Director's Diary

The Authors of The Spirit Level

One thing we’re aware of with this production is the distinct lack of women included in our interview process. Sure, there have been one or two, but men have dominated the filming time so far, by far. I realise it’s a cultural thing – men enjoy far more encouragement to engage in many political activities than women – and it’s certainly not my style to put people in the film as token gestures, but it’s still really bloody annoying. A lot of our planned interviews that fell through also happened to be women, which was very unfortunate.

So we were really glad that we didn’t just get to interview Richard Wilkinson, but also Kate Pickett, authors of The Spirit Level, today at the University of York, which I might add is a very nice campus – it reminds me of Canadian universities.

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The rapport the couple have is very apparent; they’re not just on the same page, but have an intuition about who answers which question and how to lead on to each other’s comments, which made it very easy for me, since in ten years I’ve had hardly any interviews with two people at the same time.

Their contribution focused on the facts – which they were clear were not just their views, but empirically researched factual reports – on why we have a better society when income inequalities are less prominent. Some of their evidence for this in the face of my challenging questioning was incredibly impressive and hard to argue with.

In the final film, we’ll see exactly why what the current British government is doing is absolutely catastrophic long-term, and has no factual basis to support its divisive policies.

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