THE BLOG

Russell Brand's Politics Are an Offensive Mess

28/10/2014 11:21 GMT | Updated 27/12/2014 10:59 GMT

Ladbrokes today put odds of 200-1 on Russell Brand becoming Mayor of London in 2016 with a spokesman saying people stick to "tried and tested" types when voting.

And following the Mail on Sunday's report that Brand had expressed interest in the position to close friends, a spokeswoman said: "We are not commenting."

So there might not be reason to take rumours of his election bid seriously, but there are powerful reasons to oppose some of his politics.

On paper, Russell Brand might look to be my near-perfect match; he is anti-monarchy, sceptical of big business, distrusting of politicians, confused by economics and frustrated at the narrowness of voters' options.

However, Brand has become the latest of the popular left to embody some of the worst elements of a force with which I should agree.

It's the left that isn't left anymore. It's the left that doesn't understand its own struggle against tyranny. It's the lazy left that Orwell warned against.

Brand, on his show The Trews, mocked Fox News' Sean Hannity (who wouldn't) but took his fight further to appease Hamas. When Hannity referred to Hamas as terrorists, Brand dismissed the categorisation as "just language". He said that because Israel has a state-organised army and Palestine does not, Palestine has to resort to tactics we might call terrorism.

To speak of Hamas this way, as though they are a representative army that Palestinians have scraped together to fight imperialism as best they can is to see the left's enemy and embrace it.

Hamas, who have brutalised fellow Palestinians as well as Israelis, are not fighting merely for Palestinian liberation but for the destruction of Israel which would, ironically, involve displacing if not murdering innocents. Were Hamas to govern the United Kingdom, Brand, myself and every other lefty, slim-fit obsessive would be among the first to go along with homosexuals, bisexuals, transgender people and Jews.

If Brand wants to contribute to political discourse, he could spend ten minutes reading up on these highly organised bigots. If he wanted to stand up for Palestine, he could have prioritised criticism of Hamas over criticism of Hannity whom he likened a "Ken" doll.

Brand also said IS, who even the limpest, most lukewarm of the left seem to condemn, were less of a threat to London than David Cameron. He shrugged off IS as an abstract threat "unless you're in Syria". Will he now add Turkey, Iraq, Australia and Cardiff to that list? All and more have been threatened by IS or seen some citizens follow their twisted, racist ideology.

Russell Brand should think, for at least a moment, about taking seriously his mission of shouting down power for the little man. If he did, he would regard these groups as among the most dangerous, potent and crass threats to the vulnerable that exist. They are not just a threat to us in an abstract, ideological sense and if not resisted would not stop their hideous campaign. Brand should use his profile to oppose these twisted crusaders sooner than criticise David Cameron. Ironically, this champion of equality has put the needs of his countrymen first - perhaps because visions of their suffering are inescapable for him. I suppose for some it's easier not to care about the mutilation of foreigners you don't bump into every day. This belongs on the right, not the left.

If Brand were familiar with Orwell, he may have something more in the way of internationalism. He also would not have described Owen Jones, whose lazy inaction would still have the Taliban raping Hazara teenagers, as "this generation's Orwell".

Jones returned this favour in a brief review of Brand's Revolution for The Guardian online. He said: "I have no time for the all-too-smug, seen-it-all-before snottiness towards Russell Brand that is so prevalent among the political commentariat."

I have no time for snottiness either. It's sickening to think Brand may be dismissed by political snobs as a stain on commentary - a working class oik who isn't qualified. But I I won't patronise him. I won't congratulate him for having a go as though he doesn't know better because the truth is it doesn't take privilege to oppose fascism and its friends.

I don't dismiss Brand outright; I've heard what he has to say and it makes me despair.

I will, and so should you, tell him that he's deeply mistaken. He is capable of understanding these issues and that's what makes some of his tirades so repulsive.