23/05/2016 14:29 BST | Updated 23/05/2016 14:50 BST

Ken Loach Quotes Shows The Palme D’Or Winner Has Always Spoken His Mind

Thatcher, poverty and the OBE he turned down.

Ken Loach accepted his second Palme D’Or at Cannes Film Festival on Sunday with a rousing speech attacking the “dangerous project of austerity”.

The theme of his winning film, 'I, Daniel Blake', is the failings of the UK’s welfare system which means the "most vulnerable people are told their poverty is their own fault".

The veteran director's career has spanned six decades and during that time the 79-year-old has always been vocal in his criticism of those in power. 

Eric Gaillard / Reuters
Director Ken Loach, Palme d'Or award winner for his film "I, Daniel Blake", reacts during the closing ceremony of the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes


1) On rhetoric.

The most depressing thing is the political slogan: there is no alternative. But there is.2009

2) On Thatcher.

About Thatcher's death: Let's privatise her funeral. Put it out on competitive tender and accept the cheapest bid. That's what she would have wanted.2013

Loach added: "Margaret Thatcher was the most divisive and destructive Prime Minister of modern times.

"Mass Unemployment, factory closures, communities destroyed – this is her legacy. She was a fighter and her enemy was the British working class. Her victories were aided by the politically corrupt leaders of the Labour Party and of many Trades Unions. It is because of policies begun by her that we are in this mess today.

"Other prime ministers have followed her path, notably Tony Blair. She was the organ grinder, he was the monkey.

"Remember she called Mandela a terrorist and took tea with the torturer and murderer Pinochet."



3) On honours.

I turned down the OBE because its not a club you want to join when you look at the villains who've got it. Its all the things I think are despicable: patronage, deferring to the monarchy and the name of the British Empire, which is a monument of exploitation and conquest.2001
Daniel Blake, left, played by Dave Johns and the single mother, played by Hayley Squires

4) On migrants.

You'll get unsociable people whatever the nationality, colour, race or creed. I guess the British abroad have probably got the worst record of anyone.2007

5) On the DWP.

I think we have to look again at this whole cruel sanctions and benefits system which is out to tell the poor that their poverty is their own fault and if they don’t have a job it’s because they’re incompetent or useless. I think there’s a despair and an anger in people who are facing this and those who are trying to support them. The fact that we now accept food banks as part of our national scene and it’s there and it accepted, this is really unacceptable, isn’t it?2016
Anthony Harvey/PA Archive
Ken Loach with the Palme D'Or award for his film The Wind That Shakes The Barley, at the 59th Cannes Film Festival from the Palais des Festival, Cannes, France, 2006

6) On the poor.

The most vulnerable people are told their poverty is their own fault. If you have no work it is your fault that you haven’t got a job. It is shocking. It is not an issue just for people in our country, it is throughout Europe and there is a conscious cruelty in the way we are organising our lives now.2016

7) On extremism.

We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible. When there is despair, the people from the far right take advantage. We must say that another world is possible and necessary.2016

8) On capitalism.

[After World War 2] The consciousness was: we've achieved things and we have things that will never be taken away from us, like the health service, like public ownership of the mines, of the transport, of the gas, electric - it was ours. And now, that's gone, we've just given it away... Allowed politicians to give it to their friends. And the cult of the individual, from '79 onwards, which New Labour has followed and which dominated the party, has just killed that. So the consciousness now is not: 'How can we work together?' It's: 'How can I get on, at the expense of you?' So that's pretty horrible.2013
British film and television director Ken Loach, right, receives the Lumiere Award from the hands of former French football player and actor Eric Cantona, left, during the 4th edition of the Lumiere festival, in Lyon, central France, in October 2012

9) On cinema.

It made me realise that cinema could be about ordinary people and their dilemmas. It wasn't a film about stars, or riches or absurd adventures.2010
Joss Barratt/PA Archive
A still from the film The Wind that Shakes the Barley with Padraic Delaney opposite Cillian Murphy

10) On the London riots.

I think the underlying factors regarding the riots are plain for anyone with eyes to see ... It seems to me any economic structure that could give young people a future has been destroyed. Traditionally young people would be drawn into the world of work, and into groups of adults who would send the boys for a lefthanded screwdriver, or a pot of elbow grease, and so they'd be sent up in that way, but they would also learn about responsibilities, and learn a trade, and be defined by their skills. Well, they destroyed that. Thatcher destroyed that. She consciously destroyed the workforces in places like the railways, for example, and the mines, and the steelworks ... so that transition from adolescence to adulthood was destroyed, consciously, and knowingly.2011

11) On change.

They live life very vividly, and the stakes are very high if you don't have a lot of money to cushion your life. Also, because they're the front line of what we came to call the class war. Either through being workers without work, or through being exploited where they were working. And I guess for a political reason, because we felt, and I still think, that if there is to be change, it will come from below. It won't come from people who have a lot to lose, it will come from people who will have everything to gain.2013