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Underwhelmed by Berlusconi’s misdemeanor December 12, 2007

Posted by dorigo in news, personal, politics.

I read today on the italian newspaper “La Repubblica” about an ongoing investigation against Silvio Berlusconi (right), former italian premier and now leader of the coalition opposing the Prodi government.

It appears that the man has recently made several phone calls, offering economical advantages to Agostino Saccà,  president of Rai Fiction – a branch of the italian national TV network- in exchange for some favors. Berlusconi also is investigated for offering two million euros plus many other benefits to a few senators of the center-left coalition, in exchange for their vote to force the fall of the Prodi government.

I have nothing against the investigations or the judges that are producing them, but I have to say I feel underwhelmed. Is that all we have to show for three decades of Berlusconi’s alleged systematic violations of italian law ? He owns and controls three major TV networks, several newspapers and magazines, publishing firms. He is the center of the largest conflict of interests ever seen in a “democratic” country. And we discuss his pathetic attempts at buying a few votes in the Senate ?

Come on, we knew he would have done it since day one of the Prodi government. Ever since we saw that at the Senate the center-left majority had a ridiculously small margin (only a few votes) everybody knew Berlusconi would buy a few extra votes from as many avid center-left senators and kill the legislature. Now we know for a fact that he made a few phone calls (we also know he owns Dini’s party votes already, but that is stuff for another post) . If that is all judges have to show, I would really rather see these judges work on organized crime instead -we sorely need more judiciary action in that area.

I have been rooting for judges to demonstrate that the guy is a felon for fourteen years now. He surely is one, but it proved harder than many had predicted to actually frame him and tie him to his responsibilities. He dodged all the bullets -and most were of a larger caliber than these last ones. At this point, I am rather bothered by the ineffective action of the center-left government, which could have finally passed a law to prevent media owners to do politics – effectively putting him in off-side. They could have, in the honeymoon after the electoral victory in May 2006. Now, it is much harder to obtain the result, because of the fragility of the center-left coalition.

Judges… They were a last-ditch hope one day, when it was clear that Berlusconi had violated several laws, and he looked too strong to be defeated politically. In 1994 I was really scared by the radical right-wing turn our country had taken, and I hoped Berlusconi would be tried for corruption, for tax fraud, and for a long list of other illegal activities connected to his many off-shore companies where he distributed the profit of his businesses. Now, I see him more like a depressed clown and less like a dangerous politician. I think wiring phones and taping conversations is a very retrograde, iron-curtain-fashion way of repressing the jolly fraudolent activities that are such a normal practice in today’s Italy. Silvio, I am with you on this one.



1. Matteo Martini - December 13, 2007

What is amazes me is that almost half of the population of my country still support Al Capone` s coalition..
We Italians really have a long way to go, before getting at the moral standard in Italy of France, Germany and the UK, where I think Berlusca would have been sent to jail long time ago.

2. goffredo - December 13, 2007

What really should be thought about more is that important figureheads of the Left, supposedly above suspicion, actually talk and meet with Berlusconi. Either Berlusconi is not the Devil or these people are so amoral that they would just as well deal with Al Capone. If the second is the case then I would not trust these people. I never did like Berlusconi and never will. My list of dislikes has gotten longer.

3. Vera - December 13, 2007

I must say that when I heard this I wasn’t surprised at all. And I wasn’t surprised at all even when he started to accuse the judges of being comunists who would do everything to condemn him. I really don’t understand how a good half of my country still believes in him when it is obvius that he is a complete idiot.

4. Matteo Martini - December 14, 2007

basically, I have a stron theory about this.
Basically, I come from the North East of Italy, where 70% of the people vote for his coalition.
Basically, they all vote for him, because on the other side there are the ” Communists ” ( = Rifondazione ).
And, on that point, I can not but agree, I think the major ally of Berlusconi in this moment is the extreme left ( I have no idea about Tommaso` s opinion on this )

See this video:

5. goffredo - December 14, 2007

Berlusconi is not a complete idiot, only half an idiot (that part that go into politics). What IS idiotic is that so many intellectuals go after him as if he were not an idiot at all. I won’t say he is harlmess but to claim he is the big bad man that fucked Italy is just hog-wash. Italy fucked itself a long time ago, is still doing it and will continue to do it after Berlusconi is long gone. The intellectuals think they are part of the solution, instead they are a big part of the problem.

6. dorigo - December 14, 2007

Hi all,

Matteo, don’t forget that Berlusconi’s actions have caused investigations of foreign judges too. It is not that easy to get rid of such a felon, and I doubt France or Spain would have fared much better.

Goffredo, good point, but the fact that a person has the support of 30% of the country means you _have_ to talk to him if you are a politician. Politics is compromise. You may choose to dislike this or that person because of what they do, but remember they are _supposed_ to deal with their opposers.

Hi Vera, welcome back! Well, maybe people know he is an idiot (in a sense he is, but on the other hand he is a quite smart one), but I think they still vote for him because they believe it provides them the best chances to continue evading taxes, or to dream about a better future for themselves. The center-left has always failed to sell dreams, which is ok of course, but does not pay in electoral campaigns…

Cheers all,

7. Matteo Martini - December 15, 2007

I have never thought that Berlusconi is/was an idiot.
He is a very clever guy, who made up an empire of 11+billion dollars.
I think the big problem is that many Italians do not realize/do not care, that he was involved with Mafia, and so on..
Again, I think that, if the Left wing party could the Communists ( and Mastella ), and start to clean up things much more aggressively, they would win the next elections with 70% of the votes.
This is just my personal opinion, BTW

AFAIK, Belusconi tried to open few televisions in France, Spain, etc. but he almost failed everywhere, as he has not the same political help he has there in Italy, where has an enormous power on information, newspaper, in the Parliament, so that he can basically do what he wants.
That is where the big probem stands.
Again, this is my personal opinion and I can be wrong

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