The Blog

Russell's Revolution

"What's that tumultuous uproar I can hear emanating from the streets, it's Monday night for God's sake?" Lethargically I peel myself away from the sofa and peek through the window.

"Sweet Jesus it's the zombie apocalypse! I knew it was only a matter of time, but wait...what's this..." After careful inspection it becomes clear that this is in fact not the blood thirsty hoards of the undead patrolling the streets but instead legions of alternative, disenfranchised hipsters. As the anti-conformist crowd shuffle along in the same direction I am drawn to the light of the torches they have made using the wood salvaged from local vintage shops, I can just about make out the witty slogans they have scrawled across old placards and I leer at their hastily printed t-shirts brandishing Che Russell Brand. It's V for Vendetta, but with skinny jeans and ludicrous head accessories.

"What do we want!" they shout in complete unison, "a fairer society!" the reply. My interest piqued, the sound of my doorbell diverts my attention away; the revolution has finally reached my doorstep.

I open the door and find myself staring into the pugnacious face of a malnourished teenager, confidently clutching his ipad and dressed up like an extra from a spaghetti western (I'm undecided whether this getup was donned specifically for the revolution or whether this unconventional attire is his normal gear, his usual desperate cry for attention). "March with us comrade; this is the fight against the tyranny of the current administration. Rise with us! Join our quest for a new fairer society," finishing with gusto he hands me his ipad, "or alternatively please provide your email address so we can sign you up to our online e-petition encouraging the government to discuss measures to make society fairer."

A revolution certainly does sound appealing and honestly I've never been on a demonstration before, perhaps this will be the opportune time to cross it off the bucket list. Mind you I'm right in the middle of a Mad Men marathon. "Hi there, young revolutionary, I agree in principle with what you're doing, but now is not a good time. I usually frequent marches during the Summer months when the weather is a more palatable, normally outside of the football season to avoid any scheduling conflicts and never during core business hours (9am-5:30pm). If the revolution is still in full swing in June then count me in. I can't do Wednesday's though as I've just started Bikram yoga, I am not in any position to commit to a direct debit if this is what you're after and I'm only really up for doing marches that last no more than 1hour and 30minutes, are easy to commute to and span no greater distance than 3.5km."

And so ends Russell's revolution for me.

Despite fitting the profile of someone who should feel, perhaps, particularly mobilised by Russell Brand's call to arms (disenfranchised, various socialist leanings, always game for confrontation) I just can't seem to see any outcome which doesn't involve me standing in the autumnal rain, amidst an obscure group of pretenders wondering what the fuck I am doing with my life. In fact the truth is Brand's political movement will probably never get that far anyway.

In essence, I agree with Russell's convoluted message; I'm impartial to a spot of sanctimonious preaching myself and agree that more needs to be done to protect the vulnerable in society and more needs to be done to readdress the inherent inequality of opportunity in this country. I agree with the message though and not the execution.

It would be naïve of me to bemoan the fact that this particular interview felt like an extension of the Brand PR machine, an attempt to further craft his image and exacerbate his uniqueness, rather than a heartfelt assessment of where the British political system is at. After all, every political sales pitch is as much about drumming up support for the person as it is the message. My biggest issue with Russell's rhetoric is his certainty that we are on the cusp of a revolution in Britain; an absurd statement which gives absolutely no credence to Russell's otherwise fair comments.

"What do you mean there won't be a revolution?! We have a Facebook group set up and everything?! We shared that 8 minute oratory in record numbers?! For the love of Russell we even made T-Shirts?!"

Well ignoring the fact that the majority of people are completely distracted by the qualms of contemporary life and aggressive consumerism (as highlighted in the hypothetical anecdote above) there are some very key reasons why Russell's movement will actually not move very far, much to the disappointment of many.

Firstly, for this political movement to go anywhere it is going to require a great deal of financial backing, whichever direction it takes. In the broad history of revolutions, and according to my A-Level history teacher, I cannot recall a single peaceful revolution which resulted in a successful change in policy or administration. For Russell's ambitions to be realised we will need a violent upheaval, an aggressive purge of the current administration. Arming rebels though is no cheap feat, just ask Obama. Even factoring in Russell's own personal wealth, I just don't feel he has the capacity to fund an army, not to mention he doesn't strike me as your typical gun runner.

Whether the revolution is peaceful or violent, for team Russell there is one ally which is crucial to the success of Russell's red dawn; the media. The media is crucial in crafting public opinion; it can fan the flames of rebellion, helping to drum up support or it can crush the revolution with bad publicity (I can see the Mail headlines now "Rebelling Immigrants turn to Cannibalism & Eat the British Elderly, or something to similar effect). Russell will need to find some way to melt Rupert Murdoch's icy heart and convince him that his path of seducing the British Public with right wing sensationalism is wrong. Good luck with that one Russell, the term "blood out of a stone" springs to mind.

No money and no positive press and so ultimately no hope for Russell. Even in the unlikely event he secured both of these elusive resources he is still heavily reliant on the docile British public to pause their digital television, rise up off their settee and proactively engage in the movement. This the same public who were completely physically unmoved by revelations that they are being spied on at every level, that their country was engaged in an illegal war, that their security forces are responsible for torturing terror suspects and all manner of other atrocities. Britain on the cusp of a revolution? Sorry Russell not this time.

Perhaps the clearest indicator though that Russell's Revolution is destined to fall into the oblivion where all failed coup d'etats go is the fact that I am writing this not even a week after the interview, and already it has already seemingly completed the transition into one of the internet's many forgotten viral videos. Tard the grumpy cat had more staying power.