29 Apr 2015 at 09:06
Until Russell Brand became the David Icke of politics I used to find him rather funny. Years ago my kids bought me the DVD of his stand up routine on wanking which still stands up pretty well. I particularly enjoyed his shtick about the attractions of the nozzle belonging to a smiley vacuum cleaner called Henry. But I do wish entertainers would keep out of politics for their own good. Because whatever they say will alienate large tranches of those who would normally pay to see them. Politics is bad for business. Or in Brand’s case maybe it’s not. Maybe this modern day messiah’s rather quirky views puts bums on seats. Which raises the Ed question. Who needs each other more, Miliband or Brand? It’s a bit of a no brainer really. Brand will get acres of free publicity out of this very effective stunt. And he will be given the imprimatur of legitimacy. He has persuaded the incarnation of everything he despises, money, class, privilege and Oxbridge to sit down and record an interview. It’s win, win, win. He’s even got Owen Jones on side to write a predictable piece in the Guardian. I am very fond of Owen but he has become a sort of Katie Hopkins figure of the left. Not in the vile and sinister comment sense as Owen is basically a decent guy. It is that he is employed to write about and champion the unheard voices of the far left. So that’s what he does; rather well. So to keep his column sometimes he has to justify the totally bonkers.
But Jones and Brand have tapped into a real problem. There are a lot of folk, particularly the young, who feel that society has passed them by. They feel excluded. They do not belong. They are victims of a crap education in sink schools on estates where drugs, gangs, unemployment and failure are a way of life. This is a generalisation, but there is a ring of truth nevertheless. Brand has tapped into their despair. He has connected. But he should be giving them hope, he should be encouraging them to channel their anger into political activity. To fight for change. To fight for the right to a decent life. To use their vote.
Smashing the system is great when you are a dozy, driven undergraduate when mummy and daddy are paying the bills and stand bail when the police catch you bravely graffiti a penis on your MP’s front door. Revolution tends to be a middle class pastime. A right of passage until a door is opened to a decent job. As for the people who have every right to feel bitter? Well, they were a great vehicle for moneyed conscience to take a short spin in. But they will still be on the scrap heap and feel betrayed by those who used them.
Brand should be encouraging these people to vote. To fight for a fair deal. Yet all he does is wallow in an anarchic fantasy where he is the star. Interestingly his latest venture in named The Emperor’s New Clothes. Rather than him standing Christlike on the posters he should pictured stark bollock naked.
But if I can smell a fraud why can’t Miliband? Whatever possessed him to grant an interview to Brand? Whatever made him speak in a Dick Van Dyke faux cockney accent? He cannot come out of this well. If Brand endorses a member of the establishment he loses all credibility. He will be finished. So he will do what he is very good at. He will take the piss.
Maybe Miliband thinks that by engaging in this way he will attract the youth vote. The very people whom Brand in entreating not to vote! Barmy.
If Miliband really wanted to gain some street cred he should grant an interview to the Artist Taxi Driver. I did it the other day out of curiosity. It was a little weird. Mark drove to Wood Green Crown Court where I was prosecuting and I sat in his car was was interviewed for half an hour. We are on different planets. He is of the far left and is convinced that most Tories are corrupt baby eating bastards. And he gives a hard interview. He does his homework. But he is the real deal. Utterly authentic. And he cares. Labour’s minders would not let Ed within a mile of Artist Taxi Driver because he is genuine.
Choreographed stunts in back gardens and cozying up to a chic anarchist has destroyed any image of normality. The British people will take no lecterns from Ed Miliband.