Ken Loach, ‘I, Daniel Blake’ Director, Says Only Jeremy Corbyn Would End ‘Cruelty’ Of Benefits System

Loach calls Corbyn’s rise “a great hope” when he first mentions him in our interview. Towards the end, I ask what hope he has for people like those depicted in I, Daniel Blake. He pauses and sighs. “Well, I don’t see any hope without change. There’s no hope as long as this situation, this political settlement, goes on.” He calls Labour MPs hostile to Corbyn “the primary obstacle”. He then apologises for “going on” about them.

Loach has made films about homelessness, Britain’s brutality in war and workers’ rights, among other themes. If he had to decide which injustice his next film were about now, what would it be? “I don’t know. I think there’s so many.” What he comes up with sounds like a unifying theme that draws together his whole career.  

“The nature of work is very interesting. We’ve gone from job security to what the Europeans call precarious work. You can have a contract with an employer. You have to be available to that employer all the time but the employer has no commitment to give you any work at all.

“That instability, where it’s impossible for people to plan families, impossible for people to even get a home that isn’t rented, impossible to imagine a life of security.”

I ask if Britain is a fairer society than 50 years ago. He immediately says no. He feels the ideal of the welfare state – that “we are our brother’s keeper, our sister’s keeper” – is gone. He condemns “Neo Liberal” trade deals like Ceta and calls the EU “a project to support big capital”, though he voted to remain so he could forge links with other European parties on the Left.

He has voted Labour at times since quitting the party, even at the last General Election, despite having “no illusions” about Ed Miliband. “It’s still the party of the working class… Electoral politics is a tactical game,” he says. When you make films, however, “you go for the big ideas.”

I, Daniel Blake is in cinemas now

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