Watch Ken Loach use just 11 words to explain why people keep flocking to Labour [VIDEO]

Ken Loach Labour Party
Bex Sumner

After quitting the Labour Party in the late 1990s, acclaimed film director Ken Loach is back. He now produces party political broadcasts for Labour and receives standing ovations from members at the party’s conference. Asked by Sky News why he’d come back to the party, Loach replied that it was because of the party’s:

determination to put the interests of people first, before corporate power.

Corporate power

Loach explained:

I left the Labour Party when Blair was in his pomp and privatising everything he could see so I didn’t expect to be back here.

He continued:

The funding from Blair was there. But the structure of things like the NHS, of course, changed and… profits were siphoned off the health service into private companies. The increase in PFI.

PFI (Private Finance Initiative) contracts were introduced by John Major’s Conservative government in the early 1990s. New Labour then expanded their use. PFI contracts use private funding to pay for big infrastructure projects like building hospitals or schools as a way of keeping debts off the government’s balance sheet.

Corbyn’s Labour has already said it would refuse to sign new PFI contracts. But on 25 September, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell announced a new policy on PFI. The Labour Party will, McDonnell said, review all existing PFI contracts and bring them in house “if necessary”. He explained why:

The scandal of the Private Finance Initiative has resulted in huge long-term costs for taxpayers while providing enormous profits for some companies. Over the next few decades, nearly £200bn is scheduled to be paid out of public sector budgets in PFI deals. In the NHS alone, £831m in pre-tax profits have been made over the past six years. Never again will this waste of taxpayer money be used to subsidise the profits of shareholders, often based in offshore tax havens.

Putting people first

The PFI review is far from the only policy announced at the party’s conference to put people before corporate power. Labour has also, for example, proposed a cap on credit card interest. But PFI was always a powerful symbol of New Labour’s capitulation to corporate interests at the expense of people. And McDonnell’s announcement marks a clear break with the New Labour past, as Loach explains:

I think there’s an ideological shift, and that’s to be welcomed.

Loach is not the only person flocking to Corbyn’s Labour. In 2016, Labour’s income from membership fees leapt by 50% [paywall] from the previous year, leading the party treasurer, Diana Holland, to announce on 26 September that the party was debt-free in 2016 for the first time since the 1960s. Old members are returning. Young people are backing the party. Because if there’s one thing the British political system has desperately needed over recent decades, it’s a mainstream party brave enough to take on corporate power.

Get Involved!

– Read more Canary articles about the Labour Party here.

– Read more from The Canary on the Labour Conference 2017.

– Join us, so we can continue to bring you the news that matters.

Featured image via screengrab

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed