Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bye Berlusconi (?)

I've got a slight fever (and as all expats in Italy learn sooner or later, a fever is pretty much the worst thing you could ever suffer from) I apologise if I ramble more than usual, but with it being NaBloPoMo the show must go on!

What else could I write about but Berlusconi? Finally he's been kicked out of the senate following his definitive conviction for tax fraud on the 6th of October. Yes, it took Italian politicians *that* long to arrange a vote as to whether a convicted criminal should be allowed to stay in parliament.

In the five years I've been in Italy I've seen the carefully created legend of Berlusconi slowly unravel piece by piece. His court cases, from tax evasion, to underage prostitution, are slowly catching up on him. At the moment I'm (finally) reading Tobias Jones' The Dark Heart of Italy - which should be essential reading for anyone considering a move to Italy - but for one reason or another, I'm only getting around to reading it now. Certain passages dealing with Berlusconi are incredible, even after all this time in Italy. His control on tv, football, printed press, advertising... One (small) man has so much control over this country, you really can't escape from it. People abroad wonder why he still has so much political power, but he really has so much influence in day-to-day life here. When he was prime minister he basically owned all of the main tv channels, as the Mediaset ones belong to him, and Rai to the state. Your tv set was basically a propaganda machine. Even now with the left wing-right wing coalition government you'd still need to watch several different news broadcasts and read several different newspapers just to get an idea of what was really going on, and even then you wouldn't get the real picture.

What's been happening recently is a start. I never imagined when I was studying the 20th century history module at my uni in 2007-2008 that Berlusconi's grip on Italy would loosen any time soon. But finally the pieces are starting to fall apart.

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