Labour chief appears on The Trews — Michael Fordham explains this unlikely meeting shows how fragmented our political circus has become.

OK. We know. Democracy is in crisis. You probably don’t care enough to vote. Rusty rockets doesn’t care to vote. Whether you should care about any of the above is open to argument. But what’s not open to debate is that Russell Brand is sticking his head above the parapet these days. He’s getting noticed. He is sticking his oar in to the opaque and tedious flow of power and democracy. He makes good copy.

Thing is, Russell Brand’s loquacious intellectualism carries the faint whiff of patchouli along with the more comforting, fried oniony aroma of the Boleyn Ground. In other words, it’s vaguely at odds with our cultural expectations and doesn’t ingratiate itself to the rest of the nation. If you’re from the estuarine regions of the Thames and you use words of three syllables or more, you see, no one really likes you. You can’t get away with being a professional cockney in the same way as you can get away with being a professional northerner. That doesn’t help Brand’s mission.

But what is that mission anyway?

News that Ed Milliband has met with the be-locked soothsayer of Basildon for an interview could, and probably should, be met with a resonant yawn of indifference from the people  to whom both these cats seek to reach out.

That’s YOU kids.

The reality is that whatever role Brand is casting himself in lately, the fact that the leader of the opposition is engaging with him across the social media tells a tale of how fragmented the discourse of politics and election campaigning is these days. At the height of the general election campaign and with only a week to go before the nation is supposed to decide its political fate the man likely to be intensely involved in the rise to incumbency is locking horns with a stand up comedian who denies the relevance of the very structure of international politics.

In the runup to the 1979 election, the equivalence would have been Tommy Cooper having a yarn with Margaret Thatcher on prime time ITV.

We would have paid good money to watch THAT spectacle, but no matter. Here in the good ole’ 21st century, Milliband probably believes that in hanging out with Rusty he’s reaching out to the kids and showing that he takes on board a spectrum of opinion. Brand, meanwhile, probably seeks to draw Red Ed out of his compromise and expose roots that are buried deep in the earth of the English establishment.

Let the games begin.

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