|Russell crashed Sam Allardyce's post-match press conference to plant a kiss after West Ham beat Man City 2-1|
There is one certainty about middle class liberals, when push comes to shove they will always side with the status quo which provides their daily bread. When Russell Brand was an unreformed drug addict and philanderer with a penchant for comedy and movies they felt he was an interesting, and amusing fellow. Now he has turned out to have a hinterland which rejects all they believe they line up to put the boot in.
The latest minnows to join the monstering of Russell Brand Brigade are columnist Nick Cohen, (Oxbridge educated) and Hadley Freeman. (public School and Oxbridge educated). Cohen is a man who spends half of his time wearing his 'progressive' politics on his sleeve, and the other half attacking the political left.
As is the way with most middle class liberals, they both attempt to make much of Brands lack of a formal education, believing this will play well with their class prejudiced readers. It's not an easy task to self educated oneself, and instead of seeing this as a plus they point out Brand's shortcomings. Cohen sneers at Brand's atrocious writing and Freeman condemns him for confusing a thesaurus with eloquence. Neither gives a thought to Brand having left school at sixteen, with little more than the skills to become factory fodder, at a time when most of the factories which used to provide work in Thurrock had ceased to exist.
Is there anything more contemptible than middle class journalists who received a university education partially paid for from the taxes of millions or working class people, who then sneer at those who were never given a chance to have that right.
Freeman in her latest offering attempted to do the hatchet job on Russell which many others have tried and failed. Centring her attack on Brand's interview last Friday night with Paxman's replacement at Newsnight Evan Davis. (Oxbridge and Harvard and like Freeman he also edited Cherwell, the student newspaper)
She claimed without a shred of evidence to back it up that Brand:
displayed the kind of ecstatic hypomania you'd expect of a celebrity who long ago exceeded the outer limits of his knowledge on this particular subject and is now coasting on the adrenaline of his own messiah complex.
When Brand told Davis “I don't trust the corporations that you work for, every time you take this line with me,” Freeman clearly thought he was totally off the wall. One often wonders what planet these people live on, for these days only a nincompoop or a complete charlatan would claim to trust the output of the BBC..
From the very beginning Davis's interview was clearly a hatchet job, the studio backdrop had Russell dressed as up as Che Guevara. The real problem Davis had with Brand is he refuses play the game. He was there for a purpose and it was not to be a patsy for a neo-liberal stooge like Evan who is incapable of thinking outside the narrow confines set by his employer and its masters.
Paxman's (Public school and Oxbridge*) highly paid replacement attempted to get Brand to agree that a graph he had put up showed capitalism had served people well down the years, as wages had risen since the start of the industrial revolution. Presumably he was attempting to prove people on low wages and benefits should stop moaning about their lot, after all capitalism is a system of booms and slumps and someone has to eat thin gruel.
Thankfully Russell was not going there:
When he was presented with this silly nonsense he told Davis bluntly I don't have time for your bloody graph Evan “This is the stuff people like you use to confuse people like us.”
Exasperated and defeated Davis had one last throw of the dice, he would tar Brand with being a conspiracy theory nut, asking him whether he believes the US government was behind 9/11.
Brand replied sensibly that given recent events and the relationship between the Bush and Bin Laden families “We have to remain open-minded to any kind of possibility.”
Time and again Russell made it clear to Davis his main aim was to use his celebrity to give publicity to folk who come from the same or similar backgrounds and are fighting against powerful vested interests for a better life for them and theirs. He used the examples of a Grays fireman and his colleagues who are fighting against cuts to the Fire service pension fund. He highlighted the struggle of the young, single mothers of Focus 15, who occupied a number of vacant flats on an east London estate, in protest against Newham Council's plans to demolish the Carpenter housing estate in Stratford. Plus a number of similar campaigns.
Far from Russell refusing to talk about these issue it was Davis who poo pooed them, refusing to go there. Instead pretending his wished to talk about "the big issues." As if young families without permanent and secure homes is not a big issue. There was once a time when the BBC understood this and broadcast plays like Cathy Come Home to highlight such abominations, but not anymore. Instead we get neoliberal clones like Evan Davis front of house, with Bankers and business elites occupying the seats on the BBC Trust.
The real problem people like Davis and Freeman who service the neo liberal elites have with Brand is his refusal to stick to the neo liberal script, he refuses to dance to there reactionary tune. People who appear on Newsnight are there to show how important and clever they are, not to propagandise against the system that provides them and their ilk with a good life and certainly not to highlight the unnecessary exploitation and demonisation of large sections of the working classes.
To conclude I will return to Hadley Freeman's column in which she showed just how isolated these elitist cliques are from ordinary peoples lives. She claimed people are a bit fed up with politicians. Let me run that by you again, a bit fed up, she should come down to Grays and she would find out a bit fed up does not even begin to describe it. Angry and pissed off doesn't even come close.
Why Brand is such a breath of fresh air for many of us is because he does understand our rage, having lived amongst us for the most formative years of his life he has never turned his back. He not only understands what makes us tick he actually likes us and is proud of his class, just as we are proud of him and are willing to take him warts and all. And believe me people with a messiah complex do last long in a place like Grays, nor do they choose to support West Ham United.
To those middle class minnows like Cohen and Freeman who carp and sneer, I would ask this, when did you last go and talk to a fireman on a picket line, do you even know where E15 is?
As to the future, Russell doesn't have all the answers and has never pretended too, he is and always has been a live wire. He may turn out to be a bright shooting star which burns out, or he may be brought low by lesser human beings, but none of that matters now. For what he is doing is articulating how we think and feel, and what it's like today to be the dispossessed, the wretched of the earth in a world of plenty. His is a loud voice against the mean spirited clatter of austerity for the masses, and cream everyday for the most wealthy.
Russell Brand is one of millions around the world who are crying out enough! There has to be another way. The only difference is Russell's celebrity status gives him a louder voice.
The working classes are not a homogeneous block of ignorance and want, but people with dreams and hopes for a decent life just like the over pampered folks on the hill. The only difference is when we fight to achieve it we have no wish to leave human wreckage on a massive scale in our wake.
Amongst our docks, river frontage and council housing working class Grays produced a Russell Brand and just maybe that is why these pompous middle class intellectuals hate him so ...
- I continuously mention where these people are educated as it highlights what a narrow class background the majority of mainstream broadcasters come from, along with the class prejudices they carry in their knapsacks.