THE NEW WORKER

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 17th February 2017


A triumph for Loach

CONGRATULATIONS to Ken Loach, whose latest film I Daniel Blake has won the prize for Best British Film at the BAFTA Film Awards 2017. The film, which reached out to a mass audience when it was released last year, won the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and the Prix du public at the 2016 Locarno International Film Festival.

The BAFTA Award for Best Film is given annually by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and presented at the British Academy Film Awards. The award recognises the veteran film-maker’s immense achievement in exposing the reality of working class life in austerity Britain and the brutal, unfair nature of the benefits system in what was once called the “welfare state”.

The film tells the story of a joiner who, after a heart attack and nearly falling from a scaffold, seeks help from the state for the first time in his life. Screen-writer Paul Laverty said: “We want to tell the story of a man who worked all his life and who now desperately needs some help.”

Communists have been justly critical of some of Loach’s past works that reflect his Trotskyist bias but I Daniel Blake has been widely acclaimed throughout the labour movement. Jeremy Corbyn told Theresa May to watch it during Prime Minister’s Questions last November. Tory welfare secretary Damian Green said it was a “monstrously unfair” work of fiction today despite admitting he’d never seen it. That says it all...