I have long stood up for Russell as he received a lot of hate from the press in his early days. mostly due to his over confidence and very public sex life – but I’ve reached the point where he is really pissing me off. The pseudo-intellectual, thesaurus swallowing Brand thinks that he is deserving of a spot on programmes like Newsnight – and even worse they think that he is a good booking. The truth is that he’s wading in well above his pay grade into matters he either doesn’t understand or is bluffing very badly on.
The call to revolution we all heard in his interview with Jeremy Paxman was an embarrassment. The fact he was proud of the fact that he didn’t vote and was encouraging others to follow is the exact opposite of the action required. We saw last month in the Scottish Referendum, that people power only counts if you stand up to be counted. Regardless which side you were on you had to admire the power and passion and percentages that got out to vote that day – we need to learn from that not say “let’s not bother voting”. If every disillusioned UK voter went out and all voted for the Green Party they’d likely be in government – even in the form of a coalition. When the turn out in UK elections ranges from low thirties to mid sixties there are enough people left to make real change in politics. Brand misses that point and stands and shouts and stomps his feet in Trafalgar Square – using verbose language but really not saying anything at all.
Another point is that we shouldn’t listen to the rich revolutionaries like Brand anyway – they can afford to rebel, they can pay their bills. A true revolution in UK politics would come from grassroots as the Yes campaign proved last month. People on the ground not mouth-pieces make the real difference. Getting more “normal” people to stand for elections and reduce these “professional” politicians would be a true revolution in the commons.
Then there is the conspiracy theories about 9/11 he spouts, his deliberate ignoring of facts – on his most recent visit to Newsnight he moaned when Evan Davis tried to show him a chart exploring the history of UK wages. He is able to point at things and say they are wrong but is not willing to discuss the details involved. If you are going to move from being a comedian to a political figure (in any sense of the word) you need to accept that people will question, challenge and disprove your ideas – Brand’s only response to this in interviews is to talk over people and make silly jokes to avoid answering the questions. Ironically for a man who is about to work with Michael Winterbottom on a project called “Emperor’s New Clothes”, he has missed the fact that he is the emperor.
Just because you use big words doesn’t make you more intelligent – ask any secondary school pupil about the teacher’s who do that deliberately to make them feel stupid and see their response. I’ve nothing against a good vocabulary but engagement of ideas needs to be spoken about in a common understood language. Just because you shout loudest and over others doesn’t make you important, it makes you look like a self-indulged narcissist with only themselves in mind. Just because you call out issues in society does not make you a social commentator, it makes you the same as the rest of us. Try doing something about these things – stand for election rather than write a book about it and then ignore all criticism.
He seems to think that he is above criticism in all areas from “Sachsgate” to his books, but perhaps the real revolution we need is against public figures like Brand who use their “celebrity” to spout off about things we don’t think are legitimate sources for these ideas. He has no real credentials and I could name a dozen more educated, intellectual, trustworthy and interesting comics who I would listen to on all these subjects before him. I don’t deny him the right of speech, but I don’t have to listen to it and it doesn’t belong on our national news programmes.