Editorial: Bravo, Ken Loach – please accept our medal instead

 

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It is always reassuring when someone in the public eye turns out to be all of a piece. One such is the TV and film director Ken Loach, who has just proved once again that you cannot put a cigarette paper between his art, his life and his beliefs.

He has caused a bit of a fuss by turning down a premier award at the Turin Film Festival after learning of wage and staff cuts at the event's chief sponsor, the National Museum of Cinema. The festival retaliated by cancelling its screening of his latest film, The Angels' Share.

In a characteristically forthright statement, Mr Loach said that it would be "weak and hypocritical" to accept the award – hypocritical not only because of his personal politics, but because his film Bread and Roses featured a campaign by office cleaners to join a trade union in defence of their rights. This, he observed, was exactly the situation at the cinema museum in Turin, where cleaning and security are being outsourced to a private company with all the predictable results.

So we salute Ken Loach for putting his principles before the Gran Premio Torino, and hope he continues to speak out in support of those who otherwise struggle to be heard.

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