A bloody good clown, Beppe Grillo is also now the world’s most powerful blogger

English: Beppe Grillo, Italian comedian, activ...

Beppe Grillo, Italian comedian, activist and blogger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beppe Grillo is looking to exit Italy from the euro, and he isn’t taking kindly to some of the horse-trading going on:

He also insisted that his party would not take part in any “horse-trading”, describing the overtures from the Left as “the usual whorish way of doing politics.”

Ian Steadman, at Wired, meanwhile thinks that Grillo has become the world’s most powerful blogger.

A comedian on an anti-corruption crusade, his success (and his political movement) has been built on the back of his blog— the most popular in the country, and one of the most widely-read in the world.Grillo’s blog has long hosted names of politicians convicted for charges of corruption, and in posts the satirical comedian has railed against the corruptions problems in Italian politics. In 2007, he corralled his supporters into a one-off “V-Day Celebratio” where the “V” stood for vaffanculo — “fuck off”. Other campaigns targeted certain bills or vested interests, with the culmination being the launch of the Five Star Movement (M5S) in 2009, a populist bloc whose unifying characteristic isn’t so much what it’s for as what it’s against — the status quo. Its members organise online, it has an extreme direct democracy slant, and, judging from exit polls and seat projections, M5S looks likely to be the third-largest political bloc in the Italian parliament.

 Grillo won’t even be in the new parliament, and his approach to funding the party is commendable.

Most remarkably, Grillo isn’t even running for election — M5S bans those with criminal convictions from standing for office, and his manslaughter conviction from 1980 (for a traffic accident) rules him out. M5S also doesn’t accept public funding for its operations like other parties, claiming it can lead to corruption. Grillo remains as its foundational figure and fiery evengalist, and has sworn that M5S won’t form a coalition with any other group, eschewing all forms of compromise.

His harnessing of social media would make Trevor Mallard cringe with embarrassment:

Considering Italy’s economic woes — markets are poised to panic if there’s political deadlock — the fact that we may well see the world’s economy thrown out of a whack by a principled blogger taking a stand is definitely some kind of watershed moment in social media.

It’s hard to think of any political party or politician who’s managed to secure such an influential position off the back of social media. For a while it looked like the Pirate Part of Germany might represent some kind of direct democracy revolution, but after some promising early starts in regional elections it fell apart when trying to launch onto the national scene. Much was made of its ability to organise policy online, with a horizontal hierarchy only made possible at such scale by the web, but it also seemed to create a public perception of a fractured and unreliable group of people changing opinions on a whim. There has also been a perception that it lacks popular figureheads.

When it comes to M5S’s success, perhaps the broadness of its anti-corruption platform and its maverick leader have solved that problem.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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