I never did put the time into understanding the way in which the Italians went through so many governments in such a short time, nor did I figure out the number of political parties and the way they came together in seemingly temporary and often fractious coalition.
And now it seems I won’t need to – well, not for the time being. Italy is moving towards a two party system, with the creation of Freedom People, a single right-wing party. This includes the heirs to the fascist tradition of Benito Mussolini. The Guardian has the story here.
So my nickname of “Duce” for Silvio Berlusconi will gather real substance. There are other parallels.
Berlusconi is, like Mussolini, a faintly ridiculous figure, and vain with it. Both have reputations that have been inflated by propaganda; in Berlusconi’s case, it’s entirely predictable, as he owns the media doing the hyping.
And, I would suggest, both were, and in Berlusconi’s case, are, bad news for Italy.
The ability of Berlusconi to demonstrate that he is out of touch with reality, while planting his foot firmly in his mouth, was demonstrated superbly as he visited the town of l’Aquila in the wake of Monday’s earthquake. The people, he said, had everything they needed (forgetting that this did not include all their dead or missing relatives), and then told that, for them, it was like a camping weekend.
Cloughie would have figured out “Duce” Berlusconi in one. See title.