The Third Leader: House of mirth

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The Independent Online

An Italian comedian, Beppe Grillo, we report today, is having a powerful effect with his campaign to turn up the volume of the voice of the people and effect a change in the always interesting ways that many members of his country's political classes traditionally like to run things.

What lessons might Signor Grillo have for us in Britain? You will point out, rightly, that here we do things differently; and that, in particular, and for example, we've had comedians running the country for as long as anyone can remember.

And while I wouldn't begrudge any of the chuckles earned in their distinguished careers by the likes of Fox, Burke, Wilkes, Disraeli, Palmerston, Lloyd George, and Churchill, it's interesting to note that latterly the comedy has come rather to predominate, to the extent that our present deadpan Prime Minister's two immediate predecessors came from music hall families, with the latter best remembered for appearing in a sketch with Catherine Tate.

Perhaps, then, it's time to give the professionals a go. What a Ministry of All the Talents we could assemble! Health Secretary: Mr Johnny Vegas. Foreign Secretary: Mr S Baron-Cohen. Education Secretary: Ms Tate. Culture Secretary: Mr James Davidson. Home Secretary: Mrs H Bouquet. Prime Minister: a tough choice between Mr Stephen Fry, Mr Michael Palin and Sooty.

Signor Grillo trained as an accountant, which reminds me that we would have an especially strong Treasury, featuring Mr Eddie Izzard, who also trained, Mr Ken Dodd, who has much experience in the field, and, of course, Mr Clive Dunn to shout: "Don't Panic!"