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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

Silvio and the Signorinas

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It is this long, babe, I swear

It is this long, babe, I swear

Silvio Berlusconi is a man on a mission.  As womanizers go he makes Peter Stringfellow look like Cliff Richard.  And in a weird way Italian voters love him for it.  I swear you would think he only took the job as Prime Minister as a way to meet hot babes.  Evidently it is a tactic that works jolly well.

Only recently, when caught carousing with several leggy lovelies at a spa he said he was there to recover from back pain.  I really must use that as an excuse myself one day.

Since before the days of Kennedy and his low-rent cousin, Bill Clinton, the world loves a shagger.

Silvio started out as a cruise ship singer back in the sixties after graduating college.  Since then he has been everything from a real estate tycoon, insurance expert, media proprietor, and the owner of a football team.  He came into politics late in the day and his policies are generally centre-right.  He is an expert in manipulating the media to get his stories on the front page and any bad stories stuffed well in the middle.

His choice of cabinet recently looks more like the line up for Miss World.  Not that I have a problem with that, naturally, just a bit unusual.  I mean can you imagine Gordon Brown making Jordan the Home Secretary?  The Cheeky Girls the minister for transport?  Naomi Campbell the Minister for war?  She would be good at that.

A one woman war department

A one woman war department

Well that is pretty much what Silvio did.  And, annoyingly for some, it worked surprisingly well.

Silvio is married to the long suffering Veronica Lario, who is currently carrying out divorce proceedings.  This is no simple process is catholic Italy.  And when you are the wife of the serving Premier, it is a hell of a lot harder.  But the case will, no doubt, be making headlines every day next year, as long as it gives Silvio’s side of the story in a  good light.

Veronica 2

I think Silvio’s problem is that he is, on face value, far too light hearted for a sober political career.  Not that this has done anything to effect his popularity at home, but it has worked badly for Italy’s foreign interests.  He compared a German official to a death camp guard, and implied that a Spanish minister was a cuckold.  He didn’t mean it of course, it is just that the foreigners have no sense of humour.

Silvio is very intelligent, working as he has in many careers and is subsequently very rich.  This works to his advantage as 94% of Italy is working class.  They see a man who is very self made yet still has a laugh and a bit of hanky panky when the wife isn’t looking.  Had he not entered politics he would probably have been even richer.  But he understands that influence is a stronger form of currency than the Euro.

To understand Silvio’s popularity is to understand Italy at all.  This is the country that has, on prime time TV a show called Italian Stripping Housewives. Even the Fast Show couldn’t make this programme up.

The first time I saw this programme it was 20.30 on a saturday night.  I was ten and on holiday with family.  I remember thinking holy shit, I love this country!

This is a country where the women stay home, and by God, they rule the home.  But outdoors the boys do play hard.  They love their football and chase the women incessantly.  Infidelity is taken as par for the course.  Until now their leaders have been dour gentlemen with quiet, measured policies.  Enter Silvio, the human hand grenade.  Immediately identifying with the boys, and winking at the girls, this is a man who just oozed charm, and naughty fun.  And the serious stuff could go hang.

It was this big before the colligen injection

It was this big before the colligen injection

There have been gaffs and accusations.  It has been whispered that he has Mafia connections.  Hardly surprising, really in a country riddled with corruption and organized crime.  In truth, as a prominent businessman in several fields, he probably does.  But more likely he is pulling their strings than vice versa.  He hardly needs them now, he has the power of the country at his fingertips.  He isn’t an easy person to buy, he simply doesn’t need the money.  He is hard to blackmail, as he is so shameless every transgression makes him even more popular.

And then we have the women.  Right, deep breath..

Veronica Lario is his current wife.  He first saw her when he was married and she was performing topless on stage.  They were married in months and she expected him to be faithful.  Like, yuh!

The soon to be ex-wife, Veronica Lario

The soon to be ex-wife, Veronica Lario

Noemi Letizia is the daughter of a friend and colleague.  Silvio states categorically that nothing happened between them and he never met her without her parents present.  Her boyfriend claims different, that she met Silvio at several parties and spent several days at his mountain retreat.  She calls him ‘papi’ and he says he will support her career either as a showgirl or a politician.  Only in Italy could the two careers combine so poetically.

Noemi Letizia.  Politicial, Showgirl, whatever

Noemi Letizia. Politicial, Showgirl, whatever

Barbera Matera is a dreamy Blonde ex-miss Italy.  We knew one would figure in there somewhere.  He is actively promoting her as a future MEP stating that she would be a first rate ambassador for Italy.  Undeniably true, but did he have ulterior motives for the pneumatic Miss Matera?  We would.

Barbera Matera, former Miss Italy, now MEP

Barbera Matera, former Miss Italy, now MEP

Elonora Gagglioni is a former underwear model turned TV personality.  She was implicated as Silvio’s lover on tape last year.

Elonora Gagglioni

Elonora Gagglioni

The De Vivo twins.  Yu-huh that’s right, twins.  Holy shit, is this guy trying to be Hugh Hefner or something?  After they appeared on a reality TV show Silvio met them at a party and persuaded a TV network to give them jobs as weather girls.

The dazzling De Vivo twins

The dazzling De Vivo twins

Finally give a standing ovation (most boys do) to escort girl, Patrizia Addarino.  This little minx is the one who may yet be his undoing.

Patrizia D'adderino.  Worth every cent

Patrizia D'adderino. Worth every cent

It is known that they slept together and that she was working as a prostitute at the time.  But it is unclear if he paid her, a criminal offence in Italy.  He has publicly stated that he didn’t pay her and doesn’t understand men who pay for sex.  Given his track record this reply is understandable.  This is a man who probably never paid for sex in his life.

In conclusion it is hard to dislike the guy unless you are a feminist or a vicar.  He has a dazzling way of distracting attention away from his Government’s failings and he is a tabloid newspaper’s wet dream.  And here is the clever bit, the newspaper belongs to him.

Can we get this guy doing Gordon Brown’s job?

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Written by Nick Gilmartin

August 1, 2009 at 6:19 pm

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