Russell Brand – sliced and diced during BBC Question Time by a member of the audience (who was obviously a UKIP supporter)……
It had all been going so well for Brand – he had been interrupting with impunity, shouting over the women on the panel, shrieking simplistic slogans buttered by vulgarities.
‘Stand for Parliament then!’ the old man boomed. Russell looked as though he had been rabbit-punched. ‘Stand!’ repeated the man. ‘Do it!’
‘I’m scared I’d become one of them,’ mewed Brand. He meant become one of the Westminster crowd. The audience scoffed at this pathetic excuse, perhaps suspecting that multi-millionaire Brand would hate to be an MP because he’d have to declare his income and would soon be exposed as a political fraud……….The fight went out of Brand. A balloon shrivelled
Brand had prepared for the show by memorising a few pithy phrases (Farage as a “pound shop Enoch Powell” was clearly contrived but nevertheless a neat barb) and, on a series of cards, had written down a series of Unite bullet points. Add to the mix those trusty old BBCQT crowd pleasers ”bankers” (BOO) “the city” (HISS) “tax dodgers” (SNARL) and orgasms of ecstasy were rippling through many in the “balanced” audience.
Everything was working to script.
But Russell had made a fatal mistake. He had forgotten that BBCQT is a two way show. Unlike his own routines or the regular chat shows or HIGNFY the audience is not there as a congregation of sycophants whose sole purpose is to massage showbiz egos with rapturous applause. It’s there to come back at the panel with awkward ripostes – and that’s where the script gets blown out of the window.
Brand was obviously shaken by that man’s contemptuous put down and, for the rest of the programme, appeared visibly shrunken.
But why the hell does it take an anonymous face in a crowd to show up Brand as a stuttering, stumbling knownothing with less grasp of political and economic reality than an earwig of average intelligence?
It’s because, on television, he’s been given an easy ride with softball interviews, indulged like some sort of precocious infant actor from a remake of “Annie”….Paxman, anyone?
That hasn’t always been the case with other inarticulate peddlers of political infantilism. BNP’s Nick Griffin was mercilessly dismantled on one BBCQT show and the assault was so savage that both himself and his party slipped mercifully into oblivion.
So why not Brand?
The answer, my friend, is obvious. His infantile pseudo revolutionary rhetoric, his friend of the downtrodden posturing, his carefully choreographed presence at left wing protests fits comfortably with the mindset of the middle class metropolitan poseurs who dominate the worlds of the media and the arts. They despise the “fatcats” of industry and commerce, the men and women who run the systems that generate the wealth that funds the cultural sector either directly by paying the wages which enables their employees to purchase the tickets or indirectly via the taxes that subsidise elements of the media (BBC) and whole swathes of grant funded artistic ventures.
If only once, on television, an interviewer or a fellow panellist had just turned round at the end of one of Brand’s unintelligible diatribes, looked him squarely in the eye and and said “What a load of bollocks” and asked him to explain his commercial activities in Hollywood, his association with nice little tax avoidance schemes in the UK and his regular forays into the Ritz and Claridges.
But he’s a luvvie – and luvvies never eat their own…unless they’re called Angus Deayton