Silvio BerlusconiRachel Marsden

When Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi won a confidence vote last week by a mere three votes, it proved that in politics you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be better than the other guy. And in Italy right now that’s a pretty low bar. The only people in Italian politics who are worse than the prime minister are everyone else. Unless the various opposition parties are able to find an actual issue or reform on which they profoundly disagree with Berlusconi, and so can mount a campaign on substantive issues, then they’re just wasting everyone’s time. Marsden notes that the socialist left hasn’t done much better: the traditional left-wing approach of doling out favors to their constituents is no longer viable.

Marsden is an international political and communications strategist and writer who teaches at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris.

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