Conviction for tax and fraud in business activities offences, in a state noted for its poor international ratings as a country in which to do business, is a danger on a purely technical front. Clear indications that "the problem is as much about how the laws are interpreted by the bureaucracy and the judiciary, as it is about the laws themselves.", make the situation worse. Malcolm Barr and David Mackie point out this problem, with specific reference to Italy, in their piece on sorting out national legacy problems, both economic and politico-institutional, before an EMU 2 steady state can be achieved.
It can be argued that the judicial pursuit of a popular political leader is both commonplace and dangerous in authoritarian states, and that Italy's current reversion to its default mode authoritarianism is now causing any impartial observer to take Silvio Berlusconi's assertions that he is the victim of judicial persecution seriously.
Anyone attempting to conduct business in an institutional, socio-economic and structural environment like Italy's is always going to be vulnerable to a state or political assault (or both as at the moment in Italy the first is being subjugated to the second). But if our popular, elected politician then compounds his right-wing, economic liberalism with a spicy anti-European contempt, and a robust rejection of the received national myth 'fascism bad / communism good', then the Unspeakable are after the Inedible (or rather the indigestible for Italy's leftist hypocrite occupants of the ethical high ground) with a vengeance. And if fraud, tax or political activity accusation doesn't do it for criminalisation there's always the Strauss-Kahn moral-assassination-by-sexual-slur option.
Nevertheless the vecchio, glorioso comunista Napolitano (88) requires and expects that there should be no impact on the present peculiar government (which is having its strings jerked by Brussels and Germany via his office) if former Prime Minister Berlusconi is stripped of immunities, dignity, condemned, and excluded from Parliament.
Napolitano may wish all he likes that we would all, like him, put the European Union first, last and always in our actions and our justifications; but most of us regard much of the 20th century, and particularly Italy's 20th century, as no excuse for anything at all, never mind for an EU political mindset as outdated as it is outrageous. Further, quite a lot of us, having had our faith in electoral democracy undermined recently, are now looking askance at the Judiciary, the Executive, and the Presidency (our view of the Italian bureaucracy rests undisturbed).
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