I wonder if Russell Brand had any idea just how much debate and analysis he would ignite when he shoved his wrecking ball off through the political sphere last week. Every wannabe journalist, writer and political commentator with an internet connection has weighed in on Brand’s controversial disillusionment with British politics, myself included. And in fact, I’m currently working on another Brand flavoured blog hopefully coming your way in the next few days.
I’m quite sick of him to be honest, so I’m very glad to say that his involvement in this particular piece ends here.
You are now entering a Russell Brand free zone.
Today’s rage is targeted toward a much more traditional political corner, that of the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.
This week Clegg found reason to criticise the wonderfully bearded Jeremy Paxman for his rather abashed admittance that, actually, he could relate with Russell Brand’s (ah feck, sorry) political disillusionment, and had, just the once, failed to vote because of the poor choice of candidates on offer.
Clegg denounced Paxman for “sneering about politics” while making a very good living off the back of Westminster, suggesting that the broadcaster is something of a hypocrite.
A suggestion only, but even still one that Clegg has an unbelievable nerve to even hint at.
Let us disregard for a moment, Clegg’s obvious naivety of the political system in assuming that those who commentate on it do so without the slightest touch of disenchantment and focus on his criticisms of Paxman.
Waxing lyrical on his regular spot on LBC Radio, Clegg scathed about Paxman’s suggestion that politicians are nothing but “rogues and charlatans” while taking home a wage packet of “a million pounds, thereabouts, paid by the taxpayers”.
Brave words from a man who takes home an annual wage of £134, 565, plus expenses, at the cost of the British taxpayer. Presumably, Clegg considers this figure appropriate for his role as Deputy Prime Minister, regular radio guest, and full-time parasite living off the fat of David Cameron’s backside, where he has been firmly attached by the lips for the greater part of this parliamentary term.
Does that comment tred a little too close to the personal for you Cleggy? Well I’m afraid this is personal, because in the General Election campaign in 2010 I was one of the many young voters who was duped by the Liberal Democrat’s wealth of pre-election promises and who foolishly cast my vote in favour of Clegg’s technicolour political pipedream.
More fool me.
The Deputy PM railed of Paxman’s “total abdication of responsibility” by not voting and insisted with the golden opening line of bollocks-talkers the world over that “At the end of the day I have got this old-fashioned view that if you want to improve something, get stuck in and get your hands dirty. Don’t somehow pretend that you can turn your back on it.” So speaks a man who snuck into power on a wave of baseless promises to hop along behind David Cameron like a weedy cartoon sidekick, squeaking compliance with every nail battered into the coffin of social equality. A man whose greatest weekly duties include ranting on a radio station and looking bored as he sits next to David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions. Christ, for £130, 000 pounds a year I could do that, except I couldn’t abandon all my social, moral and political ideologies with such ease as Clegg appears to have done.
If the recent debate about voting has taught us anything it’s that a failure to act can be as detrimental as an act itself, so let’s talk about “total abdication of responsibility” shall we Mr. Clegg?
Let’s talk about the responsibility that a politician assumes when they stand before the electorate and offer promises of change and progress. Promises made in exchange for votes.
- How about the promise to abolish student fees? Student fees triple.
- What about vows to close loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy? Tax cuts for millionaires and a complete disappearance of the promised Mansion Tax.
- Campaign to prevent increases in taxation? VAT increased to 20%.
- Protection of Surestart? Over 550 centres closed so far.
- Put 3000 more police on the beat? 15, 000 officers cut.
- Campaign for political party’s special advisers to be paid by the political parties themselves and not by the taxpayers? Clegg alone has 16 special advisers, all paid by the taxpayers.
- How about that pledge to introduce ground breaking constitutional reform? Folded on Lords reform as soon as the Tories refused their support and oh! Wait! We have a winner! Succeeded in holding a referendum for an alternative voting system in 2011, AND…. failed.
As abdication of responsibility goes, Clegg has broken practically every promise made to voters in 2010. That election saw the highest turnout in over a decade at a fairly poor 65.1% of the electorate, furthermore only 44% of registered voters aged 18-24 cast their vote, and that was seen as progress on previous elections. Of those voters aged 18-24, 30% gave their support to Nick Clegg and his dreams of abolishing student fees and changing the political playing field.
How do we predict that figure changing at the 2015 election I wonder?
We shall have to wait and see how exactly the three big political parties aim to engage these young voters, but before the leaders start criticising Paxman or Brand or anyone else who dares to express a political opinion, let it be remembered that ultimately it is the politicians themselves who will have the greatest influence, and Clegg at least, will have no one else to blame but himself.