Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Berlusconi to go ... and not before time!

It is possible for the media to hound a person in public life over events that do not have a direct relation to that person's contribution; and it is possible for the media to do that in a way that does not express the gifts of consideration and charity due towards the human frailty that we all share (but which for most of us does not reach the public domain).

But on the other hand, the ordinary people can legitimately expect "something more" of those who hold public office. One can expect them to demonstrate integrity and a degree of moral decency and, within the range of the charity due towards human failings, to nevertheless offer an example that is worthy of imitation. I think it is putting it mildly to suggest that Silvio Berlusconi has not done this, thereby not only failing to live up to expectations that the Italian people might rightly have had of him but also bringing into disrepute the very idea of public office. News reports of his impending resignation can only be welcome.

La Croix, with the facility of the French language, puts it very nicely with this headline which doesn't really successfully translate into English:
Les Italiens préparent l’après-Berlusconi (Italians prepare for the "after-Berlusconi")
The opening paragraph of their report is as follows - the added emphasis in bold is mine:
Au centre de la vie politique italienne depuis 1994, Silvio Berlusconi, 75 ans, semble plus proche que jamais du terminus. L’incapacité de son gouvernement, contesté de toutes parts, à gérer la crise économique, ses démêlés avec la justice, les scandales de mœurs qui ont entouré sa vie privée lui ont fait perdre sa crédibilité, tant aux yeux des Italiens qu’à ceux des partenaires européens et des marchés.

At the centre of Italian political life since 1994, Silvio Berlusconi, 75 years, seems closer than ever to the end. The incapacity of his government, challenged on all sides, to solve the economic crisis, his troubles with the law, the moral scandals that have surrounded his private life have made him lose his credibility, as much in the eyes of Italians as in those of European partners and the markets.
According to the BBC:
The euro rose sharply against the dollar following the news of Mr Berlusconi's decision.  


Scout said...

According to some of the commentaries I have read, Berlusconi's situation has been putting Italian Catholics in a tricky position. On the one hand, they deplore the revelations about indiscretions in his personal and business life. But on the other hand, they do not trust Berlusconi's left-wing opposition in Italy either because it is perceived as "anti-religious".

Joe said...

Thank you, Scout, for your comment. I haven't been following Italian response to Mr Berlusconi's indiscretions closely. However, my immediate thought is that, from the Catholic point of view, the correct thing is to deplore Berlusconi's indiscretions and oppose an opposition that is anti-religious. In rather different political circumstances around the world and in history, the Church has not done itself any favours when sheltered under the protection of an unjust regime out of fear of the alternative.