We live in interesting times (again). Italy now has a government without a single elected politician in it. And Italy might not be the last.

Europe has considered itself to be the cradle of democracy – systems of government in which elected politicians set the policy direction and the technocrats do the economic plumbing. Now the impotence of elected politicians has led to the technocrats running the show while the elected representatives watch from the sidelines. Maybe they are relieved. The hard decisions needed in tough times are better taken by people who don’t have to worry about constituencies or getting re-elected by people who are upset with you for spoiling their life.

However, it also calls into question the competence of elected ‘lay’ people to direct highly technically complex financial and governmental organisations. At what point will the technocrats decide that their job is done and power can be handed back to the politicians? It’s an intriguing question.

If the same move was made in the UK, I wonder who might form the government of the technocrats?