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Not a normal country – but maybe an amusing one February 18, 2009

Posted by dorigo in humor, news, politics.
Tags: , , , ,

In the news today: the british lawyer David Mills has been found guilty yesterday of accepting at least 600,000 dollars in 1998 to produce false testimony, in order to help Silvio Berlusconi get acquitted in two separate trials where he was charged for corruption and other frauds -business as usual, for him.

The news is rather curious for two reasons. The first one is technical: in the trial, Mills and Berlusconi were being judged together, but the latter was excluded by virtue of a law, the infamous “lodo Alfano“, which the italian government passed a few months ago, and which prevents the Prime Minister (along with the President of the Republic, and the heads of the two parliament chambers) from being tried during his or her mandate.

Thanks to that ad hoc law, produced by a member of Berlusconi’s party-company, Forza Italia, and passed with urgency through the legislative iter, Silvio Berlusconi evaded a sure embarassment and the probable sentence of guilt for corruption in Mills’ favor. The aftermath of all this is that we now have a person who received money to produce false testimony and save Berlusconi in his two processes, but we cannot try who gave him the money. Note, the sentence says who Mills received money from -Silvio Berlusconi- but the corruptor is left out of the whole business. I find this peculiar.

The other detail is more hilarious -I would say Jonescan. David Mills, besides a 54-month imprisonment, faces the unpleasant charge of having to give 250,000 euros to the italian Premier’s office. That is because the italian State’s Bar, which represented the Premier’s office at the trial, obtained the sum as a reparation. So Mills received money by Berlusconi. He was condemned, Berlusconi got away with it, and now Mills has to go to the italian premier and
say, “Dear italian premier, here is the reparation money -but wait a second, haven’t we met already ?“.

Italy is not a normal country: in a normal country, a prime minister would have resigned from office, having been proven a corruptor. Not in Italy: here, if you get away with your sins, you are considered kind of cool.

But Italy is also a definitely entertaining country: for its politics, and for some of its politicians.


1. Pierre - February 18, 2009

France has been like that too. Chirac was highly corrupted (back in the 90’s when he was mayor of Paris), he even cheated at elections in Paris with M. Tiberi. Though, he never went to trial. What is frightening is that people condemned for corruption can come back to positions because electors vote for them (despite the sentence).

2. bozox - February 18, 2009

Small country, probably – not too many politicians to choose from. Can’t afford to waste them – gotta reuse, corruption or not.

3. sciencetourist - February 18, 2009

Very amusing! Thanks for the post. One of the problems with writing satire is real life keeps trumping fiction.

4. Shubhendu Trivedi - February 18, 2009

What I find amusing is not that you write this, but because I find it comforting that my country is not the only one like that! 😉

– Shubhendu

5. Marco - February 18, 2009

There is a further question. Suppose, in the future (at this point only an hypothesis), Berlusconi will be put on trial as Mills’ corruptor. Our Government is preparing a codicil where there is written that if a person is condemned as corrupt, the judgment cannot be presented as criminal evidence in the following trial against the corruptor! The trial will start from the beginning an other time…

6. Fred Altieri - February 19, 2009

You have your Silvio’s and we have ours. Too bad we have more than you do based on a roughly 5:1 population ratio. Although we might have killed two of the birds with one stone by having swept out our last administration (fortunately by default), undoubtedly, they’ll be back for more.

7. Anonymous - February 19, 2009

Does the ECJ have any say here, esp. given that he is a British citizen?

8. dorigo - February 19, 2009

Yes Pierre, what is frightening is that people just do not care. Perhaps this should make us pause. It means there are worse problems to address.

Bozox, I am sure we could export some politicians… We really have a lot of them.

Sciencetourist, I think so too. Fiction sucks, reality always is better to behold.

Shubhendu, I understand your feelings… It is not too uncommon, but Italy has ambitions to be one of the leading “first world” countries…

Marco, true – but there is another possibility: Silvio finally leaves us. Darn it, he’s 73, how long more do we need to bear him ?

Fred, sure, Silvio is not a white fly. But he is really peculiar, because of the way he emerged, his wealth, and his tyrannous ideas of state.

Anon, I doubt any supernational judgement may affect Berlusconi in this case.


9. Merisi - February 20, 2009

Ladri e ladroni,
that was a Roman friend’s reaction to this.

I lived long enough in Italy to be saddened that somehow this country is saddled with these grotesque players on the national stage.

I am living for Venice on Sunday. I bookmarked your blog to read more when I come back.


dorigo - February 22, 2009

Hi Merisi,
Let me know if you enjoyed Venice… I instead escaped to the mountains to ski – I do not like it during carnival, too crowded 😉

10. Matteo Martini - February 22, 2009

The real problem, IMHO, is that the main opposition party is also corrupt and was led by a weak and, in my opinion, incompetent leader as Veltroni.
So, many people chose to vote Berlusconi and PDL, as Berlusconi is corrupt, but, at least, he has had the guts to build an empire with his televisions.
Some even say that Veltroni and Berlusconi were “on-board” to cheat the Italians together, and that may well be the case..

11. dorigo - February 22, 2009

Matteo, you are off-topic. In any case you have been listened, Veltroni is not the leader of PD any more.

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