The north east is arguably no less of a bleak hinterland today, entering a new period of marginalisation and decline. Even before the coalition came to power, the signs were not good. As the noughties unwound, people began to twig that the cosmetic overhaul of the Blair years, which saw regeneration projects all over Tyneside, was little more than a superficial makeover, a hollow PR enterprise funded by private-finance initiatives and bolstered by champagne socialist hubris.
• Alex Niven
• guardian.co.uk, Friday 3 June 2011
Thus encouraged, filmmakers produced work from a liberal, middle class perspective for liberal, middle class audiences that was occasionally about, but not for, the working class. Reflective of Blair’s mandate for a classless society - which, paradoxically, meant assimilation into a middle class one - and supported by ministers riding a populist, sanitised wave of ‘Cool Britannia’, films such as Billy Elliot (2000) became well-publicised, roaring successes.
The allegation that liberals view social realist film like intellectual issues in abstract thought raises questions about whose interest a narrative serves. Billy, aspiring to be a ballet dancer against the backdrop of the 1984-85 Miners Strike, must ultimately relocate to the middle class south to live happily. His embourgeoisement implies that working class culture is incapable of nurturing a desirable mode of existence.
Clive James Nwonka, Red Pepper June/July 2011