Institutional communication. President Draghi has not spoken to Italians since February 17.
On Wednesday 17 February, Prime Minister Mario Draghi speaks in the Senate, in a memorable form, to initiate discussions with parliamentarians' confidence and also to be heard - live - by Italians. "This is the republican spirit - He says - of a government that was born in an emergency situation by collecting the high indication of the head of state". And he adds, in the last words: "Today unity is not an option, unity is a duty. But it is a duty guided by what, I am sure, unites us all: the love for Italy".
It could be argued that it is republican spirit is not to be understood only as the appeal to this convergence of diversities to face greater evils. But it may also be the return - or at least the conversion - of a more sober, more severe, less announcing, less choreographic and, to be honest, less communicative style of government.
Not that President Conte waved his hand in intrusive Peronist rhetoric. In its own way it had a certain sobriety. Although cared for by an idea of institutional communication - cultivated in the building over the years - conspicuously attentive to visibility, television and seductiveness. Clutch bags included.
It is accompanied by improbable balconies of ministers and, especially in the previous government, by a real peremptory, announcing, proclamatory boarding.
The turnaround was therefore not just a question of a personal nature. But as the symbolic translation of a paradigm of governments of difficult times. That Carlo Azeglio Ciampi - a source of inspiration for Draghi himself - had already called in the 90s "Repubblica as res severa".
Part of the applause and consensus, which Italian opinion polls immediately measured at very high figures, contained this perception of a change that was both useful and necessary.
Almost two weeks have passed since those words entered the homes of the Italians and the voice of President Draghi has nevertheless gone off the radar of the Italians themselves.
In the city of President Ciampi, Livorno, an old motto says "nothing is a little bit".
Far from criticism of issues that required a clear and even somewhat prolonged signal to be emblematic. And yet the time has come for a cough.
A cough justified by the persistence of the pandemic. From keeping alive the concerns of direction around maneuvers that not only contain components of appointment but also of social efficacy (such as vaccinations). Not to mention the clarification on the planning approach of the Recovery Plan and the clarification on the relational framework in particular with Europe in a phase in which even the meritorious and deserving Europe signals some misunderstandings.
The pandemic has brought out on several occasions - we have written it in these pages and also in analysis books - a demand for "more institution" to be understood also as "more explanation" and "more accompaniment". Of course, in a service and not a propaganda key. One way of modeling the scientific communication, a little too much left to the journalistic treatment of precious but also a little bit quarrelsome "virologists". And to treat the economic communication left for months to express the slalom between lobbies and not very capable of explaining to citizens the constraints and opportunities not of a short passage but of a great and long transformation. Starting with these issues (many other issues are lining up behind) the resumption of a serious institutional communication regenerated programmatically and in the crucial points - which is inevitable - hinged in the premier's word, is now a question of dutiful reporting.
The dry explanation given by President Draghi himself at first coughs remains methodologically strong and convincing, I don't remember where they matured ("what you do is communicated, not what you intend to do; we have not done anything yet and therefore no communication"). And yet democracy and social control also require an austere, pedagogical and measured "explanation" around concrete objectives and then measurable guidelines. Especially in this historical phase a word understood not as a promotional rhetoric but as an intrinsic social message in the institutional function itself. The one that, for example, the Italians have grasped in the death of an ambassador and a carabiniere who did not make speeches, acting for social and humanitarian objectives. President Draghi has great moral and cultural resources to find ways to carry out - within the framework of an institutional communication policy as a whole - this form of service in the way that is certainly more in keeping with his philosophy of government and also with the expectations of the people.