The Genoa International Boat Show may have been a success, but it was in no way thanks to the Italian politicians who turned up for a media parade in the run-up to the European elections
by Francesco Michienzi
“People are caught in a grasp, but they are victims of their own choices. It would be wonderful to wake up and find a world without plastic, with clean energy. With people who can smile because they enjoy going to work. Because it’s no longer necessary to make money to survive”. Giovanni, the main character of a great novel, wakes up after thirty years in a coma caused by an RTI, just before graduating from high school in Rome. He wants to get his life back, starting with that exam. He reflects on how everything has changed but remained the same. This is especially true of people and their feelings, their behaviour and their impulses, which are identical to what they have always been. It is a book that is at once ironic, amusing and bitter, reminding us of who we were and painting a picture of who we are today. Looking back, we can also see how much has stayed the same. But some things have got worse. Just think of the way we are treated by politicians who consider us incapable of understanding the complexity of the problems we face.
THE 63RD GENOA INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW CLOSED WITH 118,269 VISITORS, AN INCREASE OF +13.9% OVER THE PREVIOUS YEAR. THERE WERE 1,043 BRANDS EXHIBITED, UP 4.5%, 1,000 BOATS AND 143 MORE MOORINGS IN THE WATER THANKS TO THE OPENINGOF NEW CHANNELS. A TOTAL OF 184 NEW PRODUCTS WERE ON DISPLAY FOR THE FIRST TIME, WHILE 3,190 SEA TRIALS WERE CARRIED OUT.
At the opening of the 63rd Genoa International Boat Show, the president of Confindustria Nautica, Saverio Cecchi, asked Minister Matteo Salvini a series of specific questions. Unfortunately, no attempt was made to answer them. The Deputy Prime Minister simply listed the public projects to be developed, such as the bypass, the Terzo Valico high-speed rail link and the new breakwater. I was also expecting the bridge over the Strait of Messina. Fortunately, he spared us.
SOCIETY HAS CHANGED MASSIVELY OVER THE LAST THIRTY YEARS, BUT PEOPLE ARE STILL THE SAME WHEN IT COMES TO FEELINGS, PASSIONS AND BEHAVIOURS.
Italian shipping needs concrete answers, not the general presence of seven ministers who have come to the Ligurian capital to campaign for the 2024 European elections. To give just one example: the registration of commercial yachts in the International Register involves such burdensome administrative, operational and management tasks that many owners are put off. Although some simplifications have already been introduced, thanks to the efforts of Confindustria Nautica, they are still not enough to attract owners of large yachts, of which Italy is the world’s leading manufacturer, so they continue to be registered under the flags of states with much more favourable fiscal and bureaucratic policies than ours. Not only does this policy not help us, but it also holds the industry hostage for two days at a boat show that lasts less than a week, all to increase its visibility. Hundreds of bodyguards from all the security forces and dozens and dozens of officials visited the boats. Think of the waste of public money on these essentially useless visits. I remember the over-zealous lady who, with a military air, rebuked me and the person I was talking to, because we happened to be in the vicinity of Prime Minister Meloni’s imminent arrival, with a peremptory order: Get out of the way, you can’t be in the Prime Minister’s official photo!
This anecdote could be paraphrased by the famous title song of Indietro tutta, Renzo Arbore’s unforgettable television programme: Sì, la vita è tutta un quiz (Yes, life is just one big quiz), which became Yes, life is just one big selfie. That programme was also a way of questioning the self-referential elements of the world of commercial television, which was the archetype that dictated the organisation of time in society but also influenced interpersonal relationships to construct the collective imagination. It is a lesson that our politicians have deeply internalised, but they cannot really believe that photo opportunities, selfies and banal slogans are enough. We need concrete action, deeds, not words. The news columns are full of issues that politicians should be addressing. This country cannot be changed by words alone. It has to be done by working harder, as we do every day to take our businesses forward. Less talking and more doing, solving problems, and no more excuses about it always being the fault of those who came before. We would all be better off with a bit of silence.
(Life is one big selfie – Barchemagazine.com – November 2023)