Thursday, November 28, 2013


There are no prizes for guessing the top story in every Italian newspaper and in other media here today - it is, of course, the final and definitive expulsion of Mr Berlusconi from the Senate. "Didn't that happen at the beginning of October?" you may ask and the answer is that it did, sort of, but that was a vote by a Senate committee. The process required another vote by the full Senate in order to be confirmed. What you have to understand about Italian politics is that nothing is straightforward, no one ever resigns and everything is as complicated as possible and designed to take the maximum amount of time. If you can comprehend these three principles, you are on the way to grasping the essence.

Tonight I am not going to repeat a tale which has been well reported all over the world but I do want to focus on some of the language being used here in reaction to it. Prior to the vote yesterday - for he can have had no doubt as to its outcome - the former Premier declared the day to be one of  "mourning for democracy". Following the decision, some Senators changed into black outfits and many of Mr Berlusconi's supporters donned black armbands.

Then words like "tragedy" were heard and among these voices was that of Miss Francesca Pascale, Mr Berlusconi's 28-year-old fiancée.  So upset is she at the spurning of her partner that she has asked to see Pope Francis in order to explain the "tragedy" to him. [The Pontiff's reaction has not, as yet, been reported.] Now, whilst it is disappointing to lose one's job at any age, no matter whose fault it is, Silvio Berlusconi is hardly your average pensioner trying to make a few extra pence to pay his winter fuel bills. He is one of the world's richest men, is well past the age of retirement and remains leader of his Forza Italia party. Even allowing for Italian exaggeration, what befell him yesterday cannot be described as a tragedy.

Miss Pascale has not, to my knowledge, expressed indignation or sorrow at events such as the 3rd October migration tragedy in the Mediterranean or last week's disaster in Sardinia and one wonders whether these people have lived unusually charmed lives. As for mourning, Silvio, I'll save that for deep personal loss.


Lee said...

The tragedy is this saga has been allowed to go on for so long! It's been going on almost as long as "Days of Our Lives" did!

I heard the "mourning of democracy" on the news yesterday, too...I was in the kitchen cooking mini-quiches for an up and coming pre-Christmas party, and I thought I must have misheard!!

What an arrogant narcissist Berlusconi is!

And I really don't understand the dressing in black etc., in support of him.

Maybe I'm missing something here! ;)

(And it's not a black arm band)!

Jenny Woolf said...

It must be really awful to have someone like Berlusconi dominating public life. I get sick enough of Boris sounding off and showing off but at least he's nothing like this..... a travesty not just of language but of politics too.

James Higham said...

Even allowing for Italian exaggeration, what befell him yesterday cannot be described as a tragedy.

Even amusing in a way.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Couldn't agree more, Lee. He will always hog the headlines here, I'm afraid. Hi, Jenny. Absolutely agree with you, too. Hi, James. I don't think many people find it amusing here.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I can't get my head around Italian politics.... or justice. From the outside it seems that if you can just keep the appeals going for long enough, you can get away with anything.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Rachel. I'd say that was a pretty accurate assessment!


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