The revolution is coming. It’s leader? Actor and comedian Russell Brand. For those fortunate enough not to know who Brand is, he’s the one that looks like a tramp and is most famous for his past drug addictions, his year-long marriage to singer Katy Perry, and for boasting about his sexual exploits on Piers Morgan’s chat show. Oh, and he also lost his job with the BBC after prank-calling an elderly actor to boast of having had sex with his granddaughter. But for some reason, Brand now wants to reinvent himself as a socialist revolutionary; the question is, why are we letting him?
Russell Brand is very good at coming across as charming and articulate; even though he looks ridiculous and rants idealistically about the certainty of revolution, he has the comedian’s skill of making even Jeremy Paxman laugh in the process. But despite his use of long words and mock outrage, Brand’s hypocrisy and crassness cannot be missed. For a man who takes great pride in standing outside the political arena and telling teenagers not to vote, he is strangely comfortable being the guest editor of a prominent political magazine and being interviewed in a plush hotel room for the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme. In addition, he constantly ducked Paxman’s questions over what alternative system he would propose to replace Western capitalist democracy, thereby proving that behind the self-serving rhetoric he lacks any real substance. Hardly surprising really for a man who also blames his previous drug addiction on the current political system.
The areas of complaint against the political class that Brand highlights are the usual socialist trigger-issues; the environment, the class system, welfare and globalisation. In calling for a ‘socialist egalitarian system’ where profit is seen as a filthy word and corporations are taxed out of Britain, Brand merely repeats the doomed message of generations of misguided left-wingers across the world. It is a message you will find in Britain today from small, ultra-left political parties and militant trade unionists; the only difference with Brand is that he makes these views seem glamorous. The sad fact is that people are listening.