Commentary. Matteo Renzi, a constant presence in every lost battle, is now—incredibly—claiming to be defending the Constitution against Conte, the “dictator.”

The right and Renzi, brave champions of the economy

The North of their imagination is supposedly in revolt, the barricades are being built in the squares, the bishops are attacking and retreating in turn. And Renzi, a constant presence in every lost battle, is now—incredibly—claiming to be defending the Constitution against Conte, the “dictator.” Reading the newspapers these days, we are reminded of that saying that suspiciousness may be a sin, but it often gets things right.

The fact that Conte hasn’t given permission to celebrate Mass, and hasn’t decided to reopen everything immediately, is said to have trampled over everyone’s rights and duties.

In essence, the message is that Conte should have been less worried about health, both public and that of individuals, and just gone on to restart the engines of the economy, reopen schools, churches and hair salons.

As evidence for this irresponsible and disingenuous thesis, they are invoking the examples of those governments—of Germany, Spain and France—which, they claim, have been open-minded and have moved swiftly with regard to the reopenings in their countries. Salvini, Meloni, Berlusconi and Renzi (and the bishops) are presenting themselves as the champions of this “brave” political line, so highly appreciated at the large national dailies.

But if we move from the crudest political propaganda and focus on the raw reality of the facts, if we look at the health situation and what awaits us in the coming months, with the tightrope we’ll have to walk in the fall, with the reopening of schools and of trade, if anything, the criticism should be the exact opposite: are we actually ready to face the situation that will be set in motion if we send millions of people off to work, who could reignite the hotbeds of contagion?

Especially because of the obvious difficulties involved in the prospect of resuming the usual everyday rhythms of activity, in healthcare and schools, in public transport and social life. On Tuesday, the technical-scientific committee estimated that if all activities were to reopen, there would be 151,000 Italians who would end up in intensive care.

It is true that the economic situation of the country is disastrous. Millions of families are on the threshold of poverty, millions of women and men no longer have an income, not even the minimum state-guaranteed one. Perhaps the more important thing to do today is not so much—and not only—to guarantee the resumption of work activities in all sectors, but rather to ensure an emergency income to help people deal with the crisis, as is being painstakingly attempted. Without the certainty of this support, International Workers Day on May 1 will only be a cruel reminder for millions of people.

It also seems paradoxical that it was Pope Francis who put things back on track by bringing the IEC and the Catholic world back to a sense of responsibility, stressing the need to obey and be prudent at the moment. With his few words, the pope has shown a level of “secularism” indicative of the times we are going through. He is aware that we are taking risks, as are the government and Conte.

It is no coincidence that in Germany, the reference country for the European leadership, the reopening of economic activities turned out to be a serious misstep: on Tuesday, the number of those newly infected had already risen, and significantly so.

That is why the steady media drumbeat in favor of the opposition is shocking to witness. All the more so because Salvini, Meloni and Berlusconi have been marginalized by a virus that is even more violent and destructive than their ideas. They are floundering in their defense of the Confindustria protest and of the regions, in particular Lombardy and Piedmont, led by the center-right—all negative examples, failures when confronted with the pandemic emergency.

But even more astonishing is Renzi’s behavior, like a comedy actor playing two completely different roles: in government during the day, plotting to put the government in crisis at night.

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