Palme D’or winner Ken Loach salutes Brixton’s ‘resistance’ and strong socialist left voice

Ken Loach hailed Brixton’s ‘history of resistance’ during a Left Unity meeting at Lambeth Town Hall on Thursday night. 

The film director, who helped found the far-left political party in 2013, attacked London’s housing crisis, NHS privatisation and benefit sanctions at the Reclaim The Future event.

Mr Loach shared a platform with Left Unity/ Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)  candidate Kingsley Abrams, Left Unity parliamentary candidate Simon Hardy and student activist Kelly Rogers.

The 2006 Cannes Palme D’or winner also expressed his disgust at the rise of UKIP in recent years.

Speaking to South West Londoner Mr Loach said: “There’s a great history of resistance here. The meeting here tonight really represents the anger and alienation many people feel over present politicians.

“I’ve been going around the country recently. There are campaigns everywhere. If all the campaigns got together we would be unstoppable.

“It’s important we have a strong socialist left voice. We shall have to campaign against the Labour government if there is one, no doubt.

“The ground for UKIP is prepared by the Mail and the Express and the Sun. Daily stories about people trying to claim they are benefit cheats when they ignore the tax cheats.

“We shall have to campaign against the Labour government if there is one.”

“Stories against immigrants – every day there’s a vile story – The Mail and the Express and the Sun manure the ground and UKIP grows.”

Left Unity are standing 30 candidates in the local and general elections on May 7, with Mr Abrams standing in Prince’s Ward, Lambeth.

He resigned from the Labour party in January and has been a vocal critic of Lambeth Council’s £90million austerity programme.

London’s housing crisis was also raised by local activists at the meeting ahead of Saturday’s Reclaim Brixton protest against gentrification.

Mr Loach said: “The figure that sticks in my mind is 93,000 children homeless, which is the latest figure I could get from Shelter. What a tragedy we are inflicting on 93,000 children.

“It’s been an extraordinarily dismal election campaign so far – you get news items about Miliband taking selfies.”

“Buildings here are now investments for foreign money. The Battersea power station development, penthouses at £30million.

“What a grotesque distortion of our capacity to build and our possibility to invent and create great places to live.

“It’s been an extraordinarily dismal election campaign so far. You get news items about Miliband taking selfies.

“This is the level of politics that our parties think is appropriate or suitable for our election and it is really disgusting.”

Films like Kes, Cathy Come Home and My Name Is Joe have marked Mr Loach as one of the finest British film directors of the last 50 years.

It had been suggested that last year’s Jimmy’s Hall could be his final feature film, but he told South West Londoner he could be tempted back behind the camera.

Mr Loach said: “It would really be a small film if we did something. When you’re not far off 80 doing feature films is quite demanding. I’d maybe have a go at something small.”

Picture courtesy of Chris Payne/Cornerhouse, with thanks

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