Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

I, Daniel Blake in Review: Will it Help Change Anything?

with 26 comments

Image result for I daniel Blake

As a measure of I, Daniel Blake’s impact, this weekend the  French daily, Le Monde, devoted a whole page to an interview with the sociologist of poverty Nicolas Duvoux. about Ken Loach’s film.

He noted just how much the French system had become like the nightmare described in the picture (it might help that the French word for “sanction” is, er, la sanction).

At the end the interviewer asked if Loach’s call for a debate on these system, and the misery caused by miserly social security, could take place in France.

The answer was that Duvoux doubted it: people had become blinded to the existence of poverty. They blame the poor for being poor.

UNITE the union says,

We are all Daniel Blake

Our hope is that this film will spark a national debate and build public support for a fairer social security system for people in and out of work – just like Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home shifted the political agenda on housing in this country in the 1960s.

The scary thing is that what happens to Daniel could happen to anyone of us. How would you cope with being made redundant? Or falling ill? How long would your savings last? The British welfare state has helped millions of people get back on their feet in times of need – a safety net for those that fall on hard times – to need it isn’t a moral failing #WeAreAllDanielBlake.

We note that the Evening Standard’s review is headed, “Ken Loach’s grim portrait of Britain tells us that state bureaucracy is a horror and that welfare rules humiliate claimants, but nothing that we didn’t know already, says David Sexton.”

Sexton peppers his article with further sneers,

Big-hearted Dan, forgetting his own troubles, takes them in hand, fixing their cistern, leaving them some money for the electric, putting up one of his mobiles, getting little Dylan talking. And he takes Katie to the local food bank, where the poor girl is so hungry she breaks down and, while scooping things off the shelves, opens a tin, possibly of spaghetti rings, there and then and begins eating it with her hands. Worse, when she finds the food bank doesn’t do sanitary towels, she shoplifts some — and the store’s security guard spots her as ripe for going on the game, a further neo-capitalist degradation. 


Loach, 80 now, is such an undeviating and old-fashioned Marxist that it has been fascinating to observe the rapprochement between his own special Left purity, disregarding all contradictory history, and Jeremy Corbyn’s, ditto.

And lo! Corbyn went along to the premiere this very week, posing alongside Loach in front of boards saying “Deaths due to sanctions and benefit cuts RIP”, and kneeling to add his own graffiti to that of Daniel Blake. Next day, he posted on Facebook: “If there’s one thing you do this year, go and see I, Daniel Blake. I went to see it last night and it’s one of the most moving films I’ve seen.” Historically inevitable, really.

Yet, by contrast the Daily Telegraph has a sensitive and intelligent review,  Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake is a quietly fearsome piece of drama.

At the age of 80, Loach is still calling things as he sees them – and a late speech delivered by a homeless ‘wise fool’ in front of a Jobcentre Plus, which takes in everything from food banks and the bedroom tax to “that baldy twat Iain Duncan Whatshisface”, lays out his manifesto with an appealing belligerence. This film treads fearsomely complex, splintery terrain – and the more complex it acknowledges it to be, the better.

Even the Sun comments,

While many people shudder at the thought of his gritty, sometimes sentimentalised portraits of working-class life, they often forget how funny the films can be.

There are jokes – Loach often casts comedians, including John Bishop and now Dave Johns – and uses laughter to lighten the drama.

UNITE, to continue, says,

1. Please go and see this film – and tell your friends to see it too, on general release on 21 October.

2. Share your story – if you’ve ever been sanctioned or affected by any of the issues in I,Daniel Blake then we want to hear from you. Please share your story in the form below.

3.Tell a Tory to see this film – every single MP needs to see this film, (particularly the Tories!). Help them understand that our benefits’ system isn’t working. Email and tweet yours now, enter your postcode below to get started.

4. Unite Community has been campaigning against benefit sanctions right from the start -to find out more about the campaign visit the NoSanctions page.

5. Spread the message on social media- everybody needs to see this film. Join the conversation on the I, Daniel Blake Facebook and Twitter pages tagging #WeareallDanielBlake

Apart from the numerous clips I have not yet seen I, Daniel Blake, for reasons which are pretty obvious.

Like lots of us lot I have seen too much of Daniel Blake in real life. 

But I hope from the depths of my guts that the film helps change things.


Written by Andrew Coates

October 24, 2016 at 9:40 am

26 Responses

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  1. The answer to an article what opens with a question is always NO! “I, Daniel Blake in Review: Will it Help Change Anything?” NO! “Will Aliens Land on Universal Jobmatch in Time for Christmas?” NO! Saves reading the article 😉


    October 24, 2016 at 10:35 am

  2. We are still waiting for this to be uploaded to a file sharing site! Not even a .CAM (recorded in the cinema on a handheld camera) with baked-in Hindi subtitles has been uploaded yet!

    The File Sharers

    October 24, 2016 at 10:38 am

  3. Society has changed; people have exchanged morals and compassion for bank loans and mortgages. As for Tories having the consciences pricked if they saw this film, well, that is extremely unlikely. Kwasi Kwarteng demonstrated this very well last week when he turned up as the token Tory when Ken Loach appeared on Channel 4 news. Basically Kwarteng’s position was that Labour had made food banks part of their electoral programme and the people had chosen to return the Conservatives to power and so a majority of the people must approve of the Tory welfare agenda and were prepared to elect governments which drove citizens to use food banks provided said governments cut taxes and reduced the deficit etc. Kwarteng didn’t even bother to deny that welfare reform was a driver of these atrocities only that voters, by supporting the Conservatives, showed that they didn’t really care about what was happening to the poor and disadvantaged and had given the Tories the thumb’s up to carry on down the same road.

    The Conservatives seem to believe that winning an election gives them carte blanche to do what they like to whomsoever they like without being responsible or answerable to God or man.

    Ken Loach’s film won’t cut the same ice that Cathy Come Did because audiences have been desensitised to the awfulness that once damning and powerful works of polemic like this portray. For years New Yorkers have steeped over the homeless in the streets of their city in America. Now the British follow suit. We have an uncaring and aloof public being led by an indecent and immoral government. I, Daniel Blake won’t change this.

    The British have become a much lesser people than they once were.


    October 24, 2016 at 12:13 pm

  4. Yeah, that’s because Western civilization is very narcissistic, it’s all ME ME ME, to hell with the impoverished as long as I’m OK,I wonder how these pricks would cope if they lost their jobs, or ended up sick and disabled???


    October 24, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    • Welcome to capitalism Marie where for every winner their must be a loser.

      The mortal fear of reality is setting in marie now the public are beginning to realize it could just as easily be them. That you don’t have to be long term unemployed, where you don’t need to have more than one 10 year old to put you over the cap.

      Now we have government looking to slash working tax credits but is it any wonder when we consider almost everyone DWP have so called supported into work that’s above 25 are still claiming almost as much benefits when they weren’t working even though they are working 37.5 hours a week or less. Housing benefit is the largest amount paid per claimant working or not so you would think government would tackle rents but oh no as that proliferates the money chain.

      They say sanctioning is a last resort, helps push people into work yet


      we don’t hear what they tried first and most of all, zero recognition for the fact its 7 months on and he still hasn’t found work proving even more, sanctioning does not as IDS claimed help people into work.

      Its all a Tory sham that’s unraveling as one piece of rhetoric after the next is found to be incorrect.


      October 25, 2016 at 9:19 am

      • That one sounds familiar. Dwp your taking crap. as I said.

        news seeker

        October 25, 2016 at 10:21 am

      • Very true doug 🙁


        October 25, 2016 at 11:44 am

    • “ME ME ME” is what is called the ID in Freudian psychology. And you must be Sigmund’s exception then , Marie 😉 Scare tactics won’t work on the general populace, Marie: “Oh look, YOU might become sick, disabled, or unemployed”. People change their tune according to their circumstances, change horses whenever it suits. Take Johnny Void as an example, erstwhile Champion of the Poor and Unfortunate, and now after having trousered a shed-load in donations is ranting on about the price of a fucking piña colada Barbados. And we thought Mr Coates and his endless rants about the price of Jimmy Choo shoes for his young immigrant wife were bad enough!

      Dr Freud

      October 25, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      • You are aware Freud,

        A: no one listens to dead people and,

        B: Your hard work has been largely discredited.


        October 25, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      • Motherfucker!


        October 26, 2016 at 7:38 am

      • You can talk, Sonny.


        October 26, 2016 at 7:41 am

  5. New benefit cap and councils chapping at the bits.



    We all know while juggling bills with survival, rent and council tax are the first on the chopping block and this has councils trying to tackle an ensuing issue that’s already seen many from 2013 in rent and council tax arrears.


    October 25, 2016 at 9:26 am

  6. Bob Blackman’s bill aims to prevent people without children from being told by councils to fend for themselves.

    The government has said it will support a backbench MP’s private member’s bill that would impose a statutory duty on councils to help people who are in danger of becoming homeless.

    Under the bill, councils in England would be legally obliged to provide free advice and support for anyone at risk of homelessness, regardless of whether they are deemed to be in “priority need” under existing laws.

    Ministerial backing for the bill came amid concern over increasing levels of homelessness fuelled by housing shortages, rising rents, insecure tenancies and cuts to housing benefit.


    news seeker

    October 25, 2016 at 10:59 am

    • What troubles me newsreader is the phrase, “anyone at risk of homelessness” as it implies those already homeless don’t count.


      October 25, 2016 at 3:14 pm

  7. Toby Young and I, Daniel Blake By Bernadette Meaden

    Earlier this year Toby Young, the Conservative columnist who set up a Free School, very gracefully conceded that he had been wrong to think it would be easy to run a school, and said he regretted criticising teachers. He showed an admirable willingness to admit his mistake. I hope he will now do the same on the issue of disabled people and the Work Capability Assessment.

    In his review of the Ken Loach film, I, Daniel Blake, Young is incredulous at the impression it gives of the current benefits system, and refuses to believe it can be anything like as bad as it is portrayed. He asks, “Would a middle-aged man who’s just had a massive heart attack really be declared ‘fit for work’ by the Department for Work and Pensions?” The fact that Mr Young can even ask this question betrays a woeful ignorance of the Work Capability Assessment system.

    A simple Google search would reveal to Mr Young numerous stories of people just like Daniel Blake. People like Stephen Hill, who, awaiting major heart surgery, was found fit to work and died 39 days later. Or Paul Turner 52, who was medically retired from his job after a heart attack but found fit for work by the DWP. He died of heart failure months later. And there are many, many more.


    Andrew Coates

    October 25, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    • Have you taken your young immigrant wife to see it yet, luv? 🙂

      Old Hilda

      October 25, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    • The end of the movie…

      Daniel dies 😦

      Spoiler Alert!!

      October 25, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      • And he was buried, and rose again the third day…

        Saint Theresa (May)

        November 6, 2016 at 8:13 am

    • Of all the current batch of talking heads Toby Young is the emptiest. Can’t we go back to Ann Leslie or someone right of centre but experienced and believable? Young is a plonker. Complete and utter. Nuff said.

      The Mighty Quinn

      October 26, 2016 at 11:15 am

    • Failing to report a ‘change in circumstances’, including marital status is a very serious matter, Mr Coates. We will be looking into this further as well as having a chat about this matter at your next intervention.

      Ipswich Jobcentre Plus

      October 27, 2016 at 11:45 am

      • You should be more careful, love. You were caught out like this before, posting pics taken from your ‘smart phone’ on your holiday home in Barbados, and the jobcentre accused you of telling them that you don’t even have a phone!

        Old Edith

        October 28, 2016 at 11:14 am

  8. I, Daniel Blake – Extended Trailer

    I, Daniel Blake

    October 25, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    • Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Laverty don’t have do their homework even down to locking the shop-door 😀 They try and trap suspected shoplifters inside the shop because they know nobody would be stupid enough to go back inside the shop, like walking into a trap. And the jobcentre scene is down to a T too, with the jobcentre pulling the “aggressive” stunt.

      Geordie Shoplifter

      October 28, 2016 at 10:56 am

  9. Tiger, tiger, burning bright…

    I, William Blake

    October 27, 2016 at 9:30 am

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