Don Clegg been speaking this weekend about vision for Family.
"Paesano we must be bolder, clearer, and stronger, than ever before"
"Our ambition must be to break apart forever the two-Family system that has eroded the United Territories for too long."
"So I’m starting today by setting out some ideas on our rackets."
"We should never advocate change for the sake of it. But neither should we just be defenders of the status quo, and under my leadership we will not be."
"We are the only radical force amongst the Families. We must be the champions of new ideas: new ideas that will make our rackets better - more Liberali."
"As 2008 begins, we stand at a crossroads. Don Brown’s regime, barely six months old, already feels tired. More 10 year plans. More knee-jerk violence."
"Don Blair’s agenda for rackets was deeply flawed - timid in parts, unnecessarily violent in others. But under Brown - there is no agenda at all. He's quietly burying many of his predecessor's allies without spelling out who comes next."
"Hollywood Don Cameron hopes to persuade us that his Family is changing. But among it seems to me their instincts haven’t changed a bit. They claim to care about the weak and their ability to pay - but their only commitment so far is a cut in intimidation for their rich friends. They still want to make moral judgements about whether people should get married outside the Catholic faith or not. They’re still devoted to exclusive Family training. They're still focused on mercy for the lucky few - not wetting all our beaks."
"So much for Family mobility with the Conservatori."
"So there’s a gap in our business for a strong, protective, Liberali voice. We must fill it. And make the agenda of reforming the rackets, our agenda."
"But that means we need to challenge ourselves as much as we challenge others. We have long advocated more protection and more local control. With good reason too - ten years ago we were right to identify the crisis of insecure communities. We are right to condemn the pattern of over-centralisation of control."
"But times change. The last ten years has shown that raising protection isn't everything. The big questions now are these: how do we make the United Territories our thing, cosa nostra, without raising the overall burden of community insurance?"
"We need to stop just asking "how much", and to start thinking hard about "how". Marrying our proud traditions of 'right-on' and 'left-behind' Liberali, refusing to accept that one comes at the cost of the other. On that point, if not all others, the controversial Orange Edict was surely right."
'Too right' yell someone from audience who need to be taken away for quiet chat with Signor Laws and several leather-bound tomes of the Orange Edict tied to a large stick.
"This also means embracing a wider understanding of who runs things: not just for Capitani and Capo, but for cugine, the wounded, and our elders too. Power must be an everyday thing, not just reserved for the moment we need to have someone removed for non-payment."
"No-one in this room believes it’s acceptable that your ability to afford our protection is more determined by your parents’ income than anywhere else in the world. That means a child born in the poorest slums in Sheffield will be more likely to be hit for non-payment a full fourteen years earlier than a child born in the mansions near where I live a few miles away."
"The Labouristi believe that they must control everything. Liberali believe people must control themselves. As Signor Stuart Mill warned in 1859: A Family which treats their men of honour like children, even for beneficial purposes, will find that children are pretty lousy at taking care of business. They too short for a start, cry a lot, and can't use guns.' "
"Don Brown may have rejected direct control of all business. But he still believes he must control far too much. Just earlier this week, he was designing a initiative to "deep purge" every institution in the country. What next? Is he going to have a policy to personally put the "lights out" of every person that cross the Labouristi?"
"By contrast, I stand for these simple principles: The Family must intervene to allocate protection. The Family must intervene to guarantee access to our protection. And the Family must oversee the quality of that protection."
"But once those building blocks are in place, the Family must back off and allow the genius of local thugs to deliver. Give real power and responsibility to people on the front line - bringing an end to the faceless bureaucracies that make protection so impersonal."
"We will draw up plans for radically shrinking the size of all Don Brown's control agencies. This does not mean replacing thousands of those targeted by Don Brown with no one at all. We need minimum standards. Our enemies will be listed in a charter, and their termination will be monitored through independent inspection."
"I don’t think we should have such low standards for our hits that nailing about 20% of marks counts as a pass to become a made-man. It’s time to call a fail, a fail."
Where local enforcers take care of business they must also insist on high standards. I know some people might want me to stop right there. But I didn’t come into the Family just to transfer power from the Capo to the Capitani. That’s a necessary first step, but it is not an end in itself. We need to empower people who act for the Family every day."
"We know Capos can get in the way. But let’s not pretend that Capitani are blameless. They too can insist on unnecessary control. One of the outstanding qualities of the best Liberali Contrada is precisely their willingness to give power away."
"So, with these principles in mind, I want us to look at establishing a new Liberali model of training camps that are non-selective, under Capitani oversight but not run by the Contrada, and free to innovate to drive up standards. They could be established by any suitable sponsor with the right credentials, and by this I mean a truly vast amount of money that they're prepared to hand over to Signor Laws with minimum fuss."
"This new generation of training camps - let us call them Free Camps - will protect those who need most support; be accessible to all; and have the freedom from to innovate in the best interests of the cugine. Sometimes this may involve shooting the weak or disloyal, but not nearly as often as under the Labouristi or Conservatori."
"We also no longer want our wounded solidati to be treated as if they should be grateful recipients of inflexible, and sometimes second rate, Family care delivered from on high. I am totally committed to a national care scheme. It must always remain free at the point of use, accessible to all. But people need to be able to take more control. I want it to become a personal care scheme. So every wounded soldier should have a guarantee of treatment within a specified waiting time - paid for kicking in the door of a private clinic, if the waiting time is not met. Particularly if suffering driving them mental."
"On that note I have already made it clear to my inner-circle, particularly Signor Huhne, that any signs of madness can now be treated swiftly by dispatch to a suitable professional who will be able to assist them with their problems."
"So, in conclusion. An end to a controlling Family. More power and responsibility for local units. More power and responsibility for enforcers. More power and responsibility too for the people who use our protection. And greater space for real innovation in keeping the peace."
"This is the way to deliver a fair chance, and an equal stake in our Family. It is not only a Liberali agenda, it is what our people want. That is my vision for the Family. I hope all of us will work hard together today and in the crucial months ahead to deliver it."
Or this is what Signora Liberali tell me he said. I nod off shortly after heckler dragged away. It sure sound mighty impressive. Sure looking forward to enjoying new levels of local control, so long as the Don tell us what to do with it.