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Election 'irrelevant', says Brand

Published 21/04/2015

Russell Brand
Russell Brand

Comedian-turned activist Russell Brand said he felt "angry all over again" at a special screening of his new documentary film criticising growing inequality between the rich and the poor in Britain.

The outspoken critic of capitalism and Britain's political system attacks the behaviour of the banks, tax avoidance schemes and austerity measures in his new film The Emperor's New Clothes.

Following a special screening at the Hackney Picturehouse in East London tonight, he said engagement in political issues and change goes beyond the General Election, which he said was "irrelevant".

In an exchange with Queen guitarist Brian May, who was at the screening and hoped to persuade Brand to vote next month, he was asked: "If you really don't want us to vote..."

Brand interrupted: "It's not like that mate, it's just it's not relevant. We're going to do this shit anyway.

"What I most support is people becoming activated."

He added: "Watching it, I get angry again. Because there's an election it's a good time to market a film about politics and people are more aware of politics.

"I think people want me to talk about the election but watching it again it just makes me think there's no justice, it's dead."

The film features interviews with low-paid cleaners, supermarket staff and disabled workers about the effects of welfare cuts and austerity while he unsuccessfully attempts to question the heads of RBS and Lloyds about their bonuses.

It also shows clips of Brand campaigning with at-risk housing tenants and protesting at Occupy rallies.

After making his name as an edgy and rule-breaking comic Brand has become a vocal proponent of the anti-capitalist message and critic of free market fundamentalism with his Revolution book, YouTube channel The Trews and appearances on Newsnight and Question Time.

Injected with Brand's sarcastic comedy, the film takes him from his home town in Grays, Essex to the City of London and on to New York meeting economic experts along the way.

He insists that "things can change, things do change".

The film, made last year with television and film director Michael Winterbottom, will be released in cinemas on Friday.

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