Jeremy Corbyn may have been beleaguered for his less than fervent ‘Remain’ campaign, but it turns out he still has one enormous fan – filmmaker Michael Moore, who describes the Labour leader as his party’s “atonement for Tony Blair”.
“I think Jeremy Corbyn is a wonderful step forward for the Labour Party in this country,” said Moore, on his recent visit to the UK. “I think it’s interesting that (you have) a democratic socialist in your country.
“It’s an incredible moment, and when I saw that the party here had elected Corbyn, I thought, wow, talk about atonement for Blair, that’s getting Labour back to its roots. I wish Tony Benn were still around to see this and the potential it suggests for 2020 or before."
Comparing Corbyn’s leadership with the rise of Bernie Sanders in his native US, Moore smiles, “It’s all good. It’s all forward movement for our country and for your country.”
For Moore, it seems his hopes for the UK’s political future are more cause for celebration than the past – as he explains why he didn’t want to include the UK on the list of countries he visited for his new film ‘Where To Invade Next’, in which he goes around cherry-picking each country’s most favourable policies.
“It was a conscious decision,” he explained. “With all due respect, we wanted to go somewhere we thought we could learn something, and we didn’t think there was anything to learn here.”
There’s one person in particular for whom he reserved his most profound disdain.
“You may be over Tony Blair, we’re not,” said Moore unequivocally. “We expected George W Bush to start that war, nobody was surprised Bush did that, he was able to do that because you, the Brits, under Tony Blair, gave him the power.
“Honestly, if Blair hadn’t supported that war and the so-called liberal media that got behind it, I don’t know if he could have pulled it off. So I think that we’re not quite over the damage that this country has done to us and to the world, by so-called liberals here voting for someone who was anything but a liberal.”
And it seemed he was just warming up…
“This is a toxic place, this is a place that wants to put young adults in debt, this is a place that wants to create a two-tier medical system, this is a place that has now elected this conservative government and now wants to leave the European Union, what’s going on?”
Ah, yes, the small matter of the European Referendum. Unsurprisingly, Michael Moore has some thoughts on the matter, although he insists he’s in no position to tell us what to do on Thursday.
“It’s not my place to tell you what to do,” he started. “As an outsider, I can say, why would you do this? You saved Europe. Europe is today in huge part because of you, the UK. You sacrificed and suffered in the 1930s and 1940s to save Europe, why would you want to leave?
“It does from the outside look strange. We can’t vote to leave North America, so how can you vote to leave Europe? That’s like Texas voting to leave the United States.
“I’m guessing the majority of Britons don’t want to leave, but who’s going to be out there on that Saturday to vote? The haters.
“[My film] is a reminder to you of the good things you have and to take a look at yourselves from outsiders’ eyes. Yes, I know the problems, but still you came up with the idea of the NHS, no other country has this.
“If you have problems, fix them, quit whining. Trying to create what you had in previous years, a two-tier system, that wasn’t the original idea.
“’Immigrants, immigrants’ - that’s not who you are. You got rid of slavery before the United States did. Whatever the reasons were for the motivation, the fact is Britons, throughout history will do the right thing. How odd that you would want to leave Europe but stay in Ireland. Seriously… It seems a little bonkers to us, but it’s your thing.
“It seems like the European Union let you play with your own money. We’re not in a world any more where you’re the United Kingdom, you’re an island, part of a greater world, and to want to separate yourself from that world… plus don’t you think you still have things to offer Europe? You do have a say, and it’s your own damn fault if you can’t name your MEP. Be more involved. Don’t pick up your little toys here and go home.”
'Where To Invade Next' is in UK cinemas now.