Russell Brand – “most people do not give a f*ck about politics”

Russell Brand’s politics are not my own, but I like the way he wears his politics on his sleeve…I also like the way he hoodwinks people into thinking he is stupid, by the way he speaks and the way he looks and the way he acts…but he is smart…very smart.

He recently guest edited the latest issue of the New Stateman. In that issue, he outlines his political philosophy in a entirely TL;DR rant that is also as riveting and funny as it is clever.

Perhaps this is why there is currently no genuinely popular left-wing movement to counter Ukip, the EDL and the Tea Party; for an ideology that is defined by inclusiveness, socialism has become in practice quite exclusive. Plus a bit too serious, too much up its own fundament and not enough fun. The same could be said of the growing New Age spiritual movement, which could be a natural accompaniment to social progression. I’m a bit of a tree-hugging, Hindu-tattooed, veggie meditator myself but first and foremost I want to have a fucking laugh. When Ali G, who had joined protesters attempting to prevent a forest being felled to make way for a road, shouted across the barricade, “You may take our trees, but you’ll never take our freedom,” I identified more with Baron Cohen’s amoral trickster than the stern activist who aggressively admonished him: “This is serious, you cunt.”

A bit too fucking serious, actually. As John Cleese said, there is a tendency to confuse seriousness with solemnity. Serious causes can and must be approached with good humour, otherwise they’re boring and can’t compete with the Premier League and Grand Theft Auto. Social movements needn’t lack razzmatazz. 

The right has all the advantages, just as the devil has all the best tunes. Conservatism appeals to our selfishness and fear, our desire and self-interest; they neatly nurture and then harvest the inherent and incubating individualism.

I imagine that neurologically the pathway travelled by a fearful or selfish impulse is more expedient and well travelled than the route of the altruistic pang. In simple terms of circuitry I suspect it is easier to connect these selfish inclinations.

See what I mean. Clever…dangerous clever. His view on politics and politicians is similar to mine…the same opinion that the left wing has been using against me after my interview on The Nation. I doubt you will see Peter Aranyi write a post about the deeply cynical view of Russell Brand and how out of whack he is…poor sad irrelevant Peter just luuuurvs Russell Brand.

Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites. Billy Connolly said: “Don’t vote, it encourages them,” and, “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever being one.”

Another excerpt…I wonder if he is talking about Len Brown here?

We are still led by blithering chimps, in razor-sharp suits, with razor-sharp lines, pimped and crimped by spin doctors and speech-writers. Well-groomed ape-men, superficially altered by post-Clintonian trends.

We are mammals on a planet, who now face a struggle for survival if our species is to avoid expiry. We can’t be led by people who have never struggled, who are a dusty oak-brown echo of a system dreamed up by Whigs and old Dutch racists.


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  • Azeraph

    That Sasha crack is priceless. One day when all this american hooha is over, we’ll be able to sit back with obama and clinton and bring ol Osama up out his Mt Roskill dairy for a good old laugh. I’ll be able to ask clinton about that cigar.

  • maninblack

    he writes so fucken well- he is a very clever bloke indeed.

  • Chiefsfan73

    A great analysis from an extremely intelligent and articulate man.

  • Magoo

    For someone who dislikes & distrusts politicians so much, it’s a mystery to me why he thinks it’s a good idea to back the political left wing that wants more politicans and places more of his freedom and power in their hands to dictate how he should live his life.

    • Bunswalla

      Comment of the Day

    • Polish Pride

      This is because he understands most of the problem but not all of it. He has not quite come to the realisation that the Left just like the Right are part of the problem. Until that is understood you can’t really begin to look at and understand viable solutions.

  • The advice of Russell Brand not to vote is wrong – because the alternative to voting is to give more power to the powerful, not less.

    Governments need to know that we are their masters, and that can only come through the ballot. And those who don’t yet have democracy need to know that we cherish it, that it’s worth fighting for, and that it’s a right we never, ever want to lose.

    Yes, democracy has huge deficits. But can anyone name a better system that has ever existed in the history of the planet?

    Read my blog in response to Russell Brand, ‘Can’t vote or don’t vote?’

    • Jonathan Pull

      But if when you vote your vote goes to waste or the reason that voted never actualizes is your vote not wasted? Promises are made to attain power but once in power their is no incentive to actually deliver those promises.

      National COULD be a case in example, they could make all the promises in the world but because their is such a shitty opposition their chances of getting in are drastically higher reducing the need to follow through on any promises made.
      Im not saying this is the current case but that it could be a situation given the current state of opposition that could happen.

      • Yes, I agree, democracy as we know it has huge deficits. But so far in the history of the planet there has been no better system (can you name one?)

        And democracy has evolved, and improved. At the start, women didn’t have the vote. In the UK, we still have an unelected House of Lords. The ‘first past the post’ system doesn’t favour alternative candidates, or possibly true democracy. But this all provides us with an incentive to push hard for democracy to improve yet further.

        Blaming democracy as the source of the problem doesn’t help us. We need democracy. We also need a better, fairer democracy. We need more people to stand, and to vote.

    • Polish Pride

      I disagree Jon. There are two components to this.
      1. If there is nothing worth voting for then there is no point. There should always be something to vote for even if the option is ‘None of the Above’ or a vote of ‘No confidence in the system’ to signal the need dfor potentially significant change. However this is not an option under our current political system and the only way for it to be included is for politicians to pass legislation for it to be passed into law so it can make it onto ballot papers. ….. Some thing about turkeys never voting for an early Christmas comes to mind.

      The second is that to vote is to perpetuate and to give tacit agreement to the fact that the system is working. Voting is participation and gives the system the validity it needs to continue. By not participating you are effectively saying you either don’t care one way or the other or you are saying the system is invalid, it is not working and thus there is no point in voting.

      There is of course along with this the old saying that ‘If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. Although this is what they want you to think, Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that if you don’t vote you have no responsibility for what the politicians do in screwing things up. That responsibility falls soley on those that did vote, that did participate and put them into power.

      • Yes, there’s a lot wrong with the world, but is it all the fault of democracy? My bet is that the world would be a much worse place if we only had dictators and democracy hadn’t been invented.

        Here in the UK we enjoy among the best lives on the planet, with those on just an average wage belonging to the world’s top one per cent of earners.

        We have a right to a childhood, to universal education, to healthcare,
        to clean air and water; the right to free movement, to use the roads and pavements and parks; to leave and return to the country; to be protected at home, in the street and at work and in times of need; to call for help in an emergency; to go about and enjoy our lives in relative freedom. We have a right to resolve disputes in government courts, and even to take the government to court if they overreach their power.

        Here we have a better life than most others on the planet because, and only because, of our right to vote. Without the power to choose or discard our governments, we would not have any of the freedoms and the better lives we have won through the ballot box.

        Those who can vote but don’t are taking advantage of all of us who can vote and do. They live the good life with us, without having contributed to our right to have that good life in the first place. They benefit from all the hard won rights of the people, but feel disdainfully above any obligation to help to win and retain those rights. When things go wrong; when there’s a fight to make things better; they absent themselves from any need to become involved, even though the effort to enter a cross in a box on a piece of paper is miniscule.

        By not taking part in democracy I don’t think you offer anything. If you don’t agree with any of the politicians currently standing, it would be better to stand yourself. I might even vote for you. :)

        • Polish Pride

          I am not saying we throw out democracy. What I am saying is that we understand that there are many many failings of the system.
          Like when any system is broken we should re look at what the system should deliver or enable. We should look at the purpose of the system (Maslows Hierarchy of Needs provides the answer for this).
          Once we have established or re-established that, then we should understand where our current system is failing us and why. It is simply not good enough to look around and say lets just simply persist because we are doing better than counties in the third world.
          Once we have established where our system is failing us and why, we can start to look at what changes are required in order for us to be able to have a system that delivers or enables what we agree it should.
          Once that is done we can start on a path toward our desired outcome. (If that desired outcome includes democracy (which it undoubtedly will) as a key part of it then so be it. It may however be democracy in a different form to that which we have now).

          The problem is that you accept that there is a lot wrong with the world but you want to persist with our current systems and our current ways of doing things and I can only assume expect a different outcome by doing so. It is either that or you are simply happy with the way things are. The problem is many and a growing number are not.
          You have nothing to fear from those wanting to change the world and not participating in the current system. We want more democracy not less.
          We want (and often have) solutions, not a perpetuation of the problems.

          • Polish Pride you wrote, ‘The problem is that you accept that there is a lot wrong with the world but you want to persist with our current systems and our current ways of doing things and I can only assume expect a different outcome by doing so. It is either that or you are simply happy with the way things are.’

            No! I don’t accept the way things are; I have been a campaigning journalist all my life. I seek change. What I am saying is that more democracy, not less, will be the way to achieve that change. And we have made huge progress through the democratic process. I don’t want to see democracy dismantled or diminished.

            You have presented some ideas for reform, but are you suggesting that your ideas will just happen, without the effort needed to persuade people and to win votes?

            If not through democratic processes, how on earth do you think you will achieve the change you want to see in the world?

          • Polish Pride

            through democracy or through Revolution ;)

          • Revolutions can often be deathly and disruptive with no guarantee of the outcome. I have more confidence in modern democracy to achieve the change we need.

            On the other hand, the ‘Velvet’ or ‘Gentle’ revolution in Czechoslovakia, and the Solidarity Revolution in Poland, did free Europe of communism.

            Welcome back to democracy, Polish Pride. :)

  • W.Austin

    Don’t care too much for his politics but love his delivery.

  • RightOfGenghis

    ‘a system dreamed up by Whigs and old Dutch racists’
    I have to agree. Democracy is rooted.

  • Andy

    I guess I must be on my own here but I can’t stand the guy.

    • Jonathan Pull

      Remove your dislike for the man and listen to the message.
      All to often message are ignored because they are delivered by the wrong person.

      • Bunswalla

        Typical bloody socialist, telling people what to think and even how to listen to people.

        How about you let the man form his own opinion without sticking your oar in?

        • Jonathan Pull

          Oh cry me a fucking river.
          He can think what he likes, I was merely saying that as Ive already said sometimes messages are said by the wrong person and clearly people like yourselves would’nt listen to good advice if it came from the left but if the exact same message came from the right you’d treat it like gospel.

          • Bunswalla

            Oh how magnanimous of you, allowing him to think what he likes – what a fucking prince.

            What you were merely saying was for him to change his mind about someone, to “remove his dislike” – breathtaking arrogance. What right do you have to tell someone to like or dislike someone?

          • Ronnie Chow

            Remember the Alamo .

        • Dick Brown

          Your post is a prime example Bunswalla.

          Jonathan posed a challenge then made a factual statement, why are you so afraid of that?

          • Jonathan Pull

            Because it came from someone who wasn’t “right wing” enough for him. Plain and simple.

          • Bunswalla

            Well I haven’t seen your photo, so I don’t know if you’re plain. But you sure are simple – suggest you get a better by-line.

          • Bunswalla

            A prime example of what, dickhead? And what makes you think I’m afraid of anything (except big spiders)?

            He didn’t post a challenge – he told someone to stop disliking someone, without even enquiring as to the reason why?

            Normal people, that don’t try and force others to think a certain why, might be open and honest enough to enquire about something and have a reasoned debate.

            But not you and your bum-chum Johnny Pull-through.

          • Dick Brown

            Yeah look if you can’t reasonably hold a conversation without resorting to verbal abuse then I will ignore you.

          • Bunswalla

            If you don’t want to be called a dickhead, stop behaving like one.

          • Jonathan Pull

            Nice work lifting the posing quality there Bunswalla.
            Yeah my message did come across as a “do this” my bad, but did it really require you to fire off like that. My supposed “socialist” message is any worse than your childish replies from a supposed “normal” person? I doubt it.

          • Jonathan Pull

            Don’t bother with him Dick Brown, he’s already gone to name calling, clearly thats the best sort of “discussion” you’ll get from him.

          • cough…Ahem…cough

    • Bunswalla

      No you’re not on your own but watch out, the socialists are questioning your right to hold an opinion, and are threatening to send you to the Reprogramming Centre.

    • Andy

      His message is that the political system is broken, in the UK anyway. Yes I agree with that. One of the reasons for that is the selling out to the EU superstate, leaving British politics without any real power. The. EU superstate is the very tool that is required to deliver the massive redistribution of wealth that he seeks. This comes from a man with a personal wealth of $15 million, who thinks that profit is a dirty word.

      The UK right wing blogosphere is quite different to nz. There is widespread disaffection with the political class, but intelligent commenters try to come up with solutions rather than empty bumper sticker sloganeering, which is what I hear from Brand.

      • Jonathan Pull

        Apologies if you felt like I was dictating to you how to hear the message. I see how it was written but was never my intention.

        • Andy

          No problems at all

  • Jonathan Pull

    I hope I’m allowed to post this.
    An interview with Jeremy Paxman, and as Cam says he does come across as silly and a little odd but when he decides to get his point across he is very clear and concise.

    • consumist

      I think possibly Brand is taking the piss, he is afterall a comedian. The left take themselves so seriously they couldn’t possibly comprehend it, but if you watch Dennis the Constitutional Peasant from Monty Python’s Holy Grail you’ll see what I mean…

    • Rodger T

      This was posted last week on WOBH,

      I wish I had 1/2 his vocabulary,but I find he tends to wander off into platitudes with no real solutions to the problems at hand .
      Of course he is right on politicians and how people feel about them, to me, the only real solution end result is Anarchy and I don`t think he would be happy with that.
      We most certainly cannot rely on the goodwill of our fellow man when it comes to politics any longer.