I know I have at least two readers in Greece, so I ask forgiveness if the above title (a reminiscence from my classical letters upbringing) is not the correct translitteration for the greek word which means “Savior”.
I use this word because the political situation of my beloved country seems to be nearing an “OK Corral” type situation: mr. Berlusconi has so far weathered off everything his opposers threw at him, from doubts on his morality, to multiple trials, to a giant fine his company had to pay to his worst adversary; he lost his wife, two rounds of elections, his largest politcal ally, the support of the key constituency of entrepreneurs but his paliamentary majority, although battered, is still substantially more solid than mr. Prodi’s ever was.
But now we have something new: the BTP-Bund spread tells us that global investors want something out of Italy, and it’s not clear what it is; they were not appeased by the lightning-fast approval of a 70+ billion budget, or by the relatively-solid fundamentals of italian Banks, or by the highest savings ratio of any western country.
Commentators are wondering whether what they want is the removal of mr. Berlusconi himself, and in that sense the speech in the Parliament scheduled for tomorrow is better than any instant poll: if the spread goes up, he is doomed, if it goes down, he is home free. Verdict will be immediate, in real time and without appeal.
In the latter case, mr. B. will be our Savior – but for once, my non-italian friends will not be able to blame his persistence on us dumb italian voters but rather on international investors.
The really interesting scenario is the first one: with him out, Italy will need hastily another Savior, preferably from a conservative-liberal, pro-business side that currently does not exist; chances are that in typical italian political opportunism, such a party may quickly be hacked together, with dubious long-term prospects.
Or, as some are whispering, instead of a Savior we may need a Dad, in which case he already has a name and surname.