Postcard from... Italy


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The Independent Online

For someone down on his political luck,  the former Prime Minister,  Silvio Berlusconi, is making rather a lot of pronouncements.

Yesterday he said he might consider leading his centre-right party into a pact with the current coalition leader, Matteo Renzi. “We’ll have to see what happens with the economy. I don’t exclude the possibility that we could be together to take the decisions for the good of the country,” Berlusconi said.

The tycoon’s cynical offer obviously relates to the wheels coming off his own Forza Italia party, which is sliding in the polls and haemorrhaging members. He then put on his hat as Europe’s elder statesman to predict the Ukraine crisis could put a dangerous strain on relations between the United States and Russia. “I see the risk of restarting a Cold War against Russia,” said the media magnate, whose friendship with bullying Russian President Vladimir Putin formed the basis of many a business deal.

In truth Berlusconi has not gone out with a bang, like many predicted. Instead it’s death by a thousands cuts. And one of those cuts is the community service with Alzheimer’s patients that starts in a care home near Milan on Friday. The mogul did ask for his own personal office and bathroom. The management said “no”.