We are all Daniel Blake
No more deaths from benefit cuts
Amalia, Socialist Party disabled people and carers’ group
Thousands of people have died since the implementation of ‘work capability assessments’. This is what the new Ken Loach film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is all about.
Iain Duncan Smith, the politician responsible for this system, who lives rent-free in a £2 million mansion, considers the film extreme. Meanwhile, he disingenuously criticises Theresa May’s latest round of benefit cuts.
In 2012, then-chancellor George Osborne was booed during the London Paralympics, just a few months after his government’s Welfare ‘Reform’ Act passed.
This brought us – among other things – the ‘bedroom tax’, ‘personal independent payments’ to replace ‘disability living allowance’, and benefit sanctions against sick and disabled ’employment and support allowance’ claimants.
Last spring there was another massive outcry against the Tories, who wanted to further cut disability benefits, by £30 a week. Iain Duncan Smith resigned over this, totally hypocritically: £15 billion went from the welfare budget while he was work and pensions secretary.
Cuts have tragic consequences. People lose their homes, their families, their communities, their health – mental and physical – and tragically, all too often, their lives.
But the stories of suffering that have surfaced since ‘I, Daniel Blake’ premiered are many. Right-wing hack Toby Young denies the wealth of real evidence, saying the story didn’t “ring true” – because the characters were not “scroungers”!
Everything in the film “rings true” to those who know that, at any time, they may well become Daniel Blake. Millions of workers don’t know if or when we’ll become sick or jobless.
The film starts with the absurdity of a work capability assessment. It’s a one-size-fits-all, Catch-22 interrogation. It shows a single mother sent from London to Newcastle because of the lack of council homes. It shows someone who hasn’t eaten in days opening a can of beans at the food bank and eating it there and then.
People in the cinema were crying. It’s a film that can make you very emotional. But getting angry is not enough. We also need to organise.
Enough is enough with the slanders! Enough is enough with this inhumane system! Enough is enough with deaths from benefit cuts!
We are not scroungers. We are people who are entitled to a dignified life.
Scrap the Tories’ welfare counter-reforms; abolish work capability assessments; invest in jobs, homes and services for all.
Organise and fight back!