December 1, 2009

And Berlusconi kept his promise to the earthquake victims

Sorry, I missed it, but it’s time to redress the omission:

When Silvio Berlusconi returns to L'Aquila tomorrow for the removal of the last of the tents put up to house the victims of the earthquake that struck the city on 6 April, he can expect a hero's welcome.
The Italian prime minister may be under pressure over his private life and his attacks on the judges trying him for corruption. But, though his administration is strapped for cash, he has fulfilled a promise to provide decent housing for the highest-priority cases before the winter.
In a society where cynicism about the state is ingrained, and where the victims of natural disasters have often been ignored, if not exploited, that is a novelty. It helps explain why, despite scandal and controversy, almost 50% of voters continue to back him.

Oops, I forgot to put the link in, but then again.. perhaps it was better so. Well, er, you won’t believe me if I tell you that it was they who wrote this…


  1. Perhaps 'they' realise, belatedly, that perhaps they went too far. But one should always give credit when it's due, and it's never too late to do so, especially when it comes from 'them'..

  2. This time "they" acted comme il faut, as the French say. So "Chapeau!" to the Guardian..

  3. There is something very likeable about the old reprobate.

  4. Credits where due, of course.

    Credits that are to be shared with the Protezione Civile (the national agency for emergencies), that is becoming each time more efficient. It has had (unfortunately) plenty of opportunities to build expertise.

    The real test begins now, however. The reconstruction is where most of the costs lie, and most of the chances for corruption and wasteful spending.

    In the reconstruction after the 1997 Umbria earthquake, the Prodi center-left government used a market-based approach, where each homeowner was responsible to plan and rebuild their house, under the supervision of the local city council, and the State providing only financial support.

    I find it ironic that the current center-right government, supposedly pro-enterprise, seems oriented to a more central-planned approach.