Ken Loach: Tory government ‘callous, brutal and disgraceful’ and ‘must be removed’

Accepting the award for best British film at the Bafta awards in London, the veteran director says politicians speak for corporations – and film-makers must stand with the poor and vulnerable.

Ken Loach has launched an uncompromising attack on the UK government at the 70th British Academy Film Awards.

Speaking as he picked up his award for outstanding British film for I, Daniel Blake, which is conceived as a critique of the current state of the benefits system, Loach touched on accusations by some that his film failed to reflect reality.

Loach thanked his cast and crew, the people of Newcastle and the academy for “endorsing the truth of what this film says, which is that hundreds of thousands of people – the vulnerable and the poorest people – are treated by the this government with a callousness and brutality that is disgraceful.”

Loach continued by making reference to the Tory government’s apparent U-turnon its promise to accept thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing danger in Syria and elsewhere.

“It’s a brutality,” he said, “that extends to keeping out refugee children we promised to help.”

“In the real world,” added Loach, “it’s getting darker. And in the struggle that’s coming between the rich and the powerful, the corporations and the politicians that speak for them, and the rest of us on the other side, the film-makers know which side they’re on.”

Speaking at the press conference afterwards, Loach went further, saying that the government “have to be removed”. He hoped that voters would see his film, but there was little point politicians doing so as “the people actually implementing these decisions know what they’re doing. It’s conscious.”

Their welfare policies, he said, harked back to the Victorian workhouse ethos of telling people that poverty was their fault. “They know they’re doing. We have to change them; they have to be removed.”

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/feb/12/ken-loach-governments-treatment-of-refugee-children-callous-brutal-and-disgraceful

I, Daniel Blake review – a battle cry for the dispossessed

Ken Loach crafts a Cathy Come Home for the 21st century, the raw anger of which resonates long after you leave the cinema.

Mark Kermode

Ken Loach’s latest Palme d’Or winner, his second after 2006’s The Wind that Shakes the Barley, packs a hefty punch, both personal and political. On one level, it is a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers – neoliberal 1984 meets uncaring, capitalist Catch-22. On another, it is a celebration of the decency and kinship of (extra)ordinary people who look out for each other when the state abandons its duty of care.

For all its raw anger at the impersonal mistreatment of a single mother and an ailing widower in depressed but resilient Newcastle, Paul Laverty’s brilliantly insightful script finds much that is moving (and often surprisingly funny) in the unbreakable social bonds of so-called “broken Britain”. Blessed with exceptional lead performances from Dave Johns and Hayley Squires, Loach crafts a gut-wrenching tragicomic drama (about “a monumental farce”) that blends the timeless humanity of the Dardenne brothers’ finest works with the contemporary urgency of Loach’s own 1966 masterpiece Cathy Come Home.

We open with the sound of 59-year-old Geordie joiner Daniel Blake (standup comic Johns) answering automaton-like questions from a “healthcare professional”. Having suffered a heart attack at work, Daniel has been instructed by doctors to rest. Yet since he is able to walk 50 metres and “raise either arm as if to put something in your top pocket”, he is deemed ineligible for employment and support allowance, scoring a meaningless 12 points rather than the requisite 15. Instead, he must apply for jobseeker’s allowance and perform the Sisyphean tasks of attending CV workshops and pounding the pavements in search of nonexistent jobs that he can’t take anyway.

Meanwhile, Squires’s mother-of-two Katie is similarly being given the runaround, rehoused hundreds of miles from her friends and family in London after spending two years in a hostel. “I’ll make this a home if it’s the last thing I do,” she tells Daniel, who takes her under his wing, fixing up her flat and impressed by her resolve to go “back to the books” with the Open University. Both are doing all they can to make the best of a bleak situation, retaining their hope and dignity in the face of insurmountable odds. Yet both are falling through the cracks of a cruel system that pushes those caught up in its cogs to breaking point.

“We’re digital by default” is the mantra of this impersonal new world, to which carpenter Daniel pointedly replies, “Yeah? Well I’m pencil by default.” Scenes of Blake struggling with a computer cursor (“fucking apt name for it!”) raise a wry chuckle, but there’s real outrage at the way this obligatory online form-filling has effectively written people like him out of existence. Yet still Daniel supports – and is supported by – those around him; from Kema Sikazwe’s street-smart China, a neighbour who is forging entrepreneurial links online (the internet may alienate Daniel, but it also unites young workers of the world), to Katie’s kids, Daisy and Dylan – the latter coaxed from habitual isolation (“no one listens to him so why should he listen to them?”) by the hands-on magic of woodwork. Having lost a wife who loved hearing Sailing By, the theme for Radio 4’s Shipping Forecast, and whose mind was “like the ocean”, Daniel carves beautiful fish mobiles that turn the kids’ rooms into an aquatic playground. Meanwhile, their mother is gradually going under.

A scene in a food bank in which the starving Katie, on the verge of collapse, finds herself grasping a meagre tin of beans is one of the most profoundly moving film sequences I have ever seen. Shot at a respectful distance by cinematographer Robbie Ryan, the scene displays both an exquisite empathy for Katie’s trembling plight and a pure rage that anyone should be reduced to such humiliation. Having seen I, Daniel Blake twice, I have both times been left a shivering wreck by this sequence, awash with tears, aghast with anger, overwhelmed by the sheer force of its all-but-silent scream.

“They’ll fuck you around,” China tells Daniel, “make it as miserable as possible – that’s the plan.” For Loach and Laverty, this is the dark heart of their drama, the use of what Loach calls the “intentional inefficiency of bureaucracy as a political weapon”, a way of intimidating people in a manner that is anything but accidental. “When you lose your self-respect you’re done for,” says Daniel, whose act of graffitied defiance becomes an “I’m Spartacus!” battle cry that resonates far beyond the confines of the movie theatre. Expect to see it spray-painted on the walls of a jobcentre near you soon.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/oct/23/i-daniel-blake-ken-loach-review-mark-kermode

I’m One – NAS campaign

The campaign aims to get autism on the agenda of political candidates at this crucial time by encouraging conversations, in the form of candidate coffee mornings, between candidates and people affected by autism.

Right from the start, we want candidates to understand that autism is an important issue in their constituency so that if they are elected they can help us to campaign for the changes we all want to see.

By organising a candidate coffee morning, our supporters can help would-be MPs across the UK to understand all about autism and the issues that are most important to people with autism in their communities.

NAS Chief Executive, Mark Lever, said:

When The National Autistic Society has successfully campaigned for changes to benefit people with autism both locally and nationally, we’ve usually needed the support of politicians.

These politicians tell me they support us with our campaigns because of the stories they’ve heard from their constituents about living with autism. They care about our issues because they know that they’re important to the people they represent.

In the weeks and months before the election on 7 May, all sorts of people will contact candidates to ask them to support their causes. So, how can we make sure autism is one of their priorities? By taking the time to sit down with them, face to face, for a conversation that will cut through the noise and be a memorable experience for them.”

We will also be working with our branches to organise several hustings events to hold local candidates to account.

Visit the I’m One homepage to find out more and take part.

http://www.autism.org.uk/news-and-events/news-from-the-nas/nas-launches-new-campaign-for-the-2015-general-election.aspx

World Autism Awareness Week (WAAW)

World Autism Awareness Week (WAAW) is all about doing something to stand out for autism!

This week, you can raise funds to support people with autism to live the lives they choose, spread the word about autism, and have a fantastic time!

The money you raise will make a huge difference. By standing out and raising funds during WAAW, you could help The National Autistic Society deliver vital services to support over 700,000 people with autism and their families across the UK.

Get involved in WAAW

There are loads of ways that you could get involved. You could:

 

Register for your FREE World Autism Awareness pack now! 

An evening with Rudy Simone

Date: Thursday 7 March 2013
Location: King’s House Conference Centre

This event is a unique opportunity to hear world-famous author and comedienne, Rudy Simone, talk about her life and experiences. Rudy is a truly inspirational speaker who talks openly and passionately about the challenges of living in a world that is not designed for people with autism, and about the unique challenges of being a woman on the spectrum. Rudy uses entertaining stories and personal experiences to illustrate coping strategies and how people with autism can celebrate their abilities and, doing so, become more empowered.

As well as hearing Rudy speak, audience members will have the opportunity to ask Rudy questions about herself and to seek her advice and opinions, plus buy signed copies of her books.

If you’d like to come along to the evening, you can book your place online or by telephone.

Book by telephone

Call Janet Matthews on 0115 911 3367 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri)

Audience members will have the opportunity to ask Rudy questions and seek her advice and opinions, plus buy signed copies of her books.

The event starts at 18.45 (open for registration at 18.00)
Fees:
£14 +VAT (NAS member rate), £18 +VAT (standard), Special offer: book two places and the third will be half price.

Bury Adults Autism Strategy 2012-2017

Dear all

I would be grateful if you could let me have your comments on the Bury Adults Autism Strategy by 4 January 2013.

Thank you for your help

Best wishes
Emma Critchley
Admin Support Officer – Strategic Planning & Policy

Bury Council, Adult Care Services, 1st Floor, Castle Buildings, Market Place, Bury, BL9 0LT

Landline: 0161 253 7975
Email: e.critchley@bury.gov.uk

Latest draft no foreword dec 12 latest action plan nov 12 APPENDIX 3B APPENDIX 3B APPENDIX 1&2