Ken Loach

I, Daniel Blake
Written by Paul Laverty & directed by Ken Loach
Starring Dave Johns & Hayley Squires
In cinemas

To be in need of government welfare in this neoliberal world is to enter one of the circles of hell. Government services have been constructed so that people receive as much hassle as they get help – to preserve them from becoming “welfare dependent”.

Veteran socialist filmmaker Ken Loach’s new film I, Daniel Blake, tells the story of two people trying to survive under Britain’s increasingly cruel welfare system.

Many conservatives have claimed the film presents a “romanticised” view of the poor and that the harsh realities it depict are exaggerated — despite a large number of real-life examples similar to those features in Loach’s film. Below, comedian Mark Steel responds to Daily Mail columnist Toby Young, who said the film “didn’t ring true”. It first appeared at The Independent.

Veteran British director Ken Loach has won his second Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for I, Daniel Blake. The film is a warm and realistic drama about a middle-aged widower who, after a heart attack, can neither work nor get benefits. It follows his frustrations as he winds his way through an archaic system that seems designed to bring him down. Accepting the festival's top prize, Loach said: "We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible.
The manifesto below was developed to promote a vision for a “plan B” against austerity and the assault on democracy by European elites. It has been signed by dozens of activists, academics and political figures, including former Greek finance finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Barcelona mayor and housing rights activist Ada Colau, former Greek parliamentary speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou, British film maker Ken Loach and renown intellectual Noam Chomsky.
More than 700 creative professionals living in the Britain — including writers, visual artists, actors, musicians and many others — have signed up to a pledge to boycott collaboration with Israeli state-funded projects. The announcement marks a significant step for the British cultural boycott campaign. There have been many open letters and other statements of support for Palestine from British artists, but the pledge brings together a huge number of creatives in one coordinated effort.
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