Russell Brand is right: There isn't much point in students voting

It doesn't matter who you vote for - they still won't represent you, says Michael Segalov

Last night, Russell Brand appeared on Newsnight, interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, to talk politics. He announced early on that he doesn’t vote, and never has.

Paxman, being Paxman, retorted: “How do you have any authority to talk about politics then?”

I believe the answer is simple; it doesn’t make any difference.

In 2010, the Liberal Democrats made a pledge not to raise tuition fees. In 2010 the Liberal Democrats raised tuition fees. This is far from an isolated occurrence. What can we do? Sit around until 2015, that’s what, and then vote for someone else, who will do the exact same thing.

Not only are promises broken, the three major political parties in the UK seem to do whatever they like once they’re elected anyway. In 2010, I don’t recall a manifesto of post office privatisation, bedroom taxes and ‘GO HOME’ vans from David Cameron and his cronies. The argument is of course that there can be no set plans prior to making government as much can change in a five-year term, however the sweeping changes to our country, in privatisation, austerity and immigration, are ideological, not a necessary reaction to the changing world. Look back to any Conservative government, privatisation today is re-privatisation and austerity comes and goes at the whim of the elite.

The nature of our political system ensures that Parliament acts with the general consent of some of the people, but only every five years do we get to show our displeasure, and then the cycle continues.

With the consistent failure of any established political party to take progressive action, it’s no wonder that people are looking for alternatives. Faced with a ballot paper, discounting Lib/Lab/Con doesn’t leave you with many alternatives. UKIP seem to be filling the gap, according to current statistics seen as the third most popular party in the UK.

However, this is no real alternative. The suggestion that it is immigrants who are the cause of all our woes, and that cracking down on immigration is the answer, is damaging, wrong and extremely worrying. At a time of austerity, you only need to look those who are not suffering to know that we’re not all in it together. Last time I checked, the wealth gap was increasing, with few Conservative cabinet ministers using food banks, struggling to stay above the poverty line.

There is a slippery slope here, blaming immigrants, blaming minorities and blaming the poor. And yet, Brand made an extremely important point last night, and one that we often forget: “The burden of proof is on the people with the power.”

If we are to stop calling for change, they must show that the current system is working; they must prove that the status quo is providing, and it is not perpetuating inequality for their personal gain.

Paxman was caught on the hop, with no more argument than “in a democracy, that’s how it works”, when Brand continued to assert that voting in elections is futile.

“Well I don’t think its working very well Jeremy,” replied Russell. Do you know what, neither do I…

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant - IT Channel - Graduate

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a Value-Added I...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Guru Careers: Junior Web Developer

£18 - 22k (DOE) + Benefits & Stock Options: Guru Careers: A Junior Developer /...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor