Lisa Hilton

Italy’s apathetic attitude towards corruption

Italy's apathetic attitude towards corruption
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Another day, another Berlusconi outrage. Writing on the “embarrassment” Silvio Berlusconi must have felt at having received the news of David Mills’s conviction for bribery whilst in conference with Nancy Pelosi, the British press have rather touchingly missed the point. The news is not that Mills has been found guilty, nor that due to Italy’s statute of limitations law he will be unlikely to serve a single day of his sentence, nor that Berlusconi’s government have exempted their leader from trial, nor yet that the “Alfano lodo” is likely to be further manipulated to prevent the judicial conclusion in the Mills case from being permitted as evidence in any future trial of the Italian premier, despite claims of its being unconstitutional.

The news is that no-one cares. Silvio has not been even momentarily inconvenienced. The gubernatorial election in Sardinia, which Berlusconi fought personally, with barely an appearance from the now governor-elect Cappellacci, has resulted in a triumph for the bandana against the banda larga. (Cappellacci’s opponent, Renato Soro, is the founder of telecommunications company Tiscali). Once again, Berlusconi has demonstrated his contempt both for international opinion and his own electorate, whose indifference suggests that contempt is justified. The Cavaliere is not renowned for his intellectual statecraft, but one wonders whether he has been boning up on his Machiavelli; “ the constitution and laws established in a republic at its very origin, when men were still pure, no longer suit when men have become corrupt and bad”. Silvio’s memory of the events that his own newspaper “Il Giornale” refers to as having taken place “a lifetime ago” may be conveniently patchy, but his psychology is spot on. The apathetic attitude towards corruption which permitted the Sardinian result suggests that justice in Italy can no longer look to the law for recourse.