Did you hear it?
Andrew Marr, interviewing Theresa May on his Sunday morning political chat show, referred to the film I, Daniel Blake – which is highly critical of the Department for Work and Pensions as it is run by the Conservatives; it shows a man with a serious heart condition being repeatedly denied benefits, forced to attend ridiculous training events, sanctioned out of his money for weeks at a time on specious grounds, and put through the enormous stress of a semi-judicial hearing to establish whether he should have benefits after all.
A female character is denied benefits because she arrives at a Job Centre a few minutes late for her appointment, starves herself so her children can eat, and ends up being tempted toward prostitution.
All these are accurate depictions of situations that have faced real benefit claimants, which is why damn-fool Tory vice-chairman James Cleverly tried to play it down by tweeting:
You do realise that it’s not a documentary, don’t you.
Don’t you? https://t.co/Ny17eaztH7
— James Cleverly (@JamesCleverly) January 5, 2019
In response, he was inundated with news reports of real-life examples of the nightmare treatment dished out by the DWP in the film.
In fact, Twitter was full of such stories while – and after – the film was screened.
So, when Mr Marr mentioned the film to Theresa May, he said – well, hear it for yourself:
Marr referrs to the film "I, Daniel Blake" as "I, Daniel Craig".
These slips ain't mere accidents. Noticed it a lot; TV presenters getting Labour MP's names wrong for example. Basically they're so removed from some aspects of our culture that it really is an effort to remember. pic.twitter.com/p9c45SmEer
— Yannis Gourtsoyannis (@YannisGourtso) January 6, 2019
I disagree with Yannis Gourtsoyannis; this is not an example of TV presenters being unable to remember the names properly.
By confusing the film’s protagonist with a major movie star (and current James Bond), it seems likely Mr Marr hoped to divert attention away from the cacophony of fury that it had stirred up.
Sure enough, a new hashtag appeared on Twitter, ‘#IDanielCraig“.
It wasn’t entirely successful – some of the tweets were satirical, and highly critical of the government. But the connection with a major movie franchise provided distractions, as you can see if you click the link.
Lauren Gavaghan had it right: “Not mere accidents. Not about being so removed as not to remember either, in my view. Look how Daniel Craig has jumped to trending now.”
Keep #IDanielBlake trending, not “Daniel Craig.”
Let them not bury the frank cruelty of this Conservative govt, illustrated starkly in the 2018 UK poverty report by Prof Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights & poverty. #marr https://t.co/mc6EyTXYIb
— Dr Lauren Gavaghan (@DancingTheMind) January 6, 2019
I wonder how Daniel Craig feels about being used by the Tories in this way?
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