How should the western powers react when part of a friendly nation holds an illegal referendum and votes to secede from the country in which hitherto it was located? Sanctions? Military reprisals? We’d better send the gunships to the watery redoubt of Venice, then, which has just voted overwhelmingly to leave Italy. The Venetians, part of Italy for 150 years, are sick of paying taxes to bail out the indolent and mafia-ridden south of the country and wish to go it alone. The rest of Lombardy may soon follow suit. Rome has refused to recognise the plebiscite, fearing that the entire country may cease to exist. No sense of history, these Venetians. For them, Garibaldi is just a biscuit.