Understanding what’s going on in Italian politics nowadays isn’t as simple as whistling dixies. Berlusconi’s no saint, that’s for sure. Like every other man, I guess. Berlusconi likes women a lot. He likes all sorts of women: young, middle aged, older. He likes chests, thighs, mouths all these sort of things. Like every other straight man, I guess. Obviously, given his role of Prime Minister, he should refrain as much as possible from showing his sexual appetites to the broader public, so that everyone will reach a state of suspension of disbelief and think that their Presidente is above human desires. Like in every other “normal” country.
However, regardless of all this ambiguity, even a kid should understand that – just before the demise of his political empire – there is a struggle for power going on right now in our country. Berlusconi’s enemies are using all the weapons at their disposal to make sure his legacy will be finished as soon as possible. According to the majority of the media outlets, he would be an old megalomaniac pervert mafioso that is now also a little bit sclerotic. If that’s true, then the Italians are to be held responsible for the election of such a villain to the post of Prime Minister.
The reality of course tells another story: the “Italian Left” (which could be a good name for a serious and much needed leftist party) is trying to pull him out of office. During the last years Berlusconi has been accused of having sex with a couple of underage girls with exotic names (and possibly their mothers too). He has been accused of impartiality, amorality, naiveté, totalitarianism. The recent justice reform introduced by his government has been defined as an “anti-democratic reform that destroys the rule of law” by former judge (and wannabe political leader) Antonio Di Pietro. Franco Cordero on La Republica even insinuated that, at the end of the day, Berlusconi is not so different from Gaddafi. Others have accused him of hypnotizing the Italians with his three television channels (a recurrent mantra of the left).
He has been hit in the face with a statue of the Duomo by a troubled man in his forties. Even queen Elizabeth has chastised him when he called president Obama during the photo session at the G20 summit back in 2009. There must be something wrong with Berlusconi. Or, perhaps, there must be something wrong with la bella Italia altogether? Coming from England or France and entering into Italy, is just like passing from the lounge of your apartment, where Debussy is playing nicely on your Bang & Olufsen, to the kids’ room where everything isn’t where it should be and 50 Cent is rapping from a cheap stereo. Everything here gets over complicated and cacophonic. Firms can’t invest, workers can’t offer their services, garbage doesn’t get disposed, students don’t study, teachers don’t teach, roads don’t lead anywhere, houses aren’t available for living, people don’t get marry, children don’t grow up. Can Berlusconi be the cause of all these troubles? He should get some sort of award for that. Or maybe Berlusconi is just the symptom of all this. If I was one of his political opponents though, I would bet on the first option: it is much more convenient to say that Berlusconi is the source of all Italian problems than explaining why Italy has so many problems. Besides, in this way, I wouldn’t even have to worry about solving the problems of the Italians, since it would just be Berlusconi’s fault.
The Mezzogiorno isn’t developing regardless of the enormous amount of money that the EU put into it during the last twenty years. Berlusconi wasn’t living in Naples so, perhaps the media won’t accuse him for this two-hundred-year-old problem. Yet, he was accused by Antonino Giuffre of having developed a relationship with some high ranked member of Cosa Nostra, like Stefano Bontade. So, in a way, he was also involved in the underdevelopment of Southern Italy.
Giuliano Ferrara (director of Il Foglio) thinks that Italy is a country of hypocrites: everyone is evading taxes, yet only Berlusconi is a tax dodger. So, once he’ll be finished, there will be no more tax dodgers around and Italians will be free to evade taxes as they please. According, instead, to my cousin Giancarlo Loquenzi (director of L’Occidentale), Berlusconi has come at a crossroad, he should decide whether to fight the communist Milanese judges or continue governing: he can’t juggle two things at once at this point.
Whatever your political ideas, it is clear that Italians can’t afford another era of hypocrisy. They must invest in their own future and become adults once and for all. Those who are impatiently waiting for the end of Berlusconi to come will be utterly disappointed when they’ll find out that this event won’t transform their country into the paradise on earth it has never been. Those who support Il Cavaliere will instead discover that, unless they act swiftly and quickly, Italy will sink together with them and become a “less developed country”.
Understanding Italian politics right at this moment, might not be the easiest thing to do and Berlusconi certainly isn’t a saint: nevertheless it is clear that there’s a huge power struggle going on right now in Italy in which no one can really cast the first stone.
Andrea Loquenzi Holzer