It's standard practice in the run-up to elections for opposition leaders to accuse the government of practically anything short of first degree homicide (pace Andreotti), knowing full well that retaliation only makes the retaliator look pathetic. It's an old playground trick, and politicians know full well that mud doesn't need to contain a grain of truth to stick. But trust Berlusconi to come up with a new twist on the old technique. Interviewed by Tempi, he announced that the Prodi government had 'frightened people with its fight against tax evasion.' This might well be the first true thing the man has said, and is likely to say, in the entire campaign, which began only minutes after the last general elections in April 2006. But to accuse a government of 'frightening' wrongdoers in a bid to become, once again, prime minister of one of the world's most powerful countries, despite all his efforts during his previous term, surely takes the biscuit for sheer bare-facedness. He might as well have accused it of scaring men by increasing women's rights (except that it hasn't) or heterosexuals by recognising civil unions (idem).
And talking about women's rights, the Great Buffoon also pledged support to the suggestion of his tubby chum, opinionista Giuliano Ferrara, that an international moratorium be called on abortion, or 'murdering babies', as it's sometimes known. This has as much chance of passing as a moratorium on farting in private, but it's an easy way to say thank you forthe support he's already getting from the Vatican rag, Avvenire. And the latest news is that Ferrara, who has no children, is going to be running as a pro-life candidate. Well, here's photographic proof that he can do it. Run, that is.