As relief from the gloom this weekend, it struck me recently that there was literally nothing that would shock me about Silvio Berlusconi. Really, I couldn’t imagine a revelation that I hadn’t already mentally priced-in. And then, I realised that this is one of the achievements of the European Union, NATO, and the post-war settlement of Europe. Possibly the most important one. Someone like him has been the leader of a significant power, a country that owns its own reconnaissance satellites and builds aircraft carriers and Eurofighters, for years on end, and what has he managed to do? What evil has he done that will last beyond him? Of course, in many ways he’s been lucky, but then that’s rather my point. The system was stronger than the man, as Kevin Drum put it. You could say the same about Italy.