The redemption of the underdog

Mediate, cash in, counterattack. The “underdog” has shown undeniable character and personality in these early days of the legislature. As much in the Chambers as outside. The political week went exactly as it was supposed to, with no jolts or surprises. Giorgia Meloni won the confidence of the House (235 votes in the Chamber of Deputies and 115 in the Senate), and the coalition remained united. Indeed, it even gained a wink from Matteo Renzi, who promised constructive and non-ideological opposition, opening, in fact, to possible collaboration on some measures. Yet there was no shortage of the usual skirmishes, among them the one with Deborah Serracchiani (“Does it seem to you that I’m one step behind the men?”), in which the new premier had a chance to show all his grit. As he did with his speech, robust, decisive, responsible, stern. As Professor Sabino Cassese said in one of his interviews with La Stampa, «it was a fighter’s speech».

Giorgia Meloni seems to be very clear that she will have to fight. In the meantime, she will have to do so within her majority, with her allies who at several junctures have not failed to express their nervousness. And the round of appointments of deputy ministers and undersecretaries, scheduled for Monday’s Council of Ministers, should be a chance to satisfy the balance and make it more stable.
But it will have to do so above all externally, with the oppositions, from the currently more ideological one of the PD, often very aggressive at the limits of institutional elegance, to the more militant one of the 5Stelle Movement. And it will also have to do so with prejudice, which from the Chambers to many spheres of civil society is inevitably spreading, sometimes for merely instrumental reasons, sometimes simply out of fear and suspicion triggered by diversity. But Giorgia Meloni is aware of this, as she herself admitted in the epic of the underdog: «I am the underdog, the underdog, who in order to assert myself has to upset all the odds. I intend to do it again, to upset the odds. […] At the end of this adventure I will only care about one thing: knowing that we have done all we can do to give the Italians a better nation. Sometimes we will succeed, sometimes we will fail, but rest assured that we will not back down».

A little backtracking, admittedly, though decidedly technical rather than political, took place on the issue of raising the cash threshold from 10 to 5 thousand euros. A thorny issue, this one, consistent with the very flat economic approach of the center-right, but counter to European dynamics. However, the debate took place more in the newspapers than in the rooms of competence. After all, it could not have been otherwise. And in the newspapers, between interviews and statements, the government’s policy direction has been revealed by spot themes in recent days. From the newly appointed Minister of Enterprise and Made in Italy Adolfo Urso, who closed to the budget variance and instead announced a revision of the rule on extra-profits to improve it and meet the needs of businesses and families, to the new Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci, who anticipated the less restrictive posture on Covid, to Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, who explained the tightening of the NGO ships.

The Meloni government, in short, is beginning to sharpen its weapons, preparing for a difficult season, shaken by high utility bills, warnings of recession, record inflation and international concerns. And with a first test to face that will be perhaps the most difficult: the budget law. By the end of November (presumably the 20th!) the bill must arrive in the Chamber of Deputies Budget commission. A commission that, as of today, like the others, is still not formally constituted.