Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More on Italy

Some further comments on Italy and the forthcoming elections. Thanks to Luca for pressing on the issue. These are his comments to my previous post:

"Do you have any sociological (opinion polls) back up to defend such a claim, i.e. that Berlusconi and his myth are no longer appealing to the Italian people. The Italian left will not win the elections by simply dennying Berlusconi's chances to triumph again...this is wishful thinking...they should have protested against the new electoral law...they should have done something...no observe...I am not sure the left will be able to win...they might win in the Senate but not in the lower house..."

This is my reply:

In fact, I am not all that concerned about who is going to win. My point is that Berlusconi's philosophy is not appealing anymore to the large public. You probably can understand this if you look at the way Fini or Casini, berlusconi's allies, behave. They are constantly undermining Berlusconi and constantly denying what he says. They present themselves as a trio, but in fact what they hope is to get rid of Berlusconi themselves!

On the other side, we find Prodi (Don Quixote) and a number of Sancho Panzas. I do not believe they will radically change Italy if they win. I am not sure they believe that too. What they have now is a long, serious, program (270 pages).

Oppose that to the 5 points contract Berlusconi offered to italian people 5 years ago. His philosophy was all about easy delivery of great goods. None of those goods were delivered (in politics it is almost impossible) and Berlusconi cannot deny that. He won on a grand ticket. Now, he sinks precisely because of that.

The problem with Berlusconi is that his strenghts are very often at the same time his weaknesses. In business, to have a clear, manichean view, may help. Politics, to the contrary, is the art of nuances. Berlusconi is not nuanced. He is not subtle enough to be a great politician. Now, his black and white type of politics does not appeal that much anymore, and as I said before Fini and Casini know that.

Come on, he is still talking about anti-communism??? 17 years after the fall of the wall and in a moment where nobody cares about that anymore.

More things can be said about Berlusconi's political philosophy. Luckily enough, politics is not exclusively about polls and numbers. It is about ideas, and I am confident to say that Berlusconi does not have any idea of how to rescue Italy from the present, rather grim, situation.


Raphaƫl Paour said...

Lorenzo, I understand your point. However saying that Berlusconi is an idiot, a cheater and a liar is a different thing than saying that the electors believe that. I’m not so sure that Luca’s doubts can be dismissed yet. When someone is as unpopular as you say he must be, it shows in the opinion poles (see the case of Chirac who, according to some poles done a few months ago, had only 2% of the population whishing he’d run again for President). I think he is slime but I would say he stands a pretty good chance even with all the things you rightly pointed out. Given how bad he is, it seems like a pretty good test of how far controlling the media and populism can get a candidate. Let’s hope as you say that “his black and white type of politics does not appeal that much anymore”

Srdjan Cvijic said...

I just want to make a comment concerning the role of Fini and Casini, since this role is to my mind also very different. Casini (UDC) leader decided to embark on a confrontational partnership with Berlusconi. He was encouraged by opinion polls indicating that he is personally very popular. Fini, on the other hand was much more prudent, he is patiently waiting for Berlusconi's final demise to jump onto the stage, take an important number of Forza Italia voters, and even be a new leader of the unified party: Alleanza Nazionale and Forza Italia. Casini is burned, his UDC would be even weaker without Toto Cuffaro (Controversial President of the Region of Sicily). It is very likely that the Italian political arena gets completely mixed up in the aftermath of the elections.