POLITICS

Russell Brand Backs Jeremy Corbyn For Prime Minister; Says Voting Tory Is 'Sadomasochism'

Labour leader has 'common sense and compassion'

31/05/2017 16:04 | Updated 31 May 2017
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Russell Brand has urged the public to back Labour to allow Jeremy Corbyn to stage a British “revolution”.

In a blog for HuffPost UK, the comedian and author declared the first time that he wanted Corbyn as Prime Minister.

“Whether it’s the Iraq War or badger-baiting, Corbyn has been allied with common sense and compassion in pretty much every Parliamentary argument,” he wrote.

Theresa May, in contrast, was leading a Tory party that is “so hungry for power that it swallowed Ukip whole and is now belching the consequences into our faces”.

For good measure, Brand described the Prime Minister as “a vindictive librarian drawn by Quentin Blake” and said voting Tory would be an act of “sadomasochism”.

Brand, who said earlier this month that he wasn’t sure who he’d vote for, finally came out for Corbyn two years after he caused a stir by backing Ed Miliband in the 2015 general election.

The comic – who has 12 million Twitter followers - had once famously suggested voting was not worth it, but endorsed Miliband at the last minute after interviewing him for his The Trews YouTube channel.

 Writing for HuffPost UK, he said: “You know I never actually said ‘don’t vote?

“I said ‘There’s no point in voting when the main political parties are basically indistinguishable and the relationship between government, big business and factions of the media make it impossible for the democratic will of the people to be realised, which is a more nuanced point and plainly true. Anyway, that was then and this is now.”

Brand recently released a video pleading with young people to register to vote, showing how to navigate and sign up through the Government’s own gov.uk website.

In his new blogpost, he praises Corbyn for his long record of sticking to his principles and for standing up to the media’s treatment of him.

“Even the more ‘controversial’ stuff in his search history doesn’t hold up to scrutiny - meeting with the IRA; he wasn’t at a barn dance in Londonderry downing Guinness in a balaclava, he was perspicaciously acknowledging the necessity for negotiation in pursuit of a peaceful solution. Which is what happened, years later. You could say that he was ahead of his time. Or a leader.

Carl Court via Getty Images
Jermey Corbyn on the campaign trail in Reading.

“The spin after his statement about the conditions that exacerbate terrorism was telling too. ‘We need to look at new ways of tackling terrorism’ when repurposed became ‘Britain is to blame for the Manchester bombing.’ We are beyond doublespeak and into a hegemonic narrative singularity.

“Corbyn has been in the game a while and knew that what he said would be warped in order to stoke fear but said it anyway. Why? Integrity and trust that people can discern truth from propaganda. Qualities I want from a strong and stable leader.”

Referring to Labour’s plans to hike taxes for those earning more than £80,000, the comic added “it’s time for those of us that are well-off to make some (pretty modest) financial sacrifices, and for those that aren’t to vote in the interest of themselves and their communities”.

PA Wire/PA Images
Theresa May in Bath.

Brand added that “a Labour government won’t be perfect” and neither was its leader.

“Jeremy Corbyn won’t be perfect, he is a human being. We have a chance to elect a politician who is committed to serving the people of Britain. To supporting the NHS, public services and educating the young people to whom the future belongs.

“Electing the Tories for another five years, to throw the opportunity for change into the distant indeterminate wasteland of 2022 would be an act of collective self-loathing bordering on mass sadomasochism.”

After the 2015 defeat for Labour, the author and actor blamed himself for “fucking up the election” by getting Miliband to come round to his house for the online interview.

David Cameron had called Miliband “a joke” for agreeing to the event with the comedian and the tabloids ferociously attacked the Labour leader’s ‘mockney’ accent.

Brand backed Corbyn in the 2015 Labour leadership race after Tony Blair had criticised his supporters for voting with their ‘hearts’.

But he has also advocated voting Green in the past and until Wednesday had not declared clearly for Labour in the 2017 race.

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