Friday, 1 February 2013

Tea With Berlusconi

There was rather a quaint film made in 1999 by Franco Zeffirelli (Based partially on his own childhood as he had a British nanny), about a bunch of British expatiate ladies who are living in Italy under the rule of Benito Mussolini. The premise is that through out the 1930's, many of them believe him to be the saviour of Italy who had averted the red menace of communism. Of course as the film moves on they discover through internment, and the threat to the American 'Jewish' lady amongst them, that all was not what it seemed with the 'Duce'.

Now the reason why this is of any interest is that Silvio Berlusconi, who is trying to become the 'comeback kid' of Italian politics, apparently to once again avoid the verdict in another trial (this time for the infamous "Bunga Bunga" parties), has referred to Mussolini as a good guy who had done some "good things" ... that in fact his only real mistake was the 'racial laws' that led to some 8,000 Italian Jews, being her shipped off to death camps .... apart from that, he was really a good guy. He has in fact been vaguely supportive of the ex Italian Dictator in the past, but perhaps never quite so openly.

Berlusconi and Mussolini

The inevitable howl of protests ensued and he subsequently backtracked a little, but not much .... the reason for this is politics as he may need the far right to support him if he is to avoid his day in court .....

However, its a fact that in Italy, the flame of support for Mussolini was never quite extinguished in the same manner as for the Nazis in Germany ... in fact there remains a sizable far right in Italy that has been active since 1945 e.g. The old MSI (Italian Social Movement), and indeed Mussolini's grand-daughter Alessandra is still knocking about Italian politics in the hope of gaining power.

Oddly, the other thing is that many Italians still hanker for a state with political and economic certainty, a state that can end the Mafia, and with efficient public services. A state last seen in Italy in the 1930's under one Benito Mussolini, who even made the trains run on time ......

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