Thursday, 31 October 2013


How about this ...

1) The whole thing has very little to do with class, or, more accurately, the main issues of contention don't. That's not to say that class isn't very important to the wider arguments and to Russell Brand's personal narrative in general, just that it seems to have been introduced in a slightly irrelevant fashion in this instance. To be honest, I blame Facebook and its universe of crossed wires.

2) Debating Russell Brand's sexual politics is valid and necessary.

3) Overwhelmingly, the Newsnight interview was a brilliant, inspiring, moving, and somewhat out-of-the-blue incursion into mainstream discourse of certain key tenets of left politics. It is difficult to quantify the actual efficacy of something like this, but even if just on the level of morale and affirmation of political belief, hope and empowerment, Brand's intervention was magnificent.

4) As such, a real danger - and without wishing to misrepresent anyone else's argument, what I think the slightly mis-aimed criticisms of "identity politics" were trying to get at - is that a hugely positive (not to mention somewhat rare) assertion of left values in a space where that might actually mean something becomes nullified and negated by discussions about Brand's individual class and sexual credentials that, while clearly massively important in a wider sense, are not directly, immediately relevant to his statements about widening inequality, the moral bankruptcy of mainstream politics, the imaginative possibility of revolution, and so on.

5) The overall effect of this sort of nullification/negation is impasse, disillusionment, infighting, those "classic left-wing" curses, and leaves the door open for people further to the right to come in and truly dismantle what could have been a subversive and inspiring moment in cultural discourse.

6) Case in point: that wondercunt from Peep Show, who now comes out as a weirdly impassioned Blairite ultra, lecturing Brand in the New Statesman this week with all the snideness and callow intelligence of a public school debating team captain: "We tried [revolution] again and again, and we know that it ends in death camps, gulags, repression and murder. In brief, and I say this with the greatest respect, please read some fucking Orwell".

7) Do you think Robert Webb realises that Fucking Orwell was in fact a novelist, and not a political historian, much less a prophet of twenty-first-century hopes and dreams?


Joe K said...

8) Orwell was also, by and large, a wondercunt.

Alex Niven said...

Tru dat

Anonymous said...

Why is Webb a Blarite ultra? He says:
"The last Labour government didn’t do enough and bitterly disappointed many voters."

Alex Niven said...

Isn't that classic Blairite triangular spin?

The New Labour argument went something like this: "We know we've made mistakes and we're not as left-wing as you hoped, but we introduced the minimum wage and we're very marginally better than the Tories and anyway there's no alternative to capitalism so you'd better just shut up and accept it."

I dunno, maybe's Webb's Brownite or Ballsite rather than Blairite but overall his arguments for voting Labour are very much in line with the orthodoxy of the last 20 years, based on a sort of fatalistic, end-of-history centrism, opposition to the old left, and exaggerating differences between them and the Tories that are really very minor.