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Nicholas Farrell

Beppe Grillo: Italy’s new Mussolini

The stand-up comedian Beppe Grillo, like the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini before him, has a craving to take over the piazza and mesmerise the crowd. Where once young Italians chanted the mantra ‘Du-ce! Du-ce!’ now they chant  ‘Bep-pe! Bep-pe!’. But it is not just a shared need to rant and rave at large numbers of

Sorry, but Parliament is full of sex pests

The news is dominated by tales of ‘sexual misconduct’ by men in positions of power, and nowhere is the smell of sleaze as strong as in Westminster. Our politicians work in a building formally known as a ‘palace’ where they are often treated like kings — and, occasionally, behave like them. Even more occasionally, the

Why aren’t more people unemployed?

An unfamiliar noise floats over the town; an insistent, one-note metallic drone. Tracked to its source, it turns out to come from a sawmill in a hidden wooded valley a quarter of a mile from my house. Abandoned for the past year, the mill has suddenly come back to life. It is emitting great plumes

Sex, lies and the next Pope

In a corner of the Sistine Chapel, below Michelangelo’s hell, is a door to the little chamber they call ‘the room of tears’. Some painter-decorators are in there, frantically doing the place up. That’s because, in a matter of days, a new Pope will be led into the room. According to tradition, at that moment,