A Labour coalition - or more specifically NOT a Tory coalition - is important. It means the next five years will be slightly easier for the people at the bottom of the pile and slightly harder for those at the top. I can see why you would endorse that and I sympathise with why Russell Brand did, but I'm still disappointed - I still feel betrayed by the man.
I respected Russell Brand because he was an inspirer, a visionary, not because he was a tactician. This latest turn shows a degree of compromise the old Brand wouldn't have stood a moment for. Where's the passion of just a few months ago, the absolute despise for politicians, the jumping around, prodding his finger in people's faces, refusing to be intimidated by the establishment?
I liked Russell because he wasn't a politician, he wasn't held down by practicalities, by costing his manifesto, or getting excited by incremental change. I respected him because he was idealistic and he showed us politics wasn't just for them. He was like a kid who refused to accept a simple answer, always demanding more: why can't we change the system; why should some people have more than others; why aren't things that straightforward. After 500 episodes and a whole book on the stuff, it's depressing to see Russell's revolution starts with exactly the thing he began by deriding: a vote.
The system is broken. No government, be it Labour or Tory, can compete with the banks, the media, the capitalist plutocracy. Ed Miliband may be a good guy but there's only so much he can do within the current structure. The call to arms of people like Russell Brand and Owen Jones, that this is where democracy begins - that after the election is where the real battle starts - are empty. Electoral reform, one of the many reasons people are eschewing their convictions in order to vote Labour, hasn't even been mentioned in their manifesto. Someone once said, if the Tories are there to protect the establishment, Labour are there to manage our aspirations. The old Russell Brand probably would have agreed with that.
Here's the thing. I'm going to vote today, I always would have done. I would rather see the little power Parliament does have in the hands of someone like Miliband than 5 more years of the Tories. I think we need a Labour coalition, and we need people to vote Labour for that, but we don't need Russell Brand to tell us that.
We need Russell Brand to tell us NOT to vote. To get us excited about limitless possibility, about a glorious future where everyone is equal. To engage us with the possibility of radical change, away from Westminster, away from party politics. We need the Russell who dared to go on Paxman and imagine a Utopian society without explaining how we were to go about making it. We need the Russell who believes in the power of people: believes we can do anything just as long as we can dream it first. We need Russell the idealist.
By declaring his allegiance to Miliband I don't think Russell is eschewing his commitment to grass roots politics, but he is sending a clear message about our ability to create change: This isn't the idealist propounding a spiritual and ideological revolution I fell in love with a year ago. This is a pragmatist that sounds depressingly like my Dad.