A proper clown shows that wop politicians actually are crooks

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

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

There is hope for Andrew Williams, if only he were a proper clown, like Beppe Gillo, who is heaping scorn on ratbag politicians in Italy.

It says a lot about the political mood in Italy that when an unidentified package arrived at comic-turned-political leader Beppe Grillo’s house, the bomb squad was called.

The package, delivered Thursday, actually contained bottles of Sardinian liquor — a congratulations gift for his group’s meteoric rise in Italy’s latest election. The vote did not deliver a clear winner but showed Grillo’s anti-establishment 5 Star Movement to be the top vote-getter among political parties.

One thing is clear: Three-party gridlock creating the first hung parliament in modern Italian history has raised political tensions even as Italy’s economic situation continues to deteriorate. New figures released Friday show the recession-mired Italian economy contracted 2.4 percent last year, while Italian unemployment rose to a record 11.7 percent in January and 39 percent for youths.

No party won a clear majority in both houses, but Grillo and his grass-roots movement captured a deep vein of anger against Italy’s political elite. 

He is naming and shaming Italian politicians. His Wikipedia page explains:

On 1 September 2005, thanks to contributions from readers of his blog, Grillo bought a full page advertisement in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica in which he called for the resignation of the Bank of Italy’s (then) governor Antonio Fazio over the Antonveneta banking scandal. In October 2005, Time chose him as one of the “European Heroes 2005” for his constant battle against corruption and financial scandals.

On 22 November 2005, Grillo also bought a page in the International Herald Tribune, again claiming that members of the Italian Parliament ought not to represent citizens if they have ever been convicted in a court of law, even in the first degree of the three available in the Italian system. His blog now contains a regularly updated list of members of the Italian Parliament who have been convicted in all three degrees, in what he calls “operation Clean Parliament”. Grillo claimed, in 2007, that data suggested that even Scampia, the most dangerous suburb of Naples and one of the areas with the highest crime rate in Europe, actually had a lower crime rate than the Italian parliament’s membership.

This approach has been spectacularly successful, even if Grillo himself can’t hold office because of his own conviction:

A total of 163 “Grillini” have won seats: 109 of 630 seats in Italy’s lower house and 54 of 315 seats in its upper house. They rode a wave of popular anger at the government’s austerity measures, its privileged political class, a series of corporate scandals and an underlying absence of public morality. They are not numerous enough to form a government — Pier Luigi Bersani’s center-left coalition won control of the lower house and is expected to get the first shot — but those loyal to Grillo certainly will have a key say in how Italy’s new government is formed.

Grillo won’t hold office himself due to a manslaughter conviction for a 1981 traffic accident that left three dead.

Despite market unease over Italy’s political gridlock, it will be weeks until President Giorgio Napolitano begins convening the parliamentary groups to form a government, after the newly elected parliament convenes on March 15 and elects its leaders.

In the jockeying ahead of the new legislature, the 64-year-old Grillo hasn’t given up his edgy, biting tones or his uncompromising positions. So far he has been unwilling to become an ally of either of Italy’s traditional parties — the center-left led by Bersani or the conservatives led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi — that he has harangued from his comic’s stage for years.

“Bersani is a dead man talking,” Grillo wrote on a blog post after the Democratic Party leader made overtures toward him. Grillo went on to call Bersani “a political stalker” for making “indecent proposals instead of stepping down, as anyone in his place would do. He managed to lose while winning.”


Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

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.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

0%