Yesterday, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi leapt to the defence of an Italian footballer who had given the crowd a fascist salute, saying that he was simply "a good boy, just a bit of a show-off". But he also had this to say on fascism itself:
"Fascism is finished, Communism continues," he snorted. Mussolini's era hadn't been so bad, he added, explaining that Fascist racial laws against Jews were only introduced to help the Axis war effort.
"Fascism in Italy was never a criminal doctrine..."
Lest we forget, fascism in Italy involved systematic thuggery, the intimidation, beating and murder of opponents, the organised political violence by a private army of blackshirts, the seizure of power in what was effectively a military coup. And this was before they were the government. If that's not criminal, then you have to wonder what the hell is...