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Clowns against the stagnant quotidian.

I’VE BEEN WONDERING what to say about the Russell Brand Intervention, as it should be called, into the debate about current affairs, and the demands for a revolution.

A lot of people — ie Guardianistas — the professional left and assorted lecturers up and down the country, not to mention the staff of the New Statesman, who have gifted Brand with the guest editorship of their mag for a week, have found his impassioned rhetoric against the awfulness of politicians and the system, etc, “inspiring”.

Reading his piece in the New Statesman and listening to his spiel in his interview with Paxman on Newsnight, I couldn’t help feeling I had been catapulted back into the late sixties and seventies, via The Young Ones and the routines Ben Elton.

The revolutionary zeal was all there: Russell wants a “total revolution in consciousness and our entire social, political and economic system”. Yeah, that’s cosmic, as we used to say. And total revolution, man, not your little bit here, little bit there stuff. Because we need massive redistribution of wealth to solve the problems of democracy, poverty, inequality and the destruction of the planet. We all live on the same planet, he reminds us. Portentously.

More than that, though, Russell wants a revolution in our consciousness. Now that’s a tricky one. How does he think we’ll manage that? Dumping hallucinogens in the water supply? Imposing daily meditation sessions on everybody? Wafting clouds of cannabis smoke into the cities? Unless he’s thinking of mass “re-education”, in which case he ought to read a bit of recent history. A lot of people had to be re-educated in the Soviet Union to redistribute all that wealth, and it didn’t end up happily. He hasn’t really thought any of this through, has he?

Well, of course not. He’s a clown, just as the politicians he’s attacking are also clowns. Chucking a load of big words and ponderous phrases into his inanities in an attempt to appear serious and unclownlike just emphasises what a clown he really is (although I do like “stagnant quotidian”).

What a pathetic situation we are in, though, governed by clowns and now encouraged by another clown to tear everything up so the world can have yet another bash at the utopian socialist nightmare (accompanied this time with tree-hugging). What Brand and his ilk have missed, as Nick Cohen has pointed out, is that if there is a revolution it’s not going to be theirs; it’s going to come from the right. And tree-hugging won’t be on the agenda.

Michael Blackburn.

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