Anyone believing that my characterisation of Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi as “Duce” was an exaggeration need look no further than this article in Saturday’s Guardian. His power is now, apparently, on a par with that enjoyed by Benito Mussolini, but more worrying is that Freedom House has downgraded its assessment of Italy from being a “free” country to a “partly free” one – the same award as they give to Albania.
Even so, Berlusconi enjoys approval ratings well over 50% - also as Mussolini did before he got the country involved in World War 2. His hold over the country’s print and broadcast media might just have something to do with it.
But into each life a little rain must fall, and hardly had the Guardian article had chance to sink in, than Berlusconi’s long suffering second wife decided that enough was enough, and moved in the direction of a divorce lawyer, as the Guardian noted here. The last straw may have been the Italian PM’s appearance at the eighteenth birthday party of an aspiring model who refers to Berlusconi as “Daddy”.
However, if anyone thought that being on the wrong end of a divorce petition would shut him up, they had another think coming. “Duce” has now demanded that his wife apologise to him (not the other way about) and that the opposition had put her up to it, as the Guardian has noted.
The more straightforward explanation, of course, is that Berlusconi is once more behaving like a clown, and is an embarrassment to his country. As Cloughie would have observed, “Simple as that, young man”.
And he should always remember what happened to Mussolini when the Italian people finally rumbled him.