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Comparing the Revolutionary Rhetoric of Russell Brand and Labour Leader Ed Miliband

They're both rich socialists with big teen followings, but who's the bigger radical?

by Oscar Rickett
Apr 29 2015, 4:30pm

Via Russell Brand YouTube channel.

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

With the blazing inferno that is #Milifandom still burning, Labour leader and teen heartthrob Ed Miliband has moved his Operation Youth Vote into overdrive by recording an interview with Russell Brand for his vlog, The Trews, set to come out today. Reacting to the news, David Cameron was effortlessly statesmanlike, telling a vetted audience at a choreographed event in Enfield that he was "too busy" to talk to a "joke" like Brand, before leaving to write a letter of recommendation for Jeremy Clarkson's CV.

But the Brand-Miliband interview could be something more serious than a joke—speculation is circulating that Brand, a man famous for advocating, not voting, could be about to support Ed at the election. It could be the Jagger-meets-Richards-on-the-train-platform moment British politics has been waiting for. The dawn of Milibrand—a powerfully progressive movement capable of sweeping away the establishment politics of the past with a combination of buccaneering revolutionary rhetoric and fully costed, sensible policies.

In order to test the viability of this dream, I took a look at what Russell and Ed have had to say on some of the key issues of the day, in order to paint a picture of what would surely be the greatest socialist alliance since Fidel Castro shared a cigar with Nikita Khruschev.

THE ECONOMY

Revolutionary Russell: "The economy is just a metaphorical device, it's not real—that's why it's got the word 'con' in the middle of it."

Red Ed: "Our first principle is that we will set a credible and sensible goal for dealing with our debts... now that starts with getting the national debt falling as a proportion of national income as soon as possible in the next parliament."

ITV/Jason Moon.

RADICAL POLITICS

Revolutionary Russell: "I believe in radical change, true change, revolutionary change... Imagining the overthrow of the current political system is the only way I can be enthused about politics."

Red Ed: "These strikes are wrong at a time when negotiations are still going on, but parents and the public have been let down by both sides because the government has acted in a reckless and provocative manner. After today's disruption I urge both sides to put aside the rhetoric, get round the negotiating table, and stop it happening again [Repeat]."

BUSINESS

Revolutionary Russell: "Profit is a filthy word."

Red Ed: "I want our party to stand up for small business and entrepreneurs."

BANKERS

Revolutionary Russell: "I think an orgy of any kind would be great, but one that focuses on banker bashing would be the best kind."

Red Ed: "The financial services industry in Britain is a major employer and it is important that it remains strong."

The Trews

AUSTERITY

Revolutionary Russell: "Austerity means keeping all the money among people who have loads of it. This is the biggest problem we face today."

Red Ed: "I want to be clear: if we had won power in May [2010], there would have been cuts."

CONSUMERISM

Revolutionary Russell: "We are living in a zoo, or more accurately a farm, our collective consciousness, our individual consciousness, has been hijacked by a power structure that needs us to remain atomized and disconnected. We want union, we want connection, we need it the way we need other forms of nutrition, and denied it we delve into the lower impulses for sanctuary. We have been segregated and severed, from each other and even from ourselves. We have been told that freedom is the ability to pursue our petty, trivial desires when true freedom is freedom from these petty, trivial desires."

Red Ed: "I am determined to lead Labour into the next election as a One Nation party of the consumer."

IMMIGRATION

Revolutionary Russell: "In a way, aren't we all immigrants from another dimension, in that we used to be an egg and some sperm?"

Red Ed: "We will control immigration with fair rules. People who come here won't be able to claim benefits for at least two years. And we will make it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers."

ED BALLS

Revolutionary Russell: "He's a clicky-wristed, snidey cunt."

Red Ed: "He'd make an excellent chancellor."

WATCH: A Quick Chat With Russell Brand:

THE MEDIA

Revolutionary Russell: "They just want a story. They just want to generate information. They just need to feed this vile beast because the reality of the media in this country is that three companies control 70 percent of national newspaper circulation... The media are nothing more than lobbyists for powerful corporate interests."

Red Ed: "I recognize the many decent people who work in our country's newspapers."

VOTING

Russell: "I will never vote and I don't think you should, either... Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people, I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites... I don't vote because to me it seems like a tacit act of compliance."

Ed: "Vote Labour... vote Labour... vote Labour... [Repeat]"

Perhaps it won't work after all.

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