Wednesday 21 March 2018

Brand's slogans won't get us very far

We can't afford the luxury of doing nothing, people need to get involved in politics to effect change, writes Donal Lynch

APATHY: Russell Brand said on 'Newsnight' that he never votes as it is a 'waste of time'
APATHY: Russell Brand said on 'Newsnight' that he never votes as it is a 'waste of time'
Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

When Russell Brand comes to Dublin to play his sell-out show next week, he will once again ride into town on a wave of publicity. Thanks to his Newsnight interview with Jeremy Paxman last week, he has been held up by The Huffington Post, Salon, The Guardian and others as a sort of Che Guevara in eyeliner, a pop culture revolutionary to lead us out of the dark. As Paxman's eyebrows hovered somewhere above his head, Brand told him that he has never voted because voting was "a waste of time".

That got our attention and Brand held it. "It's not that I'm not voting out of apathy," he continued. "I'm not voting out of absolute indifference, and weariness, and exhaustion from the lies, treachery, deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations now and has now reached a fever pitch, where we have a disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent underclass that [is] not being represented by that political system, so voting for it is tacit complicity with that system."

The chorus of "right ons" on social media was deafening and, listening to Brand talk, I wanted to be persuaded. For one thing, he's often right – his stance on drug laws is a breath of fresh air, for instance. For another thing, he's funny, and truth, so the maxim goes, is the soul of wit. But the real reason I wanted to believe him is that not engaging at all with politics and hanging around, waiting for the revolution, is just the type of civic non-strategy I love the most.

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