I have greatly appreciated Patricia Clough's competent reporting, but having Mr Berlusconi answer previous criticism by Professor Luigi Spaventa (who is contesting a Roman constituency with the Milanese tycoon) by parading his achievements in building an economic empire is misleading. Ms Clough quotes Mr Berlusconi as saying:
Spaventa should first do what I have done. He should create an empire like mine . . . then he should apply again.
What Mr Berlusconi acually said was 'let Spaventa create 40,000 jobs as I did in my enterprise', a significant difference in my view.
In Italy the ''political correctness' of certain parts of the intellectual left has caused severe damage in the past and certainly will in the future. One doesn't need to be a Berlusconi fan to point at the aggressive, out-of-proportion tactics of the intellectual and journalistic establishment. Support for this impromptu politician comes mainly from the enterprising small business and the hard-working middle class (albeit in Armani gear) who have carried the torch for a productive Italy against the waste and inefficiency of an economy encumbered by the corruption of politicians.
It is hard to say whether Mr Berlusconi will succeed, but I hope he will. And if he does, he should reappoint the competent Carlo Azeglio Ciampi as head of government and return to his multiple, productive business interests.