This interview with Russell Brand has been doing the rounds over the last couple of days and I thought I’d throw my tuppence worth into the pot.
Paxman is right and Russell is almost right, but as usual he misses the fundamental point. What Brand is saying is true and Paxman agrees that there needs to be something drastic in politics – but not voting and not knowing what the revolution would be like is as bad as the corrupt and self-serving politicians we have in charge of us. We do need something radical to happen as more and more those in power are there under the say-so of a small minority of the public. Maybe we need something really different.
I can’t remember who it was but I heard a suggestion not long ago that Parliament should be filled every four or five years by members of the public – and it should be done much like jury duty where you are chosen at random to do the job. Perhaps if it were a staggered thing so it allowed people to enter an already established group. this way the group would really have to work together, would be a fair representation of the public as it was random and would stop the long-term corrupt nonsense that we have to put up with currently. You can almost guarantee that it wouldn’t have so many people who were as rich, privately educated or connected to business as the current lot so you’d see a much more “people focussed” politics.
Then on the other hand as today’s telegraph points out, perhaps having the main three parties all bunched up in the middle with feet in left, right and middle actually is a good thing because there is no lunatic fringe anymore and most of the policies will be largely accepted by the public. Also if you consider that there are those parties on the left and right of the main three and they are not gaining any real ground – if any MPs at all so even the few who do vote are not choosing a wildly different option.
My main issue with Russell’s point is tat the disaffected voters have the most power out of all the groups as they could easily put anyone forward as a prospective MP and get them elected. In many areas the turnouts are so low that it wouldn’t be difficult to change the system radically this way. To say we shouldn’t vote because we don’t like the politicians is like moaning we’re buying Wholemeal bread instead of a White loaf – there’s a really simple solution to the problem and apathy it ain’t.