Only in the last, incomprehensible, eighteen days he tried to dress as a wolf, then as a grandmother, then as a wolf, then the People’s Red Riding Hood returned, the one who made his debut in politics by asking his deputy premieres “Can I tell you this?” ‘yet another change of clothes, more than a head of government, the rag doll with which you once played, the one that, depending on the direction with which you took it, turning the skirt upside down and turning the hat, became a character unlike the fable of Charles Perrault. The face like a two-faced Janus: on this side little hood, on the other side the wolf. How long will it last, Giuseppe Conte, even with this disguise? Impossible to say. Suffice it to say that in one of the most modern versions of the fable, in the verse version of the English writer Roald Dahl, even the mild-mannered Little Red Riding Hood at one point pulls the gun out of her underwear, shoots the wolf and makes a fur of it, so who knows.
Little had spared us so far, this crazy legislature: and in that little, among the few certainties, together with the irreplaceable minister Danilo Toninelli – last performance, the 42 “I don’t remember” at the trial that sees Matteo Salvini accused in Catania – c ‘was being able to consider Giuseppe Conte as a vain Martian, very capable of transforming, but hesitant, quirky and prudent, incapable of unscrupulous maneuvers of authentic malice, if only out of cunning lawyer.
Here, even this certainty has been seen to fall, in these crazy days where nothing has remained as it was, untouched.
Days in which most of the negotiations were managed not by a party headquarters but by the thirty-five square meter mini-apartment of Goffredo Bettini, a sort of shadow secretary for the dem, but now also a tutor of Palazzo Chigi in the dark forest of politics. Crisis in which the main parties have not been able to weave a coherent strategy, while one of the main targets of Matteo Renzi, lifter of chaos, was incredibly, even more than the premier, his spokesperson: Rocco Casalino, prime suspect, as a former a competitor of Big Brother, the Renzian accusation of having transformed “democracy into a reality show” (the leader of IV has also blocked him on Whatsapp, it became known). A crisis in which the heaviest party in Parliament, the Five Stars, remained incapable of a significant position for days, divided between an unnecessary regent (Vito Crimi) and a silent former leader (Luigi Di Maio). And in which even the turncoats, the displaced, those always portrayed as absolute evil from the vast world that revolves around the grillini, have for a moment become seriously “responsible”, personalities to whom to entrust the stability of the government shaken by Renzian arrows. (After all, “responsibility”, in an earthquake in which everything means nothing, is the cardinal principle invoked by Renzi himself in the press conference in which he finally resigned the government delegation of Italy alive, the ministers Teresa Bellanova and Elena Bonetti, and the undersecretary Ivan Scalfarotto).
So imagine, among so many fables in recent days even a bad Giuseppe Conte has been glimpsed. Ready to follow with determination the indications, coming in the evening from phone calls such as last Monday from the director of the Fact Marco Travaglio, high councilor, who spurred towards a new majority to be built in Parliament, gathering the missing in the political arc among the former grillini and the Azzurri (followed by the nocturnal messages from Casalino to Crimi and to the Keeper of the Seals Alfonso Bonafede). And all the elected individuals dispersed from the day by day of a political activity now transfigured by Covid-19 have been resurrected between the Chamber and the Senate: a single thrill of life has traveled the Sandra Lonardo and the Osvaldo Napoli, the Donatella Conzatti and the Paola Binetti, the Bruno Tabacci and the Gaetano Quagliariello. Even Domenico Scilipoti suddenly had a lot of things to say, and many microphones to let everyone know.
In the meantime, Conte, the lupetto version, has started walking again on the street: Monday just to have a coffee and be interviewed by Tg3, Tuesday to get some air and walk along Via del Corso, the shopping street. Precise strategy – it is not known if effective this time. He had done so only at the end of August 2019, at the time of the consultations after the end of the yellow-green government and the ruinous fall of the Northern League leader, when he left Palazzo Chigi and crossed Piazza Colonna to go and buy a mobile phone for his son at the Tim shop (to follow, to say the lightheartedness of the time: controversy for the indirect form of advertising). Then, in those days, Conte had just redeemed his image as premier-stand-in for his deputies, skewering Matteo Salvini in the Senate who until then had almost commanded him with a stick. With that speech in the courtroom, which was not followed by a vote, he seemed to have dressed, all of a sudden, as a kind of national hero in the eyes of the center-left people; before actually becoming one, for a time, in the season of the first wave of the pandemic.
The same image has tried to polish Conte these days, making the big garment that runs without a coat, with the jacket open despite the cold, who stops to talk to everyone, who lends himself to photographs and smiles of consolation. He who is on the side of the people who allows them to buy “steak or glasses” thanks to the citizenship income. In short, the people’s advocate: a role also claimed in the press conference at the end of the year, celebrated at Villa Madama as in the times of Silvio Berlusconi’s political reign (even the head of Forza Italia is also very active these days). A meeting with journalists in which, for the first time, the premier sat at the poker table with the leader of alive Italy Matteo Renzi saying he was ready for a “clear and frank passage in Parliament” (but not necessarily understanding the final count of the votes). Here is that December 30, Giuseppe Conte said he was still at ease in this definition, and confirmed it: «People’s Advocate meant not doing one’s own interest, not responding to lobbies and pressure or power groups. I will be immodest, but I have always pursued this, and until the last minute it will be so », he went so far as to say.
He was the scrapper of 40 percent, then the head of Italia Viva. Now he aims to intercept the discontent of the Democratic Party by attacking the Prime Minister
In short, an assurance of internal consistency: it is a pity that on that occasion, the Prime Minister said, speaking of himself in the third person, that “the undersigned is not looking for other majorities”, and is not even available to “get by “. However, these days, the same bi-premier, legendary head of two opposing and consecutive majorities, seemed more than willing to overcome, showing himself ready, at times, for the final challenge in Parliament, but also for the creation of a party on his own, and finally also to abruptly halt the race towards the break after the decisive intervention of the Quirinale by Sergio Mattarella, to stop the screwing towards the crisis.
In short, a lawyer, yes, but of which people? The action of Matteo Renzi, moreover, showed in the light of day the main contradiction in which the parties of the majority move. Both the Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement, in fact, have hid right behind the figure of Conte, since the time of the formation of the yellow-pink government, to leave substantially unresolved the knots about their respective future leadership. As for the Democratic Party, the secretary Nicola Zingaretti, after having a lot of niche on his figure, has come to exalt himself on several occasions for Conte’s leadership capacity, even coming to imagine him as a possible federator of a new center-left, Roman model Prodi.
Even more complicated is the same game, for the leadership, seen from the side of the Five Star Movement. A party that seems stranded in its internal system, especially after the States General and the crisis of the vital relationship with Davide Casaleggio: net of the procedures to be followed and the bureaucracy of the appointments, in fact, the unbridgeable distance between the premier indicated by the party, Conte, and its main exponent, Di Maio. In recent days, the Foreign Minister has been the most spectacular of all, for his capacity for silent slalom.
United with Conte now only by the feeling of mutual aversion, he made a couple of really remarkable moves in terms of irony. Last weekend, while the premier was looking with fear at the Italia Viva evening meetings, Di Maio left for a mission to Jordan, where he met Prime Minister Al Khasawneh and half the government, and to Saudi Arabia. On Monday, while Conte was trying to make a move on the street, Di Maio posted photos of his meeting with Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman on Facebook, essentially explaining that it was better to work on international cooperation than to “discuss or make controversy”. On Tuesday evening, shortly before the long-awaited Council of Ministers approving the Recovery plan, with the abstention of Ministers Bellanova and Bonetti, he was able to spread his satisfaction: “For the second consecutive year, after about 14 years of hiatus, there will be the F1 grand prix in Imola. An excellent result, which will allow Italy to have an important international showcase ».
This too, in short, another crazy micro-mechanism contained within the crazy music box of this crisis – of parties and politics as well as of the government – in which we began with a people’s lawyer disguised as a wolf, but who knows that we have not already finished straight into a terrifying tale worthy of a David Lynch film.
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