Rebranding Politics

Russell Brand’s recent appearance on Newsnight had an unprecedented amount of hype, becoming a YouTube hit, it got almost 20 times Newsnight’s average. In the interview with Jeremy Paxman, Brand slammed our current government, told the public not to vote and called for revolution. For many, it undoubtedly seems naive and somewhat ridiculous that the three times winner of “The Sun’s Shagger of The Year” award is suddenly standing up and demanding political change. However, the sheer number of views the interview has received, shows in itself that people are interested in what Brand has to say. Indeed, protests with Anonymous and the Million Masks have already taken place. So, as it begs to be asked, can something valuable be taken from Brand’s words?

Noted as a comedian, a womaniser and for the controversy that follows in his wake, who is Brand to be taken seriously as a political activist? Brand has stated that he “said nothing new or original” that his call for change comes from the view that our current system simply isn’t working and “it is our responsibility to be more active if we want real change.” I cannot say that I know of anyone who has a firm and unwavering faith in the government. Maybe such thing isn’t possible but everyday we hear of unemployment rates rising, economic disparity and buzz words such as “spending cuts” and “austerity” that have no real meaning other than ‘something bad.’ Everything on the news has become a monotonous blur of disenchantment that is seemingly only growing. To paraphrase Brand, why indeed, would we vote for a party whose policies we have no passion or faith in? It makes sense when you pare it down to the facts that it is OUR government and nation that is being represented, so it should be the prevailing, collective ideals of the majority we see demonstrated in the government’s actions. The inherent sense of disillusionment toward the government that Brand so artfully brings from snoozing indifference and into life, kindles the revolutionary fire that is at the heart of his argument.

Of course it is all too easy to get caught up in Brand’s oratory of idealism, listening to it is like a pep talk yet after it we aren’t quite sure what to do with ourselves. Should we return into our inert political arena or should we look elsewhere for alternatives and do what we can to make this ‘change’ he talks about actually happen? Right now, to me, his talk of change seems a little too vague and a little too idealistic but until an attempt for action is made, it is just a potentiality we might never see. Maybe it isn’t practical to ask for revolution, all I see is that for the first time for myself and many others, Brand has opened an ardent discussion of change, to look further from the politics we know (or maybe don’t know, is more pertinent). Yes, it is all very idealistic, but it resonates with us because it is earnest. And I think that’s undoubtedly something we need right now.