Russell Brand is voice of the people and I love him for it
I've enjoyed a remote, yet tempestuous love affair with Russell Brand. Like all love stories, ours has been defined by dramatic highs and lows.
During his incarnation as the country's most rock 'n' roll stand-up, I lusted after him. Later, when he so magnificently campaigned for laws and attitudes surrounding drug addiction to be changed, I wanted to marry him.
A brief period of red-hot hatred followed, when I watched the now-infamous Paxman interview in which he seemingly encouraged his fanbase not to vote. I confess: I considered dumping him.
But now, Brand has reinvented himself as a social commentator. And I'm well and truly re-infatuated. For the uninitiated, Brand uploads daily YouTube videos, in which he attempts to deconstruct the complex web of agendas, covert sponsorship, corporate interest and massive egos which is The Media.
The latest instalment of the saga sees Brand splashed across the front pages of the newspapers, following an encounter with a Channel 4 reporter.
Brand was supporting a protest led by the residents of a London estate, who may face losing their homes. In one of his broadcasts, Brand encouraged the public to tweet London Mayor Boris Johnson to draw his attention to the petition for more social housing in the capital; residents presented the petition to parliament this week, with more than 300,000 signatures.
A television news crew was sent to report the protest. During the subsequent interview, Russell was quizzed about the cost of his own private accommodation.
When he (quite rightly) responded that this had nothing to do with the protest, the reporter insisted that Brand's own housing circumstances were relevant, in that the relative opulence of the same seemingly jarred with Brand's socialist politics.
Several times Brand attempted to move focus back to the plight of the residents and was shouted down by his interviewer. Visibly angered, Russell called the reporter "snide". And it is "Snidegate" that, unsurprisingly, the mainstream media have focused on.
Russell Brand has, by virtue of his worldwide fame, a huge platform on which to proffer and debate ideas.
He has used this platform to shine a light on causes which otherwise would have received little, or no, media attention.
So, Russell, thank you. You may not always get it right. But thank you for trying.