Le ns. elezioni secondo l'economist

ramirez

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Tutti sanno che voto cdx, ciò non mi esime dal leggere SOPRATTUTTO
chi la pensa in modo opposto.
Ecco l'ultimo art. dell'economist su Berlusconi, Prodi e l'Italia.
Buona lettura.
Italy's election

Basta, Berlusconi
Apr 6th 2006
From The Economist print edition

Italians have a rotten choice to make, but it is time to sack Silvio Berlusconi

CorbisFIVE years ago, this newspaper declared that Silvio Berlusconi was unfit to lead Italy. Mr Berlusconi was (as he still is) the head of Forza Italia, a political party that he had created only seven years earlier, and as such he was the centre-right's candidate to become prime minister. Despite our declaration, Italians voted his coalition into power in May 2001—and Mr Berlusconi has been Italy's prime minister ever since. Now, in the election on April 9th and 10th, he is seeking a fresh term of office. He does not deserve one.

Our verdict against Mr Berlusconi in 2001 rested on two broad considerations. The first was the glaring conflict of interest created by his ownership, via his biggest company, Mediaset, of the three main private television stations in Italy. The second was the morass of legal cases and investigations against him and his associates for a wide variety of alleged offences, ranging from money-laundering and dealing with the Mafia to false accounting and the bribing of judges. We concluded that no businessman with such a background was fit to lead one of the world's richest democracies.


That view stands: we continue to think that Mr Berlusconi is unfit to be prime minister, both because of the conflict of interest arising from his media assets and because of his continuing legal travails (he may shortly go on trial yet again for alleged bribery, this time of a British witness, David Mills, who happens to be married to a minister in Tony Blair's cabinet, Tessa Jowell). But five years on we have a new and even more devastating reason to call for Mr Berlusconi's removal from office: his record in power.

As we predicted in 2001, his premiership has been disfigured by repeated attempts, including an avalanche of new laws, to help him avoid conviction in legal trials. He has devoted much time not only to changing the law to benefit himself and his friends, but also to besmirching Italy's prosecutors and judges, undermining the credibility of the country's entire judicial system. It is not surprising that tax evasion, illegal building and corruption all seem to have increased over the past five years. And, again as we predicted, he has done little to resolve his conflicts of interest: instead, he has shamelessly exploited the government's control of the state-owned RAI television network. Directly or indirectly, Mr Berlusconi now wields influence over some 90% of Italy's broadcast media, a situation that no serious democracy should tolerate.

The failed reformer
Italian voters knew most of this in 2001, of course. Yet they still chose to give Mr Berlusconi their backing, for quite another reason. They hoped that he would deploy the business skills that had helped to make him so rich to reform their weak economy, making all Italians richer as well.

On this count, however, Mr Berlusconi's government must be judged an abject failure (see article and article). Italy now has the slowest-growing large economy in Europe. With wages still rising even though productivity is not, and with currency devaluation no longer possible now that Italy is in the euro, Italian business is fast losing competitiveness. Many of the country's traditional producers in such industries as textiles, shoes and white goods are under devastating attack from lower-cost Chinese competitors. The Berlusconi government has also undone much of the improvement to the public finances made by its predecessor: the budget deficit and the public debt, the world's third-biggest, are both rising once more.

It would be unfair to assert that Italy's economic difficulties are all Mr Berlusconi's fault. In truth, its problems are similar to most of Europe's, although they seem worse in Italy than anywhere else. As in France and Germany, their roots stretch back for decades, not years. To cure them will require the adoption of many tough reforms; and, as France has just demonstrated so graphically, implementing such changes is politically challenging, to say the least. But where the Berlusconi government has really let Italy down is in failing even to begin the process. Apart from a few sensible labour-market and pension reforms, it has done too little to press ahead with market liberalisation, with more privatisation and with the promotion of competition in what is one of Europe's most overregulated economies. The conclusion from these five years is that Mr Berlusconi is not and never will be a bold economic reformer of the kind that Italy desperately needs.

Prodi's test
Unfortunately there are reasons to doubt whether his centre-left opponent, Romano Prodi, would be a lot better. The former economics professor grasps the need for change in Italy more clearly than Mr Berlusconi, who has spent much of the campaign denying that the country has any economic problems at all. Moreover, Mr Prodi made a fair stab at initiating reforms when he was prime minister in 1996-98—and he also succeeded in getting the country into the euro. But neither then nor in his later stint as president of the European Commission did he show himself to be a forceful leader, still less an unwavering advocate of economic liberalism. Most worrying of all, if Mr Prodi wins the election he seems certain to be dependent on the support of coalition partners who are actively hostile to reform, particularly the unreformed Communists who are led by Fausto Bertinotti.

In foreign policy, too, some of Mr Prodi's instincts may be unwelcome. He is a faithful believer in a European federal superstate; Mr Berlusconi's more sceptical approach to Brussels is one of his better points. Mr Prodi's plans to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq are no longer controversial—indeed, there is little difference between him and Mr Berlusconi on this issue—but he is likely in general to adopt a rather less friendly attitude to America than his rival.

It is the economy that will remain the critical test. Sadly, most Italian people do not yet recognise how sick their economy has become. For that reason they may not be ready for the pain of reform. Mr Berlusconi is certainly not going to push them—and he remains unfit for the office in any event. Italians should accordingly vote for Mr Prodi, not il Cavaliere.
 
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The End of the Silvio Show?

By Alexander Smoltczyk

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi dominates his country in a way few democratically elected leaders can. But after five years in office, the flashy premier faces a stiff challenge from his old rival Romano Prodi on Sunday.


Last September the scientific journal Cortex reported on a new type of brain damage: Recovering from an illness, a 66-year-old housewife from Italy's Veneto region lost her ability to recognize other people's faces, including those of her parents and her husband. But when doctors showed her a picture from the newspaper, she reacted immediately: "That's a politician and a TV magnate, very rich." It was Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Neurologists Sara Mondini and Carlo Semenza came up with a novel explanation. The features of Italy's leader, they say, are no longer recognized as just that. They have become iconic -- omnipresent and otherworldly.

That, of course, hasn't eliminated the need to hold elections this Sunday, even if that might suit the embattled Berlusconi. And so, during the last phase of the campaign, the image of the media mogul-cum-prime minister is everywhere. His smile greets travelers above Rome's central station and glows above highway restaurants. His campaign center, the "Azure Engine," has spent €200 million ($240 million) forcing that smile and the self-confidence it conveys into brains all over the country. Every newborn child receives a letter from him, as does every priest, and for weeks the multi-billionaire's face has become so common on television screens you would think it's a logo -- or just the mirror image of every Italian.

Many ambassadors from other European Union countries are gently preparing their staffs for the possibility that Berlusconi may remain in power another five years, despite what the opinion polls say. Because it's when the game seems lost that the man is at his strongest.

A National Oddity

Italians abroad are asked about Berlusconi as if he were some kind of national oddity. The way they used to be asked about the cliché Latin lover or the Mafia. Many foreigners really can't understand why a presumed tax dodger who likes to compare himself to Napoleon or Jesus Christ should be given a government position. Or how the country's biggest media magnate can unabashedly claim that "90 percent of the press are under the control of the communist left" -- which is just what Berlusconi recently claimed during a meeting with the Christian Democrats.

After all the escapades he's had, the eternally grinning little man -- who wears special shoes to make him look taller -- has come to be seen by some of his EU colleagues as a mixture between Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian dictator, and jittery Italian comedian Roberto Benigni. Not someone to be taken quite seriously, in any case.

Rome has not carried much weight within the EU recently. After five years of Berlusconi being in power Italy has become Europe's "sick man." It's the only country in the EU with virtually no economic growth, a deficit higher than Germany's, and nothing to make an improvement seem likely. Public spending on education would have to increase threefold in order to correspond to EU guidelines. The struggle against the Mafia is on hold. Public health care hardly deserves the name. The university system is a financial catastrophe, and China just overtook Italy as the world's sixth-largest economy.

Nor will Italy be able to stay in seventh place for long. All economic indicators point to a continuing decline in competitiveness, and renowned economist Desmond Lachman, writing in the Financial Times, has predicted the country will suffer a fate comparable to that of Argentina's economic plunge. Not a pretty bottom line for Berlusconi's promised "Italy Inc."

Governments have certainly been voted out of power with better results to show for their efforts. The only question is why the opposition isn't leading with 20 percentage points, instead of just a few.

The answer may lie in the Veneto, the flatlands that constitute the centerpiece of Italian capitalism, which is fully exposed to globalization. One Saturday morning, some 5,000 company bosses wander about despondently at a meeting of the country's once all-powerful industrial league Confindustria in Vicenza.

During the last elections, the middle-class entrepreneurs of the region, mainly shoe and furniture manufacturers, bet on Berlusconi and his party Forza Italia. But this time their newspaper of choice, Corriere della Sera, has come out in support of Romano Prodi and his left-wing coalition of ex- and post-communists, Greens, social democrats, and left-leaning Catholics. And many feel that's going too far.

The main criticism they levy against Berlusconi is that the prime minister has devoted too much time to his own interests, instead of focusing on reforms for his country. He wasn't quite himself, failed to perform as the creative, entrepreneurial type everyone expected him to be. And instead of appearing at the Confindustria meeting to defend himself, he asked to be excused at the last moment -- sciatic pain, his would-be audience was told. The prospect of higher taxes and nuclear power restrictions under a possible Prodi government hardly helps to raise anyone's spirits. And then it happens.

...
 
"Where is the crisis?"

Berlusconi enters the hall like a boxer with his entourage. Flown in by helicopter, he climbs onto the stage, limping conspicuously: "Grazie!" He grabs a microphone and begins talking about his ambitious reforms and the 1,700 measures taken. He moves smilingly to the rhythm of his own sentences, like a singer at the San Remo music festival. That's when he gets his first ovation: "Open your eyes, where is the crisis?"

His body is constantly in motion, vibrating like a wind-up toy. He's given them the most stable government since the war, cut taxes, created a more flexible job market. So no one listens to him in Europe -- who cares about Europe? US President George W. Bush invited him to speak in front of Congress. "I'm sick and tired," he cries out, enraptured by his own historical greatness, before stepping up to the edge of the stage and lecturing the cream of Italian business world on its flaws. "I'm sick and tired of seeing someone destroy himself." He means Confindustria.

For Berlusconi, politics is the continuation of business by other means. He thinks like a member of the ruthless Renaissance Medici family. He knows only loyalty, enmity, and betrayal. And these people sitting below him are among the traitors.

They've all betrayed him. He feels he's been abandoned by his coalition partners, who think of nothing but their miserable percentage points. He feels he's being underappreciated by the Confindustria and its chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, that Ferrari-driving dandy who misses no opportunity to criticize Berlusconi's reforms. He feels left alone, betrayed by Italy's money-wielding establishment.

He's not smiling anymore. Let them vote him out of power. That would only mean this country doesn't deserve him. He recently threatened that he could just sail off to Tahiti if he wanted.



Strong when cornered


Like former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder and ex US president Bill Clinton, Berlusconi is strongest with his back to the wall. He's not one of those dusty Eurocrats in Brussels. He's got the courage to be a little mad. The Pinocchio-like trickery, the unabashed foppishness -- including special shoe soles and his recent hair transplant -- there is a total fearlessness about him. Berlusconi displays qualities that have grown rare even in the special realm of Italian politics. He makes mistakes, he's a bit crazy, but he remains relentless. And that still makes an impression.


Seeing him is a bit like being at the race track. People are whistling and chanting: "Sil-vio! Sil-vio!" The company bosses have been transformed into hooligans in suits. Diego Della Valle, a millionaire who made his money in the shoe business and is a known critic of Berlusconi, is kept from speaking.

It's one of the key moments of the electoral campaign. The spectacle of a 69-year-old multi-billionaire fighting the class struggle, an all-powerful political leader posing as a rebel. That's one mask Berlusconi hasn't worn before: that of the battered titan fighting a world of enemies.

His fit of anger over the "cavalier," as Berlusconi is known in Italy, leaves the meeting without saying goodbye. He's not limping anymore. "I'm healed," he tells his entourage. Veni, vidi, Vicenza. Suddenly anything has become possible once more.

The opposition prays

The political opposition is counting the days until the election and praying that voters will opt for change. All personal attacks on the cavalier are being avoided. With one exception: "I don't hate him at all, on the contrary. After all, we both wear make-up and high heels when we go out," says transsexual Vladimir Luxuria, the main candidate of the neo-communists in Rome.

On the whole, Romano Prodi and his confederates from the center-left "Union" coalition have made spoilsport tactics the heart of their campaign. Transsexual candidates aside, they're betting on the appeal of their slogan: "La serietà al governo" -- or "Seriousness in Government."

It would probably have been better for them to plaster the country's streets with bank statements. Since Berlusconi took power, the private assets of his family have increased threefold. Seldom has a democratic leader equated his personal interests with those of the country so openly -- whether it be a case of a parliamentary minister handing a Berlusconi company the contract for the online sale of schoolbooks or of the TV rights for soccer games going to one branch of Berlusconi's media empire.

The "Mediaset" trial, in which Berlusconi is accused of tax fraud and bribery, is scheduled to begin soon in Milan. It'll be Berlusconi's ninth major trial. In Germany, this man would keep investigative commissions busy for years; in Britain they would have hung, drawn, and quartered him a long time ago. So why is the Italian left having such a hard time getting rid of what should never have been possible?

"Because we're not allowed to demonize Berlusconi," says Massimo Cacciari, who looks somewhat demonic himself with his black beard and his longish hair. "The only way of defeating Berlusconi is with the weapon of criticism, not by opposing his demagoguery with further demagoguery. Prodi is right to just keep asking a single question: Have things improved for Italians during the last five years or not?"

Cacciari has written books about Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, about modern music and architecture, all of them scholarly works too eggheaded in nature to have reached the general public. Considered Italy's leading left-wing intellectual, he was elected governor of Venice for the third time last year.

"Berlusconi is largely an Italian phenomenon. But he reflects a general danger for democracies: submission to the economy and the conversion of the major political parties into oligarchies," he says.

A government or a regime?

That's an assessment that Paul Ginsborg, a renowned English historian of contemporary Italy, would agree with. "Of course, 22 years of Berlusconi's commercial television have transformed the country more profoundly than his five years in government," he says, dressed as a proper Englishman in a tweed suit and a tie even in his Florentine apartment. "This is a not a government but a regime."

Even if civil rights are preserved formally, it's a regime that operates by means of consciousness and culture, according to Ginsborg, who apparently has abandoned British understatement since he began studying Berlusconi.

"The control being exercised here is much more subtle. He's reining in the independent judiciary and destroying many of democracy's checks and balances. He's got an overwhelming degree of control over the television news and uses his footsoldiers to influence the daily menu of advertisements, sports, soap operas, entertainment programs, and chat shows."

It was in Ginsborg's office that Italy's new resistance was born following the last elections. He was one of the co-founders, along with film director Nanni Moretti, of the Girotondi, the popular anti-Berlusconi movement of which hardly a trace remains today.

It would be wrong, Ginsborg says, to just write off the past five years as a kind of burlesque. He insists there is nothing more dangerous than concluding from the negative economic data that the election has already been won by the opposition. And what will happen if Berlusconi is re-elected? "Well, if Prodi doesn't win on Sunday, then we'll soon have a post-fascist as prime minister and Berlusconi as president and moral father of the nation. We'll have his picture in every government office and in every school."

While such hyperbole might even make Berlusconi proud, the millions of Italian voters that head to the polls this weekend will have to decide if they're willing to risk giving him another term. The latest polls indicate that Prodi's center-left coalition is leading by a small number of percentage points -- but not by very much. Those still undecided will tip the balance.

Maybe they will be motivated by secret fears about their property, their house, and their inheritance. Berlusconi has solved his financial problems; now he can worry about the country. And who saddled Italians with the expensive and unpopular euro -- wasn't it Prodi?

Then again, maybe the undecided will choose to end the Silvio show -- turn away from the glitzy trash of Berlusconi's TV programs to the sobriety of Professor Prodi. Of course, even that won't be enough to end the Berlusconi phenomenon. Changing the channel never got rid of television.


der spiegel
 
SPIEGEL ONLINE - April 4, 2006, 02:13 PM
URL: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,409652,00.html

Italian Election Debate

Berlusconi Uses Tax Cut to Woo Voters

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Romano Prodi, his challenger in the upcoming elections, exchange barbs in a televised debate viewed by 16 million. Berlusconi's controversial tax policy and the presence of Italian troops in Iraq dominate the discussion.

Silvio Berlusconi saved his biggest campaign surprise for the final televised debate before Italy's general election on Monday night. Matched up against his challenger, former European Commission President Romano Prodi, the prime minister waited until the last possible second to steal the thunder from his opponent by pledging to abolish property taxes to first-time homeowners.

"If you vote for us again, we will abolish the property tax for your first house," Berlusconi told the audience. "That's right, you heard me correctly," he said, using a trick pulled straight out of the used car-dealer's handbook. Indeed, with 20 million homeowners in Italy, it was a slick move to buy votes. The pledge cleverly came during the closing seconds of the debate. Prodi was left bitter and unable to respond.

Berlusconi's pledge also left local governments in a state of uncertainty, since the very property taxes he promised to abolish if reelected are a central instrument for financing public services.

Prodi was first able to respond to Berlusconi after the debate. Questioning how the prime minister would make his plan work financially, Prodi said: "Maybe he plans to print paper money." Speakers for Berlusconi's coalition partners also expressed great skepticism. "The announcement has backfired," said Amadeo Ciccanti of the Christian Democratic UDC party, adding that Berlusconi's pledge was simply not credible.

Heated budget debate

The 90-minute debate was dominated by a partly heated debate on tax policy. Romano Prodi criticized the budget policy of the governing center-right coalition, arguing that it had turned Italy into a country divided "between rich and poor, north and south, young and old, the unemployed and the employed." For his part, Berlusconi admitted that "we might have done things better, but Italy is a tough job." Unsurprisingly, each side declared its candidate the winner after the debate.

Prodi, who emerged victoriously from the first TV debate with Berlusconi two weeks ago, formulated his arguments in a sober and lucid manner. Although Berlusconi clearly sought to appear calm, his self-control slipped and he interrupted his opponent twice. When Prodi quoted British dramatist George Bernard Shaw to say that "Berlusconi is using statistics the way a drunkard uses a lamppost" -- for support, not for illumination -- the media magnate cried out: "Respect the head of government!" The moderator also had to ask Berlusconi to keep quiet when Prodi spoke about excessive government spending.

At one point, Prodi asked the prime minister a provocative question: "You're always talking about the future. But what has your government done during the last five years?" Berlusconi, in turn, accused his opponent of constantly distorting the truth. He repeatedly interrupted Prodi's remarks even though doing so was prohibited under the rules of the debate. Italy's presence in Iraq also played a divisive issue in the debate. Prodi confirmed his promise to withdraw Italian troops from the crisis-ridden land "as soon as possible." Incumbent Berlusconi railed back: "Abandoning Iraq now would mean betraying the hopes of the Iraqis. The position of the Unione (Prodi's coalition) is incromprehensible."

On Monday night, few could agree on the winner of debate, which was filled with intense rhetorical attacks from both sides. Observers said the results were harder to measure than the first debate, in which Prodi emerged as the clear winner. But a survey published on Tuesday by the Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore found that Berlusconi, known as "Il Grande Comunicatore," didn't do such a great job of communicating his message -- only 27 percent of respondents felt he had won the debate, compared to 72 percent for Prodi.

Italians are set to elect a new parliament in a national poll to take place on April 9 and 10. Polls indicate that 25 percent of voters are still undecided. Italian law bans election polls within two weeks of the vote, but the last survey taken before the rule took effect showed Prodi with a 3.5 to 5 percentage lead over Berlusconi.
 
Prossimi alle elezioni (che vinca colui che saprà meglio fare
il bene del'Italia) non critico gli articoli di cui sopra.
Una sola considerazione: come sono banali..
Probabilmente anch'io, con tutti i miei limiti, saprei fare
un articolo migliore....
 
ramirez ha scritto:
Prossimi alle elezioni (che vinca colui che saprà meglio fare
il bene del'Italia) non critico gli articoli di cui sopra.
Una sola considerazione: come sono banali..
Probabilmente anch'io, con tutti i miei limiti, saprei fare
un articolo migliore....
concordo
 
Il punto è che quello arriva....come magari quando noi diciamo che Bush è un'****** magari in Usa si risentono perchè si da una valutazione esterna che può essere banale
 
ramirez ha scritto:
Prossimi alle elezioni (che vinca colui che saprà meglio fare
il bene del'Italia) non critico gli articoli di cui sopra.
Una sola considerazione: come sono banali..
Probabilmente anch'io, con tutti i miei limiti, saprei fare
un articolo migliore....

Ho letto quello dell'Economist, non (ancora) quelli della Spigel postati da FaGal...

Personalmente, trovo meglio riuscita la seconda metà dell'articolo della prima, nella quale effettivamente (da italiano che voterà senza illusioni per il centrosinistra, la RnP per la precisione) situazioni esposte in maniera abbastanza sciatta e banale.

Devo tuttavia osservare alcune cose.

Intanto, noi qui siamo parte di una elité ristretta di italiani che dispongono delle risorse intellettuali e culturali per poter fare una disamina della situazione politica e economica assai più ampia, oltre che accurata ,di quella resa dell'Economist ai suoi lettori.

In secondo luogo abbiamo da italiani, è scontato, un interesse assai diretto a cercare di compiere un'analisi completa e dettagliata di una tale situazione.

Ma per lo studente universitario inglese piuttosto che per il funzionario di banca o il professore di scuola superiore che leggono l'Economist (e ne conosco più di uno per aver vissuto e lavorato a lungo in UK) quelle notizie rappresentano una sintesi efficace di quanto può importare della situazione del nostro paese alle soglie delle elezioni politiche.

Un paese che per un cittadino britannico riveste meno interesse dell'Australia o dell'India ed è anche, per una serie di ragioni che hanno a che fare con la storia del Regno Unito, più distante ed estraneo dei due che ho appena nominato... :)
 
Ultima modifica:
i98mark ha scritto:
Ho letto quello dell'Economist, non (ancora) quelli della Spigel postati da FaGal...

Personalmente, trovo meglio riuscita la seconda metà dell'articolo della prima, nella quale effettivamente (da italiano che voterà senza illusioni per il centrosinistra, la RnP per la precisione) situazioni esposte in maniera abbastanza sciatta e banale.

Devo tuttavia osservare alcune cose.

Intanto, noi qui siamo parte di una elité ristretta di italiani che dispongono delle risorse intellettuali e culturali per poter fare una disamina della situazione politica e economica assai più ampia, oltre che accurata ,di quella resa dell'Economist ai suoi lettori.

In secondo luogo abbiamo da italiani, è scontato, un interesse assai diretto a cercare di compiere un'analisi completa e dettagliata di una tale situazione.

Ma per lo studente universitario inglese piuttosto che per il funzionario di banca o il professore di scuola superiore che leggono l'Economist (e ne conosco più di uno per aver vissuto e lavorato a lungo in UK) quelle notizie rappresentano una sintesi efficace di quanto può importare della situazione del nostro paese alle soglie delle elezioni politiche.

Un paese che per un cittadino britannico riveste meno interesse dell'Australia o dell'India ed è anche, per una serie di ragioni che hanno a che fare con la storia del Regno Unito, più distante ed estraneo dei due che ho appena nominato... :)
Concordo in toto. E questo mi provoca un acuto dispiacere
(ramirez come parli difficile..) Una nazione con la nostra storia
la nostra economia.....trattata da paria nel consesso
internazionale..
 
ramirez ha scritto:
Una nazione con la nostra storia la nostra economia.....trattata da paria nel consesso
internazionale..

ma probabilmente dovremmo fare autocritica..
quanto è colpa nostra??
quando diventeremo (se lo diventeremo mai) un paese serio e rispettabile??
 
ramirez ha scritto:
Tutti sanno che voto cdx, ciò non mi esime dal leggere SOPRATTUTTO
chi la pensa in modo opposto.
Ecco l'ultimo art. dell'economist su Berlusconi, Prodi e l'Italia.
Buona lettura.
Italy's election

Basta, Berlusconi
Apr 6th 2006
From The Economist print edition

Italians have a rotten choice to make, but it is time to sack Silvio Berlusconi

CorbisFIVE years ago, this newspaper declared that Silvio Berlusconi was unfit to lead Italy. Mr Berlusconi was (as he still is) the head of Forza Italia, a political party that he had created only seven years earlier, and as such he was the centre-right's candidate to become prime minister. Despite our declaration, Italians voted his coalition into power in May 2001—and Mr Berlusconi has been Italy's prime minister ever since. Now, in the election on April 9th and 10th, he is seeking a fresh term of office. He does not deserve one.

Our verdict against Mr Berlusconi in 2001 rested on two broad considerations. The first was the glaring conflict of interest created by his ownership, via his biggest company, Mediaset, of the three main private television stations in Italy. The second was the morass of legal cases and investigations against him and his associates for a wide variety of alleged offences, ranging from money-laundering and dealing with the Mafia to false accounting and the bribing of judges. We concluded that no businessman with such a background was fit to lead one of the world's richest democracies.


That view stands: we continue to think that Mr Berlusconi is unfit to be prime minister, both because of the conflict of interest arising from his media assets and because of his continuing legal travails (he may shortly go on trial yet again for alleged bribery, this time of a British witness, David Mills, who happens to be married to a minister in Tony Blair's cabinet, Tessa Jowell). But five years on we have a new and even more devastating reason to call for Mr Berlusconi's removal from office: his record in power.

As we predicted in 2001, his premiership has been disfigured by repeated attempts, including an avalanche of new laws, to help him avoid conviction in legal trials. He has devoted much time not only to changing the law to benefit himself and his friends, but also to besmirching Italy's prosecutors and judges, undermining the credibility of the country's entire judicial system. It is not surprising that tax evasion, illegal building and corruption all seem to have increased over the past five years. And, again as we predicted, he has done little to resolve his conflicts of interest: instead, he has shamelessly exploited the government's control of the state-owned RAI television network. Directly or indirectly, Mr Berlusconi now wields influence over some 90% of Italy's broadcast media, a situation that no serious democracy should tolerate.

The failed reformer
Italian voters knew most of this in 2001, of course. Yet they still chose to give Mr Berlusconi their backing, for quite another reason. They hoped that he would deploy the business skills that had helped to make him so rich to reform their weak economy, making all Italians richer as well.

On this count, however, Mr Berlusconi's government must be judged an abject failure (see article and article). Italy now has the slowest-growing large economy in Europe. With wages still rising even though productivity is not, and with currency devaluation no longer possible now that Italy is in the euro, Italian business is fast losing competitiveness. Many of the country's traditional producers in such industries as textiles, shoes and white goods are under devastating attack from lower-cost Chinese competitors. The Berlusconi government has also undone much of the improvement to the public finances made by its predecessor: the budget deficit and the public debt, the world's third-biggest, are both rising once more.

It would be unfair to assert that Italy's economic difficulties are all Mr Berlusconi's fault. In truth, its problems are similar to most of Europe's, although they seem worse in Italy than anywhere else. As in France and Germany, their roots stretch back for decades, not years. To cure them will require the adoption of many tough reforms; and, as France has just demonstrated so graphically, implementing such changes is politically challenging, to say the least. But where the Berlusconi government has really let Italy down is in failing even to begin the process. Apart from a few sensible labour-market and pension reforms, it has done too little to press ahead with market liberalisation, with more privatisation and with the promotion of competition in what is one of Europe's most overregulated economies. The conclusion from these five years is that Mr Berlusconi is not and never will be a bold economic reformer of the kind that Italy desperately needs.

Prodi's test
Unfortunately there are reasons to doubt whether his centre-left opponent, Romano Prodi, would be a lot better. The former economics professor grasps the need for change in Italy more clearly than Mr Berlusconi, who has spent much of the campaign denying that the country has any economic problems at all. Moreover, Mr Prodi made a fair stab at initiating reforms when he was prime minister in 1996-98—and he also succeeded in getting the country into the euro. But neither then nor in his later stint as president of the European Commission did he show himself to be a forceful leader, still less an unwavering advocate of economic liberalism. Most worrying of all, if Mr Prodi wins the election he seems certain to be dependent on the support of coalition partners who are actively hostile to reform, particularly the unreformed Communists who are led by Fausto Bertinotti.

In foreign policy, too, some of Mr Prodi's instincts may be unwelcome. He is a faithful believer in a European federal superstate; Mr Berlusconi's more sceptical approach to Brussels is one of his better points. Mr Prodi's plans to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq are no longer controversial—indeed, there is little difference between him and Mr Berlusconi on this issue—but he is likely in general to adopt a rather less friendly attitude to America than his rival.

It is the economy that will remain the critical test. Sadly, most Italian people do not yet recognise how sick their economy has become. For that reason they may not be ready for the pain of reform. Mr Berlusconi is certainly not going to push them—and he remains unfit for the office in any event. Italians should accordingly vote for Mr Prodi, not il Cavaliere.

Lo spero per te ecomist che sia piccola, perchè se ritirano le truppe alla Zapatero (considerando al situazione in Iran POI.............) dovrete piangere un bel po dei vostri ragazzi, okkio la giù non si scherza ;) :cool:
Poveri inglesi, come sono caduti in basso, invece di preoccuparsi della vita dei propri soldati pensano all'Italia, e a Berlusconi.


"Despite our declaration, Italians voted his coalition into power in May 2001"
A mon avis
umiltà=intelligenza
arroganza=ignoranza,
oltre ad essere poco puliti sono pure molto arroganti.
salutatemi il principino...


Saluti
Cantor
 
$o$ ha scritto:
ma probabilmente dovremmo fare autocritica..
quanto è colpa nostra??
quando diventeremo (se lo diventeremo mai) un paese serio e rispettabile??
Moooolta autocritica.....
 
ramirez ha scritto:
Moooolta autocritica.....

però personalmente non dobbiamo farci carico dei problemi che altri hanno causato; io la mia parte l'ho fatta... :yes:

ma davvero siamo medaglia di bronzo ai Mondiali di Debito Pubblico? :D
e chi ha vinto l'oro? E l'argento?
Comunque, di questo passo, nei prossimi anni potremo puntare all'argento :p :wall:
 
Bilos ha scritto:
però personalmente non dobbiamo farci carico dei problemi che altri hanno causato; io la mia parte l'ho fatta... :yes:

ma davvero siamo medaglia di bronzo ai Mondiali di Debito Pubblico? :D
e chi ha vinto l'oro? E l'argento?
Comunque, di questo passo, nei prossimi anni potremo puntare all'argento :p :wall:
Gli altri (inclusi i ns. eccellenti politici, sindacalisti ecc. ecc. in primis) sono purtroppo i nostri genitori (consapevoli o no...) con scelte politico-economiche
sbagliate....
 
ramirez ha scritto:
Gli altri (inclusi i ns. eccellenti politici, sindacalisti ecc. ecc. in primis) sono purtroppo i nostri genitori (consapevoli o no...) con scelte politico-economiche
sbagliate....

Visto che sono stati tirati in ballo i genitori e io ho figli sono pronto ad assumermi le mie responsabilità.
Quando penso ai giovani e al loro futuro mi viene quasi un nodo alla gola e non è possibile non fare autocritica....
Però io prima di votare i politici mi informo sulla loro vita e cerco di sapere chi sono effettivamente e non voto un politico solo perché qualcuno mi dice "lasciamolo provare".
Quindi io sono pronto a fare autocritica, ma non più di tanta.......
 
ramirez ha scritto:
Gli altri (inclusi i ns. eccellenti politici, sindacalisti ecc. ecc. in primis) sono purtroppo i nostri genitori (consapevoli o no...) con scelte politico-economiche
sbagliate....

esattamente
solo che a pagare gli errori sono e saranno quelli della mia generazione e seguenti :wall:

comunque, cerchiamo di vedere il bicchiere mezzo pieno: siamo più fortunati di quelli nati in Iraq :clap:
 
Francamente Ginsborg mi ha deluso. Mi aspettavo una critica a Berlusconi, ma di ben altro spessore. Pare uno che vede nuovamente la marcia su Roma.

Un fattore di autocritica che noi Italiani dovremmo fare sta proprio nella scarsa capacità di autoinformarsi del popolo. Ci lamentiamo sempre. Se senti parlare di politica al bar ne senti di tutti i colori e talvolta traspare una mancanza di informazioni abissale.
Si parla tanto della scuola. Del fatto che da noi ci sono pochi laureati, che i giovani non sanno l'inglese (concordo, il figlio dei miei vicini va al liceo e fatica a leggere tre pagine in inglese come se gli avessere servito del cianuro...)... Ma siam sicuri che non sia anche colpa dei ragazzi e , di rimando, in primis dei loro genitori ?

Vittorio Alfieri si fece legare alla sedia al grido di "volli, e sempre volli e fortissimamente volli". Oggi lo manderebbero da un assistente sociale adducendo che è un tipo scarsamente inserito e bla bla bla...

A mio avviso una prima autocritica sta proprio nel fatto che ce ne infischiamo dei nostri interessi (nazionali) e badiamo solo al nostro orticello di volteriana memoria.

Dark
 
ramirez ha scritto:
Concordo in toto. E questo mi provoca un acuto dispiacere
(ramirez come parli difficile..) Una nazione con la nostra storia
la nostra economia.....trattata da paria nel consesso
internazionale..

Sì, questo ha fatto (e fa) dispiacere anche a me... Noto che almeno dalla metà degli anni '80 - periodo al quale rilagono le mie prime frequentazioni britanniche - le cose vanno costantemente peggiorando in termini di interesse, prima ancora che di considerazione, per il nostro paese... :)
 
Indietro