Russell Brand is reportedly telling friends he wants to run for Mayor of London in 2016. The rumour — which admittedly comes from the Mail on Sunday — says the comedian is pondering standing on an 'anti-politics' platform, a subject about which a spokesperson said Brand had "no comment to make". That's being taken as confirmation.
God knows, we're one of the first to bemoan the partisanship of the London Assembly and position of Mayor — we've spent too much time tearing our hair out at Mayor's Question Time (MQT) where perfectly reasonable questions from a Labour politician are met with abuse, or Boris Johnson belittling an issue when it's brought up by a Lib Dem only to champion the same idea raised by a Conservative. Politics in London, like politics in general, spends too much time playing the (wo)man and not the ball. So from that perspective, Brand's call to refuse to participate in a broken system by not voting, and instead engage on other levels, is quite tempting.
However, we absolutely do not want a situation where the Mayor sits in City Hall declaring he ain't got time for bloody affordable housing statistics, and we think the problems facing this city require a level of critical thinking that goes beyond entertaining 9/11 conspiracy theories. And if the BBC Newsnight interview is anything to go by, Brand would appreciate being held to account by Assembly Members at MQT even less than the current incumbent.
We've said in the past that the mayoralty is little more than a beauty contest and the person with the most chance of winning is the one who is most famous and shouty; and we already know that Eddie Izzard keeps touting a run in 2020. But if the position actually turns into a personal promotional platform (and we're aware there will be some who argue it already has), we're going to be very upset.
Russell Brand's book is available at three times the hourly minimum wage.