I can stand injustice when it is imposed on me, but I cannot and will not stand to see it imposed on other people. This may be a feature film but make no mistake; there is little fiction here. 

I was a soldier and willingly risked my life for the ideals of freedom, justice and equality. It is absolutely apparent that these words meant nothing to the institutions that drilled them into me, hijacking the very best qualities in me to use for the very worst of purposes. They stole my good intentions and robbed me of my integrity. I want it back. 

I see now that violence is no answer to violence, or indeed to anything else; I have learned that fighting tyranny, injustice and inequality does not require it. Pain is a consequence of any fighting and I have borne my fair share so far. Yet here I stand, and here I shall remain until I and all those suffering at the hands of the “powerful” are heard. I am a human being. I am good, I am evil and everything in between. So are you. Inside all of us are pockets of light and dark. What we see of others is merely a reflection of what they have experienced themselves. I don’t believe there are good people or bad people. Just people. Some are well balanced; most are not. Nobody can help what they are born into and nobody has any real control over how they are raised and what shapes them into the adults they are. What sense does it make then to judge anybody for faults that we all possess to some degree? To return from a negative position, we need to add the positive. Piling on more negativity only worsens the situation. 

The government we have in place is failing the majority of us. Since we elected them, being a democracy and all, this means we too are failing. Failing ourselves as individuals, failing each other. I do not seek to ignite fear, hatred or even anger. I seek only what I risked my life for, freedom, justice and equality - for ALL. I do not wish to see the disbanding of government, or even removal of those in power. They make mistakes, as do we all, and they must be shown the beauty of our world in order to believe it exists - as do we all. We learn most from our mistakes, so to me, making people afraid to make mistakes is essentially making people afraid of learning. How can we progress as individuals, as a “society” or as a human race if we are afraid to learn? I wish to see those in positions of authority behave like happy human beings. The fact that they don’t seem to be able to, speaks only to the experiences of their lives. If I judge these people for their mistakes instead of trying to help rectify them, then my behavior is no better than theirs, and I have no business complaining when they impose similar injustice on me. It is their ignorance of humanity, the burden of responsibility and immersion in the toxic environment of aristocracy and privilege that their lack of empathy emanates from. By virtue of their limited experience of this world and the constant pressure to make things work efficiently (in a broken system) they are losing their own humanity, and the loss of this is a tragedy in any circumstance. I have no real knowledge of the burdens or pain they carry, just like they have none of mine. They need help to admit and understand their own issues, just like I need it to understand my own. We need to help each other, we need to re-connect with one another. 

The system we have in place is not perfect, nor are the people who fill the roles within it, so our only real choice is to make what we have work better. Violence only causes my pain to both sides. Aggression only causes pain to both sides. Fear only causes pain to both sides. It seems that where there are sides, there is pain. Dominance and control mean that the power attained by one is at the expense of somebody else. Why? Why do we allow these pyramidal power structures to flourish in such abundance? Our world needs leaders and our world needs followers. Our world needs thinkers and our world needs doers. Our world needs positive deeds and our world needs negative deeds, or else how would we have any appreciation for the good? Instead of ridiculing, fearing, disliking or otherwise shunning those with different qualities to our own, can we not rekindle our curiosity in the beauty of humanity and learn from each other once more? 

Great Britain once had an empire built essentially on bullying those weaker; a tradition that still remains. Now that empire is crumbling, as all empires built on tyranny crumble, but the methods used to build and sustain it are the basis of our ruling class’ mentality. They have evolved from open brutality to something much more dangerous; institutional corruption at almost every level of society. Without an abundance of other “uncivilized” countries to openly inflict their illness on, the powerful now satisfy their addictions on their last remaining lands - including the UK. Attitude reflects leadership, and away from the artificial lighting and half-life of offices and schools, grows a darkness that threatens to consume us all eventually; unless we start taking the maintenance of our system(s) seriously. 

I, Daniel Blake opens at FACT today. Book your tickets here!