italy is not a place where foreign business invests, so it can only be attractive to people of low skills; with them comes dodgy stuff.
People are paid in cash, no security, no paper trail; someone takes advantage and the system allows it.
There is a lot of petty crime, which is the kind of crime that people see and that makes them angry. The Italians like to blame the foreigners because they see more crime at the same time as they see more foreigners, but let’s not forget, it’s the Italians who created the mafia.
In terms of politics, Turin has always been on the communist left, but, in Italy, communism means that with your mind you’re a leftist, but with your wallet you are on the right.
People like to talk about equality and opportunity, but when it comes to it, they don’t open they mind.
I didn’t fit in. At thirty, I had to move. Everyone around me was getting married, having kids. I wasn’t designed for it. I started losing friends. I started feeling like a black sheep. It was subtle, but I knew.
I was very lucky to meet good people when I first moved to London. It helped me get settled.
But I quickly learnt that the quality of life in London – the quality of relationships – is very different to Italy. Everyone is alone in London. People just brush against each other and we never get to know each other.
Essence of friendship
For a friendship, we need to spend time together, share things.
Spending time together is most important. I don’t like the kind of friendships where people see each other once every six months. Friendship is about growing together. It’s like being a couple, without bunga-bunga.
People often say that London is a good example of a place where different cultures live together.
It is an example
London's an example of where people aren’t violent; we don’t kill each other here just because we’re from different cultures.
But there's no love. There's no appreciation.
I suppose this is, in a way, why I moved here. No one gives a shit about who I am; I can be whoever I want. Coming form a country that has a strong monoculture, here, I feel more relaxed.
London also offers more professional challenges. I worked my bum off to get to the top. I did that in London. In Italy, with the same effort, I’d be nowhere.
Proximity of the unknown
With people of different backgrounds, you just don’t know what to expect. You keep your guard up. You don’t want to offend. You don’t know what’s what. You just don’t feel at home.
People who share cultures, they just understand the rules. It’s not about language. You look at each other, and there is something in your history that allows you to connect.
You’ve been through the same things; you listened to the same songs; your mums told you off in the same way for being naughty. That’s important to feeling at home.
It might look like contradiction. I left Italy because everyone was the same and expected me to be the same; I don’t feel at home in London where we don’t share much and where no one cares.
Now, whenever I go to Italy, I don’t feel Italian. At the same time, I’m definitely not a Londoner.
A curious sense of homelessness
I miss being eloquent. I didn’t speak much English when I first arrived. It was very difficult.
I mean, I’m Italian, we talk a lot, Jesus, not to be able to say things, nightmare. It took me over a year to learn to get by.
I miss the Italian lifestyle. In London, quality of everything is very low. Food, transport, life, housing, clothes, always poor quality, no matter how much you pay.
In Italy, there's a sense of aesthetics that’s missing in London; here, there's no sense of beauty, no sense of elegance. People in London are very pragmatic; they don’t care about pleasure. There is no la dolce vita. It makes life very dry. But life is about compromise.
Globalisation's a failure
Around the world, everyone's voting for the right, with good reason. Globalisation's a complete failure. I read today in a liberal paper that the wealth of eight richest people is equivalent to fifty per cent of the wealth of all poor people.
We live in good times?
People like Donald Trump, they’re the antidote to globalisation. Berlusconi was the same, but nobody cares about Italy, so only when someone like that wins in the US there is a fuss.
Of course Donald Trump is in the 1%, but at least he is not part of the failed establishment.
When things aren’t working, people vote for people who can break the cycle. Of course Trump isn’t a representative of the common man. But he calls out the problems everyone talks about, but no one addresses head on.
Trump's a Trojan horse
He himself can’t do anything, but the people around him can; they’re clever people with experience; they know what they’re doing and they can make a change while Trump plays golf and bullshits on Twitter.
Berlusconi didn’t help Italy. Trump will not help the US.
But at least we’re all now interested in the frustrations of the common people. We’ve been jolted.
Davide Trotta is a dreamer with eyes wide open. He’s an IT guy on a mission to eradicate bureaucracy and faceless bureaucrats from the planet Earth by means of technology. He loves cats and is passionate about animal welfare.