UK Politics

Question Time with Brand and Farage: three moments

Many have commented on last night’s proceedings elsewhere – John Crace for example. Here are just three moments that particularly struck me:

1. Russell Brand managed briefly to call a halt to the “petty, adversarial nature of politics” (first topic of the evening) – by uniting Mary Creagh (Lab) and Penny Mordaunt (Con) in irritation against him.  This was in response to Brand’s use of the term ‘love’ as a sneering put down aimed at Mordaunt (8:45) – his ‘apology’ seemed studiedly insincere. Mary Creagh reproved Brand when he immediately aimed yet another aggressive comment at Mordaunt (9:20).  Although Dimbleby chided Creagh for doing his job her intervention seemed well earned to me.

2. Camilla Cavendish made some careful and measured comments about politicians, identifying problems with the political process, and to some degree with MPs themselves, while insisting that many were conscientious people who wanted to make a difference.  At 17:30 she rebuked Brand sharply for his demonisation of politicians, and asserted that this is the kind of language that led to the rise of fascist parties in the 1930s.  Disillusionment can be dangerous.

3. An audience member challenged Brand to stand for Parliament himself if he’s so disgusted with the current crop of politicians (from 23:50).  Brand’s response was weak and evasive.  If he doesn’t think democratic mechanisms can be used to improve matters, then what does he think will work?

A Telegraph quiz inviting readers to link quotes to either Farage or Brand wasn’t as pointed as I was expecting. There weren’t really any significant surprises in the answers.  But both oversimplify complex questions in order to court popular appeal.