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Submitted by Ieuan Cox on Mon, 11/07/2016 - 12:18

Promotion picture for I, Daniel Blake

Ken Loach’s latest film, I, Daniel Blake, is a damning indictment of Tory Britain. Set in Newcastle, it follows the title character’s struggle to negotiate the bureaucracy of the benefits system after suffering a major heart attack. Daniel, played by Dave Johns, is declared fit to work by a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) “healthcare professional” and ineligible for Employment and Support Allowance, despite the advice of his doctors. Loach skilfully contrasts the obstinate, uncaring culture of the Job Centre with the compassion of ordinary people to produce a heart-wrenching, anger-inducing call to arms.

Early in the film, Daniel befriends Katie, a single mother of two, after she is ‘sanctioned’ for arriving minutes late for her appointment at the Job Centre, despite having only just arrived in Newcastle. Both characters are determined to find work, with Katie considering taking an Open University course, but they are repeatedly treated by the system as scroungers and cheats. Though Daniel has years of experience as a carpenter, he is forced to jump through hoops such as a CV workshop and online job-searches in order to claim Job Seeker’s Allowance. His lack of computer literacy is overlooked entirely by the Job

Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths Campus, New CrossGoldsmiths has this week released a report showing the extent of the attainment gap between Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students and their White counterparts, stating: ‘White students consistently perform better than all other ethnicities’. This information, published in an eleven-page report by Goldsmiths’ Strategic Planning and Projects, was released as a result of a Freedom of Information request made by The Leopard.

According to the report, in the 2016-17 academic year 29% of White students graduated with a first class degree, whilst only 12% of Asian students and 10% of Black students achieved the same grade. In the 2015-16 academic year the difference was even greater, with 25% of White students graduating with a first, compared to 9% of Asians students and a staggering 2% of Black students. 

Looking at the two top grades together, 91% of White students graduated with a first or a 2:1 in the 2016-17 academic year, compared to 73% of Asian students and 69% of Black students. In 2015-16, 88% of White students received a first or a 2:1, with 70% of Asian students and just 58% of Black students getting those same top grades.

The report goes on to state: ‘Good honours [i.e. a first or 2:1]