15 December 2014

A threat to the establishment……..

Last week I did something unusual, I watched Question Time on BBC1 but only in order to see how Russell Brand fared, and he didn't disappoint. Russell may not be everyone's cup of tea and I am sure that he turns many people off but he did illustrate the chasm that exists between the political establishment's view of Britain and any wider consideration of where we are and how we got here.

Brand isn't a polished public speaker (yet) but he has what the rest of the panel lacked - passion. A couple of years ago I had the chance to speak to one of the producers on Question Time and, talking in the context of my own experience in Somerton, the producer said that Question Time didn't want passionate people on the panel because they didn't fit the programme's profile. What he was saying was that Question Time is, in effect, a mouthpiece for the Establishment and the debate needs to be kept within the tight confines of the establishment's agenda. Brand's appearance on the programme was therefore quite unusual but it did illustrate the point.

As the programme unfolded, it became quite clear that the other panel members, conservative, labour and UKIP, entered into a loose coalition against Brand because his passionate consideration of the bigger picture was a threat to them all. Whilst they wanted to argue one policy against another, Brand looked at the bigger picture and, with regard to 'austerity', sought to point out that 'austerity' had been brought to us by the culture of banking, about which nothing significant has been done.

What was also interesting were the comments made by a member of the audience who challenged Brand to stand for Parliament. The moment this person started to speak, it was quite obvious that he was a plant (confirmed by the BBC) but the point that he made underscored why Brand is better off staying outside parliament and speaking to his 9,000,000 twitter followers. Parliament is just like Question Time where the debate stays within the very narrow confines of what the establishment sees as 'acceptable'. Like Question Time, Parliament is all about Punch and Judy politics where knock-about debate (PMQs) disguises a determination (on all sides) to maintain the status quo.

We need more like Brand, if only because it shows just how bankrupt our political system actually is.