A still more inconvenient truth

13 September 2006.

  • Under the title An inconvenient truth: beware the politician in fleece clothing, Jonathan Freedland reviews Al Gore's recently released film An Inconvenient Truth in a lengthy comment in the commentisfree section of today's Guardian. Essentially, Mr Freedland is both sobered and aroused by the film :
    I am ashamed to say it took a movie to make me realise what, above all others, is surely the greatest political question of our time. An hour and 40 minutes in the cinema watching Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, which opens in Britain this weekend, is what finally did it. Sure, I had heard the warnings and read the reports: for two decades environmental activists have been sounding the alarm. But, I confess, none of it had really sunk in the way it did after seeing An Inconvenient Truth. I can think of few films of greater political power.

    But his essential message - note the obligatory kick at Ralph Nader - is contained in the following passages :
    The film leaves a more direct political thought. You watch and you curse the single vote on the US supreme court that denied this man - passionate, well-informed and right - the presidency of the United States in favour of George W Bush. You realise what a different world we would live in now if just a few hundred votes had gone to Al Gore (rather than, say, Ralph Nader) that fateful day. But you also remember what that election turned on. The conventional wisdom held that Gore and Bush were so similar on policy - Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, the pundits said - that the election was about personality. On that measure, Bush had the edge. Sure, he couldn't name any world leader, but the polls gave him a higher likeability rating. If you had to have a beer with one of them, who would you choose? Americans said Bush, every time. Even that was not enough to give Bush a greater number of votes: remember, Gore got more of those. But it got him closer than he should have been. And the world has been living with the consequences ever since.

    It is followed by an exhortation to his fellow Britons not to vote for the presumably more personable David Cameron rather than the allegedly dour Gordon Brown in the next UK general election - perhaps a non sequitor, but one for which I must confess a certain sympathy, given the two leading candidates for Prime Minister in the soon to be decided general election here in Sweden. Below, at any rate, my letter to commentisfree :

So long as men like Jonathan Freedland refuse to realise that the US presidential election of 2000, like that of 2004, was stolen by Mr Bush's consiglieri - or rather, so long as they and other in the media who are well aware of the fact refuse to act upon it for fear of losing their well-paid positions and becoming non-persons - so long will the destruction of the environment in the interests of corporate and personal profit continue unabated. The environmental struggle is mirrored by the political struggle, and the same techniques of the Big Lie and intimidation used in the one are used in the other....

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