Here's some of Russell Brand's wonderful, thoughtful, funny, and acerbic testimony to the UK Parliament on the subject of combatting addiction and setting sensible drug policy. Brand is a former heroin addict, and he was questioned by MPs over his views on the subject:
* I don't think we need a carrot or a stick. Both of those things seem to be to be bizarre metaphors. I think what we need is love and compassion.
* Being arrested isn't a lesson, it's just an administrative blip
* Again mate, what we need to identify is a degree of authenticity and compassion in the way we deal with this problem, otherwise you just seem like you don't know what you're talking about.
* You can tell what party they're in from the questions, innit? "What about the victims of the crime!"
* [After the committee chair tries to restore order by declaring that they're running out of time, and without missing a beat.] Time is infinite. You cannot run out of time. Who's next? [Home Secretary] Theresa May? She may not show up. Check she knows what day it is.
You've got to listen to the recording, which starts at about 5:55 in this episode of the BBC's Today in Parliament. It's like a chirpy cockney Groucho Marx discussing drug policy with a bunch of Margaret Dumont-esque Tories, and running silvertongued circles around them.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.