Italy’s ‘anti-political’ rebel seems to have a liking for the uno duce, una voce doctrine
Yet another political bubble bursts as movement’s demagoguery exposed
But they do. Grillo does. Uno duce, una voce. “The problem is not criticising; we believe absolutely in freedom of speech and expression, but freedom does not mean going ahead without any limits,” Nicola Morra, party leader in the Senate, insisted implausibly after the Gambaro vote. But Paola Pinna, a deputy, on TV denounced a “climate of psycho-police” in the movement.
“He [Grillo] talks of himself as the mouthpiece,” political analyst Roberto D’Alimonte says, “but he is really the orchestra director. And the musicians are not supposed to play their own music. It reminds me of the Fellini movie [Orchestra Rehearsal].”
Mussolini, perhaps not. But Grillo’s politics have, however, more direct parallels with contemporary “anti-politics” movements that have flourished in the new austerity: from Britan’s Ukip, to Sweden’s Pirate Party, the new Alternative for Germany (AfD), and the True Finns . . . Some are clearly on the right and xenophobic – Grillo dabbles in anti-immigrant politics – but what they mainly appeal to is a notional “new way of doing politics” and a general contempt for the political system, parliament’s “impotence” and the perceived corruption of all politicians that verges on the antidemocratic.
M5S is also challenged by its own election demagoguery – in the one major city it has controlled, Parma, the movement ran on a pledge to stop construction of an incinerator. “It will be built over the mayor’s dead body,” Grillo harrumphed at one pre-election rally. The incinerator began operating late last month, and mayor Federico Pizzarotti is hale and hearty.
M5S had also pledged to lower a loathed property tax. That promise was broken, too, as the new council found itself faced with a billion-euro debt. New politics?
Grillo’s extraordinary success has been the product of his charisma and ability to articulate the anger and disillusionment of young people, and to have found new channels on the internet and through public rallies to articulate his message.
But it’s a bubble that may well be burst by the reality of political power and his inability to comprehend or deal with his own success.