Ken Loach

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Ken Loach.jpg
BornKenneth Charles Loach
17 June 1936
Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Alma materSt Peter's College, Oxford
SpouseLesley Ashton
English film and television director known for his socially critical directing style and for his socialist ideals.

Ken Loach (born 17 June 1936) is an English film and television director. He is known for his socially critical directing style and for his socialist ideals, which are evident in his film treatment of social issues such as poverty, homelessness (Cathy Come Home, 1966) and labour rights (Riff-Raff, 1991, and The Navigators, 2001).

Ken Loach's film Kes (1969) was voted the seventh greatest British film of the 20th century in a poll by the British Film Institute. Two of his films, The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) and I, Daniel Blake (2016)[1] received the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, making him the ninth filmmaker to win the prestigious award twice.[2]

Left Unity

In 2013, Left Unity was founded by Ken Loach as a left-wing political party in the United Kingdom to replace the Labour Party which, he claimed, had failed to oppose austerity and had shifted towards neoliberalism. Within a year, the party had 2,000 members and 70 branches across Britain.[3]

In the weeks following Jeremy Corbyn's election in September 2015 as Leader of the Labour Party, some 300 Left Unity members, including many prominent leadership figures, resigned and joined the Labour Party. The November 2015 Left Unity Party Conference was dominated by the issue of what to do now that the Labour Party was led by Corbyn, a leader with politics similar to those of Left Unity, but with a mass membership of socialists, compared to Left Unity's then 1,500 members – down from its 2014 peak of 2,000. Many of the motions discussed the possible dissolution of Left Unity as a political party, with party members joining either the Labour Party itself or Momentum. When the Conference decided to remain as a formal political party but not stand in elections, Salman Shaheen, one of Left Unity's prominent National Speakers, resigned. He cited the need for socialists to join the Labour Party.

In the run-up to the 2016 Labour leadership election, individuals who had retweeted Left Unity were accused of supporting rival parties and therefore expelled from the party, thus being unable to vote in the leadership election. Left Unity and others on social media saw this as hypocritical, and led to the rise of the hashtag #LabourPurge on Twitter.[4]

Corbyn documentary

In September 2016, Loach produced a short documentary on Jeremy Corbyn's campaign for reelection as Labour leader because he “wanted to meet longstanding party members who are inspired by Jeremy, members who have rejoined the party and those who have joined Labour for the first time. Over two days travelling to events and meetings with Jeremy, I documented the sense of optimism and hope that explains why so many are ready to fight for the new settlement that Jeremy Corbyn offers - a vision for our country which in government can implement a shift in wealth and power to ordinary people.”[5]

"Bunch of political losers"

For 2017, Labour party strategists were reported to be planning to pitch Jeremy Corbyn as a left-wing populist as they prepared for the possibility of an early General Election and a tricky by-election in the marginal northern seat of Copeland, prompted by the resignation of the Labour MP Jamie Reed.

On 27 December 2016, Ken Loach described Labour MPs who continue to oppose Corbyn as a “bunch of political losers”. In a letter to The Guardian, he criticised MPs unhappy with Corbyn’s leadership, suggesting they should be labelled right-wing rather than moderate:

“Any disarray or disunity in the party is the responsibility of those MPs. They attack Corbyn and John McDonnell day after day, refusing to promote party policy on jobs, housing, transport or the NHS, the core concerns of those they should represent. They offer no support, in parliament or outside. Worst of all, they show contempt for the hundreds of thousands of new members, mainly Corbyn supporters, who have made Labour the largest political party in Europe. This bunch of political losers are intent on the destruction of a Labour party they cannot control.”[6]

Censored by The Guardian

Ken Loach then tweeted:

"Wonder why the @guardian chose to omit the first and last lines from their publication..."[7]


A Document by Ken Loach

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:‘What about the Israeli army killing unarmed Palestinian civilians’Article27 April 2018"Antisemitism"
Charles Michel
Ken Loach asked the Belgian prime minister: “Mr Michel is a lawyer, did he wonder about Israel’s failure to comply with international law? Has he asked the question of colonisation of the Palestinian territories? Has he asked the question of unarmed Palestinian civilians killed by the Israeli army? Has he asked the question of refugees living under the protection of the United Nations?"


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Hostages to wealth and the growing resistanceArticle26 October 2016Keith Ordinary GuyThe UK government has prostituted itself to the free markets and private interests, and, as with the banking crisis, it is we, the public who get shafted. The least we can do is oppose, resist and expose and be ready for whatever comes next.
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