The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Posts Tagged ‘Silvio Berlusconi’

11 For 2011

Posted by The Futility Monster on January 2, 2011 @ 11:11

OK, so it’s hardly the return of the Futility Monster, here, but two posts in two days does mark something of a minor miracle. Even so, it’s unlikely to be repeated. Maybe I will try and write something at least semi-frequently. Maybe once a month or something.

But for now, more to get it down in writing than anything else, here comes my top 11 predictions for 2011.

  1. The AV referendum will pass. Call me a hopeless optimist, but I believe Ed Miliband will drag the Labour Party, kicking and screaming, behind the campaign as a show of his authority and capacity for “change”. This will encourage the Lib Dems to give it their full support. It will scrape home. Just.
  2. The “Other” 2011 referendum – in Wales – will also succeed, but with a larger majority in favour.
  3. Following that, Welsh Labour will win. But perhaps not as big as they will hope. I predict an extremely close finish, with them just falling below the magic 31 seats for outright majority control.
  4. The Scottish Nationalists will lose power in Scotland’s May general election, but they will only be replaced by an enfeebled Labour minority, who may struggle to find partners to get its legislation and budgets through.
  5. Meanwhile, in London, the Coalition will last the whole year, without too many hiccups, despite sluggish economic data.
  6. Somewhere during the year, the Liberal Democrats will hit another low in their post-2010 election opinion poll woes.
  7. In the post-May reshuffle, Nick Clegg will receive a real portfolio in a bid by David Cameron to shore up support for the coalition amongst demoralised Liberal Democrat MPs. Home Office, anyone?
  8. Also to boost the Lib Dems, House of Lords reform (defined here as anything 80% or more elected), will pass the Commons, but die a sad death in the Lords itself.
  9. Looking abroad, Silvio Berlusconi will finally reach the end of his woeful Prime Ministerial career. Having said that, his replacement will hardly be any better.
  10. Barack Obama will have a traumatic year: under fire from the hostile House of Representatives, a ceaseless war in Afghanistan, and unable to achieve anything of great significance. This will seriously damage him running into the pivotal 2012. And if that happens, expect Sarah Palin to run for the Presidency. Whether she gets the nomination, however, will have to wait till next year’s prediction…
  11. Finally, North Korea will come back to the negotiating table at long last. But will a deal be reached? Extraordinarily unlikely. Unless Kim Jong Il croaks it, and his son is, to everyone’s shock, slightly less of a lunatic than his father…

As for who wins this year’s Premier League, alas, it’ll be no one other than Manchester United.

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“Il Cavaliere” Or Why We Shouldn’t Always Trust Democracy

Posted by The Futility Monster on November 23, 2009 @ 09:54

The picture says it all...

Our friends over in Italy have the pleasure/misfortune (delete to taste) of being governed by the formidable Silvio Berlusconi. An ageing lothario, botox-filled, with hair and teeth that can’t possibly be his own any more. Some of us forget that he’s now 73, but still a slip of a lad when compared to the “thrusting” Ming Campbell.

Sorry, Ming. That was unfair. He is, after all, only 68. Anyway…

Berlusconi is now into his third attempt as Prime Minister. The first one was a short-lived disaster. The second one a much longer period of disaster. And the third? Well, that’s also a disaster.

However, I’m biased. Seriously biased. I am, after all, a liberal, yoghurt-knitting leftie. I despise Berlusconi and everything he stands for. The man is seriously corrupt, and has spent all his periods of office attempting to cover his tracks, shield himself from prosecution and, worse, legislating to further his businesses and passing immunity laws to thwart investigations into his activities.

As for his personal life… his taste in women is indeed fine, but to be continuously in the headlines for it must make it rather difficult to concentrate on real matters of state in this modern media age.

But perhaps that doesn’t matter. Berlusconi has never been about anything other than feathering his own nest. The Italian people seem to appreciate that level of honesty in their politicians. They know they’re all crooks, so why not elect someone who is rotten to the core, but at least has fun with it and keeps everyone entertained in the process.

Meanwhile, Berlusconi’s media empire, enhanced by years of legislation in its favour, keeps the populace distracted with an agenda that is almost unceasingly in his favour. And where his media organisations lead, the rest of them follow, even ones that are apparently neutral as they are owned by the state.

Berlusconi’s presence is such that any kind of attack on him now is brushed aside as a mere inconvenience;
the usual suspects “in the establishment” once more trying to get one over an old enemy. He has this marvellous way of diminishing his opponents by accusing them of trying to settle old scores and turning everything personal. It usually works.

The sad part of all this is that there is almost nothing anyone can do. This is democracy. It isn’t easy. It throws up results we don’t like.

The last refuge of the left is usually to say democracy isn’t always right. Even more so now in the modern media age, where celebrity, personality and trivial facts are what’s important to the media. Like it or not, Cameron will win the next British election largely because he is seen as “more in touch” with the British people than Gordon Brown. More likeable. More personable. Less aloof.

And so it worked for Berlusconi.

Democracy is distorted by such manipulation of the agenda. Even more so in the case of Berlusconi because of his media empire.

There is, however, one saving grace.

Maybe the Italians are – finally – starting to see the light.

Let’s hope that democracy gets it right in the end.

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