In my humble opinion Russell Brand is not a funny man. His jokes are childish and boring and he revels in the kind of scatological humour which winds up most 'right-thinking' people.
Ok, he may not be my cup of tea - but fair enough: he's making (or used to make) an honest living doing something that he can profit from. As a lover of free markets, I can safely say I have no problem with this.
Brand's recent foray into political activism has shown this wannabe modern-day Lord Byron for what he truly is; shallow, stupid and lacking in self-awareness to such a degree it's cringeworthy.
You may claim at this stage that he's authentic, that he cares about economic and structural inequality and that he's 'awakening' the masses to politics (the latter being an argument I've heard thrown around considerably since he commenced his witless ramblings over a year ago).
For his detractors, the story is somewhat different. Those among us who actually grasp economics - even at a basic level - can spot him coming a mile off. After all, we've heard it all before. Brand plays on the emotions and insecurities of people who don't really understand much about politics or economics and creates evil bogymen; the democratic process, private corporations and the 'rich' (a vague term that often includes everyone earning over £50,000 a year).
Brand is correct to attack politicians for failing the people of this country, but to go as far as telling young people not to vote is quite frankly absurd and irresponsible. It is these exact people who need to grasp the democratic process and vote for change to better society. Moreover, voting is the only way to have a proper grassroots people's revolution. It's not like he has a standing army to stage a coup d'état.
So let's take some of his ideas apart: First, Brand's nonsensical revolutionary ideals want the banking system to be abolished. Does this idiot not realise that access to modern banking facilities alleviates the hardship for poorer people? If his attack on the City of London were to happen, we would see true poverty on such a scale, that it would match the poverty seen in the Victorian era. The UK would fast become a Third World country. If he wanted a real revolution, he should call for people to stop paying their TV licences, which is nothing more than a poll tax.
The sad irony of this is that Brand goes on BBC Newsnight (yes, a big corporation) and promotes his new book at £20 a pop. How on earth can this man rage against capitalism and then shamelessly promote his book in the same interview. This man claims to be the voice of the ordinary working person, yet he drives to and from his lefty protests in a black Range Rover. The man's a joke!
Brand tries to sound like an intellectual yet he's merely a stupid person's idea of a clever person. He also attempts to sound smart by praising the writings of the French economist Thomas Piketty. Piketty's communistic work is nothing more than the respectable face of anarchist haters of private business like Brand - and Brand doesn't even to seem to be able to understand the detail - quite worrying for someone who wants to overthrow the 'system' is it not?
As well as this, Brand calls for an alternative to 'Corporate Hegemony', but as Evan Davies pointed out on Newsnight: does it cross his mind that his 'alternative to capitalism' could be a worse system? The frightening thing is the prospect of this man running for Mayor of London. If he stood, I think he may actually have a chance of winning in this age of celebrity culture. Sadly we seem to be a nation that listens to celebrities' views on the serious matters, even when they don't seem all that rational. If this prospect did come to pass, London would certainly go downhill, as there will be a mass exodus of financial services firms and the closure of many businesses that support the industry.
I can, in many ways, understand why people are angry at companies such as Starbucks and Amazon for legally avoiding UK Corporation Tax, but I feel Russell Brand is just jumping on the bandwagon and using this as a stick to beat private enterprise. Let's take a step back and actually think for a minute, why is it that muti-national corporations don't like to pay their tax in the UK? Well the answer is simple; the overall tax burden is far too high in this country, when you think about the taxes on employing people alone! If the British government were to simplify the tax code and reduce overall taxation, you would see a lot of multi-nationals flocking to these shores to pay their taxes under our tax regime.
So why on earth does this pretentious idiot warrant so much airtime? The man is incoherent and contradictory. I think we need to look at why some of the powers that be, allow him so much airtime. Phillip Davies MP is bang on the money, when he says that the BBC is not there "to give idiots time to promote their book".
I also don't even think that Brand is for real. His critical thinking skills are not up to much, his debating is weak and his viewpoints riddled with logical fallacies. In many ways, he seems to be narcissistic and immature - like a child who hasn't yet come to terms with his/her limitations. He suffers from a 'Messiah Complex' believing he's been put on this earth to 'change the world' - a dangerous mindset that has led humanity down destructive paths in the past. Even if Brand himself believes he speaks sense and 'cares' he actually is deeply deluded and intellectually stunted. Just think of his lack of attention when Evan Davies showed him that historic wages graph on Newsnight! Even if he's capable of understanding more complex analysis, he neither wants to nor feels he needs to. Instead his position is based on emotion, not logic.
Ultimately what Brand is saying is nothing new - his viewpoints are hackneyed clichés, and as old as the hills. Think Citizen Smith - that popular television programme in the eighties that lampooned the 'loony leftism' rampant in London suburbs! Remind you of anyone? Well, 'Citizen Brand' is simply offering his version of unworkable left-wing populism.
If Brand was serious, he'd give up his wealth tomorrow, distribute it to those he deems to be suffering and run for public office. Any less and he cannot be taken seriously - namely because what he's advocating is so disruptive he needs to show he's willing to take equivalent risks and put his money where his mouth is.
Oh, and I forgot to add: Russell Brand's film company is funded by JP Morgan Chase and other venture capitalists through a tax avoidance scheme!