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Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in travel, style, and food. Hope you have a nice stay!

A sick and twisted system

Liberal Americans love him and Conservative Americans loathe him. Yet as Michael Moore found out in his latest documentary, Sicko, he has far more in common than a British Tory than he’d care to admit. For starters, they would both agree that universal healthcare is necessary, something Republicans in the US are struggling to accept. And don’t get the Bush administration started the idea that government ought to pay for it. It has recently vetoed a bill that would have paved the way for free medical insurance for children.

Indeed, as one sits through Sicko, it becomes apparent that ideology could easily take second place to common sense – most Americans would prefer healthcare free at the point of use instead of one that bars 50 million people from any form of long-term treatment. Time and again in Moore’s film, the viewer is reminded of the immense human cost of preserving a for-profit system that benefits only the insurance companies and the politicians whose political machines they lubricate, and whose interest it is to ensure the least number of people receive the care they need.

The agonising stories of 9/11 rescue workers with respiratory problems, forced to look elsewhere for basic drugs and treatment, are matched only by those within the system who feel the guilt of denying the sick in order to get up the ladder.

Moore is on less firm ground when comparing the US with other countries – his rose-tinted view of the British NHS comes across as naive. Nevertheless, he makes his point clear enough, no more so than when he interviews Tony Benn. The British accept the NHS with all its faults, so argues the veteran socialist, because they accept that we must at a basic level all help each other. It would be a wise presidential candidate indeed to make this same case across the pond, yet not a particularly bold one. Surely the Americans would agree with such sentiments? In Sicko, it was obvious that they do.

Those unruly locals

The problem with soccer