Tag Archives: italian politics

Keep Your Eyes Open Italians

Former editor of The Economist Bill Emmott - http://www.billemmott.com

There are nights when, after  a long and tiring day spent studying on my desk, I close the eyes and start thinking of the future of my country. I think of an era with no Bunga Bunga, no corruption, no conflict of interests, no Berlusconi.  I think of an Italy led by a strong and honest political coalition. But the dream doesn’t last long. As I realize I can’t visualize that country, I get my feet back on the ground and restart my readings. However, it seems somebody else can see that country. That’s Bill Emmott, former editor of The Economist, who has recently published a book about post-Berlusconi Italy:  Forza, Italia: Come Ripartire dopo Berlusconi ( Come on Italy, how to restart after Berlusconi). Continue reading


Berlusconi Back on Trial

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi - Wikimedia Commons

Silvio Berlusconi is back on trial as yesterday afternoon Milan’s court announced restart of a fraud trial that had been suspended last April.

Mr Berlusconi is accused of fraud  in a trial concerning illegal purchase of TV rights by his family’s  company Mediaset. The first session is scheduled for 28 February.

According to prosecutors, Berlusconi’s company has illegally purchased TV rights from the USA. Financial transactions were carried out through several off-shore companies controlled by Mr Berlusconi. Continue reading

The Missing Facts

After success of The Missing Past and The Missing Judicial Immunity, a classic was back to Italian screens last Monday night. The Missing Facts, the thrilling adventure of an evil genius and his attempts to turn reality into a media show,  would be an hilarious story if it wasn’t  about  last Silvio Berlusconi’s TV stunt.

Last Monday Mr Berlusconi phoned TV programme L’Infedele after host Gad Lerner covered PM’s sex scandal. Berlusconi  violently attacked Lerner (he said the programme had been “disgusting” and conducted in a “repellent and abhorrent way”)  and after a two-minute monologue he ended up calling the programme an “unbelievable TV brothel”. Continue reading

Italian Republic for Sale

Last 14-december confidence vote was an exceptional breakthrough for Berlusconi’s private life but only a new reason for shame for Italy. A private victory for Il Cavaliere, a new episode Italians should feel outraged by.

The disgusting compravendita of MPs Berlusconi carried out over the last month will not ensure him to rule in the future, but only to rely more and more on new purchases of easily corruptible politicians. A new episode of Bunga Blackmail: the Italian PM will have to face the demands of a new bunch of part-time politicians (or blackmailers).

Berlusconi’s victory was a Pyrrhic one, as he fought a battle only for the sake of winning. It seems that he saw the vote as a personal duel with his ex-ally Gianfranco Fini, who had presented the no-confidence-vote proposal a month before, after splitting from Berlusconi’s party.

But the main reason why Berlusconi has struggled so much to remain Prime Minister (eventually relying on a 3-vote victory) is that resignation would mean the end of his juridical immunity. “Berlusconi wants to stay in power only to avoid the courts.” Fini said.

Therefore Berlusconi faced the vote without looking beyond the vote itself. Indeed, he managed to take over opposition forces only by means of creating new ones.  Berlusconi’s victory eventually clarified the role of Fini’s FLI and of UDC as opposition parties.

What is then the political meaning of the confidence vote and its consequences on the civil society?

Berlusconi’s victory represents at the same time the apex and the decadent end of Berlusconism. Today we’re experiencing the apex of a corrupt phenomenon that has been haunting Italy for 16 years.  Berlusconi’s compravendita is the symbol of a ruling class with no ideals but many personal interests.

On the other hand the vote ended up showing the decadence of this system. Berlusconi has now to face a critical scenario, having no more chances to create alliances with other parties. A third coalition (FLI, UDC and API) is indeed likely to be founded. Only singular purchases of MPs will allow Berlusconi to survive in the future. The specter of new elections is getting closer.

The meaning of the confidence vote for the civil society assumes an appalling acceptation. It’s indeed the symbol of a divided Italy. On one side, within the Parliament, a corrupt ruling class has forgotten the existence of a people outside Italian places of power. Outside, Italians feel they’ve been forgotten by politicians who are too distant from real life.

And a whole generation has unleashed its anger across the streets of Rome. Violence and resentment have seized the hearts of some of them.  But how can politicians claim the right to condemn these people, when they denied them the right to create their own future lives?

We need to get rid of this Italy. We, the youngsters, must rebel and build up a better country. Italian Republic for sale.

Berlusconi’s joke – A laughter that will bury you all

A video of Berlusconi telling a blasphemous joke was published on La Repubblica website  a couple of weeks ago. The video was recorded in L’ Aquila last July, just before the G8 meeting kicked off.

Even though the fact is not that recent and it received a lot of coverage by press, I’ve decided to handle it since it will work as a sort of preface to my blog.

I believe that behind the joke and its irritating swear, something more relevant than a vulgar and disrespectful attitude can be found. A whole country, a whole civil society and its customs are indeed depicted by a laughter. Then, being my aim here to acquaint you with Italy and the Italians, a review of the concealed meanings of Berlusconi’s joke and reactions to it is due.

Firstly, as you probably know, this joke is only the apex of a long series. A series of jokes conveying the constant development of power in Italy. Every joke is the ring of a long chain, getting stronger and stronger as we come across to a new ring. This 16-year-old chain is now the image of a power without shame, a power of a ruler with no ruled,  a power that has pervaded several levels of Italian society, eventually managing to reach and shape the language of Dante and Petrarca.

An example is given by Berlusconi’s dream: the so-called “processo breve” (short trial), a law that would take down thousands of trials (the three trials concerning Berlusconi that could restart next January are among them).   A part of the Italians find the approval of this law auspicable, having no idea what Berlusconi’s short trial is really about. That’s because they’ve been taught by Berlusconi’s media that short (namely, legally abolished) and efficient trial mean the same.

Then, you may be thinking: how about the rest of the population? Why don’t they stand up against Berlsuconi’s regime? The reactions to the Prime Minister’s joke within the civil society will offer you a colorful picture of the Italians.

Those who laughed

  • Berlusconi’s fans:  they found the nearly well known “Orco Dio” brilliant. They tend to show little analytical skills. They lack objectivity too as they live in a fairy world Berlusconi’s media shaped for them. The Prime minister is a hero to imitate: he’s got power, money, beautiful women and a football team (I didn’t mention newspapers since Berlsuconi’s supporters are not used to reading and that sort of stuff).
  • Berlusconi’s fierce opponents:   their laughter conveyed a posh sense of superiority. They believe Berlusconi’s agenda can’t be subject to a serious review. 

Those who protested

They considered  the joke outrageous. The main actor of protest was the Church, by the means of its newspaper, L’ Avvenire. However, protesting bishops and priests lack good memory: it looks like they don’t remember how Berlusconi bought their votes in 2005, approving a tax exemption for the Church leading to the waste of 500-700 million euros that would have normally flown down state coffers.

Those who sighed

They make up a great part of the population. They lost their faith in politics and politicians. They don’t trust neither Berlusconi’s party nor the Left. Some of them believe we are represented by the politicians we deserve and this can’t be changed. Their main activity is to sigh deeply while listening to politicians’ speeches on the tv.

Those who didn’t laugh

They didn’t feel offended by Berlusconi’s joke but they got the implications we have seen above. They consider berlusconism an extremely serious issue, a concrete threat to Italian democracy. In 2008 some of them voted for the Left Party, others for L’Italia dei Valori, a small coalition led by Antonio Di Pietro (probably the fiercest opponent to Berlusconi in the Parliament), while  others believe the country should get rid of politicians and embrace the project of Beppe Grillo, a comedian who has founded an organization which clashes the system of parties.

As you can see, in Italy a banal laughter hides numerous implications, turning into a very big issue. Sometimes even a laughter can be dangerous. However, you don’t have to confuse my review with moralism. That’s not the point. Laughing at Berlusconi’s jokes is not simply immoral. Laughing at Berlusconi  means to accept the overwhelming  glance of the Big Brother over you.

When will those Italians who are still asleep realize  that what Berlusconi has been creating over the last years is a new country, shaped on his mere interests?

Then, Italians, if you don’t want a laughter to bury you all, please, stay serious.

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