Italy has something of a history of being led by posturing clowns, or at least by corrupt and evil men who hid their vice under a mask of clownish buffoonery. Yes, the priapic Berlusconi was such a one, as was the absurd Mussolini, but also Andreotti, a Mafia stooge convicted of murdering a journalist and Craxi, mired in graft and corruption, within the recent past. Some had a jackdaw-like compulsion for geegaws, like Francesco Cossiga, who scrounged sovereign orders from just about every State on Earth, including our own Bath, to the point where his entire torso from neck to groin was not big enough to wear them all. None have failed to provide the average Englishman with an innate sense of moral superiority and greater worth.
Hatfield Girl has remarked that the wealth ghettos are intact; the streets are filled with gleaming new cars, the women are beautiful in their Autumn fashion, the restaurants are full, the sparkling shop windows bursting with actinic lamp glare and expensive goods. In fact just as I report the state of the City here - just the same. In fact what we're both seeing is the financial crisis itself, in which financial sector profits have been privatised but losses nationalised. We're looking at the privatised gains and not the socialised pains.
No doubt Berlusconi will manage to avoid jail, like Andreotti before him. Perhaps he is already suffering from Saunders' Syndrome, an Alzheimer's-like condition brought on by judicial proceedings. Italians haven't used the Gadaffi solution since Benito and Clara were hung upside-down like rabbits in the game larder.