28 April 2015

Ed Miliband should not be hanging out with Russell Brand


The Labour leader has visited the “comedian” Russell Brand at home. The word is that they recorded an interview and that Brand may even come out for Miliband.
What was he thinking? Miliband I mean, not Brand. A potential Prime Minister should not be visiting the house of a man with views so extreme that he makes Tony Benn look like Alan Milburn. I would have been worried to hear that Miliband has been watching Russell Brand videos, never mind appearing in them.
To understand how far politics has fallen, and how lost our leadership class is, try and imagine the great Jim Callaghan (ex-Royal Navy) deciding, in the 1979 election to make a visit to the house of Johnny Rotten in a bid to win over disillusioned Sex Pistols fans. As Rotten, John Lydon, put it in another context: Ever feel you’ve been cheated?
Alastair Campbell disagrees with my view. The former spin doctor to Tony Blair has defended Miliband, saying that leaders should reach out to the disengaged. When he was Prime MInister, Blair, of course, went on the Des O’Connor show.
Incidentally, those who say that the Miliband/Brand summit is ok because his opponent got close to Jeremy Clarkson and the notorious Chipping Norton set, I say only that Cameron shouldn’t have done that either. It remains one of the most baffling aspects of modern life that leaders who could – at Chequers and elsewhere – have lunch or dinner with any great historian, scientist, painter, musician, philosopher or theatre director, choose instead to hang out with Top Gear presenters.
Anyway, Brand is much worse. Clarkson is just a poor man’s Nigel Farage (although Clarkson is actually a Europhile, unlike Farage). Brand, on the other hand, is the full-blown Fidel Castro, half-educated in revolutionary theory and marinaded in celebrity anti-capitalist nonsense. Super-rich Brand believes that people shouldn’t vote and should withhold tax because the economy is a “con”. Geddit? Ed Miliband should not be going anywhere near him.
The Labour leader already has an emerging problem in this election. The polls suggest that the Tory attacks on Labour over the risk of a Miliband/Sturgeon pact are having an impact on voters. Now the Tories can add Revolutionary Russell to the mix. A Prime Minister who hangs out with Russell Brand? Really?

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX.