Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 18/09/23


There is something deeply rebarbative about the current furore around Russell Brand.

Leaving aside what the truth or otherwise around the allegations made against him may be, what is utterly repulsive is the way that he hs already been subjected to 'trial by media'. One television station - one which was once considered 'radical' and 'edgy', but which has long since been turned into just one more eunuch in the UKanian Establishment's media harem - and one newspaper (and one, moreover, controlled by the most anti-ethical individual on the planet), have decided to air this story in this way at this time. Given the record of those behind the reportage - including one Murdoch hack who was behind the monstering of a completely blameless businesswoman with devastating effects upon her and her livelihood - then it would be wise to maintain a judicious silence until such time as the matter is investigated by the appropriate authorities; 'appropriate' and 'authority' being words which cannot possibly be apposite descriptions of the Times and Channel 4 in this or in any other regard.

But the jackal pack has been let loose, and the resultant yapping has been taken up right across that barren tundra which constitutes the contemporary cultural and social landscape of our land. Those media corporations whose organs [disambiguation needed] indulged Brand when he was the darling 'bad boy' of the scene (the Guardian, for instance, has omitted to mention the fact that Brand was a regular columnist for them for the better part of a decade) have hurtled into print, pixel and postulation without any attempt to verify anything contained in the sensationalised narrative they (and we) have been fed. Politicians - forever eager to be seen to stay on the right side of the terminally malinformed which constitutes their core demographic - have 'demanded' action from whichever organisations might be implicated, especially if they can blame it on that endangered species called 'The Left' (however defined).

There are other considerations, however. It is well enough established that, when they choose to destroy someone, the UKanian media (print and broadcast alike) will do it, and can bring about the desired effect within a matter of a few weeks or even days; we have seen it so often down the last forty years that it is no longer an area for doubt. Whereas the reasons for doing so are often utterly obvious - their torpedoing of Jeremy Corbyn, for example, for daring to offer the possibility of something which was not to the taste of the ideologues of oligarchy (and I have no doubt that if the anti-Semitism smears hadn't worked, they'd have tried to concoct a sex scandal around the man, preferably one involving lickle kiddies; they and their political allies really were that desperate) - they will do it even to one whom they had regarded as one of their own, as being Their Man; this is what happened to B*r*s J*hns*n when he became too obvious a loose cannon, too great an embarrassment even to the hacks and their masters who had eagerly propelled him into power.

So a former darling of the celeb set who had - as they would see it - 'gone rogue' and started telling the truth as he sees it to an increasing worldwise audience was ripe for the plucking, and the sins and commissions of his past - well enough known, especially but by no means exclusively by cultural insiders - have now been weaponised against him. Anything to take down a potentially dangerous irritant. And nothing needs to be proven; Allegation Is All, and Brand's gigs have already been cancelled and charities he had partnered with have now withdrawn from contact. The damage has been done. Mission Accomplished.

(On all this - especially the footling Pooterism of the self-described 'liberal left' - I warmly recommend this piece from the independent journalist Jonathan Cook)

So far, so bog-standard media frenzy. But there is a genuinely serious issue here way beyond any actual facts of this particular story. For, if or when there is a proper examination of the claims made by Brand's accusers, what chance would he have of a fair trial when the collective mind of The Great British Public™ would have been turned against him? With the best will in the world, jurors are human and are part of society, and thus vulnerable to society's various contagions, including gossip (and that weaponised extension of it often labelled 'news'). A trial judge may advise them most strongly that they must pay heed only to the evidence they hear in court, but how would that be humanly possible after weeks, months or even years of 24/7 screaming and shit-stirring by the press?

And if it can be done to Russell Brand at his level of prominence, what might be done to any of us if we - by our words, opinions or deeds - engender the wrath of those who are determined to keep things Their Way? Or people who are just utterly innocent like Danielle Hindley, but who are seen as being unable to hit back? When protection from the unclean appetites of news media who can no more recognise a principle than they seem to be able to spell it nowadays, and who feel - not without evidence - that they may act with impunity due to the dirt they have on anyone who might stop them; when, as I say, that protection is removed from one, it is in effect removed from all of us, and none of us may consider ourselves safe from the media monkeys who hurl shit from their gilded cages at whoever they think has got too close to their territory. Or the truth about them. It is in the extreme cases - those involving people or groups of whom we may disapprove - that fundamental rights - including that of freedom of expression - must be most vigorously defended. You can only pare the cheese so far before there is no cheese left.

The facts - should there be any - will be made manifest in due course. It would be wise to wait until then before further comment. To do otherwise would be to play the game of those who operate in utter bad faith, safe in the knowledge that they have that power which they have always exercised - as Stanley Baldwin stated nearly a century ago - without any sense of responsibility, like the harlots they truly are.