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March 28, 2006

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Charlie Whitaker

But what should we do about it? Very large scale public protest? Civil disobedience? What works?

Alex

4th Generation Warfare, it seems. *dragged from keyboard by MI5*

More seriously, I suppose a six-figure crowd camping in Parliament Square might help. I'm rather pleased to see that someone else has noticed that Shinawatra and Berlusconi are sisters under the skin.

No-one else seems to be taking up my theory that Berlusconi won't go if he loses..

Jarndyce

Steinglass, the author of the piece, calls this “populist neoliberalism.”

But I'm not sure in what sense you could call Berlusconi a "neoliberal". Not in the economic sense: he doesn't do very much at all, certainly isn't on some crusade to bring the Washington Consensus to every nook and cranny of the Italian economy/polity. All he appears to do with any gusto is work out ways of garnering and holding even more power. He's a caudillo if anything.

Robert Jubb

But I'm not sure in what sense you could call Berlusconi a "neoliberal".

His coalition list is called the House of Liberties, and I understand he periddically makes noises about removing regulation or some such pious neoliberal observance. Perhaps a better indication of his character though, and more in line with the 'cling to power so as to avoid being charged with corruption' line, is that he recently decided to resurrect the recurrent 'communists eat babies' trope, but unfortunately created something of an international incident by accusing the Chinese in particular.

jamie

It's probably worth pointing out that a hell of a lot of neoliberals seem come into power lauded by the Economist and collapse into corruption and demagoguery in short order. Collo de Mellor in Brazil and Tancu Ciller in Turkey spring to mind. You could call it the "curse of The Economist."

Alex

I don't think that applies to Berlusconi. The Economist is one of his many betes noires..

Regarding the commies-eat-babies thing, I think I was wrong to call him a danger to Italian democracy. If he keeps this up soon he'll only be a danger to himself.

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