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Why does the Minister of State for Culture find it so hard to congratulate Ken Loach for winning a Palme d'Or?

Dave Calhoun

Back in February, Ed Vaizey the Minister of State for Culture, and so the government politician closest to the film industry, was gushing in his praise for British winners at the Oscars – singling out Sam Smith and Mark Rylance for hearty congratulations.

Last night, British filmmaker Ken Loach won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for 'I, Daniel Blake'. It's one of the film world's highest honours – an accolade admired and envied the world over. It's the second time that Loach has won the prize: he won in 2006 too for 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley'. So how did the Culture Minister react on Twitter this time? A hearty congrats to Loach? A slap on the back for highlighting British culture on the world stage? Er, no: a mysterious tweet in which he can't even bring himself to mention the name of Loach or his film.

Followed by some non-committal retweets of the news being reported elsewhere.

That's very different to the approach that Vaizey has taken before when British cultural icons achieve big success.

Let's look at that 'congratulations' tweet to Ken Loach again, shall we?

So why the half-hearted congratulations? Surely it's nothing to do with the subject of the film? 'I, Daniel Blake' tells of two people who become friends when they both find themselves feeling the sharp end of austerity Britain. Loach takes a damning swipe at recent benefit cuts and the dehumanising bureaucracy of David Cameron's Britain. Here's a quote from our four-star review.

Maybe it's just not Vaizey's kind of movie?

Anyway, we asked Vaizey why he hadn't congratulated Loach yet and he referred us to his non-committal tweet and his earlier retweets of others' praise.

Either that, or maybe he'd sent a personal note of congratulations directly to the filmmakers? If so, Loach's production company still haven't seen it…

Anyway, congratulations Ken Loach! Not so hard is it…

Check out our full guide to Cannes Film Festival.

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