"Where is my mind?
"Way out in the water, see it swimmin' "(The Pixies, "Where is My Mind?")
I'll admit it: I'm confused.
In my mind, Silvio Berlusconi was a conservative media/finance/real estate tycoon cum politician. He introduced labour market deregulation policies (so-called "Legge 30" or "Legge Biagi"); during his second period as PM, he increased the retirement age from 58 to 60 years (the "riforma Maroni", turned back after he lost the following elections) and abolished the inheritance tax (reinstated after he lost the following elections). Politically, he was a supporter of the War on Terror.
In fact, in my confusion, I'd have thought he was a more politically extrovert, personally more colourful and flamboyant version of our very own Rupert Murdoch, with a dash or two of Donald Trump.
That's why I can't understand that the local right wing commentariat seem to put Berlusconi next to those nefarious social democrats and bureaucrats guilty of pushing Europe to the brink. Take, for instance, Paul Sheehan quoting with approval a Pierre Ryckmans (presumably a very well-known name among right wing types):
"He summed it up with this: the European social democrats, and their allies in the bureaucratic class, have been living in a fantasy world that is now unravelling." (See here)
I mean, it's not cool to abandon a fellow right winger (and a very rich one, at that) in distress, on top accusing him of being a pinko (horreur!), just because he fucked things up big time, and other right wingers, like Frau Merkel and Monsieur Sarkosy, deposed him... Or (gasp!) does Sheehan mean they are also lefties?!
But my confusion does not end there.
I know most Italians were pissed off at Berlusconi. I can understand that. But I can't understand these images:
As I see it, the question is not so much that Silvio Berlusconi was quicked out of power: the question is who is replacing him, who put him there and why?
The same thing is happening in other European countries: people desperate are putting their hopes in what they would like to be an alternative, without realizing that this so-called alternative is no better than what they currently have.
I'm looking at you, Spain. The next elections are due to take place this weekend.
More on this in a following piece.