Coffee House

Italian elections: anti-politics on amphetamines

24 February 2013


Italians go to the polls today, and Beppe Grillo still seems to be the name on everybody’s lips. Grillo is expected to get up to 22 per cent of the vote — staggering for a comedian-turned-politician with no discernable policies whose campaign slogan is ‘vaffanculo’ (‘F— off!’). Il Fenomeno Grillo is anti-politics on amphetamines. Is Italian democracy self-immolating? Maybe. Faced with nothing but corruption, recession, imposed EU austerity, and the same old politicians, the downtrodden public are fed up and turning on the system. You can’t really blame them. Some of the Italians I spoken to here today think it is scandalous that Grillo has so much support — ‘What does he stand for?’ said one, ‘naaathing’ — and the mainstream parties hope that Grillo will slip in the last stretch.

But others point out that the young, poor, and squeezed middle classes have nobody better to support. The alternatives — Bersani, Monti and, of course, Berlusconi — are proven failures. Young people, apparently, think the system is ‘the real joke’. Or, as one 30-year-old Roman put it to me earlier, ‘I vote Grillo — of course. What else do you want me to do?”

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Show comments
  • Gary Wintle

    The political and financial elites need to be completely smashed. Goldman Sachs slime like Monti, Draghi, Paulson, Geithner, and Carney should be thrown in jail and spend the rest of their days as prison bitches.
    Humanity will only survive if we tear down the old ways, kick out the Boomers, and build something new.

  • In2minds

    Perhaps we could learn from the 5 star movement. It wants to break the
    monopoly of power of the major parties and give citizens the power to
    be involved in political decisions.

    Grillo has campaigns such as open primaries, cancel licence fees for public
    broadcasts ( after all he was blacklisted for mocking the then-Prime
    Minister Craxi’s visit to China in 1986) and he has a quarter of a
    million members.

    You might not agree with all his views but at least he has them, states them clearly and advocates citizen participation via the internet. The UK certainly needs something similar.

    It’s typically snooty of us here in the UK to poke fun at the Italian way
    of government on the incorrect basis that all is going fine here,
    it’s not. In fact I challenge anyone to name an EU member state that
    has a high quality fully democratic government.

  • Austin Barry

    Why can’t we comment on the matter that dare not speak its name? It isn’t sub judice for Gawd’s sake.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yep, why can’t we speak out about Dykegate?!!? Sorry – I mean Gropegate…or should that be Lardgate or Lordgate?? I’m confused.

      • CharlietheChump

        Lard Rennard has a certain alliterative charm . . .

  • Daniel Maris

    Is this the place to leave comments about the Rennard Affair then? :)

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Grillo’s campaign slogan is brilliant.

    I’m very interested in his vote share. It will tell us a lot about politics these days.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yep, I’m not surprised you like his slogan. “Rude to Rule” might be your motto.

    • Tom Tom

      25.5%….not bad. More than he will get in Eastleigh

  • salieri

    This may not be the right place to say it but is it not comical that Coffee House now has no fewer than 5 very recent posts (about British politics) which are closed to comment ‘for legal reasons’? Why are these being posted at all, in a discussion forum where no discussion is permitted? What is this site, Mount bloody Sinai or Harare? Evviva Grillo!

    • salieri

      Blimey, now it’s 6.

      • Daniel Maris

        Did they add one about the McCanns then?

      • salieri

        “Coffee House and Disqus – an implosion waiting to happen?”
        Daniel Korski, 1 April 2013

        In a shock twist to this weekend’s mounting revelations on Coffee House, an allegator who cannot be named for legal reasons has denied knowing that the alleged allegations had been made to him (or her) concerning the alleged allegatee, allegedly. Further alleged revelations are expected tomorrow, or for that matter yesterday, though quite possibly it’s too early to be sure. For the time being, however, further (or any) comment on this thread is closed for reasons which will be obvious to those who wish to comment. Your opinions are valuable to us, provided you do not express them.

        Meanwhile, President-for-life Putin has opened a new dollar-only gunstore in downtown Petersburg.

    • Tom Tom

      Yes it is as if those posting are sitting at home and Speccie has not bothered to pass on legal opinion to them. It is a bit like urinating out of a window

      • CharlietheChump

        That reminds me, must call the windowcleaner

  • FrenchNewsonlin

    They’re giving the big finger to Brussels for dictatorially imposing Monti on Italy, watch it spread in southern Europe if the anti-politicos get elected.

    • Mauro Bruni Longo

      EXACTLY! 😉

      Nobody of us never voted for Mario Monti (who is by the way a long hand of italian bishops, heavy parassites of our economy and heavy inter­ference in our law­-makings; which makes Monti detestable for most people), and that cannot go unpunished. I voted for Grillo myself to the low chamber.
      Personally, i would straight away EXILE Mario Monti out of the country. And I dont want nobody governing on us, for whom the euro is more important whatsoever than us. I dont care about “global eco­nomy”, it’s not my problem. My wealth comes before the wealth of the big markets, and the two wealths are not linked as they’d like us to believe (i’d rather say they go in almost oppos­ite directions!).

      • Tom Tom

        An Italian Government should be for Italian Citizens not Bankers. It is getting to be like Pre-Risorgimento Italy the way foreign potentates insert their hirelings into imperial provinces.

  • Tom Tom

    Benito is the man they want but dare not say………

    • The Red Bladder

      I think they showed their love and respect for him when they gave him the little-coveted Order of the Lamppost

      • Tom Tom

        He was actually killed by an MI6 officer to spare Churchill’s blushes though his correspondence was apparently not recovered

        • CharlietheChump

          This nonsense written by the Mitterand supporting French historian should not be treated as anything but the usual left wing distortion of history

  • The Red Bladder

    So what’s the problem? We’ve been ruled by comedians for most of my, fairly long, life.

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