The party was prepared as God intended, the good dinner service was laid out and then nobody came. You feel bad and you have to nibble all this stuff, just pretending that’s OK, because your friends are feeling quite poorly, they are just in crisis. Beppe Sala, for the first time at La Scala as mayor of Milan, was orphaned by his main political sponsors: the Renzi government is gone. This was not expected in the “pact” full of promises and millions signed with his friend Matteo just a few weeks ago.
And so, the laboratory city of the national party that was, has first hand knowledge of what it means to have staked everything on the losing horse, right in the day of St. Ambrose. Milan will still be the “the country’s tow truck” — as it is often called — but Wednesday the institutions stayed away from the ritual that symbolically represents the best the arrogance of power, the VIP in attendance packaged as mannequins slipping hurriedly through the foyer protected by the police, and all other citizens out in the cold kept at bay behind the barriers.
Wednesday was not the right day for anyone, not even the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, or the newly found president of the Senate Pietro Grasso, the president of the Chamber Laura Boldrini or anyone else. These absences were justified. Not even a minister found half-day off to attend the Madama Butterfly conducted by Riccardo Chailly. The presence of the governor of the Lombardy Region Bobo Maroni, the highest authority in the State, did not provide much comfort unbeknownst to the “first” menace of the government crisis.
The Milanese style rhetoric, however, speaks of the found again “sobriety” and then it is a triumph of nice gestures directed towards those who are always on the other side of the barriers — and not only in the streets. The City of Milan has sold all its tickets and the proceeds will be invested in social projects. The performance was broadcast to several locations, including prisons. At the Royal box seat of La Scala Theater, instead of president Mattarella, four earthquake victims citizens of Amatrice and Accumoli sat.
The VIP hunters had to settle for a few beautiful and impossible (Carlo Cracco and Roberto Bolle); then, they had to settle for more pop personalities like Alfonso Signorini, Cristina Parodi and the impersonator Dario Ballantini disguised as Donald Trump. But perhaps the seal of the day, a kind of bleak political testament of the new Milan road, was the award of the Ambrogino d’Oro to former mayor of Milan Letizia Moratti, with whom Beppe Sala worked as a manager.
The mayor, in addition to taking comfort in the happy island metaphor — “we must continue to give a great example, today Milan is beautiful” — was forced to say something about the initiative of his predecessor Giuliano Pisapia, who still dreams of uniting what remains of the left groups open to dialogue with Renzi’s Democratic Party, as if nothing had happened on Dec. 4. “I think the only possible model is Milano with a united left, of course the political space is wide and narrow, you have to understand who will be the traveling companions who will join later.” Translation: meh.
Following tradition, a touch of stage has been reserved for the ritual protest in the streets, lost in the vortex of the crowd elbowing nearby to enjoy the luxury to be there this Christmas. On one side, dozens of Cub trade unionists with mannequins of Matteo Renzi, Susanna Camusso and Anna Maria Furlan (“thieves of rights”), and on the other hand, many other militants of the Cantiere community center who attempt “an action” against the police: they face one another with caution, vegetables are thrown, smoke bombs are lit.
The words put in writing reflect the feelings of many who protested at the polling station on Sunday. There is the banner “Beautiful big ciao. And now let’s purge all “and “People before profit.” That message rings particularly urgent in the only large Italian city where the Yes won for only 15,197 votes, all raked in Municipality 1, the richest area of the richest city in Italy. Perhaps it is an island, as the mayor says, but it does not look particularly happy.