Archives for posts with tag: Ken Loach

Kopfkino & Stirchley Baths


Friday, 10 February 2017 from 19:30 to 22:30

Bournville Lane, Birmingham B30 2JT

0121 464 9072

Suggested donation £5. Pay what you will. Refreshments will be available.

I, Daniel Blake will be preceded by a short film, ‘To Be Home, Stirchley’ by Geoff Broadway

Proceeds from ticket sales will go to local charity SIFA Fireside. The venue is wheelchair friendly. Unfortunately the film does not have sign language or support for the hearing impaired at this time. There is parking, though this is limited whilst work is being done on the Friends Meeting House.

Please visit us by public transport where possible.


This is a free screening so that it is accessible to all. If you can afford to pay, proceeds from ticket sales will go to local charity SIFA Fireside who improve health and inclusion for the homeless.

There is also a collection box year-round at Stirchley Baths for the B30 Foodbank. We encourage you to bring along donations.


Those who did not see the acclaimed 2016 film “I Daniel Blake” at MAC, other cinemas and the Birmingham Co-operative Film Club, may see it at St Francis Church Hall, Bournville, on Saturday 21st January at 7 p.m. It is a British film by award-winning director Ken Loach in which a 59-year-old joiner, unable to work due to a recent heart attack, befriends a young single mother as they both struggle with the benefits system. At the latest Cannes Film Festival it received the highest award – the Palme d’Or.


“Homeless Sunday” is on January 22nd, and profits from the showing will go to the charity “Shelter”, a charity that emerged from the production of the  BBC film (1966) “Cathy Come Home” also directed by Ken Loach.





A Bournville resident points out that “the tragedy is that (the long-term homeless) are going to be joined by many more who have had a home. See what is going to come into play with effect from Monday 7th November” and sends a link to an article about a cut in housing benefit from Nov 7th.

He asks: “Where are all these extra homeless people and families to go? And at what cost?”


It is no coincidence that around the country this reader and many other people are gathering to promote showings of the latest Ken Loach film and citing his Question Time video clip. 

Some households will lose as much as £115 a week.

The idea of tightening their belt and reducing household spending assumes that energy and food are expendable luxuries.

tighten-belt-cropThose hit by the cap will soon be in arrears. Either their landlord, social or private, absorbs the cost of the arrears, or – more likely – the tenant is evicted.

In the Guardian, Aditya Chakrabortty stresses the costs of the lost income, the long-term psychological harm to tenants, the deteriorating health of households in temporary accommodation and the exorbitant cost of temporary accommodation for those evicted.

Every day in England and Wales, 170 tenants are evicted.

Evictions have increased by 53% in the past five years. Around 80% of these are carried out by social landlords, and a further 20% by private landlords.

The new reduced benefit cap: how it works and who it affects – the facts and figures – are given here and in the BBC programme, below.


Ms May’s eloquent compassionate conservatism is belied by her ministerial actions:

  • suspending the registration scheme for carers of children and vulnerable people;
  • scrapping the former Labour Government’s proposed “go orders” scheme to protect women from domestic violence by banning abusers from the victim’s home;
  • closing the previous Government’s ContactPoint database of 11 million under-18-year olds designed to protect children in the wake of the Victoria Climbié child abuse scandal and
  • removing a clause from the Equality Act which would have required public bodies to consider how they can reduce socio-economic inequalities when making decisions about spending and services.

Welfare payments are designed to act as a safety net to stop people in the fifth-richest economy in the world being hungry or homeless.

Where will the cuts inflicted on the poorest end?

The Loach film is screened at MAC, November 4-10





The Brummie aggregator site gives a link to the report of last Friday’s public meeting in Birmingham. It was organised by Left Unity, a new political party Ken Loach helped to found, hoping to fill the political vacuum that has existed in Britain for decades.

left unity syrizaSeventy people, including a delegation from the Spanish Podemos, came to hear Marina Prentoulis of Syriza speak about the situation that the new anti-austerity government is facing in Greece.

Eurozone officials recently had to call off a visit by bailout inspectors to Athens, after Greek authorities objected to a trip similar to previous audits by the “troika” — the trio of creditor institutions (IMF, EC, ECB).

prof francesco caselliThough – as LSE economist, Francesco Caselli writes in the FT collecting taxes is central to any attempt to rebuild the Greek government’s ability to secure revenues meeting the needs of an industrialised economy, EC uncivil servants were said to have “laughed out loud” and described the Greek proposal to combat value added tax evasion as “quite hilarious, if it were not so tragic”. Caselli comments:

”Greece is at the mercy of a narrow-minded, unimaginative, and arrogant European bureaucracy ignorant of local culture and history and incapable of recognising truly creative, promising, innovative ideas that might help Greece out of its horrendous predicament”.

“Anyone with the slightest experience of life in countries where value added tax is routinely flouted (a category that clearly does not include the officials in question) knows that no matter how sternly the government promises fines and punishments for the evaders, nothing will change until the deeply ingrained culture of tacit acquiescence by customers is broken”.

Caselli mentions two successful measures which yielded large tax receipts and, “perhaps more importantly, did much to shatter the culture of passive acquiescence”:

  • In the 1990s Italy fined customers who left a shop without a receipt,
  • and Argentina exchanged receipts for lottery tickets.

He adds: “It is a fair bet that eurozone officials would have laughed out loud if confronted with such ideas. Far better to carry on destroying the economy and living standards with the current litany of cuts in employment, social transfers and social services”.

ken loach2Having just been sent news of Ken Loach’s new film, Spirit of ’45, an account of the unity that built the post-war welfare state, which was contrasted with the dismantling we are witnessing today, the writer was stunned to find that ‘can do’ spirit alive in Northfield on Saturday. 

A couple of hours later came  dismay – though not surprise – whilst listening to a radio play which unemotionally focussed on probably the most serious and deadly case of deceit, manipulation and coercion by a British prime minister (and cronies), procedures now regularly exposed in the higher political/commercial echelons.

Loach, like the Northfield group, recalled the postwar period: the implementation of the National Health Service and universal child benefit, improvements in National Insurance and the nationalisation of the railways and mines. Loach added that conditions for workers in areas such as safety, housing and minimum wages for dockers, improved dramatically.

As Loach told Laura Davis of the Liverpool Daily Post, this happy situation did not last long: in the 1970s, manufacturing employment fell by a quarter, with 1.2 million jobs lost between 1971-81 and the Conservative Party dropped the Government’s commitment to full employment and introduced a reprivatisation programme. Neither Loach nor the Northfield group added reference to the effect of capital flight abroad following the lifting of capital controls.

There was a remarkable consensus in the otherwise disparate Northfield group, which in age, belief & occupation range represented society at large. Their analysis placed far more emphasis on the huge and widening income gap in society, but otherwise mirrored Loach’s:

“People have been told that this is inevitable, the way the world is like an act of God. It’s not. It’s a conscious choice by politicians acting on behalf of private interests”

“It seems we’ve now come full circle but now poverty expresses itself through obesity and cheap food that is rubbish and does you harm, through drug culture, through alienation and the desperation of unemployment . . . It is much less visible than in the 30s. We found that in trying to find contemporary images of poverty. You drive through parts of cities where you know 50% of the kids aren’t working and there is nobody there. Maybe daytime TV is pumping out.”

Loach: “There is dire need for a call to arms, but who to lead it?”

“There is a vacuum on the left – we don’t have a movement or a party that speaks for the interests of ordinary people. All the parties from one extent to the other support the market economy. We’re been led down a path that gives us no hope at all. There are so many people outside the Labour Party who would be activists were there a viable party to belong to. People are desperate for an alternative, they just don’t know where to turn.

“People forget the strength they have . . . actually they can stop things tomorrow if they choose to. They could turn the lights off. They could close the shops, shut down the transport, close the factories until things change. If they knew the power they had . . .”

The people gathered at Northfield had a different emphasis; they want to work for change through campaigning. Like Loach they believe that there is much to be learned from the can-do attitude of the 1940s . . .

The Spirit of ’45  film may be seen at

Birmingham – MAC

Friday 29 March
Monday 01 April
Tuesday 02 April
Thursday 04 April

Coventry – Warwick Arts Centre

Tuesday 30 April
Wednesday 01 May
Thursday 02 May