Veltroni’s latest attempt to sink Berlusconi’s ship is a petition against Italy’s charismatic and controversial prime minister.
Think of Italy’s main political parties as having been two moderately large ships. At the same time, all the little Italian political parties were a bunch of mercenary gunboats who would side with whichever of the biggest ships looked strongest at the time.
The mercenary gunboats would bolster up the defences of whichever of the largest ships promised them the most in terms of riches, power, and influence. However, as soon as the preferred big ship started to take on water, the mercenaries would change allegiance and steer their little gunboats as fast as they could towards the other large vessel. The captain of the other big ship would then pay off the mercenaries with appetising promises, involving riches, power, and influence (yes, I know I’m repeating myself…), to guarantee their support.
In the ensuing battle, otherwise known as an election, the support of the mercenary gunboats almost always ensured that the ship they fought with would win. Only the alliance between the gunboat mercenaries and the captain of the ship which had attracted their support, was a fragile one.
As soon as the favoured big ship’s captain reneged on one of his promises, the gunboat mercenaries would turn their guns upon the captain’s ship, firing until it started taking on water. The mercenaries then steered once more towards the other big ship, and the whole process began again.
Bigger More Powerful Ships
In practical terms, this led to one collapsed Italian government after another, until, that is, the captains of the largest ships realised (It took them long enough) that by building much bigger ships, they could offer the gunboat mercenaries permanent positions as members of the ships crews, and, in so doing tack the armour from the gunboats onto the sides of their new and much more powerful cruisers.
This tactic worked as planned and, with exception of one or two of the gunboat mercenaries, the captains constructed some of the strongest ships ever seen in Italian history.
One of these ships is the good ship PDL (PDL = People’s Freedom Party), captained by Admiral Berlusconi, whereas the other is the good ship PD (PD= Democratic Party), with Admiral Veltroni sitting at the helm.
Now, poor Admiral Veltroni can no longer count on the mini-fleet of gunboat mercenaries to help him sink the Admiral Berlusconi’s PDL ship. Problem.
So what does the out-manoeuvred Admiral Veltroni do? He adopts a new tactic. Admiral Veltroni primes his cannons with a load known as a ‘petition’. The good admiral then fires off a petition broadside at Admiral Berlusconi, only the petition shot merely glances off the good ship PDL, with some of it ricocheting back towards Admiral Veltroni’s own PD craft. This not so original kind of shot actually penetrates the PD ship below the waterline, and Admiral Veltroni’s vessel begins to take on water causing a slight list.
In resisting the petition attack, albeit rather weak, Admiral Berlusconi’s cruiser gives the impression of being more or less invincible. Meanwhile, Admiral Veltroni retires to a safe port to have his ship repaired and to consider other ways in which to sink the good ship PDL.
With Vetroni’s ship in port, the battle which is Italian politics is put on hold for the summer.
A probable cause of Veltoni’s latest tactic is pure frustration. Why frustration? Well, back in the days before Berlusconi’s government and his unassailable majority, toppling an Italian government was ever so easy, it was almost child’s play, and certainly no sport.
Today though, sinking Berlusconi’s ship is going to take something much more creative than the gathering of a few signatures.
Who knows what kind of attack Admiral Veltroni will attempt next? The scandal bomb? A paternity suit torpedo?
Whatever, I’ll be watch and waiting. Italian politics is much better than any TV soap, only the sad thing is, it’s real.