Monday, 29 October 2012

Berlusconi's Fury

The markets have opened above 340;  Mediaset, Berlusconi's holding company, has fallen 3.11; the euro is down slightly against the dollar and the pound.

It's the severity of the magistrates' condemnation of Berlusconi, the attribution of criminal tendencies, that rips into the man's standing, as much as the sentencing  to four years (and the condoning of three of those years  plus the fact that he will not serve time in prison does not reduce the sentence, it's still a condemnation to four years and exclusion from any public office for five) that has caused the Fury.

Parliament is discussing currently the exclusion of anybody with a criminal record from standing for political office, indeed anyone even indicted for serious criminal offences; we have moved on from reforming labour relations and taxation to tackling the levels of corruption and criminality in Italian political life.  Yes, there is a stability pact going through the legislature but it has the same relationship to a serious effect upon the Italian economy as George Osborne's austerity measures have in cutting government expenditure in the UK.  It has already been absorbed by the markets and its upset, unlikely anyway to be within Berlusconi's waning direct political reach, is unlikely and unimportant.

The anti-European, anti-German, anti-tax, anti-rule of law, anti-democratic institutions, anti-constitution, anti-migrant populism that his considerable propaganda machine will now broadcast, and that will be propagated by other means, is what is really troubling.  But that is the trouble with populism - it's popular.

Certainly we need  a  Germany that accepts that it doesn't just set the rules but is bound by them just as much as other member-states,  we need lower taxes, democratic and constitutional reform, migration policies that enable assimilation not confrontation;  we don't want them Berlusconi's way.   


Weekend Yachtsman said...

"Parliament is discussing currently the exclusion of anybody...from standing for political office...anyone even indicted for serious criminal offences"

Indicted but not tried and not convicted? Indicted and later aqquitted?

Accuse your enemy and thereby remove him from the poll? Even if innocent? Even if waiting (in Italy, years) for trial?

Dangerous ground, HG. Getting near the UK's laws permitting the confiscation of property from those merely suspected (by the police) of, well anything really. Without any conviction or due process.

Don't let your hatred of Il Cavaliere blind you to natural justice and the rule of law.

hatfield girl said...

Quite so, Yacht. Let's hope the Lower House sorts that out during the discussions this week.

Mind you, 'helping the police with their enquiries' is not quite of the same order of seriousness as 'indagato' which is not as bad as 'imputato'.

Still, Berlusconi is 'condannato' after all these trials - some two decades of them and, as always, has made people in general very cross with his ad hominem laws, time-outs, etc, which doesn't though, as you point out, make good law.

Yours Truly said...

In the end the anti-corruption law was approved by a confidence vote yesterday. A bit short on statutes of limitation, falsity in balance sheets and severuty of penalties, but most of this could be taken care of later, perhaps by the government itself.

And only people who have been condamned by a definitive sentence cannot stand for office. One sentence would have been enough for me even if still challangeable at a higher judicial level.

Mr B is a spent force now, indeed a liability, and has been ditched by his own party.