So, those of you who have just finished sniggering at Gerry’s tweets, listen up to the news from Italy. Berlusconis has not gone, and the left have not arrived. In fact the big ‘clown’ is in control of the Senate. Still not laughing I hope?
Well, Demos have some research that gives us some hints as to why a candidate that refused to talk to Italian journos, and had no presence anywhere but the internet took 25% of the vote.
…only 8% trust the government, 3% trust political parties, 2% trust parliament, 2% trust banks and financial institutions and 6% trust big companies – lower, on every measure, than the Italian general public.
Only 11% trust the press (against 34% of Italians overall) and less than 4% trust TV (against 40% of Italians). In stark contrast to this, 76% of Grillo’s Facebook fans trust the internet, where the movement was born and which it has used to organise itself.
Okay, so its just Facebook, eh? Not real you say? But for all that he has eschewed any other means other than the Internet this guy took 25% of the Italian electorate.
That’s a big fact Feck You to the establishment, Italy and by extension the big institutions in Europe.
…established authority – be it church, politics or banking – is under constant criticism and challenge. “Belief”, “credibility” and “credit”, all key units of trust, are in short supply.
As ordinary citizens we can access and read data more freely than before. Even if we can’t, social networking allows us to quickly find a man who can. We can even build whole communities of interest and trust on a global scale, sometimes within days or weeks.
Gerry may be no Beppe Grillo, but the idea that ordinary people can achieve big disruption in spite rather than because of big politics and big media, is something we have already had a hint at in the self organisation of the flag protests.
There, no doubt, will be more to come…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty