by UnHerd
Friday, 9
April 2021
Video
11:57

Russell Brand’s vaccine passport crusade

The comedian is asking the right questions — but will anyone listen?
by UnHerd

“Is it right” asked Russell Brand on his YouTube channel this week, “that big tech companies, and the state, are given the power to determine whether or not you can enjoy every day freedoms?”

In the early 2010s the comedian became a lightning rod, or a punching bag, due to his political interventions. He guest-edited the New Statesman. He was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, when he said that voting was a waste of time. Ed Miliband sank considerable political capital into getting Brand to endorse him during the 2015 election — which didn’t quite work out for either of them. Owen Jones compared Brand to George Orwell (and Brand compared Owen Jones to… George Orwell).

It was easy to be rude about Brand. Others, like the late political theorist Mark Fisher, saw in Brand’s politics a new vision of the Left that refused to moralise or scold its opponents. “Brand makes people feel good about themselves” Fisher wrote, “whereas the moralising Left specialises in making people feed bad, and is not happy until their heads are bent in guilt and self-loathing.”

The moralising Left won, and became dominant towards the end of the decade. Brand podcasted, and did more yoga. Will people listen to his intervention on vaccine passports?

One of the risks is that it creates a two-tier society. People that have been vaccinated and can provide proof of it will have access to all manner of utilities that will be denied to people who don’t want a vaccine, can’t afford a vaccine, are suspicious of vaccines, and don’t participate in life. There are all sorts of social issues that come to the forefront: economic issues, race and class issues that are all highlighted by something like a mandated passport. Not to mention the idea that we were assured that there would never be an ID card — a Covid passport in this country is an ID card by another name.
- Russell Brand

“Are we moving towards ID cards by stealth?” Brand continues, “And further empowering massive, centralised authorities that we have good reason to distrust?” It’s a question that is worth asking — but one that has been ignored ever since the pandemic started.

Join the discussion


  • I just left a job not too long ago and one of the “smalltalk” “friendly” exit questions was have you been vaccinated? and I said no and I asked have they been vaccinated and they said yes, you could feel the contempt and judgement. To top it all they asked who my line manager was at the related organisation I was going to so I expect similar.
    I just thought what if I had asked “Is your AIDS test up to date?” I can only imagine the outrage. and AIDS is actually pretty dangerous (yeah I know there are treatments but I imagine its not great).
    Genuinely people are downright evil with seemingly few boundaries these days. I can only hope karma comes to get them but I doubt it.
    Anyway passports I am sure will come in because we live in an ever more authoritarian state.

  • I think it is a lot more than that. It’s not a straight question of vaccinated or not. I gather that it is supposed to work via the NHS app, and will link to the relevant entry in your medical records.
    Do you honestly think that nothing can go wrong???

  • Business will have no legal trouble. They will say where is your passport, you say you refuse to have one, they say they refuse to serve you. And that is that.

    Anyway this is nothing. Central Bank Crypto currencies are almost here. China is allready releasing its block chain Renminbi, soon to be the only currency.

    Then every nation must release its own to keep market share and control of its money as it will become the unit of commerce as you phone clutching sheep will immediately adopt it, and so it will become the only medium of exchange retailers will accept. Crypto Euros, $, Rubles, Rand, Rupees….

    And then the iron curtain descends on your freedoms as your crypto wallet will become your social credit score, it will carry every transaction you ever make and 100% ID you, will be broadcasting your presence and everywhere, everything, of you will be ‘Seen By The Great Eye. as in Mordor.

  • To get involved in the discussion and stay up to date, become a registered user.

    It's simple, quick and free.

    Sign me up