So, what is the solution to our current political situation? With a lack of faith growing within supporters of all parties, how do we combat this? The answer, according to Russell Brand, is to do nothing… Yeah. That makes total sense.
The scraggly haired comedian released his book Revolution on October 23rd, in which he attempts to convince the public that the only way to combat the system is to remove themselves from it entirely by not voting, and in doing so, promoting political apathy and passivity. Brand seems to be playing to the politically apathetic youth, who coincidentally make up a majority of his audience. So is Brand using his fans for his own ends now? Or is this political activism for the twitter generation? A revolution you can take part in by sitting on your backside scrolling through social media. How radical.
I suppose these opening words have outlined my personal opinion pretty clearly. Brand is, in my opinion, either trying to be cool and different, or he has somehow come to this odd conclusion out of frustration. Either situation is bad. Others who disagree with Brand include John Lydon, who recently proclaimed Brand a “bumhole”, and commented in a Guardian interview that Brand’s proposal was “the most idiotic thing [he’d] ever heard”. Lydon, best known as Johnny Rotten, clearly opposes Brand’s proposal of inaction. Even the crazy-eyed former vocalist of the Sex Pistols seems utterly baffled by the lack of perception in Brand.
The danger of Brand’s suggestion can be seen in the statistics. In 2010 a far larger percentage of 55 - 64 year olds registered to vote than 18 - 24 year olds, with figures showing a 90% registration of the former, but just 50% of the latter. Young people are already falling behind with respect to involvement, and Brand is looking to make things worse. The divide between the young and old of Britain is continually widening, with rents increasing, entitlements dwindling, and the idea of a decent pension at retirement becoming a farfetched hope for the current younger generation of workers. At the same time, those who grew up from out of the ‘baby boom’ period enjoyed free education and the opportunities to own property, having the chance to retire as the young struggle on.
This may seem like an attack on the older generation, but far from it; not all who are of this generation have had it easy, and by no means is this what is being said here. Yes, they have also experienced hardship. However, it is this generation that is politically active, and therefore have more benefit from the political system. Considering they are the ones actually voting, perhaps they deserve it?
Lydon pointed out brilliantly in the same Guardian article: “Vote, bloody well vote! You’ll get nothing otherwise, and you’ll get slightly more than nothing if you do – but that’s better than nothing.” He hits the nail on the head. Ok, so our current choice of representatives and parties is not exactly compelling. Faith in Labour is rapidly dwindling with the ever drab Ed Miliband at the helm, no student would trust Clegg’s Lib Dems, and the Conservatives get ever more right wing in a vain attempt to appease the more extreme. Even UKIP are achieving these days, which is frankly terrifying. However, a vote for the lesser evil is nevertheless a vote for the better. Political apathy is not what will save us from a far right wing government. Surely nobody wants to end up with a Tory-UKIP coalition?
Two big personalities, two different takes on the current political climate in the UK. John Lydon is by no stretch of the imagination a reliable source of wisdom, but in this case he’s on to something. Russell Brand, whilst having done admirable things in the past concerning the awareness of addiction, is spouting dangerous words to the younger generation. Ignoring the system will not change a thing, because it will simply ignore you and carry on quite happily. Don't subscribe to this trend of apathy. At least try and make a difference! Nothing is ever fixed by doing nothing; that is not how the world works. Be active, take part, and see Russell Brand for the attention seeking jester he has clearly become.