It’s a national holiday in Italy today, the anniversary of Liberation. So there was a suitably grand state ceremony at the Quirinal palace – the President’s residence – and, as tradition demands, a big demo for the Left to march through the streets, sing “Bella Ciao” until they get hoarse (well, hoarser, given how most people sing on demonstrations).. Only one man was missing.
It will come as no surprise to know that it was Silvio Berlusconi, who still won’t go away. Despite the highest court in the land ruling that the election results are valid, and unfavourable to him, he’s still clinging to the trappings of office. Yesterday, he produced yet another drama-queen eruption, entertaining a gathering of supporters in Trieste with a song of his own composition, threatening to paralyse the legislature, and promising that he would turn up for work at the prime minister’s office as usual on Friday.
Much as it is tempting to think he was getting back in practice for a possible return to his old career as cheesetastic hotel lounge crooner, it seems he meant it. As Existing Phil translates from La Repubblica, his remarks since the election, especially towards the President, have been alarming – according to him, there ought to be a recount because the centre-left won’t govern in the interests of the country.
It seems quite clear that he won’t go without some final indulgence in low comedy. Will he be refused access to the prime minister’s office by cops, appeal to force in some way, or perhaps flee the country? Will he sing on television? Perhaps they will use the same approach favoured by British newspaper proprietors with editors who fall out of favour, involving a black bin liner and 30 minutes to clear your desk before security guards throw you out in the street.