Russell Brand’s Revolution

This is a provocative suggestion – particularly to those of us who live in monarchies. I mean, in England, we have a queen. A queen! We have to call her things like “your majesty”. YOUR MAJESTY! Like she’s all majestic, like an eagle or a mountain. She’s just a person. A little old lady in a shiny hat – that we paid for. We should be calling her Mrs Windsor. In fact, that’s not even her real name, they changed it in the war to distract us from the inconvenient fact that they were as German as the enemy that teenage boys were being encouraged, conscripted actually, to die fighting. Her actual name is Mrs Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Well, no, not really. Philip changed his name by deed poll to Mounbatten before their marriage. So she’s by conventional practices, Mrs. Mountbatten.

After all, the Saxe Coburg and Gotha came from Albert when he married Victoria. So men marrying the Monarch do bring their surnames with them.

53 comments on “Russell Brand’s Revolution

  1. Hmm… Russell Brand thinks immigrants are a problem does he? If not, then why did he mention her ancestry?

  2. George V was only quarter German. The queen is obviously only eight German. I didn’t know that Russell Brand was that strong on racial purity – I would suggest that he join the BNP but I don’t think even they object to people with one foreign great grand parent.

  3. I’ve seen it argued that the “Saxe-Coburg-Gotha” stuff is wrong anyway. For example, the surname of the House of Bavaria was Welf or Guelph – why assume that the surname of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was Saxe-Coburg-Gotha?

    This is just the sort of technical Holy Roman Empire stuff that people in Britain tend to be too lazy or ignorant to get right. Me too, mind, but then I’m not writing ignorant tosh about Her Maj.

  4. Can one trust Wikipedia on subtleties such as this? Probably not, but I would at least tend to trust it on the spelling and the history behind it: it was the “House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha”.

  5. It is a funny thing how proggies who’d claim to the hilt that Abdul bin Darusalaam, who arrived eight months ago from Somalia, speaks scarcely a word of English and now possesses a British passport, is as British as, well, me. But when it comes to posh people who arrived 300years ago, suddenly theyre all foreign, and foreign suddenly matters.

    Im no particular defender of the royals, but that kind of thing makes want to puke.

  6. Brand is great with language, though. Got to love this:

    Since then, he has regularly prised apart the clenched and corrupt buttocks of American politics and allowed me to peer inside at its dirty workings.

    Also very nice of him to provide such amunition against those who insist that there’s no really left-wing politics in America:

    I first met Matt [Stoller] in Zuccotti Park, Manhattan, in the middle of the Occupy Wall Street protest in 2011. Matt understands power: at the time, he worked as a policy-wonk for a Democratic congressman … “No more private security for the wealthy and the powerful,” he said. I nervously demanded he explain himself. He did: “One economist argued in 2005 that roughly one in four Americans are employed to guard in various forms the wealth of the rich. So if you want to get rid of rich and poor, get rid of guard labour.” … “The definition of being rich means having more stuff than other people. In order to have more stuff, you need to protect that stuff with surveillance systems, guards, police, court systems and so forth. All of those sombre-looking men in robes who call themselves judges are just sentinels whose job it is to convince you that this very silly system in which we give Paris Hilton as much as she wants while others go hungry is good and natural and right.”

    So it turns out that Democratic Congressmen hire policy advisors who believe and advise that stealing stuff from people wealthier than you is just a way of making the world fairer and that making it illegal to protect your wealth or your person from theft or violence would therefore (after, presumably, a bit of kerfuffle) lead to the end of crime.

    Next time some fuckwit tells me the Democrats are right-wing, I’m remembering that one.

  7. David,

    > I would suggest that he join the BNP but I don’t think even they object to people with one foreign great grand parent.

    Actually, they used to. They changed their policy by one generation when it was pointed out to them that they were agitating for the Royal Family to be deported.

  8. Always entertaining reading comments about the monarchy in the Guardian, as there as so many critical of the monarchy who always mention the fact that they are German (which is clearly not the case, Her Majesty is more Scottish than anything else).

    Yet five minutes later they are elsewhere saying how great mukticultural Britain is and how many benefits immigrants have brought the country.

  9. The surname of the ruling house of the former Herzogtum Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (and therefore that of HM Queen Victoria) is Wettin. The family is a branch of the Ernestine Wettin line, as opposed to the Albertine Wettin line who were Electors and subsequently Kings of the Kingdom of Saxony proper (Königreich Sachsen).

    The English Wikipedia page on Haus Wettin (the longest-running of all European ruling houses, incidentally) states that: “in the late 19th century, Queen Victoria charged the College of Heralds in England to determine the correct personal surname of her late husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha—and, thus, the proper surname of the royal family upon the accession of her son. After extensive research they concluded that it was Wettin, but this name was never used, neither by the Queen nor by her son or grandson, King Edward VII and King George V; they were simply called ‘Saxe-Coburg-Gotha'”

  10. he makes a common mistake. Assuming “we” refers to HM Government, then we did not pay for her hat. We “nationalised” the business of monarchy, and most of her assets, and we pay the running costs, including a salary for her duties. Given that our taxes are collected by HER MAJESTIES REVENUE AND CUSTOMS, then you might argue she gets the rough end of the deal! Not that I would expect Russell Brand to understand any of that. Don’t think he did much acting when they remade Arthur!

  11. In fact, that’s not even her real name, they changed it in the war to distract us from the inconvenient fact that they were as German as the enemy that teenage boys were being encouraged, conscripted actually, to die fighting.

    Fortunately the Americans didn’t take this view of Chester Nimitz. Even Eisenhower probably wouldn’t have passed muster under Brand’s loyalty criteria.

  12. > this is the first time it has occurred to me the irony of the leader of the D-Day landings having a conspicuously German name.

    Me too. It’s almost as if WW2 wasn’t a dynastic war between opposing houses or something.

  13. The septic loon that Brand quotes fondly has some corkers.

    “Companies spend a lot of money protecting their CEOs… Oracle spent $4.6m”

    Oracle have an annual revenue of 38 billion. I can’t be arsed to do the sum to figure out what percentage was spent of CEO security but I’m confident that the answer is ‘very,very,very small’ No breakdown on that either, could be personal heavies grinding their boots on the face of the poor, or could be the large chaps on the door at the Xmas do.

    “get rid of all titles. “Mr President. Ambassador. Admiral. Senator. The honourable. Your honour. Captain. Doctor. These are all titles that capitalism relies on to justify treating some people better than other people.””

    Didn’t the Soviets do away with ranks and titles in the Red Army at one point? Before they received an utter shoeing from the Krauts obviously. This idea has form.

    He’s right on the Mr.President one tho, that’s always sounded awkward on the ears.

  14. How would a hospital work without titles? It would be confusing it there was doctor and a porter both called John Smith.

  15. How old is this riff? Older than Ben Elton, that’s for sure. In fact it goes all the way back to Beau Brummel (“Who’s your fat friend?”) and Rowlandson, etc. Can anyone trace it further? To William III, for example?

    Get yourself some new material, Brand. You are a crashing bore.

  16. So when the boy Russell appears at the RAH in November, there will be no security, ticket checking, etc, etc? No riders for blue M&Ms, I presume, and all crew to be adressed as ‘Oy, you’?

    That’ll make a nice night out. Not to see the show, obviously, but the utter destruction that will replace it. Bring snacks and your own folding chairs.

  17. There is one good thing about the dreary, cliche-ridden guff quoted above; it’s just the words, so we don’t have to hear the voice.

    Be grateful for small mercies.

  18. Although if Prince Philip hadn’t anglicised his name (as the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas did), his surname would be Schleswig-Holstein-Songerburg-Glucksburg

  19. If someone attacked Yasmin Alibhai Brown for being a Ugandan asian they would be accused (rightly) of racism.
    (She should be attacked for racism and ignorance of course) why does Brand think this is ok?

  20. I think the Red Army abolished all ranks just after WWI, and they were beaten by the Poles. I’m sure ranks were long back before the debacle in Finland, let alone Barbarossa.

  21. “When travelling in impoverished regions in galling luxury, as I have done, you have to undergo some high-wire ethical arithmetic to legitimise your position.”

    Do you? Why? I’ve been to Egypt and I’ve been to Easterhouse. It’s sad that some people are poor, but why does that create a burden on me to justify myself?

    “You have to believe inequality is OK.”

    Inequality is OK. Inequality is natural. No two human beings are born with equal talents, attractiveness, or luck. No human society has ever or will ever make everybody equal.

    “If offered an unfair deal, we will want to reject it. If I have a huge bowl of nuts and offer you just one or two, how do you feel? […] I felt that it was an unfair offering when he had so many nuts.”

    Someone offering you free nuts is “unfair” because he still has more nuts than you. Russell Brand is a multimillionaire. He has to give me several millions of pounds or else he’s being unfair.

    “Of course, I have to change as an individual and part of that will be sharing wealth, though without systemic change, that will be a sweet, futile gesture.”

    So Russell’s not giving me any money till the revolution. Why not? It wouldn’t be a futile gesture to me. I’d enjoy those millions.

    “If that hotel in India was stripped of its security, they’d have to address the complex issues that led to them requiring it.”

    More realistically, after a brief period of its staff and guests being targetted by every beggar, mugger and rapist in the neighbourhood, the hotel would go out of business. And all the maids, porters, chefs etc. currently employed by the hotel would be thrown on the street.

    “Matt’s next idea to create a different world was equally cunning and revolutionary: get rid of all titles. “Mr President. Ambassador. Admiral. Senator. The honourable. Your honour. Captain. Doctor.”

    Pilot. Teacher. Surgeon. All designed to oppress people like me when we want to try our hand at flying a 747, taking over a classroom, or amateur brain surgery.

    “One thing you can do to negate this power is to be firm but respectful, and address anyone and everyone by their last name. Mr, Ms or Mrs is all the title you should ever need.”

    What about non-gender-conforming two-spirit pansexuals, you hatemongering cunt?

    This comment got nearly 400 “likes”:

    it’s revolutionary and brilliant. And the expression of it is fun too. I love what Russell is doing and love him for doing it. I was a on ban the bomb marches, anti-Vietnam war demos, lived in marxist-feminist-neo-Reichian communes trying to break down individualist conditioning, though we also partied hard, explored myself in encounter groups and anti-psychiatry conferences, went east to live in an ashram, Ayahuasca ceremonies with a shaman, oh so many things to try and address the insanity that is modern consumer capitalism and bring freedom and love to everyone. In fact I dedicated my life to that. Crazy – yes.

    The stuff Brand is promoting ain’t new. It’s the same tired old bollocks Frankfurt School marxists have been promoting nearly a century.

    Once the society is sufficiently fucked through class conflict, undermining law and order, destruction of traditional authority figures like the monarchy and the Church, befuddling the minds of the masses into inability to distinguish between right and wrong, a new set of rulers arises and asserts a monopoly on violence.

    At that point useful idiots like Russell Brand are murdered, because they’ve served their purpose and no new radical socialist regime can tolerate disillusioned former fellow travellers.

  22. Re the Germanic names of US commanders – there were quite a few. Harry Schmidt was a USMC corps commander at Iwo Jima. Huebner was 1st ID (the Big Red One) and V Corps commander, the first US unit to make contact with the Soviets. There were two US divisional commanders called Reinhardt in Normandy. The Free French had General Koenig, into the bargain.

  23. If I find the idea that we should take Richard Murphy’s ideas seriously ludicrous, then how much more contempt should the ideas of this halfwitted individual be treated with? Really, why is anyone in the slightest fussed what this dysfunctional, barely literate thug thinks?

  24. I have a cousin (father’s uncle in law actually) who was a GI who went ashore on D Day. Looked as Germanic as all get out, square head and all. Baerman was the family name. He was most proud of having fought the Krauts.

  25. @Steve

    I think my favourite bit (and thanks for the fisk) is this:

    “When travelling in impoverished regions in galling luxury, as I have done, you have to undergo some high-wire ethical arithmetic to legitimise your position.”

    I usually find that if something is ‘galling’ I don’t do it.

    Is someone somewhere *forcing* Russell Brand to travel through impoverished regions in luxury?

    I think we should be told.

  26. Yes, thanks Steve.

    “If that hotel in India was stripped of its security, they’d have to address the complex issues that led to them requiring it.”

    In other words, we should remove the monopoly on violence from our elected government, and give it to whoever can impose themselves.

    Quite apart from anything else, I can see this leading to fewer female MP’s, so it may not be wholly progressive.

  27. “What about non-gender-conforming two-spirit pansexuals, you hatemongering cunt?”

    If this isn’t the Samizdata QOTD tomorrow I will be demanding answers.

  28. @Steve

    The one who “lived in marxist-feminist-neo-Reichian communes trying to break down individualist conditioning”…what that says to me, apart from “WHACKJOB” in fifteen foot high neon letters, is…money. Lots of money from an upper middle class upbringing.

  29. And that’s what passes for socialist thought now? Trite, shallow, teenage trot posturing from a millionaire entertainer with nothing new to say about anything? If Karl Marx had known it would come to this he would have given up and opened a pin factory.

  30. “It’s the most German thing I’ve ever heard – she might as well have been called Mrs Bratwurst-Kraut-Nazi.”

    Radical, and hilariously edgy?

    It’s rude to swear in front of strangers, but faced with a cunt of this magnitude, what else can one do?

    (I would have gone Football-Cars-Beer myself).

  31. @ AndrewZ

    I don’t think Brand is trying to pass himself off as any kind of socialist at all. Not everybody who criticiizes neoliberal orthodoxy is a leftist. His take is pure celebrity; ego-driven, guilt-ridden trite apathy. “Listen to me, it’s all shit, nothing you can do will change it”

  32. Come now. This is all part of the willing decline and fall of the west.
    In due course the Chinese etc will tell you that racism is good because racism is power. By then you will be cowering in your ghettoes.

  33. PF asked “Isn’t HM actually one half Scottish (mother’s side was Glamis)?”

    I looked this up once; you can go back generations and almost every one of her Glamis (Bowes-Lyon) ancestors married English girls.

    Her mother’s mother was a Cavendish-Bentinck; OK, Dutch if you go far enough back, but basically English aristocracy.

    Her mother’s father’s mother was a Smith from London (and a cousin of Oswald Mosley).

    The Bowes bit of Bowes-Lyon comes from County Durham (coal money).

    You have to go back to the 17th century before there’s any Scottish blood other than the direct male-line (although of course that’s all that counts for the aristocracy).

    So her supposed “Scottish” side is something like 31/32nds English.

  34. @ Richard
    You are not quite right
    The Bowes family is upper Teesdale, Barnard Castle way. Mostly agricultural land but the John Bowes who founded the Bowes Museum was a son of the Earl of Strathmore and inherited the family estates in County Durham but *not* the title After his father’s death he became rich from coal but the line from which HM is descended were cousins who never got any money from coal.

  35. “YOUR MAJESTY! Like she’s all majestic, like an eagle or a mountain. She’s just a person.”

    This is a use of English I would be surprised to see even in a text message written by my 14yo niece, how does a 30 something, well educated multi-millionaire get so much coverage with this dross.

  36. John, it’s a couple of generations earlier than that.

    In 1767 the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne married the daughter of Sir George Bowes, of Gibside in County Durham, who brought with her the Bowes wealth on condition that the Earl changed his name. The Queen is descended from them.

    John Bowes of the museum was their grandson, illegitimate son of the 10th Earl (a complicated legal case; his parents married after his death; going back to the initial question of the Scottishness of the Bowes-Lyons, he lost because the 10th Earl was domiciled in England and therefore he couldn’t claim the legitimation that would have applied under Scottish law). Bowes got the English assets, his uncle got the Scottish assets and the title.

    So the line down to HM did get the coal money, but only for a couple of generations.

    I’m not sure what happened to Gibside though, as it was owned by the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the early 20th century. Either John Bowes didn’t get it, or the family reacquired it after his death.

  37. Dan

    “Didn’t the Soviets do away with ranks and titles in the Red Army at one point? Before they received an utter shoeing from the Krauts obviously.”

    Indeed, and it also explains how the Finns manged to also give them a complete ‘shoeing’ despite being hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned.

  38. Interested – well said. I wonder if Brand tours slums for the same reason he shows up at protests – he is addicted to attention.

    Jack C – he quotes his friend Matt the communist wonder boy:

    “People can argue about the right level of guard labour. You conceivably could still have public police, but their job should be to help protect everyone, not just a special class. If you got rid of all these private systems, or some of these systems of surveillance and coercive guarding of property, you’d have a lot less inequality. And powerful and wealthy people would spend a lot more time trying to make sure that society was harmonious, instead of just hiring their way out of the damage they can create.”

    There’s a dense thicket of bad assumptions and bad faith in that statement.

    1) that the police’s job isn’t to serve everyone
    2) someone guarding their property is “coercive”
    3) coercing people into not defending their property is fine though
    4) inequality is a problem
    5) wealthy people are to blame for inequality
    6) society isn’t harmonious
    7) rich and powerful people can somehow force society to be harmonious, even when stripped of the power to defend their own property

    If it reads like a rapists’ and squatters’ and burglars’ charter, that’s because it is. And it chimes with the tone of Brand’s own words where he quips about dispossessing and humiliating our octogenarian sovereign:

    And by the way, we’re nicking this castle you’ve been dossing in and giving it to 100 poor families.

    Actually, you can stay if you want, they’ll need a cleaner. You’ll have to watch your lip, Herr Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, some of ’em ain’t white.

    Brand’s buddy Matt says he wants society to be “harmonious”. Brand apparently believes him. I don’t.

    The reason I don’t believe him is because I don’t think he’s an idiot. He knows exactly what would happen if people weren’t allowed to defend their property.

    I think Matt yearns for more discord and violence, aimed at “the rich”, due to a combination of his own antisocial personality and his socialist beliefs… even though he’s a skinnyfat manboobed geek:

    http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Matt+Stoller+FX+Summer+Comedies+Party+Arrivals+eIcnZR0YgDfl.jpg

    Poor Matt wouldn’t last 10 minutes come the revolution. But isn’t that usually the way with these types?

    Of course, Matty only harbours violent fantasies against the rich, right? Well, who counts as rich?

    “The definition of being rich means having more stuff than other people.”

    Uh huh. There’s a reason why General Pinochet gave these little fuckers free skydiving lessons.

    Rob – he’s like the patient zero of privileged leftist whackjobs. And note – nearly 600 upvotes now! A whole lot of Guardian readers find that useless hippy dropout’s retarded cliche of a lifestyle to be praiseworthy.

  39. Steve, you should write more.

    His shitty attitude to our elderly monarch, as well as being rude, is just another tired and tedious cliche. Hey Liz, you’re a Kraut!, etc etc.

    I’m a Republican by inclination, and can think of no logical reason whatsoever for retaining the monarchy, beyond some sort of vague acknowledgement that it seems to have sort of worked, if it ain’t broke, etc.

    However, I’m a monarchist now pretty much entirely because the pro’s tend to have a sense of humour, and the anti’s don’t. And that’s reason enough I think.

    Were Brand to mix with normal young people, a very likeable generation I find, he would be horrified to find they’re mainly monarchists too, which obviously is not how it’s supposed to be. This may explain why Prince Harry is currently the most popular Royal …. probably the most cheerful fact of the year in my view.

  40. So to summarise:

    1) Will Brand be giving up on personal protection? No.
    2) Or on luxury, “galling” or otherwise? No
    3) Perhaps spreading the wealth? No, that would be “sweet but futile”.
    4) Will he be gaining personally from all the attention? Surely not.

  41. Jack C – thanks. 🙂

    And – flip yeah! Exactly the same here re: the monarchy. When I was younger I thought that sort of thing was a load of antiquated bunk. The only good Queen sang Bohemian Rhapsody.

    The most visceral argument against a republic is the sort of people who want us to be a republic.

    Same goes with the new atheism, IMO. I’m not entirely convinced there is a God, but I’ll be damned if I’m joining the same team as Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry, and their neckbearded fedora-wearing groupies.

    I’d rather be on the side of CS Lewis and the men who abolished slavery and built our civilisation.

    Your summary of Che Guevara in guyliner is spot on. He’ll continue to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous, but he feels really bad about it – and isn’t that what truly matters? Sort of like Al Gore flying about in private jets to tell us how concerned he is about the environment.

  42. “He’ll continue to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous, but he feels really bad about it…”

    That, in a nutshell, is the modern environmentalist movement. The 21st Century version of medieval indulgences; permissions to sin, whilst lecture others not to.

    Obviously the business to be in is the granting of said indulgences. Cue Govt and NGO’s love of authoritarian Big Green.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indulgence#Late_medieval_abuses

  43. @ Richard
    Sorry – I was going on the info provided by the Bowes Museum people (which I willingly believe is a wonderful institution but I found dreadfully boring when towed round it as a kid).

  44. Bit late to this discussion, but something occurred to me :
    What idiots like Brand never realise ( or know because they’re too ignorant) is that the whole German-monarchy-thing in Britain came about because George I was a Protestant. That fact was far more important than his nationality ( also he was from the Staufer dynasty who were erstwhile Kaisers in the Middle Ages ). Simon Schama described it neatly when he said that it created the concept of Monarch as Chairman while the First Lord/Prime Minister was Chief Executive of Britain.

    As to German military commanders another one is Gen CA Spaatz who led the US 8th Air Force, he added the extra “a” to make his name sound Dutch rather than German.

    A slightly more shameful result of “Your Mum’s a Hun” attitude is the terrible treatment meted out to Lord Mountbatten’s dad Louis Battenberg at the Admiralty and Lod Haldane at the War Office.

  45. George I was appointed king because he was the nearest Protestant Stuart. Stuart by descent, that is to say, rather than Stuart by surname.

  46. Monty,

    You’ll find Russell earned his. Whereas HM was given hers for free, paid for by the sweat of the peasants whom her parents oppressed.

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