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Ken Loach as propagandist, conflagration as a parallel for sexual love, and the likely shortlist for that Bank of England job


Ken Loach is the toast and talk of the town at the minute. From time to time in his career, Ken’s approach has, in my view, stepped over the edge from realism onto the rocks of didactic propaganda. The Wind That Shakes the Barley – a movie about the original Troubles and the role played by the Black and Tans – was his worst example of this. A close second was The Spirit of ’45. Both of these films, I feel, neglected, respectively, the brutality and exploitation on the other side of the coin.

I haven’t seen I, Daniel Blake yet – although I will at the first opportunity – but I rarely enter a cinema to see one of Ken Loach’s movies without thinking, ‘Is the agenda going to irritate me?’

I felt the same watching Oliver Stone films, the Mission Impossible remakes, and Independence Day…..although Loach’s output is a massive cut above any of those. Sometimes – as in the case of Wall Street – script and reality combine to create prescience; but more often than not, they don’t.

The best defence of Ken Loach is that his films tend, on the whole, to critique an Establishment rather than glorify one. The ability to foresee the evil in ideologies is what makes movies based on George Orwell’s books special. Neither man could be accused, for example, of being in the same boat as Leni Riefenstahl.

I do see myself -and millions of those equivocal about him – as on the same side when it comes to The Common Good. But I think Loach is an ideologist. And ideologists are more likely to poke fingers than quietly observe.


The temperatures are dropping, and a fire in the evening is now once again a regular event. Log-burning fires have gone, over the last decade, from being crude boxes to easily adjustable radiators.

While lighting my own fire tonight, I was struck by the parallel between the initial blast of oxygen required to encourage furious flames, and the early passion of human relationships.

These days, I am more at home with the gentle – almost elegant – flickering of an established fire than with the unforgiving fury of what promises to be a deadly conflagration unless controlled.


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A camera-shy coypu suddenly sniffs my presence…

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….and makes good his escape


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Rumour has it tonight that Mark Carnage is in similar mode. Mind you, the rumours are emanating from the Daily Gale, so the chances are Queen Elizabeth II might be about to abdicate in his favour.

But the difference this time is that both the Daily Express and Bloomberg have the same story.

This prompts me to wonder who might replace him….and this being Britain, one can’t help feeling that – as with the England football coach position – the bottom of at least one barrel might be involved.

No doubt Yannis Stournaris of the Bank of Greece will be interviewed. And I can’t see Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium being left off the list. Another hopeful will be the tanned but mathematically dyslexic Fi Fi Lagarde.

However, on balance I think the position is a shoo-in for Sepp Blatter. I can’t think of any other person so thick-skinned, corrupt and unpopular who could establish such a close relationship with the members of the May Cabinet on those bases.


Earlier at The Slog: Clinton and the emails that keep bouncing back