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Saturday, February 23, 2013 1:39 AM

Beppe Grillo Surges in Last Minute Rush; Is That a Good Thing?

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Reader "AC" who is from Italy but now lives in France informs me that the Italian elections this weekend are getting even more interesting.

Specifically, "AC" writes "Grillo claims 800,000 assisted at his closure meeting in Rome with another 150,000 via streaming. My feeling is that there will be a huge turnout for Grillo in the election".

Joe Weisenthal on the Business Insider writes "I Have Seen The Scariest Chart In Europe".

The chart Weisenthal refers to is from Google Trends. It shows a surge in searches on Beppe Grillo. Weisenthal says ...

Grillo is a comedian-turned-politician who is doing shockingly well the Italian elections (coming up this Sunday and Monday) by running on an aggressive anti-bank, euro-skeptic platform.

He's capitalizing on the deep frustration that exists in Italy due to the weak economy, and the perception that the current government is too corrupt and cozy with banks. Were he to gain a sizable block in the upcoming parliament, he represents a pretty serious threat.
A threat? A Threat to What?

Grillo wants Italy to vote on whether or not to stay in the Eurozone. On that score I happen to agree. The sooner the eurozone splinters the better. Greece would be better off if it left four years ago and Spain would be better off if it left now.

That does not mean I endorse all the policies of Grillo, and indeed I don't. My point is that huge change is desperately needed.

As I have stated on many occasions "Eventually, there will come a time when a populist office-seeker will stand before the voters, hold up a copy of the EU treaty and (correctly) declare all the "bail out" debt foisted on their country to be null and void. That person will be elected."

The scare should not be that a breakup happens, but rather that the inevitable is delayed with grave consequences.

Scariest Chart Ever?

Weisenthal calls that the scariest Europe chart ever. Assuming the chart does represent an increasing interest in Beppe Grillo, I call it a necessary trend on the path to rebalancing Europe.

For more on the election in Italy, an explanation of Beppe Grillo's "5 Star Movement" and some election predictions, please see European Reader Offers Insights on Upcoming Italian Election

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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