Mario Draghi, the banker has become a citizen

Not a short speech, but a long one. Not technical, but political. Not cold, but passionate. In his debut as premier, Mario Draghi leaves the role of professor and central banker. The real surprise is the emotion. Withheld, hidden, the opposite of the ostentation envisaged by the strategists of political marketing and therefore authentic. In a whisper: “I would like to tell you that there has never been, in my long professional life, a moment of such intense emotion”. And then betrayed by the hands that claw the stapled sheets to be read, by the crack in the voice, the imprecision on the number of patients in intensive care, he who lived in numbers and figures, by the respect shown towards an assembly that just three weeks ago it was the Ciampolillo bedlam. From the first thought: for the victims of the pandemic and for those suffering from the effects of the economic crisis.

Ten o’clock on February 17, Senate. Classroom first distracted, then silent, the busy president Casellati, the homage to the late Franco Marini, “a man of the people of few, concrete, incisive words”, the greeting to Pier Ferdinando Casini, hospitalized for Covid-19. Draghi is seated between the Northern League player Giancarlo Giorgetti, one of the directors of the operation, and Stefano Patuanelli of the 5 Stars. In recent years, the Palazzo Madama classroom has seen numerous absolute beginners as premier, non-parliamentarians who arrived at the head of the government, at their first speech in the Senate. Mario Monti appeared a few days earlier, appointed senator for life by Giorgio Napolitano, as if to take the measurements of the pitch. Matteo Renzi spoke with a bold hand in his pocket and challenged the senators: «I would like to be the last Prime Minister to ask this House for confidence. They told me that you are lively, we will have fun … »(today instead he will vote as a senator to trust the new government). Giuseppe Conte (one) played the role he had assigned himself as people’s advocate.

Government, Draghi asks for trust: “Today unity is not an option but a duty”

The Senate chamber has seen many, but this one has not yet. Why Draghi decides to present himself in the most unexpected way, because it is too frequented, if not usurped, by populists of all kinds. We are citizens, full stop, the anthem of the 5 Star Movement used to say, but in the meantime the citizen spokespersons have become a new caste of ministers, former ministers, aspiring ministers. And therefore in the reversal it is now up to Draghi, for years represented in the conspiracy imaginary as the man of strong powers, to embody the common citizen, the Italian called to lend a hand because the house is burning. “We are citizens of a country that asks us to do everything possible, without wasting time, without sparing even the smallest effort, to fight the pandemic and counter the economic crisis. And today, the politicians and technicians who make up this new executive are all simply Italian citizens, honored to serve their own country ”. All citizens, technicians and even politicians.

Fifty-two minutes, which are not neutral at all, follow. Of cold passions. Uncomfortable truth: “The government will have to protect workers, all workers, but it would be a mistake to protect all economic activities indifferently.” Of statements that are not taken for granted for a man of numbers. For example, that the growth of the economy does not depend only on economic factors, but on institutions, on the trust of citizens, on the sharing of values ​​and hopes (let’s say those values ​​that according to Robert Kennedy the GDP of a country could not measure) . Realism, because it does not need epochal and verbal turning points and institutions and parties and people remain what they are. Reforms, in Draghi’s language, are the things to do. “The government will make the reforms but will also address the emergency.” Because otherwise you are out of reality.

Government, Draghi asks for trust: “Today unity is not an option but a duty”

The word debt appears in the whole intervention only once: to say that every waste is a resource snatched from future generations. The word GDP, once. As well as the word money, used for one of the few slogans, phrases with effect, almost a concession to social media: “We want to leave a good planet, not just a good currency”. Instead, space for the rights of young people, ecological transition, sustainable mobility, school, training and research, health. Distance learning to be limited. Local health care, counseling centers, mental health centers. The internal areas. Caritas, volunteering, the third sector. Inequality: the Gini coefficient, dear to scholars and to our friend Fabrizio Barca. That even more hateful form of inequality that affects young people and women, on which come the harshest words: “True gender equality does not mean a pharisaic respect for women’s quotas required by law: it requires equal competitive conditions between genres. We aim for a rebalancing of the wage gap and a welfare system that allows women to devote the same energy to their career as their male colleagues, overcoming the choice between family or work “. Pharisaic: or hypocritical, false. Like almost all the words spent in recent years on the issue.

The most spectacular leap is not only the one that goes from the Count to the Count, that is, up to Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, tutelary deity, father of the secular homeland. And not even from Cavour to Pope Francis, the only two mentioned in the pantheon of Draghi who with all-Roman irony unites the man of the Church – State separation together with the Jesuit Pope (but still Savoyard of origin). The leap is from 1850, the year to which the mentioned speech refers, to 2050, by the government of the union, the alliance between Cavour and Rattazzi, the first broad understanding and convergence at the center of national history, to zero CO2 emissions and of “climate-altering” gases, foreseen by the European Union for half a century.

In between, in these two centuries there is our recent history. The reconstruction of the country after the war, the reference model, already present in the now famous article by Draghi in Financial Time a year ago. If the pandemic is a war, it will need a postwar period and a change of mentality. “When we get out, and get out of the pandemic, what world will we find? Some think that the tragedy we lived in for more than 12 months was akin to a long power outage. Sooner or later the light returns, and everything starts again as before. Science and common sense suggest that this may not be the case. ‘


The opportunity and the risk

We need a New Reconstruction, unique capital letters in a speech where ambition is whispered, the horizon suggested. And in the New Reconstruction we need courage, vision, “the highest and noblest expression of politics”, because “before any of our belonging, the duty of citizenship comes”. In a word: the republican spirit. Which sometimes animated the tenants of Palazzo Chigi and more often the pro tempore inhabitants of the Quirinale. Fundamental in France and even more so in the United States and considered rhetorical in Italy. A weapon that has sprung up in the country where every single interest is a small homeland to be defended against all the others.

It is the most difficult challenge of the Draghi government, which of the small party countries will begin to know the mood and resistance already in the next few hours. An immaterial challenge, of that invisible fabric of which a country is made, without which the canvas tears and tears. “There is no sovereignty in solitude. There is only the deception of what we are, in the oblivion of what we have been and in the denial of what we could be “, says the new prime minister referring to the role of Italy in Europe, with a warning to the Lega di Matteo Salvini on the irreversibility of the euro and the Union. But he does not refer only to the sovereignists, citizen Draghi. Because in the vindication of every detail, in the fragmentation, in the disintegration everyone is more alone and weaker.

Thus, it is the last paradox of the morning, the public spirit is called to resurrect through the mouth of a banker who defends political identities from the accusation of having failed and calls them to find themselves in the best of their tradition and not in the worst. Social justice and equality for the left, unity and cohesion for the center, a sense of duty for the right, citizenship for what the 5 Star Movement was. Here the climb becomes even steeper. Because the land is flooded and the head of the third government in three years of legislature with three different majorities knows it better than anyone. If the system were not in a deep crisis, Draghi would not be here. And the system, despite the crisis, has already shown that it is capable of devouring hopes, expectations and leadership that presented themselves as invincible. The game perimeter is this. The Draghi government presents itself without adjectives, but it has at least one hidden, robust and ancient. The land where the game is played. For life, in covid time, and for the future. He was once simply called a reformist.

Source: L'Espresso – News, inchieste e approfondimenti Espresso by

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