So, let me put the questions I’ve never had answered:
- How can a man who has gained so much personal wealth from the system of capitalism, and unrepentantly flaunts and spends it, be a credible opponent of the system? Would he collectivise his great wealth, or a portion of it, for the benefit of those workers who have generated it for him (in his case, mostly workers as consumers)?
- How can a man whose status is entirely contingent on an intensely capitalised system, credibly use that status to bring it down?
- Why does he always imply (and at points explicitly state) that voting is incompatible with direct action and re-thinking politics? Can’t you do both?
- Why do we on the left, who believe in calls for a louder collective voice, and the end of the cult of the individual, put him on a pedestal in the first place? And why does he sanction it? I’m not saying he shouldn’t be on Newsnight, or running a TV show, but I am talking about having him preach to the choir at marches and seminars. More power to our elbow to have him as our public face to an apathetic world, but why isn’t he in the crowd when it comes to workers rising?
That is also why the above is a pretty sad indictment of the media, because dissecting his ideas and getting answers is supposed to be their job. They are, however, not really equipped to do that – especially when presented with a fully-formed, media friendly personality package like Brand. Having had years of creating personality cults from Blair to Farage and relegating serious analysis of policy and principle to a minor issue, it’s telling that they don’t know what to do to pull such a cult apart in a meaningful way. I wish they’d let Ed Miliband, or David Cameron for that matter, talk for as long as they let Brand do. I also wish they’d critique the ideas and philosophies of all politicians, instead of measuring them by the sending of choice pictures, eating a bacon butty, or drinking a pint of real ale. Such measures are not applied to Brand - and probably rightly so.