Left-wing director rallies to the clause

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Indy Politics
Hard on the heels of the the Defend Clause IV campaign comes Clause IV: The Movie, the Ken Loach/Labour left production that received its premiere yesterday in a Westminster conference room.

Alan Simpson, secretary of the left-wing Campaign Group of MPs, said the 22-minute video had been shot in just one and a half days. According to less charitable souls at the screening, it showed.

But the point for Mr Loach, whose films include Kes, Hidden Agenda and Ladybird Ladybird, was to even up the arguments. Tony Blair's video, calling for the clause to be scrapped, has been widely distributed by Labour's Walworth Road HQ.

Contributors to the new film include the left-wing Guardian writer Seamus Milne, who occupied about five minutes of footage, and Noam Chomsky, the internationally renowned radical, declaring that market systems promoted inequality. Minor stars included the unnamed security officer telling how he had earned £1.20 an hour guarding an opencast mine when his guard dog was getting £3 an hour.

Another left-wing journalist, Paul Laverty, a member of the Socialist Movement but not of the Labour Party, is shown for "democratic control of capital" saying: "The only way to control the movement of capital is common ownership, and saying that does not make me a dinosaur."

The other highlight of the launch was an impromptu debate on Mr Loach's party bona fides, prompted by a party official's disclosure to reporters that he was not a paid-up member.

Mr Loach told reporters he had been a party member "since before Harold Wilson was prime minister" - but conceded his membership "may well" have lapsed. "The local secretary has long since ceased to collect subs ... I really resent just simply giving my Visa card to Walworth Road and saying `OK, you subtract what you want' and having no local organisation."

Later, Michael Fabricant, a Tory member of the Commons national heritage select committee, asked John Major, at Prime Minister's questions, whether he would nominate for an Oscar the "nostalgic romp, looking at the nationalised car industry and the nationalised steel yards", which possibly featured a "romantic look at Red Robbo". Mr Major thought not, although he added that it was the sort of film that deserved a very wide circulation.