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An Evening with Ken Loach – can we rekindle the Spirit of ’45?


“We have a sliver of opportunity with Jeremy Corbyn”, says Ken Loach. “If it continues to catch fire, if he gets in with a thumping majority. The objective reality is in our favour. People know when they’re being robbed. We have to tap into that. People in 1945 were saying 'we want to live in a world where society is based on mutual support, on kindness.' We are our brother’s keeper.”

Loach’s powerful documentary ‘The Spirit of ‘45’ tells how the spirit of unity which buoyed Britain during the Second World War carried through into peacetime to a vision of a fairer, united society and how that vision created  the Welfare State: the NHS, education for all, decent housing, improved working conditions and a unified transport system.

Told through archive footage and the memories of those who lived through it, ‘Spirit of ‘45’  holds up an irresistible mirror to our own age of declining social security and austerity. “I was aware that generation were dying, they were being written out of history,” he explained “Their words were very moving. We heard it in the 20th century, in the 1930s 'there is no alternative to austerity'. It isn’t true.”

Asked how he thought we ourselves could harness the ‘spirit of ‘45’ in the fight for against austerity, he replied: “I have no greater wisdom than anyone here. Membership of the Labour Party has trebled. Jeremy Corbyn uses the term ‘we’ rather than ‘I’.” It’s all about collective strength. We’ve all got to make it happen. Talk to each other, use social media.

There will be a wave of dirty tricks, he forecasts and calls for a reform of the media.

“We must reform the media, there must be a law to regulate the press.” He advocates a co-operative structure of all media workers from deciding editorial policy to producing the print, broaddcast and digital media. After all, why should people like Rothermere, the Barclay brothers and Murdoch be the ones to decide what information people get?

"We shouldn’t give up on the mainstream media, we should reform it. And we need a new generation of MPs.”

The event, held at Derby Quad, was organised by Momentum Derbyshire

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