Beppe Grillo (3)

by Andrew Stuttaford

The Guardian tries to make sense of Grillo:

His manifesto combines pro-environment policies with a crackdown on parliamentary privileges, a living wage for the jobless using cuts from military spending, the slashing of top managers’ wages, broadband for all, bike lanes and the right for priests to have children “so they don’t touch other people’s”.

But what has spooked the markets is his commitment to hold a referendum on leaving the euro and a temporary freeze on interest payments on government bonds, which could lead to default. Meanwhile, Grillo’s decision not to talk to the Italian press, which has led to accusations that he is ducking tough questions, reached a climax on Friday when Italian journalists were kept from going backstage at the Rome rally while foreign reporters were let in, prompting police to open the barriers after a furious row.

The refusal to speak to (better informed?) domestic journalists is, well, interesting, and there’s an undeniable note of violence running through his language:

… Grillo took the stage to a rock-star welcome before at least 100,000 cheering fans, yelling at them that his movement would rip open parliament “like a tin of tuna” when it sends an army of activists – analysts predict more than 100 – into the senate and lower house after Italians go the polls today and tomorrow.

Turning his attention to Italy’s pampered political caste, he screamed “It’s finished! Give up! You are surrounded!” as fans waved a banner stating, “We want to get out of the darkness.”

A rough comedian’s rough shtick?  Maybe, but London’s (leftist) New Statesman has more:

The movement has a strong anti-politics agenda – all political parties are crooked, the argument runs, and they all need to go. Not especially nuanced, but exactly the kind of populist rhetoric that disillusioned and apathetic Italian voters are buying into. Never mind that Grillo has recently opened the doors of his movement to the candidacy of members belonging to the neo-fascist organization Casa Pound.

And then there’s this (in Italian, but Google can help). Make of it what you will.

Ah the euro, bringer of stability, bulwark against extremism . . .

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