Commentary. Mario Draghi began his investiture speech by addressing a captatio benevolentiae to Parliament with the evocation of the republican spirit. But it’s hard to believe Draghi’s program isn’t about the corporatization of the country.

Draghi’s good intentions are not enough

Knowing that, beyond the programmatic promises, his appointment to the helm of Italian politics is a beam in the eye of the democratic system, Mario Draghi began his investiture speech by addressing a captatio benevolentiae to Parliament with the evocation of the republican spirit.

And, knowing that him being installed in the Palazzo Chigi marks a retreat from the normal and virtuous contrast between the majority and the opposition, he gave assurance that his role does not mark the failure of politics, because no one has been asked to “take a step backwards with respect to their identity,” even if he then had to agree that “before any partisanship, there is the right of citizenship,” where “everyone gives up something for the good of all.”

After he invoked the example of Cavour and the supreme good of the nation to cover over the smell of financial dirigisme, before delving into the lines of the program, Draghi addressed a thank-you to Conte, with a reference to the tracks laid by his predecessor on the crucial point of the recovery plan, the fight against the pandemic and the change of the development model through an ecological revolution.

A speech is a speech, and nothing guarantees that a “Conte 3” moved towards the right is the solution. On the contrary.

But if we are to stick to the words spoken on Wednesday in the Senate chamber, three significant passages are worth noting.

First of all, the repeated reference to gender equality, to the “pharisaic respect for quotas” which, even when achieved, are then immediately belied by the “wage disparity, among the highest in Europe.” In the same vein, with regard to policies for the South, he insisted on female employment.

The second element with a powerful resonance came halfway through the speech, with the quotation of Pope Francis’s words on the necessary radicalism of respect for the environment, closely linking the pandemic, the leap of the virus from animal to human, with the violent destruction of the planet: “We want to leave a good planet behind, not just a good currency.”

Consequently—and this is the third point—the need to change the development model was mentioned under many aspects, but made concrete with an example that everyone understands, especially in a country like ours.

Draghi tackled tourism head-on, distancing himself from the popular position that sees a boon in further construction and instead focusing on the “preservation of the natural and artistic heritage.” He returned to the subject in his reply.

And if there was a hint of polemics in his long speech, it was directed at the Lega. Both on the tax system (with the mention of the reform drawn up by the Visentini Commission) and on the fact that “there is no sovereignty in solitude,” on “the irreversibility of the euro,” as well as on local and community healthcare, the opposite of the failed Lombardy model.

It is hard to believe that these words full of positive commitment (along with other less agreeable ones, of course) are not destined to remain a dead letter with a government that, first and foremost in its technical side, does not include anyone even slightly resembling an environmentalist, but, on the contrary, entrusts the fate of the country to a string of economists.

And, more generally, it’s hard to believe that the whole of the vast program won’t be reduced to an idea of corporatization of the country, in a sort of revived Berlusconism: the Italian system as a company entrusted to a good father of the family who puts the budget in order with a tempered neo-liberalism.

How the announced change of policy regarding tourism could be reconciled with placing a standard bearer of developmentism from the Lega in that ministry is a contradiction in terms.

However, this government of all and none is also a challenge for the left, both for those who will vote for it and for those who will say no.

From this point of view, the formation of a parliamentary intergroup between the PD, M5S and LeU is a first pillar to strengthen the alliance removed from government with a palace coup. At least as long as it doesn’t have the rushed nature of repositioning tactics, but is aimed at building an alternative when we are called to vote.

Also, in this context, there is the task of forming a new left-wing force, of which we have been deprived for too long, and not due to any fault of the former central banker. This is all the more necessary to return the social issue to the center of political action, when, as Draghi says, once the pandemic is over, we will be able to turn the light on once again.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your weekly briefing of progressive news.

You have Successfully Subscribed!