A plea for Russell Brand to stand for Parliament
Last night on Question Time, while delivering an attack on Nigel Farage, Russell Brand was challenged by an audience member to stand for parliament. His response? “I’d stand for parliament but I’m scared I’d become one of them”.
His refusal to ‘put up or shut up’ is a devastating blow to those people he so passionately believes need help and an asset to those content letting the country drift ever further towards the right wing.
Young people are apathetic about politics. Of course they are; democracy, which for the baby boom generation delivered growth and reduced inequality, is now being manipulated to ensure the wealth stays where it is — with the rich.
There were, until recently, only 3 parties capable of winning seats in Parliament: the Conservatives, Labour, and the Lib Dems. Three parties that fight over middle Britain — middle older Britain. Every policy is designed to appeal to those older voters, albeit with a slight left or right wing slant. None of them ever suggest anything radical, or even interesting.
UKIP are the new kid on the block. They are interesting and gathering momentum, in part, because they show a willingness to break away from the bland middle ground of the other three. They are looking to win the votes of the disaffected, and in modern Britain there are plenty of them. They stand unapologetically on the right wing, with a focus on isolationist policy.
UKIP are unfortunately another party focused on the older age bracket, those who wish for the Britain of yesteryear, when “things were better”.
Where, I ask, is the breakaway party for the disaffected young voter?
In Russell Brand there is potential for a leader of just such a party. He has a clear manifesto of anti-corporation, re-distributive policies; he is famous, charismatic and intelligent; and most importantly he believes in what he says. He wouldn't flip flop to win an extra vote, he believes what he believes. That makes a leader people can follow.
Nigel Farage shares many of the same leadership qualities; Ed Miliband has none of those qualities. The polls tell the rest of the story.
I don’t agree with some of what Russell Brand says, but I prefer his policies to those of the mainstream “left” in the form of Labour. I dare to say many other people would too.
Britain needs a UKIP for the left wing. UKIP are dragging the Tories back to the right. Labour are having an identity crisis — their slightly left wing policies aren't impressing anyone any they know it, and their strategy seems to be to hope people will vote for anyone but the Tories. They've forgotten that there is a huge number of young people who would vote, if only there was someone standing who didn’t represent a generation hell bent on maintaining the status quo. The status quo isn't helping the youth of today and it’s not what they want.
Young people are aspirational but also believe in equality. They don’t buy the assumption that healthy big companies mean a healthy country. They want to be able to buy somewhere to live, just like their parents did.
Who are those young people supposed to vote for?
If Russell Brand started up a party to represent his manifesto he may only make a blip in the polls. He probably won’t win a single parliamentary seat. That doesn't matter.
Until recently UKIP didn't have a single parliamentary seat. They were seen as too radical to be trusted. Bit by bit they've grown to the point that they’re now a real contender and are influencing the policies of the mainstream parties.
There is no reason a radical left wing party couldn't achieve the same. But it needs a leader, so please Russell, use your platform of fame to stand up and represent those who share your beliefs.