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“Looking for Eric” (2009) by Ken Loach: What the Labour Party Should Be “For”

British film director Loach and his screenwriter Paul Laverty have a magnificant body of work and must rate as amongst the greatest film makers this sceptred Isle have ever produced. From the epic “Land and Freedom” which narrates the experinces of Left wing Brits in the Spanish Civil War, to “My Name is Joe” which chronicals one man’s fight with the bottle, Loach never loses sight of the grinding realities of everyday life for working people. Ken is an old style Socialist, and his pictures reflect that, but he has this ability to show life as it really is. 

All the best elements are present in this touching, funny and sensitive piece where we are party to the often mudane, and occasionally explosive ins and outs of 50 something Eric who is trying to hold it all together despite being a lone step father dealing with unruly teenagers, whilst trying to help his teenage daughter cope with College and motherhood. 

His mates at work in the Post Office provide him with some off the wall “support”, Jon Henshaw is priceless as a guy with all the best intentions who tries just that bit too hard but when, after smoking his son’s spliff the one and only Eric Cantona turns up as Eric’s confidante only then does our man start to confront his demons. 

All protagonists in the film, including our hero’s connection to his beloved daughter’s past then experience a swift and shocking brush with real Manchester gang culture life, but a Cantona inspired session of truth and awe produce a denouemnent of bitter sweet comedy. 

This is a film bathed in pathos, irony, but ultimatley speaks volumes for the success and humour ordinary people who should be who we in the Labour Party are “for” feeling betrayed by 13 years of our Labour Government where because of the obession with Daily Mail Land “the many” live in Arcacia Ave, AnyTown and “the few” live with the sickening worry of not enough money to feed and clothe their kids, never mind getting on the property ladder. 

Too much bowing a scrapping to big business left a legacy of £120 billion being poured into the Banks, Vodaphone scamming the taxman to the tune of £6 billion, over £100 billion a year in tax aviodance by the top 200 listed companies in the City, and Barclay’s paying a desultory 2% in tax on their obscene profits. 

The electorate are sick of it. Enough is enough. When Barack Obama was “smeared” as a Socialist by the McCain Campaign his ratings went UP! Ed Miliband should watch and learn. £9 billion to sort pensions, £3 billion for free Third Level education for all, £10 billion to get our chronic housing shortage sorted. Small beer when you consider how the City has been shafting the UK people, mostly on our watch in Government.


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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