“I, Daniel Blake” is legitimate social commentary, and the tension between fiction and reality is not as sharp or absolute as sneering conservatives assert. Not only is the story based on strong research into real life experience, it is also a biopic: if “I, Daniel Blake” is fictitious, then so is “Titanic”. Such is the level of malicious ludicrousness the Tories steep to in order to smear the victims of their policies.
Any student of A Level literature will remember how the allegories of fictional poetry in the romantic canon were supposed to elicit deep meditation and reflection on real social issues. To say “Daniel Blake is not a documentary” to negate its social commentary is to show wilful ignorance of British literary and social history, which conservatives still believe is their exclusive domain. If “I, Daniel Blake” has no relevance to British History, then nor does “In Flander’s Field.”
Another Blake, by name of William, is famous for his vast, dense, grandiose mythological worlds, and is yet the preeminent romantic social critic. Read “The Chimneysweep” and try to defend the view that fiction has no relation to social reality. Just as The Chimneysweep is fated to his “coffin of black,” so too is Daniel Blake, fated to a grim destiny arbitrated by a callous government.
Like great works before it, “I, Daniel Blake” uses fiction as a prism on reality, and is informed by real human experience. Conservatives are at liberty to say what they like, just as we are at liberty to prove why they are categorically wrong. If they read as much as they pretend to, they would realise why their quibbling with the status of “I Daniel, Blake,” is, ultimately, meaningless.