Former Sex Pistols band member John Lydon, aka “Johnny Rotten,” has a message for comedian Russell Brand: You’re “a bumhole” for telling people not to vote.
Brand has been an outspoken critic of everything from Hugo Boss to Bill O’Reilly. He famously dismissed voting as a means of flexing political power, writing in the New Statesmen, “I have never voted. Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites .. .I will never vote and I don’t think you should, either.” Brand outlines his ideas on media, politics, and social issues in his new book, “Revolution.”
But Johnny Rotten wants no part of Brand’s revolution. The “Anarchy in the UK” singer told The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee that Brand’s comments are “the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard.”
Lydon criticized Brand for discounting voting, saying, “100 years ago, who could vote here? And to have that so easily and flippantly ignored in that lazy ‘I take drugs and tell not funny jokes’ way — his head’s very poor.” He also added a few harsh words for England’s anti-immigration, anti-Europe party, Ukip, calling them “morons,” and flat out said he’d never vote conservative.
Brand told msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell that in his hometown of Grays, England, (which he compares to Camden, New Jersey) most citizens feel disenfranchised and don’t vote at all: “Where I’m from it’s normal not to vote … because there is a tacit acceptance that the people you’re voting for don’t care about, won’t represent you, and only represent the interest of the economic elite.”
Brand is also critical of the two party political system, telling Lawrence O’Donnell, “In my country, there are two dominant political parties that ultimately represent the interest of an economic elite and global corporations. Increasingly bureaucracy worldwide prevents … politicians from having very much power.”
While Lydon agrees with Brand about the lack of political representation, the former punk rocker still thinks voting is an important means of representation, noting, “You have to vote. … You’re given lousy options, yes, but better that than nothing at all.”
Brand maintains that he isn’t against voting altogether, but rather, thinks voting won’t make much difference. “It’s not like I say don’t vote. I’m saying there is no point in voting. It won’t make any difference. There’s no one to vote for.”
Lydon had additional harsh words for the funnyman’s views. “What [Brand’s] preaching is a lifestyle of cardboard boxes down by the river … he’ll make you all homeless … he’s preaching all this from a mansion.”
The former rocker’s advice to voters? “Get smart, read as much as you can and find out who’s using you. I did. What’s wrong with you?”