No! I didn't 'tackle' Russell Brand ! I did put my hand up, sitting in the audience at the premiere of his film ' The Emperor's New Clothes
- but my purpose was to try to forge a link between our separate efforts to reform Britain. In different ways, we have both arrived at very similar conclusions about the appalling state that Britain is really in. I see the same anger and frustration in Russell as I feel in myself, as I look at the appalling inequality of opportunity and living standards in this supposedly democratic country of ours. The film is amazing. Whether you like Russell Brand and his 'Trews' or not, this is a film that everyone in this country should see. Russell and his excellent co-creator have chosen to focus on just a few of the rank injustices which shame 21st century Britain; they paint a shockingly truthful picture of the way that a small number of rich powerful elite have managed to pull off the most amazing conjuring trick - to persuade a whole nation that they're governing the country in the interests of us all - yet conniving in their every action to make the rich few richer and the poor majority poorer. We see it unfold before our eyes - the twilight shift workers who clean the offices of the high flying bankers - unable to feed their families from the pitiful wages they take home, while the executives who inhabit these offices give themselves millions of pounds in bonuses. And much much more.
What I've been advocating over the last few weeks is a plan to achieve radical reform in stages - starting on May 7th, when we all have fifteen hours of democracy in 5 years of serial dictatorship. I believe that with the Common Decency scheme - please visit us at COMMONDECENCY.org.uk - by swarming together to topple the so-called 'safe' seats we can achieve a big enough change in the composition of Parliament that during the next 5 years there will be true debate in the Commons - and our voices will be heard. My inspiration for this has come from our fight against those who would bring back sadistic blood sports and spend our money on slaughtering badgers (in a desperately ill-advised attempt to solve a farming problem - the scourge of Bovine TB IN CATTLE - which has ended just as the scientists told them it would - making matters worse rather than better). It transpires generally that humans who show no compassion to animals have a similar attitude towards humans. So we realised that rather than keep banging our heads against the same wall of inhumanity, we needed to look at the bigger picture and break down the wall. This doesn’t just mean a change of Government – it means a radical change in the system that allowed this to happen. It means cleaning out the rotten stench of Privilege. It means equality of opportunity for all.
Russell Brand feels the same. Russell is advocating a revolution and maybe he is right. But I believe the scheme I want to put in place could lay a cornerstone on which the edifice of a decent and compassionate society could be built.
I'm sure an alliance between Russell Brand and Common Decency is the last thing David Cameron wants to see in his morning papers. Maybe that tells us something. I will be meeting Mr Brand next week. Meantime, more power to him - he's laid bare more awful injustices than anyone else in these dark days. Like I say - whether you like his style or not - hear him out.