WHEN I studied Philosophy at A-level, I had an articulate, persuasive teacher. At times it seemed as though he genuinely could argue that black was white, it felt he could win any argument, convince you of anything, you never knew at the beginning of the lesson what you’d walk out believing.
It feels a little bit like that walking out of Birmingham Town Hall after listening to Mark Thomas, the comedian-cum-activist intent on making a nuisance of himself by demanding inconvenient things like truth and justice.
For example he makes a powerful case for invading Jersey. The UK loses £100bn a year through offshore banking, much of which goes through Jersey to other offshore banking havens such as the Bahamas.
What about changing the national anthem to the Imperial March from Star Wars? I mean, he’s right it does sound better.
However the real crux of Thomas’ message actually comes from the audience. At every venue on the tour he asks people to write their ideas on slips of paper, and the audience votes for their favourites. Thomas slowly creates a ‘people’s manifesto’ which he will campaign for.
Some of these are a bit silly (the Slough audience voted that Windsor be renamed ‘Little Slough’), however most of them are very good ideas. Manchester, for example, voted that ‘all clothes labels should state the age of the person who made the product and a picture of their working conditions’.
Successfully riding the wave of public disenchantment, the timing of this tour couldn’t be more apt for Thomas. At times the audience mirrors his enthusiasm and roars with support for his ideas.
There has long been held the view that the UK needs an articulate political satirist in the mould of American Stephen Colbert. In Mark Thomas we may just have found the man. Now, what’s the quickest way to Jersey?