That’s a rhetorical question, for I am talking about Silvio Berlusconi. And let’s be honest: for a man who holds bunga-bunga parties with teenagers and wears a piratical bandanna to cover his hair-plugs, the ship of dignity has pretty much sailed. Yes, Signor Berlusconi has announced that – come the expected general election in Italy in February 2013 – he will be running as his party’s candidate for PM. Anyone else found guilty of tax fraud and now on trial for sex with an under-age prostitute called Ruby might take the hint and retire from public life. But, like the Glenn Close bunny-boiler character in “Fatal Attraction”, our Silvio just will not die: a little bubble of air pops out, and up he rears again.
Quite what drives the man is fascinating. He is 76 years old and has a vast personal fortune – in his place, I would take the money and run. But it seems that he is one of these people who just cannot survive outside the limelight – as though they exist only if other people acknowledge them. And his confidence in himself and his abilities is immense: as reported in the Guardian at the weekend, “[Berlusconi] boasted that after searching far and wide, he had failed to find a successor as brilliant as himself”. Currently few people think that he will actually win the election, but stranger things have happened – in October, Berlusconi told a judge that his notorious bunga-bunga parties were entirely innocent social gatherings, with even his children coming in to say hello to his guests. The female guests themselves say that, on the contrary, they were asked to dress as nuns, police officers and (wait for it) Barack Obama. Now that’s what I call strange.