Something odd happened last year. Something... groundbreaking occurred. The "Establishment", as Owen Jones puts it, was disturbed by one of capitalism's success stories. Russell Brand, poor Essex lad turned Comedian and Actor, remains a divided figure throughout the electorate; YouGov's poll in November 2014 showed that 46% of Britons had a negative view of Brand, compared to 13% who felt positively about the comedian. However, one cannot deny he has inspired thousands to question the current system we are living under, and shows why although he may not be the answer, Brand could well be the trigger that provokes a shake-up in our archaic political system, which benefits the few at the top at the expense of the many.
Most anti-Brand voices spout out the narrative gathered from Brand's first 'political' interview - his message to "not vote". The political apathy that Brand appears to be encouraging may even go so far as promoting 'extremism', according to Nick Robinson . In actual fact, Brand was talking about how no party or candidate was worth voting for - this was reflected in a recent survey which showed 17% of non voters felt that way.
In most critics' eyes, Brand, a self confessed socialist, should promote his idea of egalitarianism by living in social housing, dismantling his own company and selling every luxury he owns. If he fails, he is none other than a "hypocrite", according to the Sun. . However, I feel that a revolutionary, defined as one who wishes for social and economic equality, does not need to rise from the slums in order to maintain integrity regarding his beliefs - it often takes someone with a 'voice' to inspire social change.
Brand's recent publication has received mixed reviews - is it a publication worthy of waking up the masses, or more drivel from a man with little real-life expertise? Owen Jones summed up the left wing view in the Guardian, saying Brand encouraged people to "think about issues such as grotesque inequality, the concentration of wealth and power, and the many injustices that afflict and even define our society." Brand's lack of economic knowledge is quite obvious, but rather expected from a man with little higher education. However, again, why does one have to be educated in the intricacies of advanced economic ideas to make observations about monetary inequality?
"The Trews" is a tool that encourages the kind of debate held in Coffee Houses prior to the French Revolution. It exposes corruption at the top level that the mainstream media, often owned by the same corporations who commit injustices, fails to do. Injustices that are clear, such as tax avoidance and the presence of Nigel Farage in our lives, are signposted and loosely analysed by Mr Brand; he isn't a journalist, but he's doing a better job than most of them.
He's not the answer, he's the beginning
As a young person, and this view is shared by thousands of students round the country, Brand's own narrative is refreshing, humourous and more importantly accessible - his connection with Britain's youth have inspired many to share his apathy and disdain towards the Big Three (TWO MILLION students may not vote in 2015) , none of whom share his desire for an egalitarian utopia. We will never see Russell Brand in control of 10 Downing Street, unless he decides to lead a coup against any future PM. He will not act as a leader like MLK or Gandhi. However, he will remain as the influence for many formerly apathetic citizens, who now see the need for change to the socially, economically and politically unjust British society that has been created. The media will continue to lambast him, will continue to expose his private life, all in an endeavour to undermine his words and ideas - what is now required is for more of those at the top, with a voice, to express similar ideas, and for the masses to engage and take action against the corruption underlying the Establishment.