The interwebs were alive yesterday and today (and possibly the day before yesterday), as long-standing detractors of Activist Messiah Russell Brand and his self-styled haircut, reacted to news that he’d decided that indirectly urging people to abstain from the voting process might end up doing more harm than good. In a shocking move, the affable chap wot came from deepest darkest Thurrock, Essex, told supporters and pals that maybe a vote for Ed Miliband’s Labour Party could prevent another five years of society’s most vulnerable being financially arse-raped by a smiling aristocrat, spouting Jane Fonda-isms like ‘If it’s hurting, it’s working’, ‘Feel the burn’, and ‘fuck off home, Ahmed’.
Obviously, having definitely put himself on a pedestal as a paragon of virtue, incapable of ill-judgement or mistakes, the infallible Pope Russ was torn to pieces by the Far Right, the Near Right, the Centre Right, and the Always Right. Of course, the opinions of career politicians and professional pundits are mere bagatelle when you hold them against the sage musings of Johnny Public. The internet is where the real battles are fought, and where the war will be won or lost.
Tens of scores of thousands of millions of Daily Mail readers, UKIP supporters, people with Union Flags instead of faces, and people for whom the invention of Velcro shoe fastenings was an evolutionary leap on a par with the opposable thumb, rushed online to be the first to throw some virtual stones at everyone’s favourite sesquipedalian dandy. Not just them, of course. Russ also faced the ire of some of his own core support, who felt quite Nick Clegged by the whole thing. They were were supposed to have a revolution, damn it! Now what are they supposed to do with all these pitchforks? Fuck that noise. Balls to you, Russ, you mug!
Like Mussolini at the end of his reign, Russ faced the angry virtual mob, dressed head to toe in black, prepared for his fate of being hanged from the nearest lamp post. He had made his peace with God. He’d had a good innings, as people from the Working Class he’s so clearly abandoned for the trappings of Hollywood riches might put it. If this is the end, he must have thought, it’s not been too bad. I have definitely been up Katy Perry’s vagina. And more than likely up her wrong’un too. Mustn’t grumble, me ol’ china plate.
And then? Well, fuck all of note, really. Business as usual, squire. Russell Brand is not a man for whom vitriolic opposition is a hurdle too high, or a realistic deterrent. A look at the comment threads on any of his Facebook posts will show you the praise/damnation is always about 50/50. It’s the nature of Social Media that people you don’t like get thrust into your newsfeed whether you follow them or not. And that’s not even the half of it. People who oppose Brand gladly subscribe to him on Facebook and Twitter, as there’s nothing more they like than popping up with the odd hilariously pithy and well-structured comment like ‘IF YOU CARE SO MUCH ABOUT THE POOR WHY DON’T YOU SELL ALL YOUR MANSIONS?’, ‘SHUT UP YOU UNEDUCATED JUNKIE LOSER’, and ‘HAHAHAAHAHAH BRAND YOU GAY’.
The truth is, if you’ve been following anything he says (and, if you hate him, I know you haven’t, not that it stops you having a right old opinion on the matter), Ol’ Russ hasn’t really changed his mind about anything. He never really called for people to abstain from voting en masse, he just stated that he himself doesn’t think there’s any point to it. He’s still not going to vote, if that means anything to you. He thinks the system doesn’t work, people tell him ‘Well it’s the only one we’ve got!’, he replies with ‘Well why don’t we change it?’, they say ‘How?’, he says ‘I didn’t say I had the solution, just that we should try to find one together’, they say ‘Shut up you druggie faggot why don’t you sell your house and give all the cash to me you probably don’t even like West Ham anyway you prick’.
In his own words (typically pregnant with polysyllabic loquaciousness, of course), Russell says:
My fundamentalist abstemiousness became untenable because of mates making practical pleas of varying import;
1. “My brother has MS, if the Tories get in, his independent Living Fund will be cut and he’ll have to go in a home or move into mine…”
2. “My kids can’t do a production at school because of budget cuts…”
3. “My daughter can’t go to university because we can’t afford to pay a student loan back…”
4. “Our drug treatment day care program is being shut down due to cuts…
In the grand scheme of Revolution these are small problems, I agree, small problems that can be somewhat assuaged with the small solution of getting rid of the Tories.
Russell Brand is neither a visionary nor a glorious leader, and he doesn’t want to be. He’s a self-confessed attention-seeker, but he’s also interested in seeking answers- both to the practical and the spiritual. If nothing else, he’s an interesting chap, and quite likable, if you can get past the facade that makes you twitch a bit and want to punch him. That’s just a vestigial feeling from when you were in school, and were hard wired to hate anyone different from you. Obviously, if you’re a grown adult and thinking of voting UKIP this month, that feeling is still strong in you. But you’re not beyond redemption. No one is, apart from Katie Hopkins. That woman is a cunt.