Postcard from... Milan


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The Independent Online

Italy might be going off the rails but, appropriately, the colourful metaphors keep coming. The anti-establishment politician Beppe Grillo has likened the new emergency government – an unholy alliance of left and right – to a “bunga bunga orgy” with “everyone in passive roles apart from the Bunga bunga master” – a reference to the three-times premier Silvio Berlusconi and his notorious adult soirées.

Mr Grillo’s Five Star Movement, which has been sidelined by events, says the former prime minister will once again be the one pulling the strings in parliament. There is no love lost between the two men, however. Mr Berlusconi has claimed that Mr Grillo avoids television interviews “because his face is too ugly”, which is a bit rich coming from the tanned ex-premier who increasingly resembles a mouldy satsuma.

But the mogul, if not fresh-faced, is currently looking relaxed and smug, having banished the threat of a hostile left-wing or Grillo administration, and is now attempting his impression of an elder statesman.

After giving his benediction to the left-right national unity government, he even said that he was willing to forgo a place in the new cabinet to make way for younger people and women – presumably only good-looking and busty ones. 

In the unlikely event it all goes well for premier-elect Enrico Letta, you can bet that Mr Berlusconi will take the credit for providing his support. And if it all goes wrong, the mogul will sigh and say Italy has need of his experience once more.

Mr Grillo, meanwhile, will be praying the hardest for the “political bunga bunga party” to go ‘tits up’.