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A meeting of minds

Famous actor Mel Gibson said, “Fucking Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world”, but give him a break, he was drunk at the time. And he was sorry afterwards, like he always is.

Famous director Ken Loach was presumably sober and certainly unapologetic when he said, “If there has been a rise [in anti-semitism] I am not surprised. In fact, it is perfectly understandable because Israel feeds feelings of anti-Semitism.”

What a wonderful coming-together this ceremony yesterday must have been:

Cannes 2016: Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake wins Palme d’Or

Accepting the festival’s top prize from actor Mel Gibson, Loach said: “We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible.

“The world we live in is at a dangerous point right now. We are in the grip of a dangerous project of austerity driven by ideas that we call neo-liberalism that have brought us to near catastrophe.”

Gibson to present, Loach to receive this prize: the judges’ choice at the world’s leading film festival.

22 comments to A meeting of minds

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Loach: rhymes with roach.

  • Mr Ecks

    Gibson is a drunk and was raised to his beliefs by his mental case of a Father. As far as I know he has never harmed any Jews–just talked drunken bollocks while in a middle-aged “crisis”. I am inclined to be more forgiving of Gibson’s failings.

    Loach on the other hand is not–as far as I know–a substance abuser. He is an individual who ignores vast evidence of the evil of his cause and continues to promote it.

    A bucket of shite–mixed with human blood–is the only “award” Loach deserves.

  • Andrew Duffin

    To channel the great Dalrymple:

    “The idea that living within your means is a form of austerity, and not…the elementary moral duty of people of honour, shows that, underlying the economic crisis is a profound moral crisis in western society.”

    And of course, the luvvies are at the forefront as ever.

  • Cal

    The BBC article in the link says that the film “documents what happens when an older man living in Newcastle has a heart attack and can no longer do his job. He is declared fit for work, meaning his benefits are stopped, and he begins to go hungry.”

    I don’t get this. His disability benefits may be stopped if he’s fit for work, but why wouldn’t he get unemployment benefits?

  • pete

    Certain extreme views are acceptable to ‘liberals’.

    For example, the BBC gave Cat Stevens an award for his music. His robust views on the Salman Rushdie affair were no problem at all.

  • Greytop

    It may be a great film, but I bet I can’t be arsed to watch it. Probably my terrible aversion to lefty ignorance, political dogma and boredom, all mixed in together.

  • Watchman


    Whilst I am normally happy to criticise the BBC, if you are making an award for music, then the views of the the person making it are irrelevant. Likewise, Cannes are perfectly within their rights to make a film award to an apparent anti-semite on the basis of a film (not anti-semetic presumably – although I don’t watch Ken Loach for the sake of my sanity so I couldn’t tell you).

    There is a danger in criticising the making of awards (and to be fair, Natalie avoids this in her post) on the basis of views, as it ends up very rapidly becoming a no-platforming position.

  • Cal

    Cat Stevens ‘lifetime achievement’ award at the BBC Folk Awards was made because of his views, not in spite of them. I mean, he had a few pop hits in the 60’s and 70’s, then gave up music for 30 years — yes, 30 YEARS — before releasing a few albums from the mid-2000s. How is that a ‘lifetime achievement’?

    You can’t tell me that the BBC would have had any interest in him had he been a conservative who had taken 30 years off to breed racing greyhounds.

    Film awards are also often made on the basis of rewarding political views that are popular in the film community. Okay, I haven’t seen the film. Maybe it really is amazing. But are you really going to tell me that this was the best film at Cannes?

  • The good news is that, even when a martyr’s death is not their goal, modern anti-semites are less efficient than the Nazis at inflicting many casualties on their targets while suffering far fewer themselves. The Wermacht was very good at that, and of course the final solution was notoriously efficient; my poem envisages a slower process in today’s Germany (though in time more complete if things go on as they are). I also think their propagandists lack Goebbels’ flair, though the difference there is less marked.

    For the bad news, compare today with Churchill’s mid-30s quote: “The opposition are very free-spoken, as are most of us in this country, on the conduct of the German Nazi Government. Noone has been more severe than the Labour party or that section of the Liberal party that I see sitting opposite. And their great newspapers … have been the most forward in the severity …” all of which he pointed out during Labour’s vote of censure against increasing the strength of the 1930s Royal Air Force, since it meant that the left-wing policy for getting anywhere with their free-spoken criticism was that “we are to disarm our friends, we are to have no allies, we are to affront powerful nations, and we are to neglect our own defences entirely.”

    Today, these same parties and papers are still all for the (no-)defence policy Churchill mocks, but without any of the free-spokenness against those who think that Hitler left some Jews so we’d know why he killed them. Instead, they made it a crime for us to be free-spoken about it.

  • (Churchill quotes above are from the debate on the Labour vote of censure, reproduced in Churchill, The Second Word War, Vol I ‘The locust Years’ chapter VII.)

  • pete

    Watchman, I’d like to agree with you but I can’t because the system only works one way.

    If Nigel Farage wrote music to rival Mozart’s he’d still never get a BBC music award.

  • Elia Kazan should have raped a girl like Roman Polanski did instead of naming Communists. Hollywood would have loved him then.

  • Paul Marks

    I do not believe that Mr Loach has ever told the truth – about any subject.

    The fact that the international cultural elite celebrates this person, shows just how degenerate the culture has become.

  • Josh B

    Isn’t the mantra of Loach types that criticism of Israel does not equal anti-semitism? So how can it be that Israel’s actions can be a justification for anti-semitism?

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    I know that ‘Liberal’ means different things in different lands. In Australia, the pro-business party calls itself the Liberal party. So what would ‘neo-liberal’ mean? Is there such a thing?

  • Only in Canada did the old Tory and Whig (i.e. Liberal) parties survive in more-or-less their traditional relationship. In the US, the Tories were destroyed by the war for independence and the Whigs were destroyed by the civil war, leaving the old Democrats facing the new Republicans. In the UK, the Liberals died in the inter-war years, leaving Labour facing the Tories. Australia’s history I’m less well-informed about; it shows the same general feature: European countries have multi-party systems whereas English-speaking one have two party systems; multi-party states indicate a realignment, usually returning to the status quo, occasionally presaging the death of one party at the hands of another.

    “When one of the factions is extinguished, the remainder subdivideth.” – into many parties on the continent but usually only two in the English-speaking world.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray, it isn’t just in Australia that “neo-liberal” is a term with no clear referent beyond “person who like the vast majority of people in the developed world but unlike the speaker is not some sort of communist”. You see, the prefix “neo” has been associating with neo-Nazis so some of the Naziness rubbed off. This means neo-whatever doesn’t mean “new-whatever” any more, it means Nazi-whatever but in a nicely deniable way.

    The good thing is that without realising it, by using “neo-liberal” as a term of abuse, these guys are slowly undoing the very successful hijacking of the word “liberal” by their progressive predecessors.

  • Watchman


    I’m not saying the awards aren’t biased. I’m saying that independent organisations are perfectly at liberty to make biased awards. For us to complain is for us to censor (and yes, stopping anti-semites receiving awards is censorship, even if the intent is good).

    The issue here is also by complaining about the recipients you are giving value to awards that serve to reinforce existing groups – no award made by an industry is likely to be awarded to the disruptors in that industry (although some Music awards do try, but face the same bias issues). The only true award is commercial success, as this is how you measure popular reaction – by these means, Mr Islam is quite successful, but Mr Loach not really (although I am not sure he is dependent on state money – some people do like him). So if you focus on the awards and complain about them, you legitimise the groups making the awards ability to be seen as adjudicators of taste in that area, rather than a small section of the industry who have been asked (or taken it on themselves in the BBC case) to inform others of their views. Better just dismiss the whole charade than buy into the sense of self-worth and importance of those making the awards.

  • Watchman, May 24, 2016 at 11:28 am: “I’m not saying the awards aren’t biased. I’m saying that independent organisations are perfectly at liberty to make biased awards. For us to complain is for us to censor”

    No, for Natalie and the rest of us to notice the hypocrisy of those who _do_ censor is for us to exercise free speech, in defiance of the “you can’t say that” police. “You can’t point out my contradictions” is an aspect of “You can’t say that”.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Watchman, I resolutely deny that I am subjecting anyone to censorship. I am subjecting them to vituperative personal abuse. Quite different.

  • Laird

    Watchman, “censorship” is preventing or suppressing speech; merely criticizing speech is the antithesis of censorship. Your comment that “[f]or us to complain is for us to censor” is completely wrong and indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of censorship. And I would go farther and argue that the only form of censorship which is objectionable is that imposed by government. If the owners of this blog choose to delete this post, or otherwise prevent me from offering comments here, I might complain but I would acknowledge that it is entirely their right to do so. But if the UK government were to do the same, it would be highly objectionable.

    I agree with you that “independent organisations are perfectly at liberty to make biased awards.” And other independent organizations, and individuals, are perfectly at liberty to criticize them, and to call out that bias. That’s what free speech is all about.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird and Natalie: Exactly.