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At the risk of angering my Italian readers, I going to say something almost in support of Italy’s tanned tycoon Berlusconi.  Why would I do such a thing?  Well, mainly because he is the only person who has managed to keep one Italian government in power for a full term since the Second Word War.  That is some achievement in my book.

The question is how exactly did he manage this almost herculean feat.  I’d like to hazard a guess based on what is commonly known about the man.  He has a reputation for being somewhat direct, to the point of being just about tactless at times.  And it is this aspect of his character which I imagine enabled him to keep his coalition holding the reins of Italy for such a long period. 

Let me explain.  Italian governments are made up of two or three big parties which unite in coalition with many smaller parties.  These smaller parities like to try and pursue their own little manifestos and, thus, moan like heck when the larger members of the coalition make proposals which are not to their liking.  Result: The weeny parties become unhappy with some policy decision or other which does not match their aims and vote against or abstain from voting for the proposed change.  Government crumbles.  Time and time again.

So how did the B man work his magic?  Well, I reckon he quite simply and bluntly pointed out the obvious.  Bring my government down and we all go down.  Chain reaction.  He also probably pointed out the results of pushing over the wall: Prodi and his cronies get back into power, thus giving the little parties in the coalition zero possibility of bringing around the changes they want to see.  And they all lose power.   Ring a ring of roses…you know the rest.  Subtle, or not so subtle, reminders of this simple fact at pertinent moments most probably managed to keep Mr B in power for so long.

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What I don’t understand is why other Italian political leaders do not seem to have grasped the above scenario, which is, really, blindingly obvious.  Don’t they want to hold power?  Don’t they want Italy to have a stable government that can actually achieve things?  Then again, Italians do have something of a reputation for individualism.  In this here blogger’s eyes this political ‘individualism’ smells of self interest and pushes the wishes of the populace, whom these people are supposed to represent, into a poor second place.

No wonder Italians came out as the most unhappy Europeans in a recent pole.  Maybe Italy could do with someone who is like Berlusconi, but not like Berlusconi, and definitely not like Prodi, if you know what I mean.

In the right hands Italy could become an example to the world.  The country is full of good people with good brains and ideas. It’s just that such people do not have a hand in running the country.  Shame. 

Mini-diatribe over.

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