Dude, where's my country?

Reading time: 2 mins

Michael Moore is intelligent, funny, and an excellent public speaker. He is obviously (demonstrably) passionate about his beliefs and puts across his point lucidly and with a large degree of verve.

So I guess it’s time to pin my colours to the mast and all that. I’m a leftie. Not far left as I’ve never really identified with any type of extremism, in fact I’m probably around left of centre (Suzanne Vega wasn’t it?). I do have a reactional right-wing side to me but it is just that, short-term, reactionist, and not really how I feel.

Anyway, back to Moore. He is on a book tour, but didn’t read anything from his book (despite picking it up, flicking through some pages before discarding it). He talked mainly about the War in Iraq, the decisions behind it, and ‘challenged’ us to provide an answer to the question of what Tony Blair gained from the war? He prefaced a lot of ideas using humour but was quick to remind us of the reality behind the politics. He took the opportunity, on Remebrance Day, to read out the names of the 53 British soldiers who have died in the Iraqi conflict. Punctuating each name with the word DEAD, it was moving, evocative and very poignant.

I agree with his principles, as I’m sure most of you do as he speaks with a common sense liberal attitude, pro-environment, pro-choice, anti-Bush, it’s an easy hand to play, particularly in these politicallty correct times. In fact this sense of ‘being seen to do the right thing’ was a definite undercurrent, and (although I’ve never been to one) I’m guessing the whole experience was akin to being at a political rally. It’s a captive audience, already in agreement with the majority of the speakers viewpoints, and willing to be lead on others. Liberalism through suggestion? Hardly, the audience is obviously aware of the realities of the world they live in, but there was a hint of exclusivity about the whole thing.

In fact it’s easy to see how, with a few extensions of character and ideals, extremist movements come about.

Take one charismatic speaker, able to emote his ideas and appeal to the masses, one set of ideals that are easily put forward, add a twist of supremism and you aren’t too far away from a certain man named Adolf.

OK, not that close, but you get my point. I hope…

So all in all, an enjoyable, thought provoking and some what sobering evening. But not surprising, and I think that was the biggest disappointment for me. Ultimately, whilst I admire and support his views, and for once in my life may get off my middle-class fat arse to demonstrate against George W.Bush in Glasgow next week, it wasn’t anything new. But maybe that’s his point. It’s not new. It’s been going on for years.