Credit: Alon (Flickr); Licence: CC BY- 2.0

Meet Priscilla. We have hired her to answer your dilemmas with sensitivity and charm. To contact Priscilla with your problems, email who will pass messages on. The letters reprinted here are presented as they were received.

An Italian crisis of faith

Gentilissima Signora Priscilla,

I cannot believe the turmoil my country is facing. How can an entire generation feel so disenfranchised by our system that they consider turning to the likes of il Movimento 5 Stelle? Mamma mia che peccato!

This movement is precisely that: a movement. They elect their members through the web and do not have a proper electoral process. For this reason, they cannot be considered a serious political party.

How, Priscilla, can we get people back onto the right political path and restore some faith in our excellent politicians? Where is the positive message in Italian politics?

My gesticulating desperation is reaching fever-pitch! I’m one limoncello away from doing something awful!! As we say in Italy: “è la goccia che ha fatto trabaccare il vaso.”

Send advice and send it soon!

Cordiali saluti,

Maria Malinconica

Priscilla replies:

Maria, my heart goes out to you. It mustn’t be easy to come to terms with your country’s evident dissatisfaction with the political establishment. Yet, the people have spoken and Renzi has been shown the proverbial red card.

The future for Italy’s politics? We must remain optimistic. The election of Signora Raggi as Mayor of Rome will, at least, put 5 Stelle under scrutiny. That way, we’ll see if they are a genuine force to be reckoned with, or about as synthetic as Berlusconi’s hair transplants and cosmetically “enhanced” face. (On the bright side, surely anyone is better than him!)

P x

German hipster hopes for an alternative to the alternative

Sehr geehrte Frau. Priscilla,

The other day, I was brunching with my hipster friends, in a coffee bar in Kreuzberg, we were all nonchalantly sipping on our organic sojamilch lattes and chatting about the terrible direction that German politics appears to be taking. Luckily, that night we all donned our beanies and army parkas, headed to Berghain and danced it out to some techno for 12 hours. Suddenly everything was so much better.

However, the following day – on returning from our local BioMarkt to buy a 5€ locally-sourced GMO-free onion – my friends and I were astounded by what we saw on the news. After the horrific terrorist attack on our capital, Alternative für Deutschland will no doubt gain some real traction in the polls! I am deeply concerned that this awful, racist, hatred-spouting party will actually get more and more votes! I could not bear for this to happen!

God help us! Please send advice!!

Herr. Brunch

Credit: James Dennes (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-2.0

Priscilla replies

I think you make some pretty salient points, here. It is true that these terrorist acts will only serve to fuel the far-right rhetoric of the AFD. However, be wary not to conceptualise the entire situation through the (somewhat narrow) lens of the liberal bubble that is Berlin. In order to try an understand exactly why people are turning to the far-right, perhaps you should try and expand your horizons beyond the open-minded parameters of the capital.

Merkel will now, no doubt, come under fire. Her ‘open door’ policy on migrants may well be her undoing?. This would obviously be upsetting for you and your friends. Perhaps you will only find solace in the backbeat of the snare drum with the clip, clip clap of the hi-hat. My advice? Dance it out. Berghain beckons!

Vive la republique?

Madama Priscilla,

I want to know what we are going to do about the terrible mess our proud nation is in. Sarkozy’s conservatives left us in disarray; Hollande’s terrible socialists have deepened the crisis further still!

Both of the mainstream parties are stagnating France’s politics in a realm of the political

Credit: Rémi Noyon (Flickr); Licence: CC BY- 2.0

establishment. The attitudes of many European politicians is a provocation of our constitutional freedoms! We already have some 9 million impoverished citizens, and they want to bring in more immigrants!? To them, I say: NON!!

Where will these immigrants live? What sort of jobs do they expect to find when they arrive? Our economic patriotism is at risk. We are at breaking point. We will no longer succumb to terrorism and we reject the weak socialists!

To those naysayers who ask: “Where is your sense of common humanity?’”I reply: “Where is YOUR sense of common humanity for the FRENCH people?!” The people of the UK have spoken. It is time we did the same. Let’s take back control! After all, we – the people – ARE the only sovereign power.

Au nom du peuple! An est chez nous! Vive la repulique!


Anne Onime

Priscilla replies

I must say, I am deeply concerned that you feel this way, Madame. It is sad to see that you have lost faith in your political system and I am sure you are not alone. Nevertheless, as much I would like to say that your (ostensible) political idol, Madame Le Pen, has all of the answers, I am afraid that she does not. Her political motives are as fishy as a salad Niçoise; in fact, her entire agenda boarders on an act of Poisson d’Avril.

“I am deeply concerned that you feel this way, Madame. It is sad to see that you have lost faith in your political system and I am sure you are not alone.”

My role is to advise and give counsel. However, there are times when I must also employ the voice of reason. Please consider the nature of Le Pen’s discourse. As European allies, the last thing we need is to tear ourselves apart.

P x

British drunk drowning sorrows

Dear Ms. Priscilla,

I was promised my country back. Where on earth is it? When will we get back control? To be frank, I’ve had just about enough of this post-truth rhetoric. It’s about time the pint-waving populists put their money where their mouth is. Not to mention those god-awful RemOANERS trying to delay the Brexit we – the people – demanded!

We must leave, now, in order to deliver the tough stance – against pesky, resource-draining migrants – that me and my mates down the pub voted for, back in June.

I am sick of all this waiting and process. “Brexit means Brexit” (or so we are told) I want to see some action. NOW!!

Yours sincerely,

Dave Drinkalot.

P.S. And while we’re at it, let’s make Mr. Farage our official US ambassador. That man has conviction by the bucket-load! Nothing screams diplomacy like saying it how it is.

Priscilla replies

Credit: Dun.can (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-2.0

Well, Dave – in good reason and research – there is certainly a point well-made, here.

Especially considering your varied and authoritative sample of the electorate, I am sure that these concerns are shared by many members of the British populace. Although, to denounce the platitude of “Brexit means Brexit”, would be – in my mind – to slightly miss the point.

One does not simply leave the EU. It is not a casual Tinder relationship, lacking emotional or meaningful ties. It is not your crappy, office Christmas party where, to avoid insufferable tedium and small-talk, you cheekily slip away. Unfortunately, for you and your lager-loving brigade, we cannot launch ourselves off the precipice into economic instability.

Patience, Dave, is a virtue. Perhaps a little on your behalf would not go amiss.

As for Farage, I’d sooner put a donkey in charge before I let that buffoon anywhere near the British embassy.

  • retro

    From Birmingham to Buenos Aries, Milan to Valencia, Sam Stevenson's penchant for travel and world culture has defined his recent years. As a modern foreign languages graduate, he is always keen to visit and embrace new destinations. Along with writing, Sam has a strong passion for photography. He currently works as a freelance journalist and writer, contributing to various print and online publications. Find him tweeting @bySamStevenson and on Instagram @bySamStevenson

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