OPINION

Our honorable leaders

The Italian Senate’s approval of an immunity bill that is widely expected to block Silvio Berlusconi’s corruption trial has unbound the hands of Italy and the European Union, as the Italian premier will be free to push the political and economic revival of his home country and the 25-member state bloc. Berlusconi is not the only European leader to be honorable in this way, as many socialist and conservative strongmen have in the past taken advantage of their immunity status to avoid prosecution – a privilege that is not available to the ordinary citizen. Of course, rarely has political power been a moral task. However, cynicism has never reached the level witnessed during the last few decades. Greece has been mired for weeks in an unhealthy atmosphere created by a deluge of corruption allegations. But despite the sharp, and substantiated, critique from the opposition concerning the government’s economic performance, Socialist Prime Minister Costas Simitis came out from the Parliament scathed yet still able to complete his «task.» In an attempt to disguise the truth, Europe’s busybodies have made vague proposals about how to tackle the ongoing crisis, laying out the challenges of globalization, the benefits of economic deregulation, and the wonders of technological progress. Like the Marxist ideologues of the early 20th century, they claim to offer solutions to all problems. The difference is that they do not prattle on in Europe’s picturesque cafes but inside heavily guarded places, firing their messages to the European citizens through the media. Paradoxically, our honorable leaders never refer to the need for a moral cleansing of the political sphere.