MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


It now seems that Silvio Berlusconi did lose the election, although he still hasn't appeared in public to admit that. I came across this article on The First Post which blames the British press for contributing to Berlusconi's defeat. It's strong stuff. For instance:
The ignorance and prejudice shown by British journalists when they write about this magnificent country have angered me ever since I moved to Italy in 1998. And their knee-jerk demonisation of Silvio Berlusconi during the general election, which he lost by a whisker, was a disgrace.

They just don't get Italy.
And continues:
[...]grazie, British journalists, grazie mille. You did your bit to bring down Il Cavaliere (as we call him) and give Mortadella (Prodi) his Pyrrhic victory.

The British press failed to understand two crucial things:

First, yes, Berlusconi does own half the television stations here (not "90 per cent", as the Guardian claimed) but he does not control them, as anyone who bothers to watch a bit of Italian TV quickly realises.

In fact, his media empire has done Italy a great service, because it broke the Soviet-style state monopoly of broadcasting.

As for the Italian press, 90 per cent is left-wing - even Il Corriere della Sera, Italy's equivalent of the Times, is to the left (not "centre-right", as the Sunday TelegraphEconomist, standard-bearer of free-market values, to criticise those in France who oppose labour law reform as reactionaries, yet to describe Prodi in its pre-election cover story as "closer to the way of thinking of the Economist" than Berlusconi. Prodi is the epitome of the very forces of reaction that the Economist opposes. Universally derided as an embarrassing joke when president of the European Commission, he is a quack who talks mystically of wanting Italians to be "happy" and who still worships the idea of a European superstate.

[...]The largest of the 11 parties in his coalition is ex-communist and proud of its communist past (unlike the ex-fascist party which has apologised for its past), and the third largest party is communist and proud of its communist present. Its leader, Fausto Bertinotti, recently said yes, as it happens, his ambition is to abolish private property.

So the Prodi government has no hope whatsoever of reducing Italy's public debt (four per cent of GDP and one per cent higher than the limit set for the Euro zone). And without doubt, it will raise taxes.

There are those who would say that Nicholas Farrell is exagerating, and would ask: "how can the British press effect the Italian election result?". The fact is the Economist's comments were widely reported in Italy. I came across them on Yahoo Italia, and in a lot of the Italian newspapers the front cover with 'Basta' above Berlusconi's face, was shown.

Perhaps when Berlusconi labelled it 'The Ecommunist' he was on to something. As now, because of their 'baby out with the bathwater' editorial, Italy has been condemmed to a government of the hard left.


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