The lost word

  • Italiano

I am still convinced that words must recover their lost function. I think credibility is an inexhaustible well. Especially in a country that in the past, as I said, has squandered tons of credibility on the altar of quick and easy consensus. On the confidence market, the interlocutors measure you – I repeat it – on the basis of consistency between what you say and what you do. It is true for people, it is true for societies, it is true for such complex systems as current globalized States. If your word is not considered reliable, no reassures, promises, or announces will not work.

I have always tried to apply this belief in an almost sacral way. I have often been accused of talking too little and criticized because I chose a low-key, institutional, and little combative style of communication. I have certainly made mistakes. Yet, for me the value of words is still one of the cornerstones on which to build good politics. For example, very simply, if you make a commitment, you cannot hope that citizens will forget about them and not honor them. Nor can you rely on the poker logic of continuous revival – a promise today, another one tomorrow – because in the end, the bluff will be discovered.

We, for example, had pledged to abolish public financing of political parties. More than once, both inside and outside the Parliament. In the end we did it, despite the obvious resistance and the less obvious (which for me have certainly been more surprising).

At the beginning of my mandate, to cite another case which is particularly close to my heart, I said that in case it was proved that the Government had penalized cultural policies, I would have resigned. At the end of the day, despite the fact that resources always seem to poor for those who handle public money, resources for culture, schools, and universities increased during those months. I think first of all about the ambitious – in its scope and modes – program with the European Investment Bank with regard to school construction. Or the right to education, whose financing we have rendered structural, thanks primarily to the commitment and passion of the Minister Maria Chiara Carrozza. In a country where inequalities continue to grow, both inside and in relation to other advanced societies, the “social elevator”, so to say, should and has to start moving and working. Of course more could have been done. But being faithful to what I had said was an priority question for me.

Besides being a matter of regret, it suggests how much attention those who have positions of public responsibility should be reserved to the value of words. Are there still alternatives to compulsive announcing? If you do not exaggerate, insult, can you still be heard? I think you can. And I am sure of it today more than ever. Moreover, I think it is our duty to oppose this wave when it is necessary.

From Going together, going far (Mondadori editions)

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