Now it turns out that the megalomaniac buffoon's favourite superhero - Rubbish in Naples? Send Bertolaso! Earthquake in Abruzzo? Send Bertolaso! Cat stuck up a tree? Send Bertolaso! - isn't Mr Clean after all. Tapped phone calls have revealed a richly flavoured stew of corruption, fixed tenders, jobs for the boys and the brothers-in-law, with, as a spicy topping, the usual scattering of whores, escorts, masseuses and pimps (see photograph). Bertolaso denies it all, then most of it, then says that it was all too much for one man. He's on TV every night, bewailing the injustice of it all and insisting that everything he's done he's done for Italy. This clashes with a comment he was heard to make while 'solving' the rubbish problem in Naples, to the effect that an emergency stopped being an emergency when the TV and press stopped talking about it, a definition Haiti would do well to remember.
The shit has hit the fan just as the government was about to pass a law that redefined Italian Civil Protection as a Società per azioni, i.e. a public corporation quoted on the stock exchange, with Bertolaso as its natural CEO, thus removing any shred of accountability other than to its shareholders. Given that Berlusconi has been using the civil protection apparatus, and Bertolaso, for such unlikely activities as building the Pharaonic structures originally intended for the last G8 summit and the world swimming championships - a beanfeast for the construction companies involved but hardly natural emergencies - the new law didn't seem that much of a big deal; it merely legitimised the status quo. These latest developments have cast the law, and Bertolaso's saintly dedication to the national good, in a different light.