British film director Ken Loach interviewed

This video from London in Britain says about itself:

Cathy Come Home – Post show discussion with Ken Loach

3 August 2016

This panel discussion followed Cardboard Citizens’ 50th anniversary community ensemble staging of Ken Loach’s seminal film Cathy Come Home at the Barbican Centre. …

The panel comprised Ken Loach, the BBC’s Samira Ahmed, Campbell Robb, (CEO Shelter), Adrian Jackson (CEO/Founder Cardboard Citizens), Eska (Mercury-prize nominated singer), James Murray (Deputy Mayor for Housing) and asked “Homelessness 50 years on: What’s changed?”.

By Charlotte Hughes in Britain:

A passion for fairness and speaking truth to power

Saturday 17th September 2016

KEN LOACH talks to the Morning Star about his working-class background, the value he places on the writers he’s worked with and the forces at work against Jeremy Corbyn

I MET Ken Loach on his way from Wigan train station to the town’s famous Diggers Festival. He had kindly agreed to my interviewing him after I met him a few weeks ago at a small event that he had been filming at.

Ken had read my work previously and had approved, so I felt humbled to have been given this opportunity.

He was attending the festival to receive the Wigan Diggers award, which was previously won last year by screenwriter and producer Jimmy McGovern.

Ken was clearly very happy to receive this award.

Ken is a quiet, unassuming man, but don’t take this as a sign of weakness. He has a strength of character and a determined attitude, one I could only hope to have in years to come.

Ken comes from a working-class family. His father was from a mining family and one of 10 children, his mother was a hairdresser.

But he didn’t really develop an interest in the outside world until he got older.

As he says: “When you start to live in the world you start to understand it.”

He talks fondly of his time working with socialist playwright Jim Allen, with whom he collaborated often, saying that he learned much from him.

Jim came from an area not far from Manchester and had done nearly every manual job going to get by. Their partnership certainly enabled him to see the world in a different way.

Every project Ken has worked on has been a challenge in some way, but he is clear to say that they should be.

No-one can ever know it all, for there is always much more to learn.

He is his own biggest critic, but to get too complacent isn’t the way he thinks that people should work. Ken sees an obstacle as a challenge, and a challenge that he will win.

He took me down memory lane, to reminisce about when he and his team arrived in Spain to make the film Land and Freedom, which was released in 1995. They couldn’t speak Spanish, and initially no-one wanted to talk about the Spanish civil war. But they managed it, and people started talking. So much so that they wouldn’t shut up.

Ken says he is largely influenced by the European film-makers of the past. Their films weren’t overtly political but they filmed in a very human way. But to be clear, he says: “It always starts with the writers. Without good writers you don’t have much.”

He says that he has been working with the same writer for 25 years, a man named Paul Loveday.

Ken says he shows a great concern for human frailty and without him he thinks he would have given up. It’s got to be a partnership, Ken says.

I asked him what he thought when the Tories got elected and then re-elected. His opinion was that he had anticipated some kind of coalition government, at the very worst a Tory leadership.

He stated that at the time the Labour Party was not cutting enough. It was standing at the time for the same right-wing policies, and that there was no hope for a change in the party’s principles, merely changes in their degree.

This had left the public disheartened and no-one was really listening to them.

The lack of enthusiasm for Labour resulted in a Tory win and, as he had predicted, the Tories were savage towards the poor with everything that they have done.

Ken’s opinion is that after the shock of losing, the Tory attacks simply galvanised the left.

The right-wing element of Labour had made a tactical error in allowing Jeremy Corbyn onto the ballot paper, and they never expected him to get anywhere.

But instead they were taken aback by people’s determination to do things differently. The public wanted change, members of the Labour Party wanted change.

It simply highlighted how out of touch the right wing of Labour was. Ken said that they just didn’t get it, they don’t understand why Corbyn is so popular.

Every time they try to undermine him, it seems to backfire and it has simply highlighted how much more they are concerned with Westminster tricks and not the wishes of the public.

Ken stated that every time they have tried to undermine Jeremy they’ve made idiots of themselves and the public are seeing straight through this.

The very idea of MPs electing the shadow cabinet is a ludicrous idea to Ken. His idea is simple. They should let Labour Party members elect the shadow cabinet. And why not?

Ken is a great believer in everything carried out in a fair and democratic way and it’s a view that I share.

I asked Ken his opinion on whether he thinks Corbyn will be elected again and what he should do if he is.

Ken’s eyes lit up. He obviously has a lot of respect for Jeremy and his opinion is clear.

“Nothing can be taken for granted, there are so many dirty tricks being played.”

Committed Labour Party members are being purged from the party, which Ken thinks is ridiculous.

It’s undemocratic, and he feels that the issue isn’t being highlighted enough.

If Corbyn’s group had removed the core of his opponent’s support, or a third of the people on the ballot paper, it would be talked about every day. It would be a scandal.

Ken went on to say that he can understand why Jeremy is being attacked by the right wing of the Labour Party.

It’s because he is talking about uniting the party, and because they are acting so undemocratically they are trying to undermine him.

I asked Ken if he thought that they would ever change? His answer was no, but if Jeremy wins then changes within the party will need to be made.

They shouldn’t be allowed to continually undermine him. It’s a kick in the teeth for the members, but every time that they do this they expose their true selves, and we need to remember that.

Ken went on to say that Owen Smith has yet again made a fool of himself. He said that he had recently seen Smith on television stating that he agreed with everything that Jeremy Corbyn said aside from the EU but that he still wouldn’t work with him.

Just what is the point if it’s not to purposely undermine Jeremy’s leadership and campaign.

Ken highlights the similarity of the campaign against Jeremy and the campaign in the 1980s to undermine the trade union movement.

He says, quite correctly, that the same tricks are being played. The sidelining of members and the determination to keep control at any cost, which went against everything that a party of labour and the trade unions should do and be. The advantage we have now is that we can see this and act against it.

Ken would like to see Jeremy form a media policy that doesn’t include the wealthy corporations in charge of the press.

A newspaper, he says, could be run by co-operative collectives and should be owned by the journalists and members of the editorial team. He goes as far as saying that the same thing should apply to the BBC and ITV.

Ken says it’s good to have an editorial policy and to get paid. After all, reporters have to look after themselves and their children.

But he’s had enough of what what he calls “fascist” television programmes. They are purposely causing divisions in society which benefit the right-wing politicians. It’s quite simply wrong.

The most vulnerable people are being targeted and Ken is quite clear that he would like to see an end to Murdoch’s reign of power over the press and the media.

Do I see Ken continuing with his work? Yes I do, as long as he is able to. He has a passion for fairness, for exposing the wrongdoings in society created by those in power.

He wants us to start using the word solidarity more, it’s one of the most powerful words in the dictionary, he says, and he is correct.

There is no judgement when you act in solidarity. Maybe this is why the government hate it so much. And this is exactly why we need to use it more.

Charlotte Hughes is an anti-poverty and anti-workfare campaigner. You can read her blog at

9 thoughts on “British film director Ken Loach interviewed

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