A new Ken Loach, Palme d’Or winning, film stars actor Dave Johns who plays Daniel Blake, a 59 year old carpenter who finds himself unable to work in the aftermath of a heart attack. 1984 meets uncaring, capitalist Catch-22
Having suffered a heart attack at work, Daniel has been instructed by doctors to rest. Yet since he is able to walk 50 metres and “raise either arm as if to put something in your top pocket”, he is deemed ineligible for employment and support allowance, scoring a meaningless 12 points rather than the requisite 15.
Constant employment for forty years means nothing as he has to navigate his way through the Kafkaesque impersonal benefits system.
The similarity to a SMP ‘assessment’ is stark. We don’t want to say Daniel Blake’s plight is exactly synonymous with those with, or applying for, an injury award – whether being reviewed or not. The juxtaposition is the base medical pension is always there … there are exceptions, but those medically retired from the police usually aren’t users of food banks.
What is the same is the cruel system that pushes those caught up in its cogs to breaking point.
The real Daniel Blakes …