Watch Ken Loach slam ‘callous’ and ‘brutal’ government at BAFTAs

'I, Daniel Blake' director picked up outstanding film award

Ken Loach slammed the government last night (February 12) after I, Daniel Blake picked up the outstanding British film award at the BAFTAs.

The film is a critique of the current state of the benefits system and the director highlighted the plight by those being hit hardest by the system.

He said: “Thank you to the academy for endorsing the truths of what the film says, which hundreds and thousands of people in this country know, the most vulnerable and poorest are treated by the Government with a callous brutality that is disgraceful, a brutality that extends to keeping out refugee children we promised to help and that’s a disgrace too.

“In that real world it’s getting darker and in the struggle that is coming between rich and poor and the wealthy and the privileged and the big corporations and politicians who speak for them. The rest of us on the other side – film makers know which side they are on and despite the glitz and glamour of occasions like this, we are with the people.” You can read and watch the full speech below via the Mirror.

The full speech reads as follows: “Well wow, this is extraordinary. A huge thank you to the academy and from all of us, from all who made the film, starting with Paul [Laverty] and Rebecca [O’Brien] who wrote the script and produced it, to the actors and to those that made it and the people of Newcastle and to the distributors E1.

Read more: BAFTAs 2017 – see the full winners’ list

“Thank you to the academy for endorsing the truth of what the film says, which hundreds of thousands of people in this country know and that is that the most vulnerable and the poorest people are treated by this government with a callous brutality that is disgraceful. It’s a brutality that extends to keeping out refugee children that we promised to help and that’s a disgrace too.

“But films can do many things too, they can entertain, they can terrify, they can take us to worlds of imagination, they can make us laugh and they can tell us something about the real world we live in. It’s a bit early for a political speech, I’m sorry. But in that real world it’s getting darker as we know and in the struggle that’s coming between the rich and the powerful, the wealth and the privileged and the big corporations and the politicians who speak for them on the one hand and the rest of us on the other then filmmakers, we’re all filmmakers here, the filmmakers here know which side they’re on and despite the glitz and the glamour of occasions like this, we’re with the people. Thanks for this.”

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.”

La La Land won big on the night picking up prizes for Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Original Music and with Emma Stone taking home the prize for Best Actress and Damien Chazelle crowned as Best Director.