The most important political event of the year here in the UK, bearing in mind the degraded nature of our democracy and the nature of modern political debate, was the edition of the BBC's flagship public political discussion programme, Question Time, that featured both Nigel Farage and Russell Brand.
Russell Brand pre-prepared his best lines when appearing on Question Time and read them off cue cards, Nigel Farage has said as fallout from the pair's on-screen clash continued to rumble on.[From Brand read his best Question Time lines off a cue card, Farage claims - Telegraph]
Brand is like Farage in so many ways. Neither of them seem terribly smart and they are both much less charismatic than they think. They both promote a populistic rehashing of genuine grievances and benefit from the real feeling of alienation abroad amongst the populace without proposing any rational or even plausible solutions.
Now, on this point, I cannot help but observe that what constitutes a sensible solution is hard to determine. I have noted before, as have others, that policies advanced by the Monster Raving Loony Party and dismissed out of hand by the establishment, and the media (and, indeed, the public) have a strange habit of becoming mainstream thinking once there’s been some water under the bridge,
All-day pub opening hours, “passports for pets” to avoid them having to go through quarantine after returning from holidays abroad, lowering the voting age to 18, and the abolition of the 11+ exam because it’s “the wrong age to take an exam that affects you for the rest of your life” are all measures we have in place today.[From What are the Monster Raving Loony Party’s election plans?]
The lesson of history comes through loud and clear. Policies that appear Loony at first will eventually be implemented by a future Labour government. But now, our politics have fallen to a state where endless coalitions mean that Loony policies will not get the attention that they deserve from future Parliaments.
The solution is obvious. Russell Brand should become the leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party and forge it into a powerful opposition force to provide an alternative to UKIP. This will transform the British political landscape back into a two-party system, the UKIPpers and the Loonies, where the parties stand for something different. He should do it soon, so there is plenty of time to get Russell’s plans for a socialist egalitarian paradise into the manifesto in plenty of time for the election. It will sit nicely alongside existing manifesto commitments.
We will ban all forms of Greyhound racing. This will help stop the country going to the dogs.[From 2010 GENERAL ELECTION MANIFESTO | The Official Monster Raving Loony Party]
There are plenty of other policies from earlier manifestoes that Russell could draw on to create a policy document to change the political landscape for a generation. Like Russell, I think we should focus on the economy, where the Loony proposals for a 99p coin (to save on change in shops) and a campaign to persuade European countries to leave the Euro and join the Pound will engage a public that it is not too comfortable with numbers. I’m sure Russell can add to this list with little effort. Encouraging people not to vote is an excellently Loony manifesto commitment, as is the idea of the Occupy Movement giving “the people” hope (I’d wager that at least 51% of the people have never heard of the “Occupy Movement”).
I want to go back to time when the two main political parties had clear and different ideologies, an inspiring vision for Britain in the 21st century and leaders that television impressionists (e.g., Mike Yarwood) can work with. This is how to do it! Russell do not let the people down!