Missing Berlusconi already

Thursday, 17 May, 2012

At the end of March, the leftist Italian newspaper, Il Riformista, ceased publication. The reasons offered were declining sales, lack of advertising revenue and the reduction of public funding. In the case of Il Riformista, that public funding amounted to a massive €10 million over the past three years. How could that be possible? Well, it’s like this: all 950 Members of Parliament in Italy have the right to start their own political papers, “to inform the public about their parliamentary activities”, and each of these publications is entitled to receive public funding. Antonio Angelucci is an Italian MP and the Angelucci family is very active in the Italian media business. Il Riformista was one of its publications.

Next on the chopping block is the communist paper il manifesto. With daily sales down to 16,000 copies and enormous debt, the liquidators have been called in to wind up the business. Oh, and there was that little matter of €3.7 million a year in taxpayer subsidies for the ink-stained proletariat. Silvio Berlusconi Now that Prime Minister Mario Monti is being forced by Chancellor Angela Merkel to keep an eye on the public purse, the gravy train for the cosseted critics of capitalism has left Rome Termini for good. Talking of Teutons, like most leftist publications il manifesto was dogmatic and humourless, but it did print something amusing the day after Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope. Its front page on 20 April 2005 carried a large photo of the new Pontiff with the punning headline Il pastore Tedesco (“The German shepherd”).

The technocratic rule of Mario Monti, it has to be said, has been a disaster for the likes of Il Riformista and il manifesto as it has forced ideological Italian journalists to focus on statistics, reforms, facts and more facts. This is in sharp contrast to the heady days of Silvio Berlusconi when sex, money, bunga bunga, glamour, sex, corruption, bunga bunga and more sex dominated the media agenda. That’s the kind of stuff that sells newspapers, by the way. As well, the “evil” Berlusconi completely ignored those pleas from the northern side of the Alps to trim the fat, which included all those astonishing subsidies for the well-dressed disciples of Marx and Mao.

“May you get what you wish for,” is said to be an ancient communist blessing. Now that their wish has been fulfilled, one can almost hear the Italian comrades weeping into their cappuccino freddo.

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