Italy: Berlusconi’s corrosive legacy
Our entire society has been corrupted by our love affair with Silvio Berlusconi and his sleazy ways.
Barbara SpinelliLa Repubblica
Italy may finally be rid of Silvio Berlusconi, said Barbara Spinelli, but we will be stuck with his poisonous legacy for some time to come. Over two decades, the three-time prime minister spent nearly as much time defending himself against charges of corruption, abuse of power, and “bunga bunga” as he did on politics. Now that he has finally been convicted of tax fraud and booted out of the Senate with a six-year ban on holding office, it would be “a relief” to consign him to history and look forward. But alas, “Berlusconism is still here.” The “incestuous relationship between politics and racketeering” has been normalized to the point that conflicts of interest are barely even seen as a problem. His tenure built on “the total separation of politics from morality,” an unfortunate habit Italy has maintained since the time of Machiavelli. In foreign affairs, we are saddled with a sense of victimhood, having listened to Berlusconi blame his downfall on “a string of cunning tricks played on him by the EU, Germany, and France.” Our entire society has been corrupted by our love affair with this man and his sleazy ways. “We will emerge from these 20 years of amorality, immorality, and illegality only if, looking at ourselves in the mirror, we recognize our own image behind the monster.”