Vittorio Colao’s quarantine is in fact over. Not even forty days have passed, but the group of super consultants who should have designed the future of Italy is being dismissed. It didn’t go well. The mission of the Argonauts has failed. Not only did they not find the golden fleece, but they found themselves stuck in a spell. They spoke and there was nobody to listen to them seriously. Not that their voice didn’t come, but the answer was a grunt, a snort, an impatient sigh, a gesture of annoyance, a nervous look at the clock. They say that last Friday there was a remote meeting, by videoconference, with Palazzo Chigi. Colao begins to explain what is needed, the work of the task force, the ideas, suggests, illustrates, tries to reach some conclusions. On the other hand, interest is zero. Conte is distracted, talks on the phone, thinks about the problems with the regional presidents. It seems to be there because it cannot do without it. The effect is alienating. Colao finds himself in that situation, between the ridiculous and the paradoxical, of those who are perceived as a logorroic nuisance. It is blatantly the unwanted, the one that makes you waste time, precious time. The instinctive and common sense reaction, in these cases, is to say badly: but who asked you anything, why did you call me? Do you know what is there? Let’s end it here. At the end of the month we close with this farce.
This is more or less what Colao said. Then he denied, for a quiet life, not to underline an experience to be canceled as soon as possible. The sense of the relationship between the manager and the government is this. After twenty minutes Conte had already closed the connection. When Colao suggested investing in human capital, Conte threw up all his annoyance: «If you have any more specific ideas, let’s talk about it and maybe insert it in the next decree. Get in touch with my ministers. ” These are the same words that the Prime Minister generally reserves for the ideas of the opposition. The message is clear: I don’t care what you say.
It is not a surprise. This story starts badly. It is immediately perceived as a sign of distrust towards Conte. They are the first days of April. It is the darkest moment of the pandemic. The numbers of the infection go up hour by hour. The dead are counted. It is clear to everyone that the virus has brought a country to its knees. The shock wave is something never seen before. All home, all closed. Fear grows with every afternoon bulletin. The emergency is to save your skin, but you also try to imagine what the next will be like. How to start again? The majority parties ask for it. Above all, the Quirinale is thinking about it. Conte needs help, support. Virologists care about health, but a group of professionals is also needed to think about the future. You need a super manager. The choice of the former CEO of Vodafone comes from here. On April 11 the team is ready. There are 17 professionals each with a curriculum of excellence in their field. The first controversy is that there are no women. This is why the group now rises to 22, with the addition of pink quotas. It almost tastes like a joke. The task force is an empty shell, but it offers a contentment, mocking, to those who claim gender equality. It is a hypocritical mechanism which, unfortunately, is often repeated in this country. Women are called into play when the game is over, almost forced to face failure.
The big problem is that Conte feels like a downgraded premier. It acts accordingly. The task force is a foreign body. Moreover, Colao remained in London. It is a choice that pays off, because if you are far away you have already lost before starting. The first proposals are baptized as chatter of useless solons who have no relationship with reality. This is what normally happens in these cases. Colao and his argonauts have no defined role and are worth less than a ministry without a portfolio. Not only do they have no power, they are bounced off as consultants no one needed. They are not protected by those who proposed them. The result is that bureaucrats make a wall. It’s their job. This has been the case since the days of absolute rulers. It is so in bureaucracy. The game is easy. Just take the space under the basket and Colao undergoes the most classic of cutters. It is not the first time it has happened. It is the same situation that saw him protagonist, and in retreat, in Rizzoli. There the adventure lasted two years, here the time of the quarantine. The result is the same: he didn’t touch the ball. His defeat will eventually leave a mark on the idea that managerial experience can be a special resource.
How does Conte come out instead? There is no doubt. He sterilized Colao, but with a wrinkled soul. His victory recalls the finale of The Devil’s Advocate, when the diabolical John Milton, with the face of Al Pacino, confesses that he loves the most miserable weakness of humans: “Vanity is definitely my favorite sin”.