If there’s anything more frightening than the coronavirus, it’s the idea of a government of “national unity” with Renzi and Salvini, who have both called for it. We have to fear the prospect of this as a major national disaster.
Renzi, accustomed to being the man in charge, is now sitting on a small percentage of electoral support that turns him into a marginal figure. Salvini, riding high in the polls, has ended up in opposition, with nothing to do but repeat “Elections! Elections!” like a broken record. And the more both of them scream from the sidelines, the more the government is being shaken on the roller coaster of the health emergency.
So far, the emergency has been managed by implementing draconian measures with heavy economic consequences, then trying to steady the ship with a progressive easing of restrictions, trying to correct the course set by the initial alarm, which was amplified out of all proportion in the first place by the information distribution system, newspapers and television.
However, for Salvini and Renzi, the longer Conte remains Prime Minister, the more he becomes their main adversary, because for such characters as the head of the Lega and the “little king” of Italia Viva, not being at center stage is an existential threat. That’s why Salvini is doing stunts such as calling for the borders to be closed, and, after being rebuked by the Lega’s own President of Lombardy, changing his tune entirely and asking for an audience with Mattarella (who has to grant him one, since he is the leader of the opposition).
Moreover, to get a clear idea about the patterns of behavior of the ruling classes, it’s enough to compare two paradigmatic figures: Milan’s Mayor Sala and Lombardy’s President Fontana. The mayor is appealing to citizens not to give up their social nature because of fear (#Milanononsiferma), while the president has earned ridicule for a hilarious viral video. If it weren’t for the fact that he is at the head of the government of Lombardy, this would hardly even be worth talking about, but showing up on TV with a face mask on in his office (of the wrong type, of course) after having said that the coronavirus was little more than a flu marks him out as an unfit politician, unable to handle the role of great responsibility he is supposed to fulfil.
Such a man can’t even be trusted with the task of managing an apartment building—so how can anyone consider handing over the government of the country to the maneuvers of two egomaniacs on a rampage?
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Your weekly briefing of progressive news.