The City of Durham Labour Party has been organising a number of screenings of the film, I, Daniel Blake over the past month. Some people will wonder why a political party would be putting on film showings but when you watch the film, you realise why. It’s gritty portrayal of the life of a carpenter who through a heart attack, must go through the current Tory welfare system has most of the audience in tears. For a rare occasion, those who use benefits are portrayed not as the scroungers the right wing Tory press usually feed us, but as humans, who are desperately trying to navigate this inhumane system.
For the last year or so, Labour has been campaigning against some of the harsh welfare reforms being made by the Conservatives. Sadly though, many people do not realise how bad things are. It takes a film like I, Daniel Blake to wake people up to what is happening to ordinary people. You can’t help but be outraged.
Jessie Joe Jacobs, Durham City Labour Party’s political education officer who has helped organise the screenings tells us more “I used to run foodbanks, I worked with women in prostitution, I have helped many of the people who the film I, Daniel Blake represents and it is heartbreakingly sad to see what is happening to people in our communities. I cried and I cheered and I cried when I first watched the film. I cried because of all the painful stories it reminded me of, I cheered because finally someone was doing something about portraying these stories in an honest light and I cried again because until we win a Labour government, there will continue to be too many Daniel Blake’s. This is why it is important we get as many people as possible, to see the film. We must change people’s views on welfare before it is too late and we have no functioning welfare state left and before other people lose their lives to this cruel regime”
The screenings have been in Coxhoe, Belmont and Durham City centre and have seen around 150 people attending. A number of people attending had never been to a Labour Party event and it was a great opportunity for our Labour members and future candidates to meet people from the local community. We even had a few people requesting information on joining the Labour Party.