I, Daniel Blake

Have you seen it?  I think it should be compulsory!

I saw I, Daniel Blake in the cinema when it first came out.  I like to think I’m pretty socially aware so although none if it surprised me, I was still shocked.

If you haven’t seen it, it was shown on BBC2 recently and is now available on iPlayer here.

The film follows a carpenter, Daniel Blake, who has recently suffered a heart attack and needs to claim benefits.  He is a widower living alone and his assessment deems him fit for work.  His consultant has made it very clear that he cannot work and we see Daniel negotiating his way around the system with little success.

Daniel befriends a young woman, Katie, after meeting at the Job Centre.  She has been living in one room in a homeless hostel with her two young children for two years in London waiting for accommodation.  She is finally offered a flat in Newcastle, hundreds of miles away from her friends, family and the children’s school where she has to start again from scratch.  She is an amazing young woman of seemingly boundless energy, hoping to get back to her Open University studies as soon as she is able.  She is a brilliant mum, willing to starve herself to ensure that her children can eat.

Please, please watch this film and see what ordinary people have to go through in this country day after day.  It is brutal, sad and embarrassing.   We are a rich country and can more than afford to share.  Why do we continue to let this happen?  The ones who care are too exhausted and the rest just don’t.

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