Russell Brand has finally given a firm endorsement of who he thinks people should vote for in the general election – but only in the constituency of Brighton Pavilion.
Brand was explicit in his support for Caroline Lucas, the Green party’s first MP, who is seeking re-election in the constituency. Squashed next to Lucas in the corner of a London coffee shop to do an interview for his popular The Trews YouTube channel, Brand told her: “People who live in Brighton Pavilion should definitely vote for you.”
Turning to face the camera, he added: “Are you a person that lives in Brighton Pavilion? If you are, you should definitely vote for this person, Caroline Lucas.”
A day after posting his chat with the Labour leader Ed Miliband, which has had 625,000 views on Brand’s channel, the comedian and activist chatted to Lucas and the Greens’ leader, Natalie Bennett.
While remaining sceptical about its ability to exert much influence, Brand gave the party something of a general, if idiosyncratic, endorsement. “After the revolution, the Greens are the very kind of people you’d want in charge of running things, not a narcissistic lunatic like myself,” he said to Lucas. “You’d have sensible people with sensible policies.”
Brand has repeatedly said he does not vote because he believes the influence of unelected corporate interests renders it pointless, something Miliband strongly challenged him on.
Lucas disagreed with what Brand termed “reflexible impotence” rather than apathy. “Lots of the reasons that the bankers have power, and the unelected people have power, is because politicians have given that power away,” she said. “It’s not like some divine right that these other people have power. Politicians have chosen to give that power away.”
Lucas used the example of the planned TTIP transatlantic trade deal. “You’ve got politicians, right now, negotiating that away, saying: ‘Yeah, go on, set up a separate court system whereby private corporations can take democratically elected governments to court if they happen to think one of those laws is a barrier to trade.’
“This isn’t happening just because the companies are bad – although many of them are – it’s happening because politicians are perfectly happy to pass away that power.”
Brand also spoke to Bennett, discussing the NHS, grassroots activism and electoral reform.
In his closing words to viewers, Brand described the pair as “obviously decent people”, though he noted that the electoral system will help limit their influence. He said: “With Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas you think, these are the very kind of people that you want involved in administration and organisation. But, by their own admission, with a first past the post electoral system you’re never going to have a significant Green representation.”
This article was written by Peter Walker, for theguardian.com on Thursday 30th April 2015 17.58 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010