satnav wrote:Can someone explain to me how Berlusconi is still allowed to wield enormous influence on Italian politics even though he has been convicted in court on some extremely serious charges and could be in prison any time soon?
Because he owns most of the media. Italian politics is on an entirely different plane when it comes to corruption, and the centre-left hasn't been much better than the right over the years. Think I've posted this link before but this Perry Anderson essay is just incredible.
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n04/perry-ande ... ded-to-end
Where the state has led, society has followed. The years since 1993 have, in one area of life after another, been the most calamitous since the fall of Fascism. Of late, they have produced probably the two most scalding inventories of avarice, injustice, dereliction and failure to appear in any European country since the war. The works of a pair of crusading journalists for Corriere della Sera, Gian Antonio Stella and Sergio Rizzo, La Casta and La Deriva, have both been bestsellers – the first ran through 23 editions in six months – and they deserve to be. What do they reveal? To begin with, the greed of the political class running the country. In the Assembly, deputies have raised their salaries virtually six-fold in real terms since 1948, with the result that in the European Parliament an Italian deputy gets some 150,000 euros a year, about double what a German or British member receives, or four times a Spaniard. In Rome, the Chamber of Deputies, Senate and prime minister occupy altogether at least 46 buildings. The Quirinale, where the president of the Republic – currently Giorgio Napolitano, until yesterday a prominent Communist, as impervious as his predecessors – resides, puts at his disposal more than 900 servitors of one kind or another, at the last count. Cost of the presidential establishment, which has tripled since 1986? Twice that of the Elysée, four times that of Buckingham Palace, eight times that of the German president. Takings of its inmates? In 1993 Gaetano Gifuni, the Father Joseph of the palace, at the centre of then President Scalfaro’s operations to protect himself from justice, received 557,000 euros at current values for his services – well above the salary of an American president. Transport? In 2007, Italy had no fewer than 574,215 auto blu – official limousines – for a governing class of 180,000 elected representatives; France has 65,000. Security? Berlusconi set an example: 81 bodyguards, at public expense. By some reckonings, expenditure on political representation in Italy, all found, is equivalent to that of France, Germany, Britain and Spain combined.
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Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.