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Thursday, July 03, 2003
The European presidency and media ownership

My powerful friend Berlusconi has been doing his best to display his charms:
Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire Italian prime minister... yesterday... suggested that a German MEP should star in a film about a Nazi concentration camp...

The controversial Forza Italia leader beamed broadly as outraged Euro MPs protested, insisting he had simply made an "ironic" joke...
Read more here. There's also a BBC item here.

How could they both have got it so wrong? Remind me, Mrs T., to ask my esteemed friend for some lessons in his brilliant use of irony; I clearly have a great deal to learn from such a master. In return, I would indicate the advisability of moderating his light under a bushel motorway.

It is opportune that Parliament is currently considering our laws on media ownership. I have written to David Puttnam ('Puttnam forces block on predatory media barons' - read more here) arguing that my friend, exceptionally, offers no threat.

Signor Berlusconi controls very large slices of radio, TV and the press in Italy. He is clearly possessed of such benign judgement, that he should be given a special opportunity to own every British means of communicating.

Such a perfect human being - immune from prosecution in his own country - must be allowed to work his magic here. We have nothing to fear.

How about extending his presidency of the EU, too? It's off to a brilliant start.

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