The Russell Brand interview conducted by Jeremy Paxman on 23rd October 2013 has been an internet sensation. Much has been made of the fact that Brand has never voted in an election. But just because Brand does not exercise his right to vote, this does not mean he should not have a political opinion. In fact, a lot of what he said made perfect sense.
We have a callous and heartless ruling party who treat the jobless, poor, sick, old and marginalised with contempt. Are you poor? Well it’s you own fault — you obviously don’t know how to budget. Are you unemployed? Well you must be a work-shy scrounger who doesn’t want to work — there are plenty of jobs if you look hard enough. Are you old and cold because of ever-increasing heating bills? Well put on an extra jumper and heat one room in your house. Simple, really.
It seems to be all the rage at the moment to demonise the poor. Isn’t it time our tabloid press started to focus on the financial crimes of the rich such as the tens of billions that are lost each year through tax avoidance, tax evasion and unpaid tax? Instead we are force-fed sensational stories about benefit fraud which, although still wrong, costs a fraction of the amount stolen from the Exchequer by the wealthy!
Why is it always the ordinary people that have to bear the burden of cuts while those at the top are unaffected? Over the years the Tory party have succeeded in shifting the burden of taxation from the more affluent in society to those who are already struggling. According to their skewed reasoning, those at the top are the ones who generate the wealth, and this wealth is good for the country because it trickles down to those of us at the bottom. Unfortunately there is a problem with this mindset — it doesn’t work! Those at the top keep a tighter grip on their wealth and those at the bottom stay there. The Labour Party was no better when they were in power. In fact, many people accused Blair of being more right-wing than the Tories.
The fact is many people have lost faith in politics and politicians. The majority of MPs are focused on their own self interests rather than the interests of the country. We can cite many facts to support this. There is the failure of successive governments to build affordable housing. Thatcher took the lead in selling off council houses which helped create the housing bubble which in turn led to record levels of debt. There have been massive cuts to various benefits along with the insinuation that those at the bottom only have themselves to blame. We have seen the destruction of industry that began during the Thatcher years which left the country reliant on the banking and service sectors to the detriment of our key manufacturing industries. We have high levels of unemployment and job insecurity with a growing trend for low-paid, temporary and part-time jobs.
People are getting more frustrated, disenchanted and desperate. Ultimately we all want the same thing: a well-paid, skilled, secure job; decent, affordable housing; a good education system; and high-quality healthcare. And we want a government that puts the needs of the people before the needs of their political party. That’s not too much to ask, is it?