Karen (aswanargent) wrote,

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It's not just us!

This post probably won't be of any interest except to the followers of worldaffairs and intl_relations, so feel free to skip it if you want.

Behind the cut is the transcription of a piece from the "Comment & Analysis" page of this weekend's Financial Times.  It was written by Tony Barber, the FT's Rome bureau chief.  I think we should invite him to join worldaffairs; the only difference between what he's doing and what we're doing is that he's getting paid for it ....

The game is never over until it's over

By Tony Barber
Published in the Financial Times May 20/May 21, 2006

Forty-one people, including two top officials at football club Juventus, are under investigation in Italy on suspicion of fixing matches.  In an unrelated development, Italy got a new government last week, led by centre-left cyclist and jogger Romano Prodi.  In the cafés and bars of Rome, the talk is of nothing else.

SILVIO:  First the election, now the league championship!  They say I'm a bad loser, but I'm the biggest victim of all.
GIANFRANCO (throwing a faded swastika in the bin):  Stay calm.  We'll be back in power in less than a year.  Remember, you're still Italy's richest man!
SILVIO:  That's all very well for you to say.  You don't own a football club.  When I think of poor Andriy Shevchenko and Jaap Stam busting their guts for AC Milan, it makes me want to ... want to ... walk out of a television interview!
GIANFRANCO:  You did that before the election, and we lost.
SILVIO (a fixed look in his eye):  No, we didn't.  We won.
GIANFRANCO (wearily):  Sorry, I completely forgot.  It was a sensational victory for the centre-right in extra time.
SILVIO:  Have you seen Prodi's new tracksuit?  It makes him look 79 years old.
GIANFRANCO:  Younger than our new head of state, then.
SILVIO:  the people don't trust Prodi.  All that nonsense about healing the wounds of the election!  Italians want a leader who's a bit of a rascal.
GIANFRANCO:  A cheeky, dodgy, loveable, slippery, extremely rich showman.
SILVIO:  Someone who knows how to bend the rules.
GIANFRANCO:  Rather like the people at Juventus.
SILVIO:  Exactly.  If it hadn't been for those prosecutors poking their noses in where they weren't wanted, no one would have suspected anything.
GIANFRANCO:  We all make mistakes.  If I hadn't called Mussolini the greatest statesman of the twentieth century, I'd be prime minister by now.
SILVIO:  No you wouldn't, you old fascist.
GIANFRANCO:  At least I'm not about to go on trial for supposedly bribing some snooty Brit lawyer to give false evidence on my behalf.
SILVIO:  He's a creep, isn't he?  One thing's for sure, I'm never taking him to the amphitheatre at my Sardinian villa.
GIANFRANCO:  Where are you going to watch the World Cup this summer, anyway?
SILVIO:  In the prime minister's office, of course.
GIANFRANCO:  Silvio, I know it's hard, but you're not prime minister any more, remember?
SILVIO (wipes eyes):  I know, I know.  My only consolation is that the British voters did the same thing to Churchill in 1945.
GIANFRANCO:  Well, not to worry.  You've still got your collection of Napoleon figurines.


UMBERTO:   Hey, have you heard the news?  Everyone at Juventus has been let off.  They're all innocent!
GIANFRANCO:  That's Italian justice for you.
SILVIO (contentedly):  Story of my life.


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