It isn't exactly easy to understand what's going on in Italian politics right now. Berlusconi's no saint, that's for sure. There is, however, a struggle for power going on in our country now: Berlusconi's enemies are using every weapon at their disposal to make sure his legacy will be terminated as soon as possible. According to the majority of the media outlets, he would be just an old megalomaniac pervert mafioso who is also now a bit sclerotic. If this is true, then we Italians are to be held responsible for the election of such a villain to the post of Prime Minister.
The reality of course tells another story: the "Italian Left" is trying to push him out of office. During the last few years, Berlusconi has been accused, in a country where prostitution is illegal, of paying for sex and being overly interested in underage girls with exotic names. He has also been accused of impartiality, amorality, naiveté, and totalitarianism. The recent justice reform introduced by his government has been defined as an "anti-democratic reform that destroys the rule of law" by former PM (and aspiring political leader) Antonio Di Pietro. Franco Cordero in La Republica even insinuated that, at the end of the day, Berlusconi is not so different from Gaddafi. Others have accused him -- a recurring mantra of the left -- of hypnotizing the Italians with his three television channels
He has been hit in the face with a statue of the Duomo [Cathedral] by a troubled man in his forties. Even Queen Elizabeth chastised him for phoning US President Obama during the photo session at the G20 summit back in 2009. There must be something wrong with Berlusconi…. Or, perhaps, there must be something wrong with la bella Italia altogether?
Coming from England or France and entering Italy is like passing from the lounge of your apartment, where Debussy is playing nicely on a state-of-the-art sound system, to the kids' room where everything isn't where it should be and 50 Cent is rapping from a cheap stereo. Everything here gets over-complicated and cacophonic. Firms can't invest, workers can't offer their services, garbage doesn't get disposed of, students don't study, teachers don't teach, roads don't lead anywhere, houses aren't available for living, people don't get married, and children don't grow up. Can Berlusconi be the cause of all these troubles. He should get some sort of award for that. Or maybe Berlusconi is just the symptom of all this. If I were one of his political opponents, though, I would bet on the first option: it is much more convenient to say that Berlusconi is the source of all Italian problems than explaining why Italy has so many problems. Besides, in this way, I wouldn't even have to worry about solving the problems of the Italians, as they would just be Berlusconi's fault.
The Mezzogiorno isn't developing regardless of the enormous amount of money that the EU put into it over the last twenty years. Berlusconi wasn't living in Naples, so perhaps the media won't accuse him of this two-hundred-year-old problem. Yet, he was accused by Antonino Giuffre of having developed a relationship with some high ranking member of Cosa Nostra, like Stefano Bontade. In a way, therefore, he was also involved in the underdevelopment of Southern Italy.
Giuliano Ferrara (director of Il Foglio) thinks that Italy is a country of hypocrites: everyone is evading taxes, yet only Berlusconi is a tax dodger. So, once he'll be finished, there will be no more tax dodgers around and Italians will be free to evade taxes as they please. According, instead, to my cousin Giancarlo Loquenzi (director of L'Occidentale), Berlusconi has come to a crossroad: he should decide whether to fight the communist Milanese judges or continue governing: he cannot juggle two things at once at this point.
Whatever your political ideas, it is clear that Italians cannot afford another era of hypocrisy. They must invest in their own future and become adults, once and for all. Those who are impatiently waiting for the end of Berlusconi will be utterly disappointed when they find out that this event won't transform their country into the paradise on earth it has never been. Those who support Il Cavaliere will instead discover that, unless they act swiftly and quickly, Italy will sink together with them and become a "less developed country."
Understanding Italian politics right at this moment, might not be the easiest thing to do and Berlusconi certainly is not a saint: nevertheless it is clear that in Italy there is a huge power struggle going on right now; whoever wins it, for Italy there will be huge consequences.