Punishing the poor IS Cameron’s project – and it is up to art to remind people of it

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has restored his faith in the party standing ‘for the interests of ordinary people’, says Loach [Image: John Stillwell/PA].

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has restored his faith in the party standing ‘for the interests of ordinary people’, says Loach [Image: John Stillwell/PA].

Ken Loach is right – he didn’t make I, Daniel Blake to prick David Cameron’s conscience because David Cameron doesn’t have one.

But the British public has, and art exists not only to entertain but to enlighten.

Loach is to be applauded for coming out of retirement to make his film. It is, however, a sad indictment on younger film-makers that nobody else thought of it first.

Oh, and the Graun has made another of the cock-ups for which it is justly famous: Loach didn’t say he “does not want” David Cameron to watch the film; he said it would be pointless.

That’s a big difference.

The director Ken Loach has said he does not want David Cameron to watch his latest film, which deals with unemployment, poverty and the rise of food banks in Britain today, because punishing the poor is part of the prime minister’s project.

Last week, Loach became the first British director to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes twice, when his welfare state polemic I, Daniel Blake picked up the prize.

The 79-year-old film-maker had previously announced he was finished with directing but became so infuriated by the plight of the poor under the current Conservative government that he came out of retirement to make a new film, addressing the human cost of their policies.

speaking at the premiere of Versus, a documentary about his life and work, Loach said he thought there was no point in “Cameron and co” watching the film “because that is their project, that is what they believe in … It is part of what they want to happen.”

He said: “It is not an accident that the poor are punished for their unemployment. That’s their project, that’s the point, that’s what has to happen because their model of society produces unemployment and if people question that model then they are lost … There’s no point in showing the film to them.”

Source: Ken Loach: punishing the poor is part of David Cameron’s project | Film | The Guardian


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13 thoughts on “Punishing the poor IS Cameron’s project – and it is up to art to remind people of it

  1. mrmarcpc

    Loach is a man with integrity, honour, class, honesty and compassion, Camoron shares and possesses none of those traits!

  2. Jonno R

    If we leave Europe and give these bastards more power the next move will be mad max style with Boris putting petrol in his illegal water cannons. Why has he not been arrested for possessing offensive weapons? The longer we let them stay in power the worse it will be for all of us.

  3. hayfords

    It is a film as you would expect from a socialist with a left leaning agenda. He is certainly entitled to his view, but not to be taken seriously any more than a film made by a right wing film maker. It is just a particular point of view and no more.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      As far as I can tell, it presents an accurate snapshot of the situation for benefit claimants in the UK right now – and I know more about that situation than anyone should ever want. Sure, the audience is asked to come to a certain conclusion, but the facts present are accurate.
      Of course, as a Tory you know nothing about this. Right?

    2. Rose

      Have you seen the film? If not, in fairness, how could you possibly say something like that without having any real idea of what is in the film? And whether it is accurate or not? I’ve heard right-wingers say similar things about Michael Moore’s polemical movies but been completely unable to point out anything in them that isn’t factual or true. Fair is fair. However, if you don’t like Mr Loach what about the BBC?


      Something is terribly, terribly wrong and a decent government would be eager to look into it and do something about mistaken policy which turns out to be costing lives. I just don’t understand why the government stands by and doesn’t act. Doesn’t do something. I don’t understand.

    3. billgarnett2012

      the way in which you seek to disregard these views and the realities upon which they are founded is breathtaking…it seems unlikely that you will be swayed but if there is an openness of spirit/mind perhaps the other comments made already here in this stream may shake your world view…

      1. hayfords

        I am not disregarding or dismissing the views. I am suggesting that the views are coloured by his political bias as any film I made would be biased by my views. It is wrong to imagine that a piece of art is not biased in some way. It doesn’t make the message any truer because of the quality of the work or the skill of the artist. Leni Riefenstahl is a good example. She is regarded as one of the greatest film makers ever. She produced propaganda films for Hitler including Triumph of the Will. The films themselves are brilliantly made but the message is awful.

  4. Rose

    To be honest I am amazed how easily the government has got away with its programme of cruelty. Taking advantage of a nation convulsed by an economic tsunami and years of attacks drumming up hate of “welfare” in general and “benefit claimants” in particular the Conservatives have gone further and faster as far as demolishing social security is concerned than I could ever have imagined. And when things went terribly wrong, rather than modifying failed policy and apologising, Cameron arrogantly accelerated his programme, claiming all the while he was reducing inequality and poverty and freeing people trapped by “welfare dependency” from the opportunity to improve their lives through work and career advancement.

    I don’t know if the Tories believed this rot or not. Iain Duncan Smith certainly did but then he’s only semi-sane. (For example his idea that the poor needed to be forced to undergo “behavioural change” and make the “same choices as the middle classes” made me feel ill. The poor cannot make the same choices as the middle classes because the poor are poor. So paying Universal Credit monthly rather than weekly because two out of three people are salaried, seemingly implying that the poor can be made to behave like the middle classes by paying them like the middle classes is bonkers. It’s almost as if IDS considered the lower orders as akin to dogs which needed to be trained.) The relish that George Osborne displayed every time he further cut assistance to the poor sickened me as did his so-called “bear traps” set to embarrass Labour, most of which have ended up trapping their inventor himself, e.g., capping overall spending on social security which looks set to be breached for every year of this parliament.

    Osborne is a truly despicable character.

    And yet where is the media coverage revealing these horrors? We get series after series of programmes like “Benefit Street” and “Benefits by the Sea” and such like but next to none about the death and horror going on, particularly amongst the sick and disabled being harried to death by the current DWP regime.

    At least now there is this film.

    But will enough people see it?

    And out of all who do will enough people care?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I do, when I have the time. Lately I haven’t had much time. Will check soon.

Comments are closed.