So the Silvio Berlusconi era is over. As Mario Monti prepares to deal with Berlusconi’s economic legacy, it would be tempting to get a little nostalgic about Berlusconi’s 17-year spell at (or at least near) the summit of Italian politics. But seriously, beyond the ‘bunga bunga’ allegations and controversial quotes about Barack Obama, the Berlusconi era was anything but a laugh.
As Berlusconi leaves office, Italy is in an appalling state. The country’s finances are shot to hell, and the population now face an austerity budget that makes Britain seem like a nation of great bounty. The rich (e.g. Mr. S. Berlusconi) will likely not suffer so much austerity, but the man in the street certainly will. It’s the same across Europe, of course, but in Italy it seems a little more ‘in your face’.
What will Berlusconi do now? This isn’t the first time he’s left office. But the chances of yet another comeback seem low. Then again, that’s what people said last time. Give Monti a few months, then perhaps Berlusconi will be rushing back as the White Knight to ‘save’ Italy again. Or perhaps he’ll be too busy?