Back in late 2013, Russell Brand did an interview with Jeremy Paxman where he attacked the UK's democratic institutions and blithely called for "revolution". Why return to it, since all kinds of accomplished people have commented on its shortfalls since?

The simple answer is because the syndrome hasn't gone away. With the election not too far off, some people will take the position that their vote "doesn't matter anyway" and that "they (politicians) are all the same". We need a "revolution", whatever that is.

Rock the Safe Seats                                                                           

It's true that in some constituencies it's hard not to feel like your vote doesn't matter. Too many safe seats don't lead to a vibrant democracy. That said, not voting because you think it won't make a difference becomes a self-defeating death spiral. If enough people take that attitude, the result will inevitably go the other way and the prospect of change moves ever further away.

If, on the other hand, you really feel that none of the parties represent you and that many of the population feel like you... Perhaps it's time that you started your own party and put it to the test. That argument holds less water today than it ever did, though, with the rise to prominence of radical parties like the Greens, UKIP and the SNP.

Identikit Politicians?

It's true that the three main party leaders are all white, southern, middle aged men with dark hair. Put aside lazy (to put it politely) thinking that expects people who look similar to one another think and behave in the same fashion, though, and with a bit of scrutiny it becomes apparent that they are different. Whilst the party leaders do hold broadly similar views on things like gay marriage or the nuclear deterrent, their visions for how to manage the economy, schools, the NHS and the environment vary wildly... never mind the EU.

Amongst the ranks of backbench MPs, there are a mix of firebrands, mavericks and eccentrics offsetting the sensible middle. There are plenty of Geordie, Scouse, Scottish and Yorkshire accents in the chamber.

Some who cry for the return of radical socialism or more strident nationalism might want to ask themselves whether their causes have widespread public support rather being their own pet projects. 

Barricading Out The World?

 As for a revolution, it sounds like Russell has a problem with globalisation and capitalism as a whole rather than just Westminster - overturning the whole world order (including easy-going states like Russia, China and Saudi Arabia) might be a bit much, even for him. More problematic is the fact that Brand has yet to articulate any sensible vision of what his new world order would actually look like. It's always easier to criticise than it is to create.

One final note: very few people would deny that Britain doesn't have its share of problems, but that doesn't mean that our society is broken. The very fact that modern Britain is so attractive for wave after wave of immigrants highlights the fact that in global terms, we have it pretty good. We're rich, live increasingly long and healthy lives, are free to say what we like and are protected by the rule of law. Crime is low, hatred and violence is on the retreat.

 We may often mock our representatives, but compared to most of the rest of humanity, we're lucky.

 

 

 

Credit: Elena Rostunova / Shutterstock.com

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