In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis.
Browse content similar to 04/01/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Is that the low rumble of an earthquake we can hear,
rattling the Elysee Palace, shaking up France?
Could she really win the Presidential election in 2017?
And what on earth would she do if she did?
But even if she loses France could be changing direction.
We'll try to work out where the country
is going and what it means for the rest of us?
You to continue to look for work or your benefit
The sanctions regime: life for those who've had welfare
Ken Loach, the maker of I, Daniel Blake,
will be here to discuss whether benefit sanctions have a place.
They come from the same background, maybe they went to the same
And they work together to build a brilliant company but then at some
point they realise they need to start focusing on people
who didn't come from the same background as them and did not go
to the same university and do not look like them.
How the royalty of Silicon Valley are coping in America.
We know President Hollande will not be in power after May.
What is to be determined is who will replace him.
Marine Le Pen of the Front National hopes to pull a Trump-like shock,
and to that end, she has been putting flesh on her policy platform
The big news is that she's inserted some nuance
She's no longer saying France must come out.
But she is for change, and even accepting that she'll
probably fail to win, France could take a radically
Our diplomatic editor, Mark Urban reports.
For many French, the Front National, the National Front, and its former
leader Jean Marie Le Pen, had become like the baddies in a graphic
novel, there to menace, but never to win.
But his daughter has sought to rebrand the party, shed its racist
I think she has done extremely well in detoxifying,
that's the word she uses, the Front National brand and saying,
"I'm not an extremist, I do not make nasty
jokes about the Holocaust and parties like mine
"Look at Ukip, look at Brexit, look at Trump in America".
"It is perfectly normal to vote for me,
I'm just a politician, except that I'm different from the others".
Le Pen's platform unveiled during recent days has a take
back control feel to it, restoring sovereignty of
the economy, she says, being more protectionist of the territory of
France itself, imposing permanent border controls and of monetary
policy, reintroducing the franc, albeit pegged to wider European
currencies in a kind of new exchange rate mechanism, a more moderate
message than some of her recent pronouncements
She's not going for hard Frexit, she's trying to explain
to the electorate that she wants to renegotiate things with Europe.
She is doing this probably because she wants to reach
beyond her traditional electoral base.
If Marine Le Pen is to win, she has got to leap a whole series
of hurdles, from appealing to voters who usually stay at home to racing
through a crowded presidential field, and indeed,
With the party short of cash, it may seek another loan from
Russia, a country the party leader has been reluctant to criticise.
The Front National has a storeyed past of aligning themselves
Marine Le Pen's stepmother and her father got money
They campaigned heavily for Saddam Hussein, saying that he was
misunderstood, a bit like Bashar al-Assad today,
and a beacon of secularism in the Middle East.
And strangely enough, it has not harmed her.
Received political opinion suggests she may
get to the last two for a second-round vote, as indeed her
But it will be very hard for her to clinch victory.
But then again, that's received opinion, based on polls,
and one French paper announced yesterday that it
TRANSLATION: We realise that pollsters did not predict several
big events - Brexit in Great Britain, Trump in the US.
In France, we have primaries on the right and
we didn't expect Nicolas Sarkozy to be eliminated in the first round.
We all thought Alain Juppe would win.
That's what the polls were telling us.
But it was Francois Fillon who won, and nobody
Francois Fillon, now leading the polls, is a man of
He may well cast doubt on Marine Le Pen's values,
or even suggest she's not so different from her father.
She is suddenly looking not as the newcomer,
as she would hope, but somebody who has tried again and again to be
elected, while Francois Fillon was prime minister for five years
and is now the favourite, the newcomer.
She didn't expect him to win the primary.
So this is a new battle for her and it is dangerous
Mobilising people against an establishment candidate
will still provide Le Pen with plenty of options, and the success
of her messages on border controls and leaving the single currency may
yet produce in France a huge challenge to the European project.
Joining me now are Benedicte Paviot, the UK correspondent for France 24,
and Philippe Marliere, Professor of French and European Politics
at University College, London.
I want to start by getting you to reflect on the Front National, they
seem to have softened enormously. Should we think of them as the
Fascist party or the French Ukip? It is more the French Ukip but it is a
different animal to Ukip. There is very much the question of identity,
this is across the French spectrum, people are concerned about security
and France is still under a state of emergency, about immigration. And
that is they are concerned, very high unemployment, France has almost
10%. The economy is not doing very well, so it is difficult and people
are finding it very hard to get by. But I wouldn't compare and Nigel
Farage doesn't like her thinking they are in the same boat. He has
never said a word against, he said, but he has criticised her father.
Would you call them a fascist party? She is very astute in her language,
so she is able to appeal to people who would be described as probably
fascist but she is careful, unlike her father, not to generally say
things, although she has been in trouble herself, whether it is about
Muslims and also about the Holocaust. Do you think of them as
the Fascist party? Or Ukip? It is hard-core them a fascist party today
-- it is hard to call them a fascist party today, although their roots
are in the far right, and they are clearly an extreme far right party,
but they have softened the image, the brand, because of Le Pen
herself, the message is soft, but when you look at the core policies
it is about immigration and law and order. Identity politics. It is
still about Islam posing a major threat to French identity. The have
-- these have been very important in other elections, like in America. If
many French voters think they are a fascist party, they will think they
will never vote for them, but if you look at the policies you have
described, populist economics, sovereignty, national control, you
could see people voting for that, couldn't you? It would appeal to the
mainstream? It is a difficult question, opinion polls have said
for the majority of people the Front National remains a party which is a
threat to French democracy. That is very clear. It is not a normal party
in that respect, but if you want to see it as a fascist party along the
lines of the Nazis in Germany or Mussolini, there are differences,
clearly. Let's talk about the Front National, being parked between Ukip
and more extreme, but Francois Fillon, he is not a normal French
candidate, he's quite right wing. Thatcherite. Which the French don't
like. Very socially conservative. Yes. Francois Fillon, I would not
agree with your reporter, he's a known quantity, he would like to
present himself as a newcomer, but the French people know him very
well. He was a Prime Minister under Nicolas Sarkozy and we should point
out that it is quite a surprise that we are sitting here at the end of
November... He was not seen at all by the polls as the favourite to be
the Conservative candidate, but he is the official candidate in what
was a very successful first time exercise for the French
Conservatives to do these primaries, that is the... Be socialists did
that at the last election, they will go through their second exercise. It
was very successful because they got millions of people do come out and
vote and we ended up, not with another former Conservative Prime
Minister, we got Francois Fillon, who has a track record, and is a
known quantity. He has parked his tanks very firmly on the right,
which is a slight problem for Marine Le Pen. She had geared herself up to
be dealing with Alain Juppe. He's not doing well in the polls, though.
Ever since his victory, which was very good, and the expulsion in
third place of the former President Nicholas Sarkozy, he has been
completely silent and 53% of the French people feel he has been to
silent and he has disappeared, you can't afford to do that. And that he
should also change some of its policies. What is going on in
France? We have not spoken about the Socialists, no one seems to be
bothered by them in this election. Is it cultural or economic question
mark it is very simple, the Francois Hollande presidency has been a
fiasco, really, there's a strong rejection of what Francois Hollande
and the government have achieved, so a very unpopular government. That is
why one of the candidates, Manuel Valls, will have a mountain to
climb. If he's nominated by his own party. The second reason, the left
is not united. There will be many many candidates, 5-6 candidates on
the left. Very briefly. What do you think the EU should be thinking
about this election? Should they be terrified of both candidates? Marine
Le Pen is a bit softer towards the EU than she was six months ago. If
Francois Fillon wins or a socialist wins, any candidate will be rather
lukewarm regarding Europe but they will be the same continuation of the
same policy as at the moment. If Le Pen wins it is a totally different
situation. She would like a referendum about Frexit. That would
be a different proposition, but she has to win, and she's not there yet,
in my opinion. There is one other person to watch out for, the
independent candidate. The wild card. Thanks for joining us.
Britain has a new ambassador to the EU - didn't take long.
I'm joined by our political editor Nick Watt.
What do we know about Tim Barrow? He's an immensely respected figure
and his nickname in the Foreign Office is deep state, which means he
has the answers to everything. He had a stint in Moscow and a couple
in Brussels. Boris Johnson is delighted. He believes the UK
mission to the EU needs to be headed by someone who speaks the language
in Europe. He was one of the diplomatic high-flyers who takes the
form or notes of the European Council some years ago. They also
believe because Tim Barrow has been the political director at the
Foreign Office, he is June to the politics and he also has something
of a sense of humour and is aware of the intricacies of the Brexit
debate. This became apparent in a recent appearance before the foreign
affairs select committee when his boss Alan Duncan inadvertently set
him up as one of those dreaded experts. This is the exchange. I'm
not perhaps as deeply immersed in the
thinking, but maybe I can bat that to Tim Barrow, who has been living
with this... I'm not an expert. Michael Gove might approve, but not
me. Where did disappointment come from?
It has been quite quick. Is it a solution, or does it create another
problem inside the Foreign Office? Tim Barrow was only approached for
this job in the last 36 hours after Sir Ivan Rogers stood down, and the
process a successor was led by Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet
Secretary scotching rumours that a political Brexiteer would be put in.
Sir Jeremy has ensured that at one level, nothing changes. A Whitehall
life will run the British mission to the EU. But at another level,
everything changes. He is a clean slate. Sir Ivan Rogers carried a lot
of baggage because he was associated with David Cameron's negotiations.
Interestingly, Tim Barrow has achieved a first. He has united
Remainers and almost all Leavers. One dissenting voice is Nigel
Farage. In the film I, Daniel Blake,
you see the main characters Daniel Blake and his friend Kate
lose their benefits after being Sanctioning is a punishment for not
looking for work hard enough or turning up on time
for appointments or whatever. Now, Daniel Blake's story
is fiction, but those who work in food banks
say that sanctioning does force
people into charity. We're going to debate sanctioning
shortly with Ken Loach, who made But first, we go to the town
of Accrington to meet some people Filmmaker Nick Blakemore has
returned to Maundy Grange, a charity relief centre he visited
in 2014, which tries to help them. I've had a bit of a bad
situation with a landlord. Got in rent arrears with
the landlord and he's just started At the moment, he's struggling
hard for furniture. Here, we try to provide an immediate
response to poverty and need Need can be defined as not having
enough to eat or suffering from mental ill-health or needing
help with a form. It's difficult to be optimistic
at the moment because we've seen three years of things getting
gradually worse and I think there are things which we weren't used to,
like benefits sanctions and people being left to be destitute,
which are now more commonplace. And that's a worry, and that doesn't
seem to be getting better. I can't get into the house
to get my stuff, so while I'm fighting to get my stuff,
I've got nothing to live on, If I can get hold of
a bed or something. I've got no debts and I don't
owe anybody any money. When he lost his job four years ago,
he says he gave up on the system I've worked all my life and now
they expect me to do I do volunteer work
five days a week. There should be heads
rolling for that one. When you say you worked
all your life, what were you doing? My first job, I worked in the mill
for six years and then in a foundry for a couple of years,
and then in another foundry When I was here last,
I met John Crabtree. The sanctions are basically
about saying you're not making enough of an effort
to look for work. I turned around and said to them,
"Look, I'm 61 now, there's no jobs So how can you sit there, young
person, 25, and tell me about work? You haven't even had
the experience I've had". I tracked John down to his
new place in Accrington. he says, because he did not fill
in a form correctly. This is where I've been
for about three year. Last time I spoke to you, you'd been
sanctioned and you said you'd I spoke to you the other day
and you said you'd been in prison? I got caught, obviously,
so I got 20 months. The plug was in, it ran over,
and that's what it did. Well, it's better than the place
you were in before. Can I just ask you,
when you think back, Yeah, I worked from
the age of 15, 16. Things should be easy now,
not worse, but anyway, Jonno, are
these your supplies? Chocolate's my favourite
drug, then weed. Sometimes I wake up
and think, oh, shit. Sometimes I have a nice
dream and I think, ahhh. When you find a place to sleep
at night, what do you look for? It's got a bit of light,
that's quite nice. As long as you have a couple
of sleeping bags, something It's a lot better than,
say, sleeping in a Tesco You get over here
and out of the way. You know you have to get
up in the morning by You find a place that's
sheltered like this. Back in 2014, Zack was
struggling to make ends meet. Some jobs, they're only taking
on certain qualified people. What happened after you
were sanctioned, then? They basically messed around
with my housing benefit and it still carried on until not
so long ago. They got me over ?1,000
in debt with my landlady. Messing with my jobseekers'
and all that lot. That's what made me want
to get a job, really. So obviously, I don't
have to depend on them. All we have is emergency
accommodation, which is literally It's easy to agree with
the principle that people But what worries us is the number
of people who can't work who are being penalised for not
being able to work. The way things are going,
I think there's a big gap in people's awareness
of what's going on. Maybe some people feel we're moving
out of recession and things are getting a bit better and maybe
there's a lack of willingness to look at people who don't have
that feeling that things are getting better, and for whom things
are getting considerably worse. I use a lot of food from the skips,
I've got to admit. I find a lot of chocolate biscuits
sometimes, a lot of cake. The soup kitchens, things like that,
there's not enough to cope So when you are hungry at tea
time, you do the skips. Can you explain how
often you go hungry? Because I'm homeless,
I'm on the streets at the moment. We did ask the Department for Work
and Pension for an interview, but they weren't able
to offer anyone. They did say, however,
that sanctions are only I'm joined in the studio
by Matthew Oakley, who was commissioned
by the government to write an independent review
into the impact of sanctions And in Bristol we have
director Ken Loach, whose award winning film I,
Daniel Blake told the story of people struggling
with the bureaucracy Matthew, I would like to start with
you for some facts. You did a review and you found it was basically
working, is that right of the sanction system? Essentially so. We
need to take on board the wider context, that this is a system of
sanctions that only applies to a small number of people. The majority
of people on benefits are not sanctioned. So the people you see in
that film are at the hardest end of what are talking about. Secondly,
there is a huge amount of international evidence that shows
that conditionality, requirements placed on people who are on
benefits, backed up by financial sanctions, penalties for not doing
what they should be in terms of looking for work, is effective in
getting people back to work more quickly. Thirdly, this is a system
that is supported by both the majority of the public, but also
benefit claimants themselves. That is one of the surprising things from
my review. We spoke to a lot of benefit claimants and charities who
support them and even people who have been sanctioned, and they
supported the principle. What is your reaction as you watch that
film? Do you think those people should
have been sanction, or do you think they are just, if you like, the cost
of a sanctioning system, that you will have some people who shouldn't
be sanctioned who are sanctioned? It looked like someone find it quite
difficult to get a job. Absolutely. What my review said was that in
certain situations where people are obviously vulnerable, we are talking
homelessness here, that should act as a signal for people to step in
and provide more support for those people so they can get themselves
out of that situation. Did you see I, Daniel Blake, the movie? I have
not seen it. Ken Loach, did you recognise the finding that some
conditionality in a system that is, you have got some responsibility is
and you are punished if you don't meet them, do you accept any of that
in the benefit system? Well, what's clear is that sanctions are a cruel
and vindictive way of treating vulnerable people. People are to
fail. The system is there to trap them. When they go to a Jobcentre,
they are not shown the jobs that are available. The job coaches aren't
allowed to show them what jobs are available, and people are inferior.
And a lot of people are sanctioned because of the work capability
assessment -- people are in fear. We heard a story of a man who had a
heart attack in the course of the assessment. He had to go to hospital
and was sanctioned because he couldn't complete the assessment.
There are absurd stories of people being sanctioned for being a few
moments late. And of course, we know Jobcentre staff, I don't know if
Matthew Oakley got this in his report, but Jobcentre staff are
given targets. They call them expectations, and if they don't
sanction a certain number of people per week, they get into trouble.
Let me put this specifically to Matthew. They have to work in a
terrible atmosphere. Is that correct, they have do sanction a
certain amount of people? I'm telling you it is correct. Wouldn't
you be more concerned if we did not know how many people at a job centre
were sanctioned? That we didn't know they were sanctioning, say, 30% of
people, is it not right, in terms of standard management practice, we
understand what proportion of people on benefits each office is
sanctioning. Are they forced, they told you should be sanctioning this
number? That is not my experience, we have spoken to Jobcentre staff,
in the review, what we found is a large proportion of the staff
actually supported the system. Ken Loach, I'm interested, you say there
is no conditionality at all, or there are some kind of sanctions,
and in a way, you said there should be no sanctions at all. Nobody
supports cheating. Nobody supports tax cheat, but they don't seem to
get the same coverage. Yes, of course, people should not cheat, and
there should be a way of dealing with that, but when you stop people
odds money, you force them into the dire poverty, they have nothing --
when you stop people's money. They are driven to the streets and food
banks, and last year out of one group of food banks, 1,100,000 food
bags were given. Half a million of those went to families with
children, children would not eat unless people put tins into a
charity bag. Don't you think that is disgusting? We accept that as part
of our society now. That is the system which Matthew Oakley appears
to be defending. What I would say, this is a system which the vast
majority of the public actually support, the claimants... You can't
hide behind that, this is an appalling system. That is not to say
that there are people who need more help. We have a binary system, you
are either capable of work or you're not. But there are people who are on
the margins and they will find working quite difficult, they have
ragged lives or the responsibilities are a bit own a bit much. Are we
applying sanctions to those people? Most people would say we do not want
sanctions apply to people who are not capable of holding down a job.
We need to understand what a sanction is. This is not people
being sanction for not being in work, being unemployed or out of
work is not because of a sanction. It is not doing what you have agreed
to do for the people are agreeing to do these things. Seeking work and
taking steps towards work, and maybe you are taking steps to prepare
yourself for work, to take on some kind of activity which improves your
health condition. This isn't people being sanction for not being at
work, this is not taking the steps to what they have agreed. Ken Loach,
the last word. People are sanctioned when they are in work, woman were
sanctioned for going on leave when she was on a zero is ours contract.
-- zero hours contract. We are missing the point, this is a very
cruel way to deal with the most vulnerable people and if all the
people who fulfilled every thing of what they are required, they would
still be 1.6 million people unemployed and there would still be
5 million people underemployed, the system creates the poverty and we
are punishing the poorest and blaming them for their poverty,
blaming the unemployed for the unemployment, and that is really
false and Matthew should accept that. Ken Loach, Matthew, thanks for
joining us. We now move to the other end of the social spectrum.
The billionaire bosses of Silicon Valley.
They have been as taken aback as anyone by the new and obvious
Full, as they are, of the potential of technology to solve anything,
suddenly it seems that real people in their midst, have problems that
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook made a new year Facebook
post with a hint of guilt at how disconnected he has become
He's challenged himself to visit 30 US states this year,
and to meet the people in them, having, he says, enjoyed
travelling around the cities of the world in recent years.
It's a fascinating post, it not only offers a good idea
for a new year's resolution for upstanding members
But it also tells us something about the tech entrepreneur class -
a kind of new royalty, with a sense of the duty
Or does it tell us something about the challenge of trying to run
a business for everyone, in a society that's split.
Here's our technology editor David Grossman.
The New Year is a time to reflect on times past...
What could possibly help a New Year hangover better than a load of world
leaders popping up on your phone to give you their thoughts
And, how refreshing, amongst the peace and goodwill messages,
to hear the North Korean leader announce a new long-range missile
But look who's also lighting the fuse on the year with a missive,
In a post on Facebook, he says:
In previous years, he has said something more substantive,
"I'm going to programme an AI for my house, I'm going
This year he is like, "I have a toddler and I don't have
that much bandwidth and I'm just going to go to Nebraska
The fact is, tech companies like Facebook don't really
They don't have too many Trump supporters working
They're built of people who look the same, they act the same,
Maybe they went to the same university together.
And they work together to build a brilliant company,
but then at some point they realise they need to start focusing
on the people who didn't come from the same background as them
and did not go to the same university and do not
We need to start bridging our way out and experiencing people in a
different context if we are going to build their products.
And I think that's something I'm seeing more founders
One of Donald Trump's first actions after his election was to summon
the bosses of the big tech companies to Trump Tower for a meeting.
Most had made no secret of their antipathy towards him
But how powerful are these tech bosses
I think that what Mark Zuckerberg does by being the chief
executive of Facebook, which has its own population,
or its user base which is larger than most countries in the world,
And the messaging and the way it convenes people or convenes thought
or informs people is hugely important and can be
transformational for different political agendas.
The Facebook algorithm, of course, has been blamed
for spreading fake news stories during the US election campaign.
The balance between maintaining an open platform and policing
the content on that platform has never been one the tech companies
They don't like the messiness of the real world.
They don't like the messiness of how you deal with unemployment
The hot thing in Silicon Valley right now is this thing called
Everyone loves it for different reasons, because it's a bold
and simple idea which can transform the world.
But politics isn't really about bold and simple ideas.
Politics in the real world is about campaigning and meeting
people and understanding different ways of looking at the world
and forging compromise and legislating, and that kind
of messiness is something Silicon Valley just
This is much more the sort of project they love,
bringing the internet to the unconnected in
Although the big tech firms are more and more powerful in our lives,
they're only now learning how to use this huge influence.
Clearly, they don't want to act like elected politicians,
apart from, that is, sending out the odd
That's all we've got time for this evening.
But before we go, as you might have heard, today was the last day Dippy
the Diplodocus could be seen in the Natural History Museum before
I understand that things are not going smoothly.
Let's go over now to the museum hall.
Skies are likely to clear through the night and it will turn bitterly