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Monday, 7 November 2011

Silvio Berlusconi: Should I stay or should I go?

If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

After the proclaimed dismissal of PM Yorgos Papandreou of Greece, the looking glass of the world turned to Italy… and the world didn’t like what it saw. The land, although theoretically one of the strongest economies of the world, is on the brink of a financial disaster: 
  • The national debt of Italy is currently increasing to the staggering amount of €2 trillion (well over 120% of GDP);
  • The interest on Italian sovereign bonds has been close to 7% today, in spite of supportive bond purchases by the ECB.
  • The Italian economy had a growth of close to nought for more than ten years;
  • The corruption, tax evasion and distrust of the people in their political leaders have reached a climax;
  • The Italian workers have become much too expensive compared to their productivity;
  • The Italian entrepreneurs are desperate of all the crazy rules that stop innovation and productivity-increases in Italy.
  • The MP’s (members of parliament) of Italy receive a remuneration that would make a millionaire jealous and see their job as their Piggie-bank, instead of as a chance to represent the Italian people ;
  • The PM Silvio Berlusconi is notorious for:
    • Almost having a total grip on the state and commercial broadcasted media of Italy, while using it often as a propaganda machine for his own purposes. 
    • Being subpoenaed more often on charges of corruption than the whole Chicago Cosa Nostra combined and walking every time unharmed 
    • Breaking every promise to the EU on austerity measures that are necessary to regain control of the financial situation. 
    • His bunga-bunga parties with girls that could have easily been his granddaughter.
  •  The whole EU would have a sigh of relief when Berlusconi waves his final goodbye.
  • When the rumour was spread today that Berlusconi would resign, the stock exchanges went up! And when the rumour was debunked (also today), the stock exchanges went down again!
  • Even the Italian rookie chairman of the ECB Mario Draghi said to Berlusconi: ‘you are on your own’.

To be clear, it sounds like the perfect time to leave for a PM that is well past his perishable date. But not for Berlusconi, as the cat with the nine lives that he is.

For him the aforementioned question ´Should I stay or should I go´ is still a very relevant one, as he truly thinks that he is the only candidate that can really save Italy.

And you have to give the man what is his: with his inevitable charisma, his loyalty to his friends,  his vulgar humor and his rude charm and machismo, he is still the favorite uncle of Italy. The Italian men adore him, as he does everything in real life what they are silently dreaming of, and the women smooth over his behavior, seeing in him the little boy that he still is.

And people that worked closely to him, for instance at his football club AC Milan, see the enthusiastic and emphatic president that he also is. Clarence Seedorf, one of the most well-respected, intelligent and eloquent football players in the world, was very affected when Berlusconi personally visited the granting of his decoration for Dutch knighthood.

Summarizing: If elections were held in in Italy today, there would be a considerable chance that Silvio Berlusconi would be reelected. 

But that is not what the financial markets and the European leaders would like to hear. As it would be a disaster for the financial and political stability in Europe and abroad, when Berlusconi would be reelected.

To answer the question that started this article: ‘Berlusconi, you had without a doubt your special qualities. But you should go now! Because every second that you stay in charge longer, brings Italy and Europe one step closer to a financial meltdown’. 

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