Let the Whispers grow louder, Mr. Dinmore: Berlusconi is still there.

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Let the Whispers grow louder, Mr. Dinmore: Berlusconi is still there.

30 Giugno 2009

We Italians woke up today expecting a revolution like the one in Iran. It did not happen. In a way, the assumptions of some newspaper articles are intelligent and, indeed, a certain concern about Berlusconi’s boat in these troubled waters exists. Luckily enough, though, the situation is not so desperate.

Newspaper articles such as Guy Dinmore’s in the Financial Times have appeared about the supposed free fall of the Italian government, depicting a sad Berlusconi on the brink of a precipice.  From this perspective -supported by “well-placed government sources speaking on condition of anonymity” – our Premier is overwhelmed by scandals of all types, ravaged in the solitude of the party he created, running on empty.

According to the Italian premier, Silvio Berlusconi’s dream of becoming President of the Republic is vanishing; all of his old time friends and allies are abandoning the ship, except for those who can only survive in his shadow. These few loyalists, nevertheless, are afraid to speak out in his defense.

After the death of his beloved mother and sister and the breakup with his wife Veronica Lario, Berlusconi released an interview with his own magazine “Chi” and he – in at least Dinmore’s vision – would be just waiting for the prosecutors in Bari to start an official investigation, as the G8 meeting scheduled for next month came closer. The European elections, states the Financial Times’s correspondent in Rome, “showed that voters are shifting away.”  The PDL party is just an empty container in which there is no successor. Last but not least, this government would resemble a “Middle Eastern potentate” in which leaving the scene is not an option.

As a start, we could argue that even though, for example, Dinmore’s sources are theoretically “well-placed”, they are still anonymous: meaning that whoever the “spy” is, he doesn’t like the sunlight. In other words, these are just suppositions.

We could also go on to say that the European elections were not a defeat for Berlusconi’s party. On the contrary, they were a big defeat for the left. So let’s do some math: in 30 provinces and 62 capital municipalities, 32 administrations over 32 passed from the left to the right. It’s an incredibly good result. The only thing we could say is that the people at the PDL were just expecting to win more votes than they did.

The third major argument with which we could counter these negative assumptions is even more direct: all the suspects and the “scandals” involving our Prime Minister did not transform into anything real. As of today, not one of the accusations is official and not one single court has ruled anything against Berlusconi.

Regarding the supposed “emptiness” of the PDL: this newborn party has proven to be the only one in our country that can benefit from stable leadership. Saying that there is no successor to Berlusconi inside the People Of Freedom is like saying that, right after Cesar, there was no other man of his height. It is not a negative statement against this party, it is a compliment. Look at the Franceschini’s PD, for example: the present leadership of that party is not so charismatic and the future is unknown and unforeseeable. And we are talking about the main opposition’s party here!  The PDL is full of very well prepared and professional political figures: a good leader will certainly emerge from there when needed.

Despite these recent supposed scandals with the “18 year old would-be-model,” according to the polls Berlusconi’s personal degree of favor among the Italians is still strong.

One last thing: the idea of bringing the G8 summit into L’Aquila and the consequential displacement of funds toward the devastated medieval city was Berlusconi’s idea. The G8 was in fact originally scheduled to take place at the “Maddalena Island,” but in order to set up that place the government costs would have been exorbitant. The funds are now being invested in the reconstruction of Abruzzo, and the idea of having a summit in there seems quite reasonable to us: instead of throwing “lavish parties” and “spoiling his friends with gifts,” Berlusconi will show what the consequences of a strong earthquake are.  This is no Middle Eastern potentate, this is Italy.