Imagine if a comedian like Ben Elton or Bill Bailey created a blog that got hundreds of thousands of people on to the streets to protest against government corruption. Imagine if Matt Lucas or Paul Merton used the internet to create a network of campaigners rallying against organised crime, environmental exploitation and workplace deaths. Well, meet Beppe Grillo.
Grillo is arguably Italy’s most famous comic but he’s angry. He has created a fantastic blog (also available in perfect English) that proves that the Internet can be a political force.
- A celebration that he is being sued by a Government minister
- A trip to Strasbourg where he pleads with Euro officials to cut off funding to Italy as the politicos steal all the money
- A piece where he argues that more people die at work in Italy than US soldiers die in Iraq
He is leftish and maverick, so he campaigns for withdrawal from Iraq but in favour of British-style controls on immigration. His blog is full of good journalism with lots of video and linking and plenty of sources and references for what he talks about. He also spends a lot of time out and about seeing things for himself. But what makes his blog really different is that he is getting people to take action themselves.
His V Day campaign climaxed on September 9th when hundreds of thousands of Italians heeded his call to Meet Up across the nation. It’s like the pioneering MoveOn campaign in America but with typical Italian colour.
Of course, Italian politics is not like Britain’s. We would never sell peerages or seek to keep innocent people in custody for 56 days. And, anyway, all our comedians are already in Parliament.