Ken Loach: blame ‘fake left’ politicians like Miliband and Blair for gig economy

May 17, 2019 Off By readly




Ken Loach has criticised “fake left politicians” such as Ed Miliband and Tony Blair, whose brand of “caring capitalism” he says has resulted in rising job insecurity.

Speaking at the Cannes film festival, where his new film, Sorry We Missed You, premiered on Thursday, the veteran film-maker said support for the free market from centre-left figures had resulted in the rise of the gig economy and a working class that is “weak and can be turned on and off like a tap”.

“We have what we call ‘fake left’ politicians, like Ed Miliband and those who went before him,” said Loach. “Blair we don’t even mention. They talked about this mythical beast, ‘caring capitalism’. Everyone talks about it but no one ever sees it. If we believe in the free market, then that leads to the big corporations taking power, that leads to this competition to lower wages, and that leads to precarious work.”

Job insecurity is at the heart of the social-realist director’s latest film. Set, like his last film I, Daniel Blake, in Newcastle, Sorry We Missed You tells the story of a former labourer who accepts a new job for a predatory zero-hours contract delivery company.

“When I was young, you were told that if you had a skill, you would find a job for life and you could bring up a family on the wage,” said Loach. “There has been an inexorable change from that security to the insecurity where people can be hired and fired at a day’s notice, where the employer makes no commitment to how much work you’ll get, and the worker takes all the risk. It’s not capitalism ‘failing’, it’s capitalism working as it always will.”

Loach said that the only way to repair this imbalance was to “fundamentally restructure” society. One positive in that regard, he said, is the current Labour party. “The only bright spark on the horizon in the last few years in Britain is that we’ve had a left[wing] leadership in the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell,” he said. “And they promise to cut back the power of capital. The attacks on them, the smears on them have been extraordinary. And they will get worse.”

“If they seriously attempt to lower the power of capital, to restore security of work, to change that balance of power, to give power back to people, they will face unprecedented attacks and all kinds of undercover smears.”

The director, a committed supporter of Corbyn, was criticised in 2017 for suggesting that allegations of antisemitism against the Labour party under its current leadership had been politically motivated. The director was accused of antisemitism in April 2018 following claims that he refused to condemn Holocaust denial in an interview with the BBC. Loach later clarified his comments, writing in the New York Times that the Holocaust was a real-life event that “was not to be challenged”.

Sorry We Missed You has received almost universal praise since its festival debut on Thursday evening, with both the Guardian and the Independent awarding the film five stars. In his review, the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw wrote that he was “hit in the solar plexus by this movie, wiped out by the simple honesty and integrity of the performances”.

The film is appearing in competition at Cannes, and sees Loach vying for a record third Palme d’Or at the festival, following wins for The Wind that Shakes the Barley in 2006 and I, Daniel Blake in 2016.

Sorry We Missed You is released in UK cinemas on 1 November, with a US release date still to be announced.

Source of this (above) article: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/may/17/ken-loach-blair-miliband-sorry-we-missed-you-cannes-gig-economy