Paul is the screenwriter for I Daniel Blake, and lots of other award-winning films. Here he is taking part in a Q and A following a screening of I Daniel Blake hosted by the SUWN at Dundee University. His research for the film included a day spent with our group talking to people at our stall outside Dundee jobcentre and afterwards in the pub, which he recalled with heartrending detail in the preface to our book. As he described yesterday, as well as talking to the casualties of the system and the people who are working with them and fighting for change, he was able to discuss with whistle-blowers from within the DWP. And, like us, he stresses that the system’s cruelties are not just bureaucratic incompetence but the result of a deliberate policy to make it harder to have a decent life, or even survive, on benefits.
Councillor Jimmy Black, who chaired the Q and A, was chair of Dundee’s Fairness Commission. We were glad to hear him tell people again that it was our stalls that prompted the Council to bring their own welfare rights workers into the jobcentre.
For us it was an opportunity not just to re-watch a powerful film that accurately depicts the cruelties of the ‘welfare’ bureaucracy with both humour and genuine humanity, but also a chance to suggest a positive direction for people’s anger at the system it depicts. There were well over 200 people there, including people with their own horrific tales from the DWP, and a lot of students. Even if only a few of them join us in our advocacy and campaigns, that could make a real difference.
(We have a follow up meeting to discuss the advocacy work for anyone interested from 7-9pm at Dundee’s new Butterfly Café in Commercial Street, opposite Waterstones, on Monday 30th January.)
Thank you to Chris Scott Photography for the pictures
After the meeting