Guido Fawkes and Jiminy Cricket!

by Anna Raccoon on February 26, 2013

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What? You don’t know who Jiminy Cricket is? Shame on you!

Jiminy Cricket was the voluble arthropod who insisted on speaking truth to the lying and famously long nosed puppet on a string. Pinocchio’s enforced conscience, whether he liked it or not. No matter how hard Pinocchio tries to silence Jiminy Cricket, eventually ‘killing’ him, the Cricket continues to chirp up even as a ghost who haunts him.

We could make a connection between Guido Fawkes’ Order-Order blog and our own long nosed politicians – but there is a more fascinating and topical example abroad.

The convoluted Italian political scene is currently mesmerised by another Cricket. Beppe Grillo. Grillo being Italian for Cricket.

Beppe Grillo is a comedian (some would no doubt argue that Guido is too!) who joined forced with an Internet savvy accountant to form a blog which morphed into the Five Star Movement or Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S). He did so because Silvio Berlusconi had virtual control of all of Italy’s media outlets. There was no outlet for criticism of Berlusconi’s rule. That blog was to become the seventh most popular in the world, thousands logged on every day to listen to Grillo’s merciless but always witty denunciation of Italian politicians, and snippets of scandal that could not be read anywhere else. One post alone attracted an incredible 10,000 comments.

Eventually, inevitably, commentators began to meet up in the real world, and a grassroots political party (M5S) was born. One that refused to play the political game.

M5S is currently on form to get more votes than any other single Italian party. They are unlikely to form an overall government because they refuse to engage in the shady deals and coalitions so popular in Italian politics – but they will be a force to be reckoned with.

There is a fascinating PhD thesis HERE by Maria Elisabetta Lanzone tracing the entire history of the rise from satirical blogger to political force of Beppe Grillo, which I have been glued to since the early hours of this morning. The correlation between the reasons for his anarchic blog and eventual political success and the descent into parody of Italian politics are so closely tied to the identical situation in Britain and the rise of Guido Fawkes blog that it is required reading for students of politics.

‘Honesty will be fashionable again’ tweeted Grillo after the latest election results. What do you think the outcome would have been had Guido, ‘the only man to enter parliament with honest intentions’ stood for election in Eastleigh in a few days time? He wouldn’t have had to bully supporters to get out and campaign for him. Now there’s a thought to send a chill down the spine of the Lib-Dems – and the Tories.

I wonder why he didn’t?

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