The Knight Strikes Back: Episode VI
One of the best strategists Italy has ever had has planned this thoroughly since 2011.
Silvio Berlusconi was still the Prime Minister of Italy when he realised the huge parliamentary majority he had obtained at the political elections in 2008 was everything but intact. The harsh divorce between Berlusconi and Fini, now Speaker of the House, with the latter leaving the Party of Liberties to found the ‘Future and Freedom for Italy’ Party, marked the beginning of the political demise of the then Prime Minister, an office he had hold for four of the five times he has run as a candidate. Or at least this is what many thought.
Confronted with a majority of one single vote, involved in many sex scandals, and hunted down by the Judiciary on multiple counts, the only wise move Mr. B could make was to step down as Prime Minister.
At the end of the day, he knew he couldn’t possibly lead the Country to fulfill the challenges and commitments he had taken with Europe. His line of thought was simple: “I take a step back before I lose a confidence vote. Mr. Monti will be appointed as Prime Minister. He’s a smart guy, one who can fix things quickly and easily. Of course, in order to do that, he can only raise taxes, but this is not a problem (for me). We can blame him later for that. Once the State budget is back on track, I can step forward again and exploit social resentment“.
Pretty simple, isn’t it?
I must say that, from a certain point of view, I admire the guy. I mean, he is such an impudent, shameless person, but has ideas. I don’t want to sound rhetorical, but Italy would be one of the most competitive countries in the world if only such evil minds would serve the common interest before their own.
So, what is Mr.B’s plan for the electoral campaign?
Naively, he thinks Italians have already forgot what the last 20 years have borne in terms of credibility of the country abroad, public debt, privileges for circles of people closer to him, scandals, you name it. But they have not. The feeling of disaffection versus politics in general and politicians at large is strong, and grows as much as the gap between these and ordinary people widens. So here’s the magic recipe: 90% of candidates in the lists of the People of Liberties should be unknown to the general public.
A person whom you can potentially trust is better than the widely known faces people have learned not to. Will this be enough? Recently, I was sent a funny sign of the “keep calm” type, suggesting not to vote for Berlusconi.
Conversely, a survey a remarkable weekly talk show (Ballarò) conducts reveals Mr.B’s party gained between 1.5% and 2% of votes in one week thus reaching 15%, just because he announced he will lead his party as a candidate Prime Minister (for the sixth time). With about three months to go before the elections, this may well account for a 12%-15% increase, which would bring the party share to 28%-30%, indeed not very far from where it was in 2008. Notwithstanding it may not be enough to win the elections, a similar result would definitely qualify him as the leader of a strong opposition. On the top of that, the ability of the ‘Cavaliere’ (*) to attract people to the dark…ehm sorry…to the blue side (**) is renown, thus diluting an apparently wide centre-left majority over time. Will this be the revenge of the sixth (time)?
What do you think the reaction of Italians will be?
Does Berlusconi deserve any trust?
Would you vote for him?
Please comment below.
(*) ‘Cavaliere’ is the Italian word for ‘knight’. Given his remarkable and undeniable business skills in the field of estate building, Berlusconi was awarded the title of Knight of the Order of Merit for Labour in 1997 and is most commonly known as ‘Il Cavaliere’ (the Knight).
(**) Blue is the colour of the People of Liberties