"[Russell Brand is] deeply destructive, actually. Watching that interview with Jeremy Paxman he's very amusing, very articulate, but it's deeply destructive, the influence on young people who think, 'Gosh, Russell said we shouldn't bother to vote, let's not vote'. The way not to get [turnout] to improve is to say, it's all a waste of time and to go on the champagne anarchist ego trip that Russell Brand is on. That really doesn't help."
Tory MP Tim Loughton lays into Russell Brand. While he's right to criticise Brand for encouraging people not to go to polling stations at all, Loughton - like a lot of others - misses entirely Brand's point that having more people voting will fail to achieve significant change if the same tired selection of parties is all that's on offer. Even Vince Cable, while also criticising Brand for "a real lack of self-awareness", conceded that "there are no great divides in principle between the three parties".
The politicians' comments come in the wake of Paxman conceding that he sympathised with some of Brand's points in the Newsnight interview and admitting that he himself has on one occasion declined to vote. His references to "the green-bench pantomime in Westminster" as "a remote and self-important echo chamber" clearly struck a nerve with the likes of Loughton - as they did with Nick Clegg, who fired back a volley of his own: "Here is a guy who gets paid a million pounds, thereabouts, paid for by
taxpayers. He lives off politics and he spends all his time sneering at
This one's going to run and run.