The Italian parliament has accepted a motion to consider changing their national flag from the current Tricolore to a more provocative design; one that would include a simplified image of the resurrected Costa Concordia cruise ship. The motion was brought forth by Giuseppe Giovanni, MP for the region covering the Isola De Giglio – where the ship sank – and was accepted after a cantankerous vote of 189-188.
In a translation of the parliamentary transcript, Mr. Giovanni states: “This ship. Is Italia. She was put on the rocks by a negligent authority trying to play flashy-flashy with other people’s welfare. This same authority abandoned her in the emergency he made while she sank. This ship. This ship is Italia. But now, after so much work, and red tape, and many saying it couldn’t happen, and red tape, and a lot of help from other countries, she is back afloat. Italia is afloating.”
The record then shows an MP from Roma rose to point out that the Costa Concordia is off the bottom only as a result of the most expensive salvage operation in history, and only because she had enormous steel sponsons welded onto both sides along her entire length. “Are you then saying that Italy is only upright due to the crutches of outside intervention?” The member asked, “And that this was only done to drag our proud nation into port to be broken into small pieces and sold?” Here referring to the current plans for the Costa Concordia to be scrapped in the port of Genova. To this Mr. Giovanni responded that he felt the analogy should be stopped at the point where the ship/Italia is refloated, and that to take it any further was really stretching the point.
With the proposal having been accepted an open competition to design the new flag will begin. The winning entry will be submitted to the Italian public for a referendum vote on whether or not to make the change.
Former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi – not currently in office officially – openly scoffed at the idea. “This is an atrocity. To give up the beloved Tricolore, for a stupid symbol? Mature countries use blocks of colors in their flags. Or stars, stars are ok too. Those are the rules. Only foolish countries with no taste use symbols in their flags. Like Antigua or Canada or the U.S.S.R. And look what happened to the U.S.S.R.” He later apologized for his remarks and said he had no ill will towards the Soviet Union.
Similar versions of the current flag having been in use continuously since 1848, and at points in Italian history before that going back as far as 1798. Early polls of the Italian public indicate that while most welcome a change they would prefer to see it include the former flag in some form. ‘Experts’ agree that this is indicative of the quandary this ancient country finds itself in; desirous of change but sunk in tradition. For his part, Mr. Giuseppe believes flying a new standard represents a chance to embrace an era of increased accountability and transparency. “Less flashy-flashy”, he declares emphatically, and climbs in the driver’s side door of an idling Ferrari, ending the interview.