I defy anyone in a position of skintness, disablement, unemployment or some other form of misery, not to feel sympathy for the rantings of Russell Brand. If you were too busy slaving for a feudal overlord to read his article in the New Statesman, or if you’re a member of the ‘comfortable classes’ more interested in Strictly than social diseases, here’s the Paxman interview on Newsnight:
I don’t see why Brand’s decision not to vote has caused such outrage among members of the establishment and the public. It makes sense to me. Why participate in a political system that puts the interests of big business and the elite ahead of the needs of people and the planet?
And anyway, this isn’t a new view. Good old Henry Thoreau was saying pretty much the same thing back in the 19th Century. The issue was slavery then, just as it’s economic slavery now. His advice then was to refuse to acknowledge the authority of the government. For him, this meant not paying his taxes. For Russell Brand it means ranting and raving on TV. For Thoreau it meant living in a shack in the woods. For Brand it means jetting off to his home in California. Hmm.
Anyway. My two pennyworth is this – dissatisfied with the status quo, depressed by more or less everything you read in the paper, cheesed off that in 2013, Prince Charles is absolved corporation tax on his 53,000 hectare estate?
Ingredients: Friends. Apples.
Friends gather around an apple tree, laugh quite a bit, pickup wind falls, put them in a container. Give organic, tax free apples that owe nothin’ to nobody a rinse under the tap.
Distribute tasks equally between friends. Tasks are: cutting up apples, putting them through a juicer, putting the pulp in a tea towel and squeezing out the juice, getting more apples ready, emptying the tea towel of spent pulp.
When it starts to pour with rain head indoors, keep juicing.
Put juice in a large container. Put container under Lisa’s bed (I’m told this is the magic part of the process). Sorry but if you don’t have a Lisa, or if you have a Lisa but no bed, you’re a bit screwed. After two weeks under the bed, put the juice in a demijohn with an air-lock and ferment until fermented. Then bottle and wait until spring.
Drink cider made by free people of their own free will, made in their own free time, made possible by neighbourly cooperation in the noble cause of community drunkenness.
It’s not ideal living in a field – sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s not – but it could be worse. Barring a radical reversal of fortunes nothing is likely to change. It seems to me there’s no point bothering bemoaning the politicians, the authorities, the elite, the corporations. They have no interest in the needs of the likes of us, nor frankly have I in them. So what can we do?
Turn our backs on all of it, and walk away? If Russell Brand is right, this is taking power, not giving it up.