March 5, 2013
By Alessandra Flora
I have been asked to describe Beppe Grillo: It’s a hard task but I’ll try to do it. His result in the last political elections is now one of the hot topics in Italy. His name is becoming more and more popular, but nobody seems to know him well. Italian media attack him because he hardly gives interviews and does not like cameras during his rallies. Over the past years Italian media have been ignoring him and now that they would like to somewhat adulate him, he doesn’t seem to care at all.
So, I’m not surprised to read in the press any kind of insult about him. Many furious journalists are forced to wait hours and hours in vain outside his home, desperately looking for a message or for a sign from him.
The journalists are simply afraid of this man. They would like to play the old political game of last 50 years – the business as usual – but at this stage it’s quite impossible. Grillo’s political identity was created on Internet, not in traditional media such as TV or newspapers. His project is rather based on a blog (www.beppegrillo.it), backed by hundreds of thousands of supporters. Its influence grew rapidly thanks to Mr Grillo’s advisor and 5 stars movement co-founder, Mr Gianroberto Casaleggio, a mysterious ICT entrepreneur.
So Mr Grillo is just paying back the journalists for their lack of attention.
Of course, I’m not saying he’s a holy man, or something like this. But he’s not simply a populist, as everybody used to define him. He’s not fascist, nor radical, and he never instigated violence among the crowd.
Mr Grillo started his career as a comedian when I was just a child, in the 80’s. At that time, in spite of my young age, I was positively impressed by his energy and by his political message. He didn’t seem to me a simple comedian. Exactly as today, he used to criticised the politicians, the oligarchy and the growing corruption in Italy. In the end of 80’s, due to his critical thinking, he got fired by RAI TV. So far, he started exhibiting in theatres across Italy. During last 20 years his shows have always been successful.
Despite I’m not a Grillo supporter, his position has always been consistent, as he never contradicts his statements, while traditional politicians do it quite often.
Other politicians criticize him and say that the members of his party lack experience. It’s true, but it is the case for all the parties. Over last years former showgirls and inexperienced people became members of the Italian Parliament, due to the current often criticised electoral law.
The truth is that Italians voted him and no one could deny it. One of the reasons why so many Italians agree with him is that there are so many things that must be changed in Europe. His statements do not only deal with the euro, but also with other critical aspects, such as the EU budget system and the decision making process.