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Moore missed the show, sent this letter to London Fest audiences

When SICKO had its premiere screening at the Festival earlier this week, director Michael Moore had been expected to attend. However, due to family obligations, his trip to London had to be cancelled. However, he did send the following letter, which Festival Artistic Director Sandra Hebron read to a packed audience. SICKO opened in UK theaters this weekend.

Please accept my sincerest apologies for not being able to be there tonight. All through the making of the film, I looked forward to this evening, to be able to sit there in Leichester Sqaure with you as you watched an American other than Mr. Bush fawn all over the Brits. Sadly, family obligations yesterday forced me to cancel my trip to London, and I am very, very sorry about this.

I do hope you enjoy this movie. It has already had quite an impact in the U.S. And I hope it acts as a warning to you NOT to go down the American road of privitization and profit when it comes to health care. Your wonderful NHS (pause) - yes, go ahead and snicker and hiss and boo - but you are only hissing at what the NHS has become, not the NHS as it was originally conceived. The founders of the NHS had a radical notion that said EVERYONE has a right to receive medical attention when they get sick and no one should have to worry about whether they can pay for it. You collectively decided that health care was a human right. No one hisses at that. You are hissing at what Mrs. Thatcher did to try and gut your system. And you are hissing at yourselves for letting her and subsequent leaders get away with it. Say what you will about what needs to be fixed with the NHS - and I do realize it needs some serious fixing - but no Brit has ever lost their home because they couldn't pay a hospital bill. Imagine British hospitals and doctors being able to go to the courts and get them to foreclose on your home just so they can get paid and post a profit! You wouldn't allow it, would you? I would think there'd be riots in the streets.

Well, medical bills are now the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the United States and the #1 cause of homelessness. Think about that next time you hear "new" Labor wanting to turnover parts of your system to private insurance. "Let's be like the Americans!!" Really? Perhaps you should think that over. Oh, and Mr. Brown, if you happen to be present tonight... We're waaaaiiiting! What the fuck is taking you so long? Surely you're not going to end up in the joke bin of history like yourpredecessor? Bring the troops home now and raise the taxes on the rich to pay for reparations to the Iraqi people for the next dozen years for all the misery you've caused them. Did I say "you?" Yes, I did. I consider your party and Mr. Blair MORE responsible for this war than Mr. Bush. That's right, he's an idiot and doesn't know any better. You, on he other hand, DO know better. It was your job to stop him, not enable him.You handed the keys to a drunk driver. History will impose on you a most significant shame.

But hey, we're here to have fun tonight! To watch Americans die because they don't have health insurance! Enough of politics! Thanks so much to the Brits who helped me with this film - many of them are in the audience tonight. Again, thank you for coming tonight and thank you for all you have given America - the poetry of your language, the enlightment of your culture, and Victoria Beckham.

Enjoy the show!

Michael Moore

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