Whenever I look at events, I use a technique I call “Trajectories“. I figure out what are the key elements to the progression of a set of events, and then make an estimate of how likely certain outcomes will be. I write down my estimates in my notebook, and then go back and review them over time, with a particular interest in how right or wrong I was, and whether my assumptions would work.
I did some work early in 2011 on whether Berlusconi would leave office. I even worked up a plan in the Spring on a ‘sex strike’ in Italy. This concept was based on accelerating his leaving office with a mass movement, tied to Berlusconi’s veracious sexual appetite (perhaps for 17 year-old Moroccan girls, the court will find out).
In the end I decided that there was no need for any activity. Mostly this was because I had no one to work with on the ground who could do something about the plan, and wanted to execute a plan. Partly because no one thought that a women’s sex strike in Italy had a chance of working anyway. But the key reason for me was that there was a sense of inevitability. Berlusconi was going to go anyway.
As I write this today (8 Nov), it looks like his coalition is crumbling around him. His biggest concern, I am sure, is not about losing the post of Prime Minister. It will ONLY be losing immunity. So, you can expect him to fight as much as he can to maintain his post, whatever the cost is to Italy’s reputation. I’d expect him to try to negotiate a deal, like Saleh leaving Yemen. Unfortunately for Berlusconi, he’s operating in a fractious, but functioning parliamentary democracy. So, he’s gone.
It will be as seismic as the fall of Mubarak or Ben-Ali. A decade of Berlusconi gone in a two weeks.
We live in interesting times. I need to polish my crystal ball once again (scratch that – my trajectory methodology – no hockus-pocus here!). Netanyahu’s coalition government will collapse too, sometime between Dec and Spring 2012. Why? Ah, that’s for another post (I have a plane to catch).