05 June 2021
It was not a joke: Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi really want to get together, taking the opportunity of the company that unites them in the majority of Mario Draghi’s government to arrive at a political federation and also a union of parliamentary groups that is still all to be built.
The surprise came yesterday from the Cavaliere who returned to a political meeting with his family and threw himself on that new step that seemed to want to build Salvini according to malicious interpretations to protect himself from the explosive growth of Giorgia Meloni and her Brothers of Italy. But I don’t think that is the driving force behind this choice, which instead helps Salvini in the path he has taken by getting on board the Draghi government. The problem of the League and its leader has always been one: great grip on the electorate, extraordinary ability to speak to the belly of the country, but very little relations with the powers that still count, especially abroad. Ugly and unfair it was, the truth is that even if the leader of the League had grinded consensus even exceeding the peaks reached between 2018 and 2019, he could hardly have put that electoral treasure to good use. Put simply and directly, Salvini would never be allowed to rule Italy. We can shout as much as we want to the scandal, but we must deal with reality anyway. For him there was a need for a change of register and also of score, which he began to do with obvious difficulties with the Draghi government. Since that day he has lost some consensus (but the bulk of them had already left before, with an electorate a little tired of the propaganda style and hearing only three or four notes playing), but he started to gain meters of credibility in front of the eyes that matter. For him it was a necessary step. And the union with the Knight goes in the same direction: it strengthens the cultural and economic policy component of the center-right within the executive and offers some more guarantees outside the borders for the political position of the League which is approaching European conservatism in small steps , perhaps even to the right of the popular, slipping away from companies that embarrass the various chancelleries. Not if it comes to an end, but it is a step towards building a center-right a bit more robust and with a more solid future.
There is no doubt that – albeit with some errors – the only one on the front of Italian conservatism who has been able to unite so far has proved to be Berlusconi. He was a party leader, also due to the size of Forza Italia, the leader of a coalition that has been able to keep together for many years. That vocation to the “center-right” has been his only one until today. Neither Salvini nor Meloni have shown they have it, who are two extraordinary political leaders but so far little interested in taking a step beyond leading their own troops. Had he had that vocation in 2018 Salvini would never have entered the government with the M5s only with the Lega. Probably these confused years come from having refused from the first day the leadership of the center-right, which would have made him say “in with all or all out”. The film was repeated at the time of the establishment of the Draghi government where each political force chose for itself without even seeking a shared solution. Peace, that’s how it went. But in this way it matters very little and perhaps nothing in the future if everyone tries to go their own way. It may also be that the polls reward one or the other at various times, because certain choices may be more popular. But if the center-right does not have a shape and a soul as a whole, it will not be able to govern Italy either because someone else will prevent it or because with the tensions of these two years no one is able to hold on to power.
Berlusconi today is still a precious resource, and he demonstrates it precisely on this occasion to keep everyone together, but his heirs – and it will necessarily be one between Salvini and Meloni – must demonstrate his same vocation, placing the flags under the table party and the legitimate ambitions of the respective ruling classes. We are witnessing what happens when it is not like this: with the center-right that for months has not been able to sit around a table and propose candidates for mayors for the next very important administrative offices. We need a shock for everyone, and we hope that it really comes by early next week. Forced then to campaign together, maybe it will be easier to find the reasons for the coalition.