I, Daniel Blake: Ken Loach tells Britain it’s time to kick the political door in | The Conversation

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With I, Daniel Blake on commercial release in the UK from today (October 21), here’s the first of two articles Vox Political is reblogging to celebrate.

Here’s a review, published by academic website The Conversation:

I, Daniel Blake cements Loach’s continued importance not only as a film director but also as a shrewd social commentator and committed political activist.

It is a film that is both gripping and perfectly politically timed, telling as it does the story of a man who through no fault of his own finds himself caught in a harsh world of uncaring bureaucrats, food banks and benefits cuts.

With I, Daniel Blake, he ho[m]es in on the people behind changes to the benefits system , which have seen those, such as disabled people and young families, least able to help themselves in the cross hairs as easy targets for cuts.He also takes a well-aimed swipe at those heartless individuals working within the system who simply “carry out orders”. There is a memorable scene in the film where a benefits office worker is scolded by her superior merely for taking the time to try and help the slightly bemused Daniel. The implication is that such thoughtful assistance will not deliver the right productivity results and therefore must be eliminated.

Typical of Loach, I, Daniel Blake is a film that engages with the harsh social conditions within many parts of the UK in the second decade of the 21st century. Loach and his producer Rebecca O’Brien, alongside another long time collaborator, writer Paul Laverty, have forged a work that is driven by anger and dismay at the fact that such a state of affairs exists in a wealthy country like the UK.

The film focuses on Daniel Blake, played by comedian Dave Johns, a man who has worked hard all his life but finds himself on the wrong side of benefits cuts following a heart attack. As he tries to work his way through the labyrinth of the unfamiliar welfare system, he befriends Katie (Hayley Squires) a young mother forced to uproot her young family from London due to a lack of affordable council housing.

The choice of a heart attack as the reason for Daniel being unable to work is a crucial one, emphasising as it does his “every person” status. Such a condition is all too common in today’s society and something most people can easily relate to. Here Loach and his collaborators make Daniel stand for many of us – one small medical emergency away from the breadline. The logic is, if we could all be Daniel Blake then we should all be angry at the system that, as represented on screen, lets him down.

Source: I, Daniel Blake: Ken Loach tells Britain it’s time to kick the political door in

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2 thoughts on “I, Daniel Blake: Ken Loach tells Britain it’s time to kick the political door in | The Conversation

  1. TomMagenta

    I’ll be prebooking my ticket for this film today. Hopefully there’s still some seats left!

  2. PensionCredit60

    We are all Daniel Blake, with over 16 million workers with just £100 savings in the bank. With benefits getting less and less, whilst welfare reform admin has cost ten of billions more since 2010 adding to the 30 per cent rise in national debt. The UN condemned all welfare reform since 2010 has breaching human rights.

    Women born in the 1950s lost state pension, pension credit, winter fuel allowance from 2013 from 60 til 66, when tend to be even poorer than men and have suffered 80 per cent austerity cuts even more than men. But suffer the same focus on leaving people destitute and starving as all other ages.

    Jobcentres are not required to provide toilets and drinking water to claimants so treating claimants worse than criminals, where law demands Police and prisons provide regular toilet breaks and water or tea, alleged under interview or convicted criminals. No court can inflict starvation as a sentence for a crime, either criminal or civil.

    Sanctions are designed to kill, as months long, when medicine knows we starve to death, on average, within 6 weeks. Sanctions are inflicted upon pregnant women, families with pre school little kiddies and up to grannies forced to keep on working past health worsening in heavy manual jobs by the raised pension age.

    The loss of pension credit and winter fuel allowance from age 60, has added those in their 60s to the winter excess deaths of the elderly. And winter has not properly started yet.

    The welfare state is gone, it is not there to help you, but to ensure your health issues become worse from stress, worry, and fear of famine and homelessness. People are dying more from what government threatens than the rate of stranger murder in UK (Source the church who have most of the foodbanks).

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