Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Brand hits back in 'don't vote' row

Russell Brand implored people to abandon the current political system

Russell Brand has hit back at Robert Webb after being rebuked by the Peep Show star for urging young people not to vote.

Webb, 41, wrote an open letter to the controversial comedian after he published an essay in the New Statesman entitled "We no longer have the luxury of tradition", which implored readers to abandon the current political system.

He also called for a "total revolution" in the piece, encouraging young people to abstain from voting, adding "I will never vote and I don't think you should, either."

Cambridge graduate Webb, who rose to fame with comedy partner David Mitchell, wrote in reply: "I understand your ache for the luminous, for a connection beyond yourself. Russell, we all feel like that. Some find it in music or literature, some in the wonders of science and others in religion.

"But it isn't available any more in revolution. We tried that 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 f***ing Orwell."

In an interview with the Huffington Post UK in London this evening, Brand responded in kind, joking that Webb could have written a private letter and criticising his "Oxbridge" education.

He said: "Why didn't he just write me a normal letter? He don't know where I live, I suppose. And n o, no death death camps. Just for the record, in case anyone else from Peep Show is worried, I'm definitely against death camps - just in case the bloke who plays Super Hans thinks I'm a Nazi."

"Definitely no killing. I'm against that; I'm a vegetarian, I think we're all equal. I'm not saying smash people's stuff up, and definitely no killing."

In his letter, published on October 30, Webb challenged Brand to value the "vanishingly small" chance of being born in 21st century Britain, asking: "What were the chances, in the course of human history, that you and I should be born into an advanced liberal democracy?

"That we don't die aged 27 because we can't eat because nobody has invented fluoride toothpaste? That we can say what we like, read what we like, love whom we want; that nobody is going to kick the door down in the middle of the night and take us or our children away to be tortured?"

In response, Brand told the Huffington Post's Mehdi Hasan: "Maybe [it's good] for him, mate. Maybe it's okay for Robert Webb; no one is going to take his kids away, but I've heard some examples.

"I don't claim to be a politician, like all things I'm sure there are people in the room who know more about this than I do, I didn't have an education like Robert Webb had. But there are people from Leicester in Guantanamo Bay, people from Leicester in Guantanamo Bay.

"If you went to Oxbridge, if you went to a private school, no one is coming for your kids. They're not coming for you if you're from Oxbridge. That's my open letter to Robert. I hope it doesn't go to the other one by mistake - David Mitchell - who I really like."

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Leo:

You could be given a work assignment that is radically different from anything you've tried before. Venturing into new territory will be refreshing. You may discover a hidden talent for writing or research. Are you looking for work? Apply for a steady position at a financial institution. Having regular pay will give you the funds for the luxuries you love. If you're not satisfied with the salary you are initially offered, negotiate for a better one. Your powers of persuasion are strong.More