Berlusconi’s famous for the lavish gift he bestows on friends, colleagues, employees, visiting heads of state. He’s fond of inscribed gold watches but anything flashy and expensive will do, so long as it encourages (or rewards) loyalty and impresses his underlings. Just ask Putin, or Blair. This time, though, he seems to have been a little too explicit about the nature of the loyalty he expects.
Yesterday’s Repubblica contained news of an investigation being conducted into allegations that the corrupt buffoon tried to buy the vote (or absence during the vote) of centre-left senator Nino Randazzo and other unnamed senators. Randazzo was personally offered a post in the new government and all his electioneering expenses if he brought Prodi’s government down. Indeed, he was actually shown a contract to this effect. Randazzo refused il Capo‘s generous offer.
Berlusconi was also in contact with Agostino Saccà, head of RaiFiction. During one of their chats about how to use public service television to massage the whims of his political allies (as in, Bossi wants a TV drama based on Frederick Barbarossa), Berlusconi opens his heart.
“Socialmente mi sento come il Papa: tutti mi amano. Politicamente, mi sento uno zero… e dunque per sollevare il morale del Capo, mi devi fare un favore. Vedi se puoi aiutare…”. (Socially,I feel like the Pope: everyone loves me. Politically, I’m nothing…so if you want to improve il Capo’s morale, you’ve got to do me a favour. See if you can help…)
This touching confession is followed by the names of four aspiring actresses. They aren’t just friends, or friends of friends, or daughters of friends, of Berlusconi. One of them, a certain Evelina Manna is also ‘close’ to a centre-left senator who, according to Silvio, will help him bring down the government if his totty gets taken on.
Naturally, there’ll be something in it for Saccà as well. Berlusconi gives his word. And il Capo’s word is his bond.