Ken Loach Is Coming To Stoke

Ken Loach and Momentum host community film screenings of I, Daniel Blake and Spirit of ‘45 in Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent

Ken Loach and Momentum are organising free, community screenings of I, Daniel Blake and Spirit of ‘45 in Stoke-on-Trent and Copeland to open up a space for political discussion before the by-elections. After each screening, Ken and local community activists will facilitate discussions with audiences about people’s experiences, their reaction to the films, and their views on the upcoming by-elections. 
The screenings are being held in local community venues and organised in collaboration with community groups, film societies, and NHS campaigners. In Stoke-on-Trent, the screenings are being put on by Reels on Wheels, a mobile cinema service which started bringing films to village halls and community groups after their local cinema in south Stoke closed in 1977.
I, Daniel Blake is about a man whose benefits are cut after he is declared ‘fit for work’, despite being in recovery from a heart attack. This fictional story depicts the very real effects of the government’s cuts to disability benefits: between 2011 and 2014, 2,380 disabled people died, 90 people a month, after they were declared ‘fit for work’ and had their benefits cut.
The film exposes the conscious cruelty of Tory cuts, resulting in an ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor in Britain, with record levels of in-work poverty, unprecedented levels of homelessness and record high foodbank usage.
Spirit of ’45 is a documentary about the spirit of unity in post-war Britain, which led to the creation of a fairer society under Attlee’s Labour government through regenerating and re-building Britain and founding our NHS.
The documentary, released in 2013, is particularly timely given the crisis facing our NHS and social care under this government, with a further £22 billion cuts in funding, service closures, and privatisation proposed in the Sustainability and Transformation Plans for the NHS in England. In Copeland, the government plans to close the A&E service, maternity service and children’s ward at the West Cumberland Hospital, which will force local residents to travel 40 miles for these vital services.
Momentum has been encouraging activists from across the county to join the local Labour parties’ campaigning efforts and recently launched the ‘Momentum Carpool’ website to help activists link up and travel to the constituencies together. Last weekend Momentum activists carpooled to Copeland from Durham, York, Leeds, Lancaster, London, and Manchester, and over 100 activists have traveled to Stoke this weekend. Many are also using Momentum’s innovative phone canvassing website to call Momentum supporters in Stoke to encourage them to go out campaigning. 
Ken Loach, award-winning director, said:
“We all need to work together in these dark times, when Tories watch as regions are neglected, and the far right spread division and scapegoat minorities. People need secure jobs that will pay a decent wage, a home they can afford and a strong health service. Only Labour, the party of the NHS, will invest in communities where industries have closed, to create real, properly paid jobs‎.
No-one and nowhere should be left behind. Then we can regenerate our towns and cities, rescue social care‎, and really work together again. Don’t be fooled by the far right, UKIP and their friend Trump‎. The Labour Party is invigorated by new young members, the largest party in Europe, with policies that match our needs. Labour is – once again – the party of the people.”