Russell Brand to Become the Face of “None of the Above” Campaign in 2015 General Election?

In this interview with Jeremy Paxman for BBC Newsnight, Russell Brand lit a political fire.  Well, he didn’t so much light it as point to it and fan the flames. Borne of growing frustration with a woefully corrupted political and economic framework which serves only a minority of wealthy people and corporations, this fire is now raging.  The None of the Above campaign has been gathering support to stand candidates at the next general election, to reject this system outright.  Is Russell Brand to become the face of this movement?

None of the Above

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This will be familiar to anyone who has watched the film Brewster’s Millions – the Richard Pryor comedy where Pryor’s character unwittingly becomes the figurehead of a political movement by standing in an election as ‘None of the Above’.

The campaign is designed to promote independent candidates who stand against the establishment.  They may be women or men; young, old, or in between; of any racial, ethnic background; of any religion or none; they are the bricklayers, teachers, carers, parents, students or office workers that keep our world ticking over day and night.  A ‘NOTA’ campaign is designed to give voters a chance to actively rather than passively (by abstaining) reject the status quo at the ballot box.

The reason we would need candidates to perform such as action here is that, unlike India, Greece, Spain, Colombia and Bangladesh (to name but a few) we currently have no means of registering such a vote on UK ballots.  We can spoil our ballot, but this is not formally recognised as a political voice.   So, in order for UK voters to express that they are a politically engaged person seeking to say NO to all that is on offer, and perhaps even the political system itself – the None of the Above campaign is seeking candidates to stand in the name of None of the Above in their constituencies in 2015.

Where Does Russell Brand Come In?

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A petition has been launched on Change.org, calling on us and Russell Brand to back this campaign.

The final statement of the petition speaks to Russell Brand and us all:

“Look, let’s cut to the chase: we all know you’re a busy man, but we also know you care about what you’ve talked about here. No one is asking you to be a political leader, instead we need an image; a Brand if you will (such wordplay, you must be proud).

If we can get 10 000 signatures on this petition, will you agree to serve as the official speaker and media representative for this movement towards the 2015 general election?

Other people can take care of the admin, candidate selection, fundraising (just enough to actually pay to stand in each constituency), all you need to do is continue being you and represent the cause where possible.

So what do you reckon, people? Russell? Can we get something going here? Or are we going to leave this as a nice viral video to look back at and say, “Oh…yes…that was an opportunity there, wasn’t it…bollocks…”?

No more bollocks. No more excuses. Let’s give this bullsh*t democracy the middle finger it deserves.”

A Call to Arms

 C43During his fateful interview with Paxman, Brand successfully gave voice to the millions who have had enough.  The indebted students, the jobless young, the working families that cannot meet the rising cost of living, the elderly forced to choose to heat their homes or eat, the public sector workers whose jobs, pay and pensions have been cut, the private sector workers going through the same, the parents terrified at the nightmare future ahead of their children – of all of us who are not represented by our current political, economic and social systems.

Where is the democracy if you get to choose between the least worst option? Where is the democracy when there is no choice to vote for a single individual or party that stands for what you do?  Well…?

And democracy is about more than the vote each four or five years.  Where is the democracy in our workplaces? Where is the democracy in our schools? Where is the democracy in our health system? Where, in fact, is the democracy in any of the decisions which affect us on a daily basis?  There isn’t any.  Not only do we not do democracy well, but we barely do it at all.  Don’t point at Iran and tell me to feel lucky.  I don’t aspire to dictatorship, I aspire to democracy.  To do it well and all the time.  And so, in our hearts, don’t we all?  Aren’t we all, if we really admit it, coming to the realisation that we are living in precarious times – and that all those in positions of power, and the locks on the doors to such power, are not there to serve us?

So, here is an opportunity.  Russell Brand has become a megaphone for a national conversation that was already underway, but fervently ignored.  The None of the Above campaign is not looking for a leader.  Like the Occupy Movement, it seeks to promote leadership in all of us.  It is more about fundamentally transforming the way we do democracy, than it is about a red, blue or yellow tie.  But what Russell can do, if we get those 10,000 signatures and he accepts the challenge, is turn his expression of our anger into a tangible political result in 2015.  He has the platform, if we have the courage.  So…what are you waiting for?

IMPORTANT POST BLOG UPDATE: 01/11/2013

Following publication of this post, I received various comment from the extended None of the Above community that an ideological split had occurred.  One element of which seeks a conventional NoTA campaign to gain the option on future ballots; the other seeks to stand candidates.  Given that I am not a member of NoTA and have no axe to grind either way, I would ask you to read the comments section of this blog to explore this topic further.  This includes an alternative petition which allows you to express your support for the conventional NoTA option to be added to UK ballot papers.

Get Involved!

You can sign the petition here.  Please share it widely, tweet it at campaigners, celebrities, politicians, bloggers, the whole twittersphere.  The only difference between ‘an’ opportunity and ‘the’ opportunity is taking it.

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100 thoughts on “Russell Brand to Become the Face of “None of the Above” Campaign in 2015 General Election?

  1. People who are fed up with the current system (oh look, that’s everyone!) Check out Left Unity. We are a newly formed political party seeking to combine all those out there with socialist tendencies who can see traditional methods have not worked, and are open to progressing in a more inclusive manner that takes input from everyone equally. We are building our party in order to make a serious move toward running the country. We have a manifesto and are currently going through the process of policy production, via open group discussion, workshops and quaterley conferences. Russell your input would be more than welcome here too, as would anyones. We must be dynamic to achieve success and not stumble at the same hurdles our predecessors did. Solidarity. X

  2. For goodness sakes people stop arguing about irrelevancies.

    Given the choice I agree that NOTA would be better off if it was faceless and “Brandless” but if you want change you have to be a realist too.

    This is a numbers game.

    The major political parties have millions of pounds to sink into advertising and propaganda, and they have done so for years.

    NOTA, as wonderful as and pure as it is, is faceless and practically unknown.

    WE NEED TO GET THE MESSAGE OF AN ALTERNATIVE TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

    We are not putting Brand into office, but if we (God forbid) help his career and popularity, in the course of getting rid of some utterly corrupt and defunct politicians, then we should be so lucky.

    Please please please stop bickering and and being divisive, if you keep this as a political ideal, it will be forever beyond reach now is the time to act.

    • Hi Sven,

      Just to clarify, we at NOTA UK (est. 2010) are all about unity. We are also about doing this right, playing the long game and not blowing it. Hence our strong stance towards other fringe groups seeking to rush ahead and dilute the campaign by standing candidates on a NOTA platform at the next general election. As for Russell Brand, we have never called for him to be the face of NOTA, this came from another fringe group. I have however emailed him to see where he stands on the issue. His management have passed the email on, no word from him as yet. We would of course welcome his support if he were to come out in favour of NOTA.

      More info on the campaign can be found here: http://notauk.org/

  3. This article still appears to be causing some confusion. To clarify, neither of the NOTA supporting entities referenced in the main article are anything to do with the official NOTA UK campaign that has been running since 2010. We have not asked, and have no intention of asking, Russell Brand to be our ‘leader’. If he wants to endorse it, that’s fine. More info on the actual campaign to get NOTA added to UK ballot papers can be found here on our website: http://notauk.org/

  4. Would you want Brand or Ross as your husband,partner,son or father;never mind a ‘face’ or leader. All he has done since 2009 ish is say a few good things at certain times,probably when it suited him! Forget about him and then i am happy to have a proper debate about the pros and cons of the two ‘warring’ no vote factions.

  5. Good to see the long and proud tradition of argument by repeated assertion is alive and well in British political discourse.

  6. No matter who you vote for, the establishment always have a boot on our throats! Westminster is corrupt and holds nothing but careerists! They forget, ‘they work for us!’

  7. Pingback: Apathy and the alchemical dissolution: bring on the dancing horses | kittysjones

  8. Covering a few points in no particular order…

    ● It is not legally possible to call a party “none of the above”, or any reasonable combination of those words.
    ● We do NOT presently have a NOTA ballot option. While people can spoil their ballot papers, and these are counted, there is almost no oficial record; such numbers are not routinely published, nor they aren’t necessarily announced at the end of the vote count. It normally takes a FOI request to find this number. In any case, spoiled ballots have no legal standing. The NOTA campaign is intended at creating a NOTA ballot choice that has a defined result in election law.
    ● While Russell Brand is certainly entitled to his opinion as a citizen of a democracy, he has not stated what his political hopes are, nor has he stated any method by which he thinks such a goal should be achieved. I think he would agree with me when I say that asking him to be a figurehead for this campaign is celebrity-worship.
    ● NOTA would not split the vote. If you believe in what a party stands for, you’d carry on voting for that party. If you had to pinch your nose and look away while voting for a “least worst” option, that was never really a party that represented you anyway. NOTA is aimed squarely at the abstaining majority. These people don’t vote anyway, so there is no vote to “split”, since those were never voters in the first place.

    I have been doing some research into voter habits and how they might change with various election reforms. Please feel free to make your opinions heard here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1sVbBtDumxYBK5SWbA9RC0olAh1UrCVqLaYrqqEOfxcs/viewform

    • Can you please state when,why and who has said that it is not legally possible to to have a political party called ‘none of the above’? If it is the courts what powers exist to rule out the name?

  9. It is near impossible to have a political party/person in the UK called “none of the above” a few people have tried to in the past……. a bloke even tried to get around the regulations by changing his name (by deed poll) to “none of the above” and i think he was refused entry into the election system.

    A quote for further reasearch……… “powers exist for the courts to rule out the use of names which are intended to mislead the electorate”

    my 2 satoshi’s: Voting for a “none of the above party” is not and will not be allowed to happen.

    Love your blog, do you have a bitcoin donation address?

    • Why would you want a ‘none of the above’ candidate? Surely you want people to vote for none of the above and can already do this. Spoil your ballot. It is counted in the official return. The number of spoilt ballots has been increasing, so why not make that your campaign.

      Many people protested the Police Commissioner ballots in this way and Canada has its own spoil your ballot campaign.see http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/reject-election-don%E2%80%99t-mark-your-ballot

      • I agree entirely with FDUK. It is beyond me why someone who has never bothered to vote (or even spoil a paper) should be made the face of a group such as this.

        If money is needed, it shouldn’t be spent on comedians, but on teaching people the power of spoiling a paper.

        For such an intelligent man, I was really shocked hearing Russell Brand proudly admitting he’d never voted. What message is that supposed to be sending out? Surely spoiling a paper has been (and still is) a clear way to show politician’s that you are interested in the way the country is governed but not with a particular candidates behaviour, ideologies, policies or the political system itself.

        • There is no power in spoiling a ballot paper, that is a one of the many voting myths that the NOTA campaign seeks to dispel. Spoilt ballots can be counted as spoilt in error so the figure, which is never published anyway, is meaningless as a way of measuring voter discontent. NOTA, by contrast, not only provides a measure of voter discontent it also has ramifications. That’s why we need an official NOTA option on the ballot. More info can be found here: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/NOTA-UK

          • Spoiled papers are a meaningless measure of voter discontent as people do not bother doing it!

            Whilst I see the purpose behind NOTA, what proof is there that this very expensive method of electing politicians will increase voter turnout?

            That’s the advantage of spoiled papers. You show people you are interested, but equally that you’re disenfranchised. You can even write exactly why you are unhappy… It’s your chance to clearly say what the problem is. Each and every one of those papers are checked thoroughly. The messages are read. Those garnering for your votes do see those messages. Conversely sitting at home on your backside making a “protest” says nothing, proves nothing and changes nothing.

            If enough people spoilt their ballot papers, then you’d be on the money for NOTA or equivalent.

            • Again, you cite lots of voting myths that simply are not true and wilfully overlook the factual points I have made. Spoilt votes are not ‘thoroughly checked’, they are completely ignored (with the possible exception of a token glance at a couple by an elected official for local PR purposes). They are also lumped in with those spoilt in error, indeed they can all be counted as spoilt in error if those doing the counting are that way inclined or under instructions to do so. So the figure is literally meaningless. Spoiling the ballot is a truly pointless protest that achieves nothing whatsoever. That’s not my opinion, that is the reality. By contrast, an official figure for NOTA would not only accurately measure voter discontent, it would, as stated, have ramifications. A detailed analysis of those ramifications can be found in the text of our petition: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/NOTA-UK Have you read it?

              • I have read it but don’t agree with it all. Every time I have attended a count, spoiled papers were individually examined. This is at both local and national level by the way.

                My opinion is that FPTP needs to go, but NOTA is not the correct way forward. How do you stop a constant re-running of elections every six months?

                AV, STV or similar are the only real solution I can see.

                My main point though is that whilst Russell Brand speaks eloquently on this matter, I can never agree with someone that does not vote. This is where spoiling papers comes in – the point you are missing entirely is what figures do you have that differentiate between people making a stand and not voting, and people being lazy and uninterested and not voting? You have none. If people spoiled their papers, you’d have some data to prove that people were disenfranchised and could use this to argue your case for NOTA. As it stands, politicians can argue that voter apathy is not the failing of politicians and there is no need for any change.

                • I can’t beleive I’m having to write this again… you are perpetually missing the point. All spoilt ballots, even those spoilt in protest, are lumped in with those spoilt in error. That figure is therefore meaningless as a measure of voter discontent. The only way to measure that meaningfully is with a NOTA option. If implemented properly, as well as providing this measure, it also has very real ramifications for the political class. Theses ramifications could, over time, organically clean up the whole process leading to re-engagement with actual parties and candidates. Without this check and balance in place, that will NEVER happen. Nor will any of the other changes to the voting system you mention. That is why NOTA is the logical starting point for reform. It is achevable as it is a democratic pre-requsite that cannot be argued against, once properly understood, without appearing anti-democracy. Even if they are, the political class can never appear to be that. Ergo, eventually, with enough vocal support and numbers behind it, NOTA will become an inevitable concession, much like the NHS and votes for women before it. It most definitely is ‘the way forward’, logically speaking.

  10. Hi Kerry,

    Thanks for the NOTA support but I’m afraid you’ve jumped the gun a bit! I am in the process of consulting with the author of the petition on Change.org calling for Russell Brand to be the face of NOTA, in order to make sure that the text of the petition is on message with the wider NOTA campaign. As you may or may not know, there were serious problems with the old facebook group which now calls itself Notavote and myself and Emma Rome had to leave to focus on the real campaign. Sadly, Notavote has been taken over by people with their own political agenda’s and the main admin has lost control of it completely. It has become a contradiction in terms – not only do they intend to stand candidates on a NOTA platform that intend to stay in office if elected, they have formulated a whole bunch of left leaning policies as well. They are essentially a political party using NOTA as a vehicle to get themselves elected. Clearly, this is the antithesis of NOTA and potentially hugely damaging to the real campaign.

    The author of the Change.org petition, understands this and has sent me this re-drafted text which more accurately represents where the real NOTA campaign is at:

    “1. In the run up to the General Election, campaign for a permanent change to the voting system to include a None of the Above option on ballot papers. 2. If this is unsuccessful in being achieved within a reasonable amount of time before the 2015 GE, to organise “None of the Above” candidates in as many constituencies as possible, across the UK. In case you were wondering, these candidates will not represent any political views whatsoever – not even the introduction of None of the Above as a standard option in future elections. They will simply be serving as justification for an option on the ballot sheet. If they are elected, they will step down in order to give the effect of a genuine None of the Above option.”

    I have agreed to this as it seems like a reasonable compromise and makes the point that the NOTA campaign is non-partisan and must remain so.

    With this in mind, I would be grateful if you could re-write this piece on NOTA and Russell Brand making clearer what the campaign is all about and removing all reference to Notavote.

    This is our best and probably only opportunity to make this campaign real and bring NOTA in to the mainstream debate. Lets not blow it!

    Many thanks, Stan

    http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/NOTA-UK

    • This posting is not accurate. NotaVote group do not have any policies, left-wing or otherwise. It is a campaign group with a single objective – to put NOTA onto ballot papers and give everyone the full democratic right to give a NO vote which is counted and registered. Any NOTA candidate elected can either stand down and cause a by-election, or take up the seat with the single objective of pressing government to pass the necessary legislation to include NOTA as a matter of course in future elections. Once this is achieved the group disbands – the work is done. No other agenda. Imagine the publicity and debate caused by a single NOTA candidate win. Even if none of the candidates succeed (which is likely) then the share of the national vote can be counted and if that is significant – the talking begins.

      • Actually Della, this comment was 100% accurate at the time of me posting it. As you know, the main protagonist who was able to impose his personal political agenda on Notavote and twist it out of all recognition has now left, having failed to achieve his aims of total control. While the new Notavote website and direction is much more in keeping with where the group used to be, your approach is still in danger of doing more harm than good. The notion that a party can stand candidates on the single issue of getting NOTA on the ballot paper and then stay in office to push for it if elected remains a contradiction in terms that will be torn apart by the media when the time comes. As such, there is a very real danger of the idea of NOTA being kicked into touch forever if the media and political class are easily able to silence the solid arguments for it, arguments that need to be in focus. They will try to do that anyway – your approach will just make it easy for them. As stated many times before, we would be happy to work with Notavote if it were to commit to not trying to get people elected as bonafide MP’s on the single issue of NOTA. Apart from anything else, this approach will attract exactly the wrong type of candidate. Indeed, this was the root cause of Notavote’s change of direction and recent near implosion at the hands of the interloper known as Fair Equity. This must be avoided at all costs if the NOTA campaign is to be successful in the long term. Standing a few independents as NOTA candidates for publicity purposes who will step down immediately if elected, thus simulating NOTA, is a much more credible, if also very risky, strategy, in my view. I implore you to reconsider yours.

        • With first past the post it is unlikely that any independent candidate will win a seat, including any Notavote candidates. If that does happen it is up to the candidate whether to take up the seat and fight for a change in legislation or stand down and cause a by-election. We are a democratic group. Any candidate who is standing simply to gain personal power is likely to be disappointed. We are working for the same aim. Your petition will help spread the word and give people a focus point. Our candidates will give publicity to the cause and allow the electorate to vote with their x if they like the idea. There are not mutually exclusive.

          • I note that you have not addressed the very real PR problems that your approach throws up, as alluded to in my various other replies on this thread. Until these problems are addressed, you are in danger of doing more harm than good to our aim of getting NOTA taken seriously and embedded in the public consciousness as an achievable reform.

  11. I’m sure I read in the rules when I stood in the council election you are actually not allowed to call yourself “none of the above”. Even if they do get around that somehow I can’t see it working to be honest, it’s hard to raise the money to stand in a general election, there wouldn’t be a candidate in every constituency as a result. It will just split the vote and we’ll end up with the Tories again, or another coalition, perhaps even with UKIP.
    We need to concentrate on Left Unity, they are launching as a political party soon. Realistically though no party forming now is going to be strong enough and have enough money to actually beat the major parties by 2015, we’ll end up having to vote Labour or face another 5 years of the Tories. I bet we end up with another coalition, lets just pray it’s not with the Tories or UKIP.

    • An official NOTA option on the ballot paper would not split the vote, it would give the millions of disillusioned voters a voice. This will include people who never vote, people who vote for the lesser of several evils and people who vote for extreme parties out of protest without necessarily identifying with that party’s views. In other words, it would attract a huge number of voters and throw a real cat amongst the pigeons. The knock on effect of simply having the possibility of NOTA polling more votes than anyone else will, eventually, force an organic cleaning up of politics. In the meantime, if NOTA ever were to win, we have a clear proposal to deal with the logistics of that which can be read in the blurb of our petition on 38 degrees. http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/NOTA-UK

      • You don’t need a ‘none of the above’ box on the ballot. Just soil your voting paper. If enough people do this it will show that the voting system is broken. Spoilt ballots count in the percentage of he vote and was used by many people to protest the Police Commissioners ballots.

        • Except it doesn’t count. Yes, they are included in the overall official tally, but a Government can be formed as long as first past the post system allows each constituency to have an MP elected. Spoiling your vote will not prevent an MP being selected without a specific NOTA box. Or do you seriously believe that the overall 2.9% nationwide spoilt ballot amount from the last general Election can be increased perhaps tenfold? because that’s pretty much the minimum you’d need for those in power to take notice, and yet legally they’d Still be able to form a Government if they so chose.

          • Not voting, such as Russell Brand chooses to do, sends no message to politicians, other than apathy and laziness. It gives politicians carte blanche to ignore that section society entirely.

            If however, all those who have never bothered voting are actually trying to send a message, the only way of achieving this is (currently) with a spoiled paper. People can not be taken seriously if they can’t be bothered to even do that.

            Local elections where I am saw less than 50% turnout. Pathetic. Why should politicians bother listening to a request for “NOTA” when people can’t even be bothered to take part in our current system – even if it is to spoil a paper?

        • As stated elsewhere, there is no power whatsoever in spoiling a ballot paper and this is one of the many voting myths that the NOTA campaign seeks to dispel. Spoilt ballots can be counted as spoilt in error so the figure, which is never published anyway, is meaningless as a way of measuring voter discontent. NOTA, by contrast, not only provides a measure of voter discontent it also has ramifications. That’s why we need an official NOTA option on the ballot. More info can be found here: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/NOTA-UK

  12. Never been a huge fan of his, but he has a point and one day I hope the box exists to vote against “the above”. I hate Jonathan Ross with a passion and he was a fool the day he did what he did.with ross.

      • Unfortunately Catherine, until Notavote acknowledges the massive contradiction in terms that forming an actual NOTA party and standing candidates that have no intention of stepping down represents, it is in danger of doing more harm than good to the NOTA cause. I feel strongly that this approach will see the whole idea of NOTA torn apart by the media and kicked into touch forever. Fortunately, there are others campaigning for the same thing in a much more measured and long-termist way. We hope to work with Notavote in the future but cannot in its current form. You can also join our campaign here and here: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/NOTA-UK
        https://www.facebook.com/groups/173779446985/

          • As explained here and elsewhere, NOTA-UK has a long term approach to getting a bonafide NOTA option on the ballot that simply involves consistently making the solid arguments for NOTA to as wide an audience as possible and keeping them firmly in focus. Anything else, standing candidates and the like, is a contradictory distraction from the real issue that will be used to undermine the campaign. Your campaign involves trying to get actual MP’s elected on a NOTA platform. This is clearly a self-defeating strategy. Firstly, by doing so you will attract the self-serving, glory hunting kind of people who very nearly destroyed your organisation recently i.e.: the exact kind of political animal the NOTA campaign seeks to make redundant. Secondly, the inherent contradictions of your approach will make it all too easy for the enemies of reform to ridicule the entire NOTA campaign and concept, ourselves included, in the run up to the election and kick it firmly in to touch for the foreseeable future. This is why we cannot work together currently. If you were prepared to rethink your strategy along the lines of possibly, and only if deemed necessary, standing a handful of independents on a NOTA platform who will step down if elected, thus simulating NOTA, purely for publicity and awareness raising purposes, THEN we would have the beginnings of a consensus from which to work from. Until such time, I see no merit to endorsing and legitimising your approach, I’m afraid.

  13. do you really think that a Nota box would be included on our ballot papers ?
    do you think Russell Brand would actively support a petition that relies totally on sham parliamentary democracy to succeed, that could emasculate such a petition in numerous ways as they do with all petitions?
    I advise you with all sincerity to watch his interview again and listen more carefully to what he says…It occurs to me that in your desperation for a messiah you have heard what you wanted to hear…people are dying now..can they really wait till 2015…
    sure enough he reflected what millions of us now think which as you say has fanned the flames of discontent,as for him nailing his colours to a reformist campaign that lends support to the rotten gravey train that is parliamentary democracy I dont think so..

    • This disingenuous, coke-snorting, womanising, sexist, patriarchal establishment- supporting, self- promoting, sensationalism seeking, ego bound, multi-milliionaire does not speak for me, He has no integrity, and I am disgusted with the sheep expecting a new messiah, who writes “booky wookies” and “has a go at” people’s grand-daughters frequently

      I speak for myself. I don’t value celeb status and shallow, trivial stereotypes, nor fo I lose sight of what they have previously done, just because they happen to mention a few things that most of us have known for a long time, but note he offered no solution, and thinks that no voting is okay, that is as good as handing your vote to the Tories, because their supporters ALWAYS vote. He’s a plank

      • Actually, the massive and irrelevant generalisations about Russell notwithstanding, your assertions about Tory voters is incorrect. Many of them are deeply disillusioned and defecting to UKIP – whilst not entirely agreeing with their policies either. This is precisely why we need an official NOTA option on the ballot paper. Our system is corrupted and broken – it needs to change. NOTA gives all disillusioned voters, those who never vote, those who vote for the lesser of several evils, those who vote for extreme parties in protest without really identifying with them, a voice. It is a democratic pre-requisite and an idea whose time has come.

        • The NORA option ain’t going to happen, what WILL happen is Tory Voters WILL vote, many being the big corporate donors, who hae a vested interest in a Tory govt, and NOTHING will change

            • Did you not read my previous comment? Tory support is falling as support for UKIP and extreme fringe parties rises. The staunch Tory/Labour/LibDem faithful are all losing their faith. For this reason, there has has never been a better time to get the idea of NOTA into the mainstream debate and make the solid case for having it. Once it is understood as the democratic pre-requsite that it is, it becomes impossible to argue against without coming across as anti democracy (which the political class can never be seen to be, even if, in reality, they are). For this reason, NOTA is achievable. We just need to dispel the myths, get the general public up to speed on what NOTA is, how it works and the changes it could bring and then get numbers out in force calling for it.

              • Yes I read it and disagree in so far that I doubt NOTA option is going to happen under a Tory-led Government, unless it increases the chance of another Tory Government, and I don’t see how it can work as a viable option when people can’t be arsed taking responsibility for what we get politically anyway. I don’t see he public as innocent and passive in all of this as people who blame the parties entirely As someone who has lobbied and seen the Labour Party respond positively to the needs of the disabled as a result of mine and others work, I know positive changes ARE possible within the system , but most people don’t try

                • …. don’t see how it can work as a viable option when people can’t be arsed taking responsibility for what we get politically anyway. I don’t see he public as innocent and passive in all of this as people who blame the parties entirely…..

                  Very well said!

                  • I refer you to my reply to this comment below re: why NOTA is a viable option. The responsibility for ‘what we get’ politically belongs to those who DO vote and therefore endorse our irredeemably broken and corrupt system – not those who don’t. My various comments elsewhere on this article cover this in more detail.

                • No, but ideally you will have done the necessary research to know what you are talking about…

                  The key point you appear to be missing is that under our current system, a party vying for election can say absolutely anything and appeal to absolutely everybody whilst electioneering and then have no need or incentive to stay true to their word once elected. If Labour win the next election, you will see that in action as they carry on with business as usual and bow down to their corporate overlords. That is not my opinion – that is the reality of our faux-democracy and the reason why we need to reject it utterly and start building a better one.

                  The reason the majority of people in the UK do not bother voting at all is mainly because we are wise to this scam. If you want change and a more egalitarian society, it is literally pointless voting in a corrupt, corporatist, anti-democratic system that serves the interests of the few, actively oppresses the many and has no incentive whatsoever to ever reform itself. All voting does in such circumstances is legitimise that corrupt system. Why would any sane person who truly understands how things work want to do that?

                  NOTA is the only reform that has the power to completely undermine that paradigm and organically begin transforming our system into one that is worth engaging with in the first place. If you don’t know why then you might want to read the petition blurb that addresses all the common myths, concerns and questions surrounding NOTA as well as the all important logistics and ramifications: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/NOTA-UK

                  The reason NOTA is achievable is because, once it is fully understood, it becomes impossible to argue against it without appearing anti-democracy – as NOTA is, in fact, a democratic pre-requisite. Even if they are, the political class cannot ever be seen to be anti-democracy. Ergo, if enough people understood the need for NOTA and were calling for it with one voice, they would have to eventually acknowledge that the game is up and that NOTA is an idea whose time has come. It is the logical starting point. Without it, nothing will change.

                    • I did the research wrote and article and thought long and hard about it. I don’t see NOTA. as a viable option, it won’t change a thing The Tories couldn’t give a fuck if you feel disenfranchised or not, and would much prefer if you don’t vote, or hand them a victory by going for a none of the above none option. I care far to much about what happens to other people in this country to entertain that

                    • What, after your research, is the answer? If it doesn’t include getting rid of parliament and the corruption from top to bottom in the private sector, then things will remain the same, exactly as it is now. NOTA’s a great idea, and not at all pushy. It asks for a vote of no confidence, to be considered for use in coming elections and to encourage real change without unethical agenda. The vital point is there is no leader and no political agenda, which may prove to be NOTA’s sticking point. We need change, and a voice of steady guidance away from capitalism is sought by a public which is so at odds with its own place in society it has lost the power to think straight. In a way, we do need a charismatic leader who’s prepared to put his neck on the line, but where are the contenders? The backbone of this thread is made up of Brand hecklers but at least he had the guts to say what he thought. That his thoughts were remarkably close to my own was a big bonus. Paxman was below par during this interview, unknowingly caught out as angry in the manner of the presenter who asked the Pistols to swear.
                      What I’d like to see are policies. That and some serious literature to back up these policies. The numbers will add up when we are aware of where money is leaked within govt and have stopped it at source. Oh, and stop the war effort, get the troops back here and start building communities in our own wasteland. Yeehah!

                    • As well as you maths being dodgy Kitty, you still appear to fundamentally misunderstand how a bonafide NOTA option would work if we had one. Historically, over recent years, around 40% of the registered electorate don’t vote at general elections. Recent studies have shown that this is not entirely down to apathy. The vast majority don’t vote out of sheer anger and frustration at the pointlessness of it all. With a genuine, working NOTA option on the ballot (that has real ramifications for the result if it were to win a majority – this has never been done before anywhere), a significant number of those people would finally have a voice. Plenty of people that do vote, either for the lesser of several evils or out of a sense of duty, would also have an option that more accurately reflects how they feel. The result would be a massive surge for NOTA that would undermine all of the main parties dominance of the system, the Tories included, and compel all concerned to actually represent the majority in the first place. The notion that NOTA would in some way empower the Tories, or evern like the BNP, is bunkum that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

                  • James. I’ve read this thread up to here and really do applaud your take on how NOTA should progress. I had the same idea without realising there was a already a NOTA in existence. In fact, I’ve spent the last four years thinking it was an original idea. Oh well. Anyway, the thing that worries me is that NOTA seems to have no political view or any policies in place to tempt the voter away from the ruling parties. Without policy of any sort, it will be difficult to get votes because people need to imagine how ‘change’ will affect them in their daily lives if they’re to actually buy into the idea. To structure a campaign on the grounds of voting for someone who will effectively stand down if elected is good as a show of disdain to the present parliamentary system, and will no doubt make waves for true change, but until someone comes up with policy, the general consensus will be one of half-heartedness. Either that or they’ll predict that the mainstream party with the second highest amount of votes will go on to denounce NOTA in its interim period of six to twelve months in power, forcing it back into obscurity at a time when NOTA’s golden opportunity was there for the taking. People expect and deserve policies that are fit for purpose, which is why a lot of us haven’t bothered voting. In my opinion, from what I’ve read so far, you are quite capable of presenting valid alternatives to current legislation, which has conveniently cluttered and convoluted itself to seem incomprehensible to the average Joe. The main cause for concern for both the establishment and NOTA is accountability. The establishment has proved that the system is based on a sordid lie that we are best helping ourselves and the world, but for NOTA the problem rests with its credentials as a consistent, viable alternative. Without policy there can be no accountability. My own thoughts are that, if a NOTA representative was to be elected, he/she would then be in a position to organise a vote to find someone to reside over that constituency as governor of new local law. Look at the Red Indians; they chose elders of virtue and those who had a gift for moral providence. They didn’t have closed courts and crooked lawmen using a corrupt CPS and media to massage outcomes into shape, carefully blinkering the public away from the many unpalatable home truths that shame this country. The public bill for three elders talking together and taking responsibility for their actions would be half a pack of Rich Tea and a fair few cups of tea. Those who have proved themselves in the community and are seen as morally true, upright citizens, with no emphasis on religious beliefs, would jump at the chance to make real change happen. By investigating how public and private finances are managed and doing away with all the crap they’ve implemented, we may just get somewhere. I’d like to see Britain pull out of war for good. That’s one policy. Agriculture and manufacturing increased and landowners’ rights decreased. There’s another. If we want real change, the financial boom and bust policy has to go and housing needs to be built for the poor immediately. Is it such a crime to dream? Without policy, NOTA offer little solace to even the most disillusioned voter/non voter. By actively seeking and requesting the help of those who previously (before NOTA took over) oversaw and ran companies and councils, we could get to the bottom of all the corruption and remedy it immediately. Is that so wrong? No one person found to have been involved in past corruption would be prosecuted. It would be forgotten. Only the future would matter at that time. I’d love to know what you think on policy, James. Here’s to a swashbuckling 2014 and a jackpot 2015!

                    • Hi Richard,

                      To be clear, NOTA UK is a campaign group with the sole objective of getting an official NOTA option added to the UK ballot paper for all future elections.

                      We aim to achieve this by consistently making the solid, winnable arguments for NOTA (a democratic pre-requisite), to as wide an audience as possible until there is enough support for and understanding of it, for it to be considered as an inevitable government concession to keep the peace (in much the same way as votes for women and the welfare state were won).

                      We are therefore, categorically, not standing candidates on a NOTA platform as to do so is clearly a contradiction in terms. There are other groups thinking of doing this but we do not endorse them as we feel this contradiction will do more harm than good to the credibility of our campaign to get a bonafide NOTA option in place in the long run.

                      Clearly, a campaign for a genuine NOTA option cannot be partisan or policy driven. That is the domain of political parties. NOTA UK is not a party and cannot be a party because of what it represents. by definition, a bonafide NOTA option does not and cannot represent any party or policy.

                      I hope this clarifies. More info, a solid proposal for implementation and all NOTA myths are addressed here: http://notauk.org/

      • Brand is a stereotype, not an archetype, although the Trickster momentarily crossed my mind, but no, not as significant as that, he is like a wooden puppet, you can move him from place to place, show to show, and it won’t affect the plot a bit

      • Haha, he’s not on drugs anymore… Keep up..
        Everyone has a right to speak out, whether they are a womaniser or not, (and I think the woman’s are willing) he speaks well, and happens to have a good sense of style too.. :)

        • He has the right to speak,sure, and I have the right to have the opinion he talks meaningless, nihilistic s**t, has no principles, no solutions and writes articles because ” a beautiful woman asked him to”, and not because he isn’t a narcissistic, self-serving self-publicist

        • Sense of style? Coz that’s what matters in pushing people towards some kind of political engagement, doesn’t it? Usual shallow style over content crap

          As for style, he’s a preening ponce!

      • “his disingenuous, coke-snorting, womanising, sexist, patriarchal establishment- supporting, self- promoting, sensationalism seeking, ego bound”,

        You’re not ‘fussed’ then. Your privilege. What is NOT your privilege is referring to those of us a little more ‘forgiving’ than your ‘holier than thou’ “disgusted” self, as ‘sheep’ – simply because we are prepared to give a man credit (regardless of his past demeanours, and who are YOU to judge him?) for stating loud & clear what just about every right thinking individual on the planet wants to say, but lacks the means to do so. As for “peoples grandaughters frequently” – how ‘frequent’ is frequent? Have I missed something? The incident you refer to took place in October 2008. It’s now 2014. What’s “frequent” about that? And if Brands apology was good enough for Andrew Sachs, who are you to say different? You might also want to reflect, (as you climb down from your high horse), on notorious ‘Dance Troupe, Satanic Sluts’ – of which the ‘young lady’ in question was /is? a member. Snow White, eat your heart out. Not.

        http://www.theguardian.com/media/2008/oct/30/russell-brand-ross-baillie-sachs

        • If you don’t see beyond populism, celebrity status, and If you turn away from the fact that Brand as no principles, and represents the establishment far more than the ordinary person, then frankly, you deserve the label. Brand talks a lot and says nothing at all.

          As for “who are you”, well I am an ordinary person that gives a shit about the society that i live in, an someone who recognises the worth of truth telling, integrity, consistency and having principles.Brand has none of those. Like many other writers that give a shit, I wont be climbing down from my “high horse” any time soon :-) Brand is a grubby nihilist with an ego.

    • Andy – it is obvious that you don’t believe in the principle of NOTA or of the likelihood of it ever becoming a reality. So why do you keep visiting and posting on the NotaVote facebook page?

      • Della – is Notavote still insisting on registering an actual party and standing candidates that have no intention of stepping down if elected? Because if so, that is clearly a contradiction in terms that will do the real campaign to get NOTA on the ballot no favours whatsoever. Better to stand a few independents solely for publicity purposes (if and when necessary, i.e. if there is no progress being made in terms of sympathetic media and establishment pro-NOTA voices speaking up), who will pledge to stand down immediately to simulate NOTA if elected. Your approach, along with your now hugely discredited Guy Fawkes T-shirt funding idea, is far from helpful. We should be working together, not against each other. But that is currently not possible, all the while Notavote is persisting with this contradictory, water muddying direction. I implore you to rethink your strategy.

  14. Brand says: “As far as I’m concerned there is nothing to vote for”.
    By definition, he’s saying there’s nothing to vote against?

    WTF?

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  16. I’m afraid I find it difficult to erase the Jonathan Ross fiasco from my memory. I would hat RB to become the figurehead of an important movement, only to destroy it with stupid behaviour. His interview was spectacular, and he spoke only the truth, but I don’t want another George Galloway.

  17. Is there a way nota vote could work with say the pirate party. It seems like there are a lot if people after the same things here but are shouting from different soap boxes. The publicly voted policy structure sounds like real democracy rather vote in the se group of people time after time to make the same biased decisions each time

  18. Waaaaaait! I don’t understand. What this campaign is calling for is the creation of a new party with Brand as the face…? Right? Not only is his point about not voting being ignored, but he would be rocketing from comedian to politician and the power would destabilise anyone.

    I think this idea is a massive over-reaction. And not thought through well enough at all. OK perhaps there’s more detail on the NOTA page which I haven’t read yet but I’m goin on what you’re giving people here.

    Personally I would feel freaked out if 10,000 petitioners suddenly rushed to ask me to be their leader, sorry, “face” – Especially after just one (ok a few) recent choice speech(es). If Russell Brand has really got credibility he should turn this opportunity down and point people towards real alternative political forums.

    • Personally, I’d be happy if Brand simply came out in support of the NOTA campaign and publicly endorsed it. That in itself would allow us to make the solid case for it to a wider audience. I think if he ever gets round to looking it to it, he would realise, as we already have, that it is an achievable and game changing reform that could put us on the path towards the kind of egalitarian system that he yearns for. Don’t bother with the Notavote page, they’ve lost the plot. The real campaign and all the info you need is here: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/NOTA-UK

  19. Your petition title hasn’t been amended from ‘party’ to ‘campaign’. Why don’t you just use the 38 degrees petition which already has over a 1200 signatures

    • It’s not my petition, it’s from the NOTA campaign. By all means share any other NOTA petitions you’d like to in this comments section.

        • You state that if elected the ‘none of the above’ candidate ( whichever faction) should stand down. I can see why. However, I believe that if a ‘none of the above’ type candidate wins and stands down, then the seat should remain vacant until there is a fresh election; the same process as when a ‘sitting’ MP dies in office. Fresh elections could be held in/around six weeks.
          In this scenario there is no way that any candidate who finished second in the election, should be able to be a ‘temporary’ MP at all. Not only it is wrong but some people in that position would do nothing but campaign to be elected in the rerun. In any case why would the voters want to wait for up to twelve months for a new MP?

          • NOTA UK’s proposal (which, remember, is in relation to an actual NOTA option on the ballot paper, not candidates standing on a NOTA platform) is that in the event of a NOTA win, whether in individual constituencies or nationwide, the next placed live candidate or party, although beaten by NOTA, should be allowed to take office temporarily while the logistics of the re-run/by-election are put in place, on the understanding that they will occur no less than 6 months and no more than 12 months after the initial election. Without this there would be instant re-runs/by-elections and political instability. This solves that problem. So there would be an MP / government in the meantime. They would just be holding the fort while the re-run/by-elections were organised. I hope this clarifies.

            • You have not answered my concerns eg,about the ‘successful temporary MP’ and the possible do nothing but campaign for the job approach that an unelected MP could adopt in 6/12 months?

              • That’s because you didn’t raise those specific concerns until now… The approach you outline is exactly how most MP’s currently approach their five year term – the only difference is that a NOTA beaten temporary MP, adopting this approach to holding the fort while a re-run/by-election is organised, would only be there for 6 to 12 months. Clearly, this is infinitely preferable. The whole point of having a NOTA option is that MP’s that choose to behave this way can be roundly rejected at the ballot box. A temporary MP holding the fort will have an extra incentive to prove themselves worthy of the job in that time in order to legitimise and hold on to their position. If people aren’t convinced, they will vote for someone better. If there is no-one better they will continue to vote NOTA. This is democracy in action.

  20. Shared on Twitter and Facebook.. I want to be involved in any way I can. I saw Russell’s interview and was stunned by his eloquent brilliance. Definitely time to get heard instead of being ignored by politicians set only on their own self-interests and who are so dis-engaged with what is actually happening..

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