Russell Brand has recently been splattered all over the media. He’s advocating radical ideas by the bucket-load. Asked by “a beautiful woman” to guest-edit the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, he gave them the subject of Revolution.
He waded in with a 4,500-word article of his own. And a pile of quirky contributions were elicited from friends and others he admires.
I’ll ignore Noel Gallagher‘s stereotypical rant against stuff he doesn’t like or understand. Aside from that, there’s a surprisingly large amount of interesting and surprising material. Not least is film director David Lynch‘s article on transcendental meditation and inner revolution. Brand’s own piece is intelligently argued and full of good sense. He may be a guy addicted to seven-star hotels, but he’s still a man of the people. At least, that’s what he tells himself.
Russell Brand Speaks!
The paragraphs are longer than are normal in the Internet Age. But sometimes that’s no bad thing. Occasionally, he sounds like a 1970s-style History Man:
The model of pre-Christian man has fulfilled its simian objectives. We have survived, we have created agriculture and cities. Now this version of man must be sacrificed that we can evolve beyond the reaches of the ape. These stories contain great clues to our survival when we release ourselves from literalism and superstition. What are ideologies other than a guide for life?
Throughout paganism one finds stories that integrate our species with our environment to the benefit of both. The function and benefits of these belief matrixes have been lost, with good reason. They were socialist, egalitarian and integrated. If like the Celtic people we revered the rivers we would prioritise this sacred knowledge and curtail the attempts of any that sought to pollute the rivers. If like the Nordic people we believed the souls of our ancestors lived in the trees, this connection would make mass deforestation anathema. Supposing like the native people of America we believed God was in the soil what would our intuitive response be to the implementation of fracking?
Russell on Revolution
(Note: I had to edit this extract slightly to make it easier to read. Don’t panic: I only change one word and added a paragraph break.)
Russell has much to say on the subject of revolution, including:
We British seem to be a bit embarrassed about revolution, like the passion is uncouth or that some tea might get spilled on our cuffs in the uprising. That revolution is a bit French or worse still American. Well, the alternative is extinction so now might be a good time to re-evaluate. The apathy is in fact a transmission problem, when we are given the correct information in an engaging fashion, we will stir.
Brand’s politics are generally left-wing but he dismisses the Labour Party as irrelevant. He lumps the Milibands in with Cameron, Clegg and Boris, for instance. In an interview with BBC Newsnight‘s Jeremy Paxman, he explains his ideas to people unlikely to buy the New Statesman.
Russell Brand vs Jeremy Paxman
The interview is a staged set-piece with both actors playing their parts to perfection. Jezza spluttering with outrage like a Victorian Bill Grundy whenever Russ says anything vaguely outrageous. Russell snorts, waves his hands and leans towards Paxman like a young stag taking on the tired old codger. As a result, it makes mesmerising television. You can watch it here:
Russell Brand’s over-riding message to the young is “don’t vote”. This is a fine piece of anarchy, It is destined to be heard, approved of, and acted on by many young people. What a fantastic jape, Russell. Let’s bring down the government by not voting for it!
This could be a long-term result. But in the short- and medium-term it’s another boost to David Cameron’s chances of returning his disastrously right-wing Tory government to power at the next General Election. Although a growing number of wet teenagers are “Young Conservative and proud of it”, most youngsters see the injustices in the world and strive to eliminate them.
The best chance for this to happen is to have a Labour Government in power. But not New Labour, scared to upset the Daily Mail and willing to privatise and chop and turn a blind eye to corporate piracy and tax evasion. But a genuine Labour government dedicated to advance the interests of the people of the United Kingdom over and above those of the bankers.
Calling Young Radicals
Taking young radicals out of the equation by telling them not to vote isn’t going to help. The worst part is that the people most likely to heed the message are the ones most able to vote out the Tories and their turncoat Lib-Dem allies. As a result, it could tip the balance the wrong way.
I’d be less angry about Russell venting his views if it wasn’t for the fact that he is only in Britain to sell tickets for his forthcoming Messiah Complex Tour. His guest editorship of the New Statesman. His appearance on Newsnight. And all the other radio and television interviews are simply to promote the tour.
Russell Brand may be sincere about his views, and I have no reason to doubt him. But surely this exercise in salesmanship has to fall into the same category as those he is condemning.
Yes, no one in their right mind would expect Russ to save the world. And it’s right to say so, while recognising the guy’s charm and erudition.
But a “sincere Labour Government”? How many millions have searched for that particular illusion over the years? Sincerity and politicians don’t usually go together, and when they do (Margaret Thatcher was a very sincere man . . .) the results can be tragic for everyone.
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