The Russell Brand brand breeds cynicism and disdain
It is a mystery why Channel 4 News promotes the goofy Russell Brand: last night, Jon Snow was trying to get and answer to a perfectly straightforward point of democratic logic - how Brand's exhortation not to vote is consistent with his demand for a parliamentary debate to change drugs legislation. How does encouraging young people not to participate in elections ever lead to the sort of psychedelic utopia he dreams of? But the wacky comedian just waffles and spouts sophomoric platitudes about his "revolution". He fools around and grins inanely like a deranged half-wit. This isn't Big Brother: it is Channel 4 News.
There was parliamentary by-election yesterday in Wythenshawe and Sale East, caused by the death of Labour MP Paul Goggins, who was a committed and compassionate Christian. The seat has been retained by Labour. The full results were:
Mike Kane (Labour): 13,261
John Bickley (UKIP): 4,301
Reverend Daniel Critchlow (Conservatives): 3,479
Mary Di Mauro (Lib Dem): 1,176
Nigel Woodcock (Green Party): 748
Eddy O'Sullivan (BNP): 700
Captain Chaplington-Smythe (Monster Raving Loony): 200
Forget that Ukip came nowhere near to taking the seat, as they boasted they might. Forget that the Tories were shunted into third place, which they dreaded but deserve. Forget that the Liberal Democrats lost their deposit, which is just humiliating but humiliatingly just. Consider the turnout - 28%.
It is a psephological fact that there tends to be a lower turnout at by-elections than for general elections - in this case down from 54.3% in 2010. But this is Russell Brand's fairytale: 72% just can't be bothered to participate in the election of their democratic representative, and so Brand is absolutely right that Parliament is made up of the unrepresentative. Political parties seem to win elections by promising heaven on earth, and when, a decade later, the electorate realises that they are still in purgatory, another swathe of disaffected voters views the democratic process with cynicism and disdain, declaring a plague on all their houses. This leads to a voter apathy and alienation, a deterioration in democratic participation and a declining turnout in elections, especially among the young.
Of course, the logic of Brand's revolution is that he would have to become prime minister, and his manifesto would be comprised not of every protest that takes to the streets on behalf of some day-dreaming minority with a Shangri-la cause, but of what he believes to be best for the common people. He would overlook the majority millions who favour the reintroduction of capital punishment or secession from the European Union. He would ignore the majority who favour tighter abortion laws or more rigorous control of immigration. Brand seeks to bring only his own peculiar brand of service, justice, healing, reconciliation, liberation and peace. Those who don't agree can safely be scorned because they are simply boorish, birdbrained and unenlightened.
Our democracy is very ill: the condition might even be terminal. This is a logical consequence of 70% of our laws (according to EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding) being made above and beyond our control. And Russell Brand's solution is to recognise him as the nation's Philosopher-Guardian - effectively to make him our next EU commissioner. No need for a vote, because the people are too stupid to understand and lack discernment.
Why does Channel 4 promote this dotty, potty fruitcake?