The Autumn of the Patriarch is a famous novel by Gabriel García Márquez published in 1975, after the worldwide success of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Very often the first one, especially its title, has been used as a metaphor for describing the descendant parable of Silvio Berlusconi. That novel contains the quintessence of the solitude of power and of its implications.Therefore, not only Silvio Berlusconi’s to whom, truth to be told, that text adheres very little. More likely, there are connotations, characteristics, and joining points with the current premier, Matteo Renzi. Who, and this is how the metaphor finds its place, is looking forward to the hot autumn, crucial to his political career. The reform of the Senate, the package of amendments to the constitution, the issue of immigration with all its complications, the question of southern Italy, the ”Mafia Capitale” scandal, and the crisis of the Municipality of Rome, economic reforms and the structural crisis of our economy to which is connected the risk of a deficit of democracy in our relations with Europe, are all themes that at the moment are stagnant. But the resumption of political activity set for the last week of August will become central again, asking for certain answers, appropriate to the needs of the moment. Long story short, after the summer holidays the executive power and the majority will have to face a particularly insidious historical turn.
Around the corner, and it would be foolish to deny it, there is the ghost of anticipated elections, that could mark the spring of next year. A risk for many, a democratic transition for others. However, a trial for all. Winners and losers, patriarchs and children. The feeling that went on consolidating during these weeks of August is that the government has not yet finalized its autumn agenda, except for the reform of the Senate, the mother of all the battles with the Dem party minority attested on Piave’s line. But compared to Bersani’s and Cuperlo’s Italian army troops, sustained by Fassina’s alliance, seem to have an aggressive strategy. Which is not necessarily a good thing for the country, but it cannot be taken into consideration. Also because a party that grows more and more cross-sectional, represented plastically in the Sunday editorial by Eugenio Scalfari on La Republica and by Ernesto Galli della Loggia on Corriere della Sera, sharply disagrees with the idea that what we are dealing with is a Parliament full of “appointed” people. Is this still democracy or are we drifting towards autocracy? We cannot know the answers, but we know that the game that concerns the reform of the Senate, if it is not crucial to the fate of the Italians, for sure it is central for the rules of the game itself.
This is why it will be a hot autumn, perhaps even a scorching one. The same can be said also about issue of immigration, despite the physiological decline of the landings. Till present times, the government has not learned, or wanted, to apply a general strategy, leaving room to the permanent electoral campaign, in which the parties Lega and Movimento 5 Stelle are in their element. But this is not how problems need to be faced. Pope Francis’ admonition has been a harsh reminder of reality. For all of us. And it concerns the whole chapter of economy. It is not enough to agree on the reduction of taxes, we must put in motion the machine that reduces the voracity of the tax office. This is why Italians are expecting strong and targeted choices, that will go beyond the logic of an electoral commercial concerning the first house, the excise taxes that transform their property into a problem rather than a solution. And it is not going to be so, for the simple reason that everyone, and really I mean everyone, loads it with particular meanings, crucial symbols we are unable to avoid.
If Renzi manages to change direction, that is to exit ‘talking’ in order to enter ‘making’, we will have a memorable autumn, and not a black September. But only if he finds courage and accordance with the country, starting from the South. Talking about masterplans is nice, of course, but it is not substantial for solving, or better, attacking, the atavistic problems that afflict the south of Italy. If the government, and the Parliament along with it, should remain on the mattress with springs made of announcements, jumping over problems, then there will really come an autumn of the patriarch. One man ruling, to put it in Mattarella’s words, is not enough for a country that is incapable of standing back on its feet by itself. Everyone’s participation is needed in order to start moving again.
Translated by Ecaterina Severin