Jo Coburn is joined by the Times columnist Melanie Phillips and The Guardian's Rafael Behr. They discuss whether the UK is spending enough money on defence.
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Hello and welcome to
the Daily Politics.
Theresa May is in Brussels
to talk about security,
and Brexit might just come up -
but while it may be "Black Friday"
at the shops, can the prime minister
expect to get a discount
on our divorce bill from the EU?
A string of former defence chiefs
warn that Britain's armed forces
risk being "hollowed out" -
should the government take
seriously demands for more
spending on the military.
The Conservatives claim they've been
the victim of "fake news"
after reports circulate online
suggesting they don't believe
animals feel pain or emotions.
We'll talk to the MP Zac Goldsmith.
Former Scottish Labour
leader Kezia Dugdale has
survived her first appearance on I'm
a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here -
but she missed out on the title
jungle prime minister and ended up
cleaning the rainforest toilets.
And we'll be joined
by the experimental musician who's
been making waves after his latest
project challenging the backers
of Brexit turned out to be in part
paid for from public funds.
All that in the next hour
and joining me for all of it,
two journalists we picked up
in a special 2-for-1
Black Friday deal -
think of this show as the bargain
basement of polticial
discussion - it's Rafael Behr
and Melanie Phillips.
Welcome to both of you.
And from the premium range.
One woman who won't have had much
time for Christmas shopping this
morning is prime minister
Theresa May, she's in Brussels
to meet with her fellow EU leaders
where she's warning them to be wary
of "hostile states like Russia".
She's pledged the UK will stay
committed to European
security after Brexit,
and although Brexit isn't
on the official agenda it's
like to have come up at a meeting
with European council
president Donald Tusk.
Mr Tusk has called on the UK to show
more progress on the so-called
"divorce bill" if trade talks
are to begin this year.
Here's the Prime Minister.
The summit here today is about
working with our eastern partners.
But, of course, I will be
having other meetings.
I will be seeing President Tusk
here today, talking
about the positive discussions,
the positive negotiations
we are having, looking
ahead to the future,
it deepens the special
partnership that I want...
Are you putting
a figure on the table?
..That I want with
the European Union.
These negotiations are continuing.
What I'm clear about is that we are
going to step forward together.
This is for both the UK and the EU
to move onto the next stage.
Is now broadly accepted the Prime
Minister will now present a figure,
even if it isn't in pounds, pens,
and viewers, but I financial offer
to Donald Tusk?
Essentially, yes. --
pounds, pennies, and euros. We will
pay something. The decision
ultimately hinges on how much of an
outstanding budget is owed. Even if
they've isn't a figure, somebody
will do the sums and say that it is
roughly 30, 40 billion. Everybody
will want to avoid a headline number
everybody can point at. But it will
be roughly more than the 20 billion
How confident are you
that talk of an improved financial
offer, if that is what we are
talking about, will be met with an
agreement to move onto trade talks?
Nobody in the circumstances can be
confident. It is smoke and mirrors.
It's a poker game. We don't know how
it is being played. From what one
reads it would appear that as the
deadline approaches minds are
becoming concentrated. I've always
taken the view that the European
Union has more to lose from a no
deal outcome. That isn't to say
Britain doesn't have a lot to lose,
as well, but in my view the EU will
be in a desperate situation if there
were no deal. I've always thought
that the balance of power was on the
British side, the British
negotiators' side. It hasn't seemed
to me that they are in agreement
with that analysis themselves. What
concerns me is that they may be
playing a strong hand very weakly.
In which case they will lose out.
But one doesn't know. All of this is
fainting in the sense of smoke and
mirrors. I would hope we don't know
what the actual negotiation position
is. Because in this poker game they
have to keep everybody guessing.
slightly overstate the value of the
UK Budget contribution to the entire
EU budget position. The UK
Government position is that they
want a deal. The decision has been
made by ministers and the Prime
Minister that they no deal scenario
would be terrible...
But the threat
of walking away, is that not a card
It is a card they don't
want to realistically play. All of
this stuff about no deal at bluffing
is now separate. It was clear
already a month ago that as the UK
moved a bit more on the money, and
the closer they would get to a deal.
But it has now found a way of doing
that. And it is a continuation of
the card game analogy, the wild card
is the question of the Irish border.
Which was always one of the top
issues the commission said had to be
resolved before moving onto trade
talks. What's important is that the
UK behind the scenes will be
essentially saying we have more or
less solved citizen rights. We have
more or less decided on the European
Court of Justice...
The Irish border
will be a sticking point.
Why there will be a lot of
conversations about security is they
will say we've done two out of
three, the Irish border is a
complicated issue. Can we just agree
to fudge the whole Irish question a
little bit. But also going to EU
member states saying we know you
want to support the Irish on this
but there isn't a deal that can be
done on this. Can the UK Prime
Minister peel off the other 26
members to say, sorry to Ireland,
you cannot have what you want right
now, we must move on.
political position, who would have
We've talked a lot this week about
what was in Phillip Hammond's Budget
speech on Wednesday,
but today we're going to be talking
about something that was rather
conspicuous by its absence -
defence - and that's despite a group
of former Conservative defence
ministers urging him to give more
money to the armed forces.
Annual defence expenditure in the UK
has met the NATO benchmark
of 2%, ever since records began ANI.
However in recent years
such as contributions to UN
as well as provisions for war
pensions, have been included
to meet this target
The government has promised
to increase Defence spending,
although the department is already
committed to finding £20 billion
of savings over the next 10 years
as part of an efficiency programme.
The UK has the fifth biggest defence
budget in the world.
With an army totalling
155,474, including Gurkhas
and full-time reservists.
However there are continuing reports
of shortages of manpower
This week HMS Diamond, a Type 45
destroyer costing £1 billion,
had to head back to the UK after it
struggled with its
engine warm water.
That leaves all six Type 45
destroyers in port in the UK,
awaiting refits to rectify problems
with their propulsion systems.
And reports last month suggested
the Royal Marines could be
cut by 1,000 personnel.
The Cabinet Office is currently
conducting a mini-Defence
and Security review looking
at military capabilities
and funding up to 2022,
which will report back next month.
We're joined now by the Conservative
MP and defence select committee
Here is Lord Alan West
talking on the subject.
These commitments demand
hard combat power.
And I fear that our military
is being hollowed out to such an
extent that we are no longer
capable of providing it.
My Lords, few of our
population realise that STSR
2010 cuts our military capability
by a third, by one third,
it is quite extraordinary.
And STSR 2015 has not resolved that.
And the Americans have expressed
growing concern about
Well we did ask to speak
to a minister this morning but it
seems none was available,
however I'm pleased to say we're
joined now by the Conservative MP
and defence select committee member
Jonny Mercer, he's in our Plymouth
studio, and by the former Labour
minister and former head of the navy
Welcome. When you set the Armed
Forces are being hollowed out, what
evidence do you have?
certain aspects of training have
been stopped. Spare gear, spare
items, logistic type stuff is not
available. The repair work that
needs to be done on complex
equipment isn't being fully done or
properly done. It's a whole raft of
those measures that have been taken
because, yes, they are saying let's
find £70 billion worth of
efficiency. Since I've been in the
Navy, I joined 52 years ago, we have
been finding efficiencies. Because
governments always say that. There
comes a stage where there -- it
isn't an efficiency thing. Cuts them
happen. And they are very large.
Armed Forces have always said they
need more money to mitigate the
expected cuts. I just said it is the
defence Budget in the world, it is
still a big budget with a lot of
money behind it.
It is a big budget.
We are the fifth or six largest
economy in the world, so it makes
sense. We are also a permanent
member of the UN Security Council.
We are there because our military
capability was one of the biggest
powers in the Second World War. The
reason we hold key appointments
within Nato is because the United
States and United Kingdom, up until
recently, ensured really the defence
and security of Europe. We are the
people who really did it. Now they
are saying, why should the UK have
these senior jobs? Because we have
cut our defence capabilities so
What do you want to see in
this defence and Security review
currently being conducted?
I hope it
will show we are in increasingly
unpredictable and dangerous world.
Weren't we always?
I think it is
more so. There was a certain
stability even back during the Cold
War. It's become more unpredictable
and more chaotic. I'm sure it will
show that. And I hope it will say
that we need to apply some real
funding to this, not 2% done with
smoke and mirrors, but by including
things... You cannot kill enemies
with civilian war pensions, I'm
afraid. You need combat power.
you think those efficiency savings
should be scrapped?
I think it's
always right to look for
efficiencies. It's always right look
to see if there is a better way of
doing things. You are right about
the size of the Budget. We've always
had concerns about procurement. We
should look in procurement area. I
think to assume that the way you are
going to be able to pay for
equipment you have ordered is by
efficiencies is a recipe for
You brought up the
procurement issue. The MOD has a
poor track record when it comes to
procurement. We talked about the
type 45 destroyer, it cost £1
billion in 2005 to 2007, now the
engine will not work in hot water,
so all six destroyers are in the
port. Is our procurement strategy
I don't think so.
Things can be improved on there. The
type 45 comedies and billion pounds
each, the programme was £6.2 billion
for what ended up as six ships. --
the type 45, you said was £1 billion
each. It was initially meant to be
12 ships. What we keep doing is make
political decisions which add to
costs. The aircraft carriers were £2
million more expensive because when
the crash came Gordon Brown's
government delayed them by about a
year and a half. But adds cost.
Political decisions have hit
procurement and caused problems.
Were you surprised that there was
not mention of defence in the
I wasn't. I've always
thought offence was the poor
relation in terms of government
policy and government priorities. To
me, defence is the single most
important requirement of a
government, to defend the country.
It should be given high priority.
you think we are exposed?
The challenges are changing all the
time as Lord West says. In recent
years, in recent decades, I think
politicians have come to believe,
which I think is probably true, that
among the public there is no sense
of urgency about defence. And more
than that, a distaste for defence.
Difference doesn't mean defence, it
means killing people. -- defence
doesn't mean. I think the country
has become pacifist. Dangerously so.
It is unwilling to go to war.
It's reasonable to not want to go to
war, but where Melanie is right if
there is important historical
context. After the Cold War, it felt
as if there was a peace dividend,
the world was safer and therefore
there was more money available to
divert other things. We've now seen
a situation where there is not much
money available for all sorts of
things. There's a political
challenge to explain to the country
why you would need to spend
resources that might be spent on
health on defence instead. An
additional factor is the point about
Nato which is when you have Donald
Trump as president of the US, he's
not that interested in European
security, he's interested in other
theatres. So it falls to the UK and
France to be basically the military
powers that support Western
democracy, security in Europe.
Ultimately facing Russia. How you
organise that and find that, whether
there is adequate funding is a
different question, but that has
massively change the strategic
catalyst in the last year.
think it is two disingenuous to
include UN pensions in this?
Yes, we never historically did this,
we were at 2.4% before the coalition
came in. Effectively we've gone down
to about 1.9%. In the way that
percentage, what do we require? What
we need? Hopefully distribute will
do it but I'm not holding my breath.
-- hopefully this review will do it.
This is true in every department
budget, you could say we were
talking about health, schools,
everyone can make their case on
their priority and the fiscal
situation is such and the growth
situations are so bad that the
priorities have to be made.
support what Melanie said, they all
say it, Prime Minister after Prime
Minister, defence and other
secretaries, the most important
thing for any government is the
defence of our people and quick as a
flash they don't do it. I know from
three years in government,
governments can afford what they
want is to afford. I think it has
been pusillanimous and putting us on
a path to danger.
Before we let you
go, because we have not been able to
reach Johnny Mercer, with some
technical problems, Michael Fallon,
the former Defence Secretary, said
in the budget debate that he hopes
to speak more freely than the
constraint of government allowed.
You think you will be a useful ally
in the argument you have been
I wouldn't have thought so
up until recently. I think he was
disingenuous about what was being
provided for defence but he suddenly
had the conversion of five or six
days before he went and suddenly
said, we need more money for defence
which is the truth. If he's going to
be saying that, I'm delighted. I
would hesitate to say he is a
hands-on chap, but I hope he will
say the right thing. We do need more
money for defence. If you look in
the Lords, every corner of the
Lords, every corner of the Commons,
they are all saying, there's a real
problem here and the front benches
ignore it or say, it's all fine. And
it can't be if it's that difficult.
The University of Liverpool has seen
the latest campaign to rename
a building because of claims that it
honours a historical figure
connected with the slave trade.
But is this a sensible response
to society's changing
views, or another example
of oversensitivity in our
universities and beyond?
They say history is
written by the victors.
Just as our taste for
fashion and art evolves,
so to do our values,
and in turn, our view
of that history.
William Gladstone, campaigning
liberal and still the only
British Prime Minister to serve four
terms, may not seem the obvious
choice for reappraisal.
But Tinaye Mapako, who's a medical
student in Gladstone's
home city of Liverpool,
is one of a group of undergraduates
who launched a campaign
to remove his name from
the student accommodation block.
I think it was finding out
about his role in the works
for compensating slave owners.
He helped gain some,
the equivalent of some
£4 million in today's money.
I mean, some people will think,
William Gladstone, one
of our greatest prime ministers,
known for being a great reformer,
they will be surprised that
you've singled him out.
I think that's a wonderful
case of what about-ery.
It's really great that people
are talking about other
stuff that Gladstone did,
but that doesn't really
answer the question
that we are offering to people.
We're talking about the issue
of slavery and how we commemorate
people's role in the slave trade.
Liverpool is a city built
on the slave trade.
Penny Lane, made famous
by the Beatles, was in fact
named after James Penny,
a man who owned slave ships.
This campaign by Liverpool students
is one of the growing number
all over the world aimed at removing
the dedications and statues
to those men who profited
from the slave trade.
A movement kick-started in the US.
Earlier this year, New Orleans
removed all Confederate monuments
on the city's parks and streets,
while Yale University announced
it was removing symbols
of Vice President John Calhoun,
a Southerner, and staunch
defender of slavery.
The Rhodes Must Fall movement
started in South Africa
but quickly moved to Oxford,
where students were ultimately
unsuccessful in campaigning
to remove the statue of imperialist
But earlier this year,
Bristol's Colston Hall,
a well-known music venue,
became the first significant
institution in the UK to bow
to public pressure and remove
the name of the notable
and slaver Edward Colston.
It's a trend some
believe is unhelpful.
I don't think it helps
to knock down statues,
or knock down buildings,
because then we're
not going to learn.
What we need to learn
is that there are absolute evils,
including slavery, but also
that they were people of their time.
And Gladstone was not
a bad human being.
For men of his class
and his education, that's simply
what people thought.
And within that, he was a much
better man than many.
But while Liverpool's student union
doesn't take an official view,
it does think that the debate
is one worth having.
And they intend to hold a student
referendum later this term.
I think it's really positive to see
students engaging in a critical
outlook on the environment.
I think the very fact
that people are talking
about it is a really academic way
to investigate our history
and I think it informs the way
we live our lives now.
So the students at Liverpool
are the next generation of leaders,
the idea that they are questioning
things that have gone before them
is a really positive sign.
The University of Liverpool said any
official request for a name change
would have to go through a formal
process, and while the names
and statues that pack the city
reflect a sometimes difficult
history, they also offer
an important reminder of the past.
We're joined by Femi Nylander, an
activist from the Rhodes Must Fall
campaign. You heard it mentioned.
Welcome to the programme. Calling
for statues or names of historical
figures to be removed because you
don't like them and you think they
represent something controversial,
but doing it without contextualising
it, or revising it or putting it at
the time that these people were
alive, is not a form of censorship?
Talking about contextualising and
something being contentious, this is
not contentious. Slavery is not
contentious, it was a crime against
humanity on a mass scale. And
Gladstone's use are not contentious.
It's not just the fact that he got
his father paid off to the tune of
what is in today's money the
equivalent of 83 million, that is
just his father, but the rest of the
people he got paid off, when he was
53 in the 60s, when he was already
Chancellor, he was defending the
Jefferson Davis and the US civil war
saying they should be able to
succeed. He was a staunch supporter
of slavery and he also helps run the
British Empire but that is a
different thing. When you talk about
these monuments and statues, talking
about Gladstone's role in the slave
trade and Cecil Rhodes's history of
colonialism only started in this
country because of these movements.
Do you agree?
I don't. Gladstone was
not a staunch supporter of slavery
and what you say was true about his
father and the compensation, but he
had a more complicated set of views,
he was anti-slavery, he just
believed in a different way of
approaching it. He wanted the
slaves' conditions to be in fruit
and he wanted compensation for the
slave owners. It's not true to be a
staunch supporter of slavery, to say
he was, the opposite is true. I
think it's troubling, I understand
the strong feelings against slavery,
it was and remains an annihilate
evil, but this approach that says
that we should expunge it from
historical memory is wrong. We heard
how important it was in the context
of Liverpool that this controversy
has produced critical thinking,
students in gauging with the issue.
If the statue was not there, they
would not be in changing.
about learning from history? Anthony
Seldon said, there are absolute
evils and you may think that this
case William Gladstone did represent
in some form an absolute evil, but
without reference to history, how
will people talk about it and learn
We leave aside the
question whether or not he was a
staunch supporter... We will move
on. In terms of how people will
learn from it, we had to start
teaching history, actually talking
about Britain's role in the slave
And aren't these people part
For example, if you take a
statue, if you go across the road,
there's Parliament Square. And you
have eight statue of Churchill, -- a
statue of Churchill and another
founder of apartheid, alongside a
statue of Cecil Rhodes and Mahatma
Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
recognise that Churchill was seen as
one of the Great War leaders?
recognise that, and he is not seen
as a genocidal man who helped lead
to the death of 4 million people in
van Gaal. And we don't talk about
I'm fascinated about this
and ambivalent, but what is the
statute of limitations of went an
atrocity is just something you can
observe in history, and you can put
up monuments for people who are now
considered atrocious? There was a
statue of Cromwell, he was a
fanatical murderer for some people,
he would not be popular in Ireland,
and if they understood his
behaviour, people in this country,
in modern values. When you look at
what happened in the US with the
taking down of Confederate
monuments, those symbols were
rallying points for a very active
current extremely racist movement.
That's a different thing...
But there are not
Gladstone supporters rallying in
Britain was key to the
dismantling of Libya, and the slave
trading of black trading is going on
in Libya because of the actions of
Britain. Britain is still a very
colonial force in this world and
starting to deal with the history of
white Britain is the fifth richest
country in the world, why Britain is
causing foreign wars and
aggressions, is part of that,
starting to look at history, look at
people like Churchill.
We don't deal with our
history. We don't talk about
history, Churchill is now the £5
This is an ideological way of
looking at it, the slavery going on
in Libya, the people to blame other
people who are the slave owners in
those countries and those countries.
To blame Britain is perverse. And
you can go to any hero and almost
guaranteed that among their values
and attitudes, especially if they
were a long time ago, will be things
that we find a very, very
discomforting. Churchill undoubtedly
had some extremely dubious from our
point of view now attitudes to a lot
Churchill said, if there
is a famine, why isn't Ghandi dead
But you can findings about
Gandhi as well.
Oh, yes, his statue
is next to Churchill.
So would you
care all of these statues down?
Where would you
draw the line? Melanie's .30 could
find things that are difficult and
uncomfortable, -- Malini's point,
that you could find things that are
There is difficult and
accountable, and there is helping to
lead to the death of 4 million
With you see that on the
same line as Hitler, Stalin, Saddam
Yes, people loved the
statue of Saddam Hussein coming down
because he's not a British hero.
fascinated by this distinction
because something has been erected
in the past because people wanted to
venerate a certain figure, which you
are now connecting to saying, means
ongoing complicity in something
appalling and atrocious that is
going on. I can see in the
Confederate case that is true, but
in the case of Gladstone or
Churchill, I don't see, it's quite a
big leap from people venerating this
person because of something they did
in the past and right now...
right now do not deal with history.
Written right now does not teach in
its schools the history of
colonialism. It teaches the history
of slavery in the States but it
rarely teaches about the history of
slavery in the UK. Britain does not
deal with history.
It would taking
the state to -- and would taking the
statutes down the order that?
only reason we have had the
conversation in the last few decades
is the Rhodes Must Fall campaign and
the wave of movement in the
universities in the last couple of
years. We have seen a massive
backlash against us.
I think these
debates have been going on
I remember them in the
I said in the past few decades!
Thank you very much for coming in.
The musician Matthew Herbert
is known for ignoring convention -
he's previously recorded the sound
of tanks, crematoriums,
coffin lids and arms fairs for use
in his electronic music,
which as you might have guessed can
be rather political.
His latest project, called
the 'Brexit Big Band',
includes setting Article 50 to music
and is described as a response
to quote "the message from parts
of the Brexit campaign that
as a nation we are
better off alone".
It's been in the news after it
emerged that the project has been
in part funded by the Department
for International Trade,
led by leading Brexit
supporter Liam Fox.
Here's the Brexit
Big Band in action.
After Brexit, we decided to bring
the Daily Mail, which is a
right-wing newspaper in England that
made a referendum about
sovereignty into something
So, yeah, that's what
we're reading today.
MELLOW JAZZ, WITH RHYTHMIC RIPPING.
I'm happy to say Matthew joins me.
What was your motivation?
about identity. Thinking about a
sense of Britishness after the
Brexit vote. It seemed such a shock
to many of us that work and travel a
lot and Europe, have friends there,
and collaborate, it was such a
shock. For me it was being about
wanting to be part of that
conversation. To talk about the
things we've achieved. And not
wanting to let it go.
So it's a
protest about Brexit?
I think it is
accepted that Remain hast lost. It's
not a continuation of its campaign.
But it is about what kind of Brexit
do we want. It's clear the
government took us into this without
much of a plan. There is room for
other people to come up with other
plans and other visions.
Why do you
think Brexit Woodstock friendships,
travel, and connections that
currently exist in and with Europe?
I was born in 1972. Europe has been
part of my whole life, really. Much
of what has enriched my life has
been working and collaborating with
people from all cultures. I feel
like it's not really clear what the
government is expressing about the
kind of Brexit they want. Is it
European style... Sorry, what kind
of Britain they want after Brexit,
is it European style, or is it
American in the low taxation idea.
Why do you think Brexit threatens
tolerance and creativity?
have to have a look at the spike in
hate crime after the Brexit vote.
Those figures are contested. Is that
the basis for your evidence, that it
will threaten tolerance in the
You only have to look at
some of the language coming out of
the newspapers about how we talk
about foreigners, how we talk about
people of colour, that kind of
Melanie, part of this music
is ripping up the Daily Mail, are
you offended by that, used to write
I think it's a rather
perverse and strange thing that a
message of tolerance takes the form
of tearing up the newspapers.
Because that is promoting hatred of
the Daily Mail. I appreciate the
Daily Mail provokes strong opinions.
To tear up newspapers has chilling
connotations for me. Destroying
literature... You know, burning
books, tearing up newspapers. The
deeper thing is, and I do appreciate
that for Remainers it is a sort of
grief, what has happened, but I
think that is a perverse attitude.
There is complete confusion between
the desire of the Brexiteers, of
whom I am very much one, to for
Britain to regain its reputation,
that we cannot be fully sovereign
and self-governing to do that. You
currently have a belief that we are
narrow, bigoted, that we will be
horrible to foreigners, that doesn't
Is that what you are
Where is the joy? Where is
About Britain being
a self-governing nation, isn't that
There is nothing joyful about
this Government, nothing joyful
about this process, no reaching
That the Government.
speaks on the half of part of the
Brexit vote, when she feels strongly
about. I think a lot of people who
witnessed that campaign saw a very
deliberate, cynical mobilisation of
angry, xenophobic feeling. That was
intrinsic to some of the messages
put out by aspects of the Leave
campaign. But wounded people. -- but
that wounded people. It's quite
reasonable to suggest, firstly it
might not have crossed the finish
line ahead of Remain had it not
echoed some of those sentiments.
Some people who feel aggrieved by it
and sad about it have a passion
about British identity, British
democracy, and British sovereignty.
They just don't think the EU was the
I don't accept that
it mainly motivated xenophobia.
Going back before you were born,
going back to 1975 when I voted no
to Europe, have always been accused
of xenophobia. Simply because I
didn't think Britain should be in
the EU. It is people like me who
have been the target of hatred on
the basis that we are automatically
accused of bigotry, of xenophobia,
of racial prejudice, of
narrow-mindedness, of intolerance...
It is extraordinary that you
consider yourself to be addicting.
Is ripping up the paper a hostile
act? -- consider yourself a victim.
Especially from somebody who was
supposed to be promoting tolerance.
For me I am interested in sound,
stories, I'm interested in it as
materials. It's not just the Daily
Mail. Wherever we go we ask
countries to provide newspapers who
they feel are pushing towards a more
divided society. We filmed this
concept in Syria, Russia, and China,
where the act has a different
Why should you have
funding from the Department of
argument about arts subsidy.
According to the bpi, which is where
we got the money from, for every £1
they invest they get £10 back. They
see it as investment. The creative
industry provide a £2 billion worth
of income to this economy.
Liam Fox enjoy going to see this?
The underlying point is he
subsidises the arts, sometimes the
arts will do things and perform
things which make governments
uncomfortable. That the healthy
aspect. I must revisit this idea
that Brexiteers are the victim of
this. This is fascinating. The won.
The ultimate policy is the
overarching drive of what Government
is doing. -- they have won. The idea
of being pro-European is oppressing
the Brexit spirit, that's so
I said in the past
that is how we were perceived and
There is no sense of
Remainers are the most
pessimistic people I've ever seen.
Brexiteers are the joyful ones.
are bitter and miserable about it
all the time.
How wonderful it is to
be democratic. I said that is how we
were treated. I also said how
wonderful it is Britain is becoming
a democratic nation. You say that is
joyless, but that is your view of
Don't talk over each
other because we will end this
debate. Thank you very much for
The Conservatives came
in for criticism this
week following reports,
widely shared by campaigners
and celebrities online,
that Tory MPs had voted to reject
the idea that animals can feel pain.
The party says it's been a victim
of "fake news", and the reports -
some of which have since been
corrected - didn't reflect reality.
Here's Emma Vardy to explain.
Have MPs decided that animals
don't have feelings?
Some people think they have.
And it's down to a vote that
happened in Parliament recently.
Since then, a lot of
people have been getting
really angry about this.
These papers have been making out
that MPs don't care about animals.
And millions of people have been
reading and sharing stuff
like this on social media.
Celebrities have been
tweeting about it.
And hundreds of thousands of people
have signed petitions.
That's not the full story.
MPs didn't vote to say that animals
don't have feelings.
They're calling this fake news.
And the Minister Michael Gove says
the reporting was wrong.
The Independent newspaper's
changed its story, and some
of the tweets have been taken down.
So how did all this come about?
We need to go back a bit
to understand what's
actually happened here.
The idea that animals are capable
of feeling pain and suffering
is called animal sentience,
and has been a really big
thing for campaigners
in the animal rights movement.
Back in the '80s and '90s,
campaigners decided the rules
on animal welfare weren't
up to scratch.
Like the way live animals
are transported, or the way
Or how battery farmed hens are kept.
So they fought a long battle to get
the European Union to recognise
animals as sentient beings,
and even celebrities got involved.
Campaigners started a petition that
got 1 million signatures.
Which wasn't easy back then
before the Internet.
And the EU did take notice.
The rule on animal sentience
was finally written into an EU
treaty, the Lisbon Treaty, in 2009.
It was a big win for animal welfare,
a real victory for campaigners.
But now, because we're leaving
the EU, the UK won't be bound
by these rules any more.
So campaigners wanted to transfer
the rules on animal sentience
from the EU treaty into UK law,
so it would still be
there after Brexit.
The Green Party MP Caroline Lucas
tried to persuade everyone
that this was a good idea.
But Conservative MPs voted
against it and it was turned down.
And that's where the row started.
But most MPs believe,
even without the EU treaty,
animal protection won't be affected
because they say animal sentience
is already covered in UK law
in the Animal Welfare Act, so it's
just not true to say that MPs voted
that animals don't have feelings.
But campaigners aren't convinced.
And they still believe an important
principle is being lost.
Michael Gove, the minister
in charge of farming,
has said he will strengthen animal
welfare rules and that there
won't be a gap in our laws
after we leave the EU.
And joining me now is
the Green Party's Home Affairs
Spokesperson Shahrar Ali
and the Conservative
MP Zac Goldsmith.
Welcome. The Government says the
amendment put down by Caroline Lucas
was faulty, it wasn't good enough,
and they will bring forward any
legislation to make the UK a world
leader on animal welfare. What's
wrong with that?
It's a good job we
put that amendment. If you were
really worried about the detail of
the amendment and thought it was
worth doing you would amend it. This
is a vital, important piece of
legislation. There is a difference
between acknowledging animals can
feel pain and that they are 70 and
creatures. That goes far further
than their capacity to suffer. --
sentient creatures. The animal
welfare act of 2006 does not
subscribe to this. It mentions
sentience in the preamble, but it
does not mention it specifically.
you think there was inaccurate
reporting of this amendment which
implied the Government doesn't
accept animals feel pain?
there has been misreporting. But you
must look at what is being reported.
Was that misreported?
You must make
a distinction between where people
are voting against -- were people
voting against sentience, or were
they voting against the act which
protects it, which had sentience at
its core. The reason it has become
controversial is because sentience
is an established proof about
animals. It would be a good
candidate for what is currently
being described as fake news that
MPs voted against the idea of animal
Is it important that
animal sentience is recognised in
Yes. There isn't a single MP in
any party in any corner of this
country that doesn't believe animals
are sentient. If you look at the
transcript of the debate we are
talking about, that was acknowledged
by every person who contributed on
this issue to that debate. There was
no debate about sentience. The
Government's problem was the wording
of the amendment. It's not just
raising animal welfare standards,
which we are doing, there is a
complicit in a clear statement we've
had from Michael Gove that we will
find the best route to make sure
sentience is incorporated into UK
law. There's a disagreement whether
Richard B in the withdrawal bill, in
a forthcoming animal welfare Bill,
whether we should be amending
previous bills, or whether there
should be an environment bill. --
whether it is the withdrawal bill.
This story is fake news because
nothing has changed. It doesn't
matter how we do that, as long as we
do it and we will do it.
accept that the 2006 animal welfare
act does not go far enough? It
doesn't cover all animals, for
example, laboratory animals, or wild
animals. And it puts the onus on
owners of animals, but not on the
Government, do you accept that is an
Not only do I access it but Michael
Gove access it as well, his
statement makes that clear. -- we
both accept this. I just want to
make the thing, symbolically,
sentience needs to be recognised but
let's not pretend this is a high
benchmark that emanates from the
European Union. Under the protection
of that law, we have bull-fighting,
and veal farming, beyond cruel,
factory farming conditions, we have
donkey torture, fur farming, one of
the worst things imaginable are
permitted under this principle. Our
standards have always been high and
we have had seen fireworks as they
of activity in the last four months,
putting animal welfare at the heart
of the environment. We have been
raising sentencing to people who are
cruel to animals, I could go on for
You have gone on for
quite a long time. Passionate though
you are. Do you accept that, it's
the case that you just don't trust
the Conservative government, which
you may not to back their words with
action with any new legislation
which has put forward, or really
have just misjudged this row?
accept that Zac Goldsmith and
Michael Gove as well do come across
and probably do personally have a
great commitment to animal welfare
and animal rights. The problem is,
what people are incredulous about is
on the one hand trying to claim that
we believe that animals have
sentience, on the other hand, not
committing to this amendment which
would have us commit to ensuring
that that was in any future policy
on this matter. So I don't I accept
that this is not real news, that
people are incredulous and emotional
and upset and angry that we are not
prepared to say on EU legislation
which was originally spearheaded by
the UK, that of course, we will be
committing to this today.
If you, and he made a very personal
offence there of the UK Government
in terms of its standards, if you
all government is so committed to
welfare, why doesn't the government
put its money where its mouth is
through the EU withdrawal bill, why
isn't that an adequate instrument to
put in place the things that you
have talked about, bring over the EU
law, that the point of the bill.
have been an MP for nearly seven
years and I've never been a defender
of the government's record on
environment or welfare. The last
four months have been different.
Answer the question, why not use the
EU withdrawal bill?
There was no
argued about the sentiment in the
amendment, the principles were
accented by the MPs that spoke and
But they did not
vote, to be accurate, you are right
in saying that nobody voted that
animals are not sentience because
that wasn't up for a vote that they
did not vote that they were so you
can see how the impression came from
a story that actually the government
and its MPs did not support this
idea that animals are sentience, why
not use the EU withdraw Bill is the
better to deal with it now?
are committed to legislate for
animal sentience, that is for the
government to do, we have been told
in a written statement that there
will be no gaps between us leaving
the EU and this. We are not having
to be dragged to do this, the
commitment is there. I don't member
a single piece...
Hang on, it's
quite got to stop you in your flow.
This really does not wash. The
public, animal welfare campaigners,
sick and tired of politicians not
putting their money where their
mouth is. This was a golden
opportunity for us to demonstrate
our commitment, not just in words
but indeed, to say that this part of
the legislation which the UK
spearheaded, and obligate the
government, not just owners and
keepers of animals, obligated the
government and puts the urgency upon
them, and the default on them, to
actually commit to this, that would
be a commitment, this was not a
But that's the thing.
The commitment is there. I don't
know what more is being asked of
ministerial statement, I don't
remember a single piece of
legislation where an opposition
amendment has been tabled, in the
last seven years, whether sentiment
is accepted but the government has
not chosen to come back with its own
version. That is what happened. This
is not unusual, you know this as a
presenter of a political programme,
this is bog-standard stuff.
are not important.
legislation is improved, that's the
We are in different
water to the EU withdrawal bill and
Brexit. Social media, Michael Gove
said this media that social media
corrupts and distort reporting and
decision making. He obviously feels
this on this issue, has he got a
He has a certain point to the
extent that one of the fascinating
things about this is that normally
government, the mode of government
is to respond to pressure from media
if they open the newspapers, they
see the front page of the Daily
Mail, particularly for the
Conservatives, maybe the Guardian if
it's Labour, they see the front
pages after the budget and it's bad
news, they're being attacked, they
think, we have to respond. This was
not noticed by any of that. This is
only about 24 or 48 hours later that
he started to see through Facebook
this outflow of anger and that
turned into e-mails arriving in MP
's inboxes. The fact is, all kinds
of journalists and media outlets
have distorted and Mr pedantic and
applied partisan agendas, true on
print and in Facebook two -- they
have distorted and put their own
bias on it. But Facebook amplifies
this so massively, that something
like this can suddenly hit
Parliament like tidal wave. That is
much more adjusting than this
question. This is a non-argument. --
this is much more interesting than
The government has
responded, they were busy taken back
by the wealth of comment on social
There was a very bad headline
in the Independent which was
basically a lie, so let's not...
They did rewrite it.
But it was
because of Facebook.
I find this
whole row of taxing. This --
perplexing. This business sentience,
why is it so important? On the one
hand, everybody agrees that animals
feel pain and distress. And every
piece of government legislation
since time in Memorial, to promote
animal welfare, implicitly
understand that animals feel pain.
Do you have do incorporate all
Hume need perhaps to widen
your groups of animals. Basically if
the government accepts that
sentience is there anyway, why is it
so determined to prevent this
legislation? On the contrary, where
the greens are so determined to put
sentience in, and what you said,
that is the evidence, you said, the
evidence is that sentience goes
further than feeling pain. Sentience
is not just feeling pain and
distress, which we all agreed must
not happen to animals, sentience
gets us into this metaphysical area
of, our animals as conscious as we
are? Do they feel...
Have you taking
it too far?
That takes us into the
area of equating animals and humans.
There is a debate worth having about
what level of respect and value we
accord to our fellow animals.
Nonhuman animals. And part of the
reason my sentience is so critical,
because there have been established
scientific and psychological studies
which demonstrate that pain, the
lowest level of psychological
response, is an insufficient way of
describing the inner life of animals
in terms of emotions, the capacity
to suffer. The very fact that
Melanie is questioning how to define
sentience demonstrates that we
should have that as a threshold.
This fills me with concern because
the inner life of animals takes us
straight into the analogy between
animals and humans which devalues
I think you can say that is
a red herring.
What is your take on
this final point?
It a nice academic
debate, the reality is that there is
no gap to wear Michael Gove is and
where the Green party spokesman is,
we are putting sentience into UK's
law, Michael Gove's payment could
not be more clear. I will take one
more point. I have only got a black
screen so I don't know who the
previous commentator was, this
avalanche of social media, it has
taken us by surprise, no doubt. On
one level it's infuriating, because
it is on the back of fake news put
out by the intended which has been
corrected, but on another level,
it's a wonderful refection of
Britain. That this issue of animal
welfare matters so much to similar
millions of people which is a good
thing. Even if the context is fake
news, it's a good thing, it makes me
At least you have left
are happy to tribute. That recruit
you have left us a happy
Former Scottish Labour
leader Kezia Dugdale has
defended her decision to appear
on the TV Show I'm A Celebrity
Get Me Out of Here, saying
it is "an amazing opportunity
to talk to young people who watch
this programme about politics and,
in particular, Labour values".
Well, the jury's still out
on whether that's going to plan
following her first appearance
in the jungle last night.
Go on, guys!
Into Sickola Sturgeon,
the first box.
Go on, Kez!
Oh, both of them, though.
Fish guts in there, they're looking
for that first red star.
Come on, Kez!
Oh, it's freezing!
This is rank!
Where the hell is it?
Come on, Kez.
Come on, girl.
What have they got in those boxes?
Raw meat and fish guts.
A red star, you say?
Red star at night,
Ian has his and it's in his bag,
he's into Margaret Scratcher.
Oh, she can't find it!
That was Kezia Dugdale,
and to discuss how she did we're
joined from Glasgow by the arts
and film critic and devoted I'm
a Celebrity fan Siobhan Synnott.
That has put me off my lunch! Are
you a devoted fan of I'm A
Celebrity? Hat so how did she do?
I'm a big fan of her, but I'm only
slightly worried that if Kezia takes
off, we will see Alex Salmond on
Love Island. She has guts, that was
not a pleasant task. But she took on
the job of leader of the Scottish
Labour Party when nobody wanted it
and a tarantula would be tasty in
So why would you put
yourself through this, having been
to the travails of Labour leader in
I think this is puzzling
everybody. I don't think Kezia
Dugdale is steely strategist, I
think this is an impulsive move. It
may do her no harm. There's been
talk about whether this is a
humiliation but I think it depends
very much on how you rise to the
occasion. She's been a good sport,
she went through the ten Downing
creep humiliations well, she emerged
with character when he was voted
into looking after the cleaning
duties, as she said, rather meekly,
she has gone from prospective Prime
Minister to domestic Danny duties
and she did it with a smile. She may
come out of it well. The key to
getting through these reality shows
if you are politician is not to be
pompous, not to be self enchanted,
and not to take yourself too
On that advice, do you
think, I love this idea that she
might be able to promote socialist
Labour values by being on this
programme, do you think that will
work? Sorry, I will, given a second!
I doubt very much that there will be
much theoretical discussion of the
It depends how
they spit up their duties!
reality is, Kezia Dugdale worked
very hard, gave some of the best
years of her still young life to the
terrible, painful grind of leading
the Scottish Labour Party at a
difficult time and she's clearly see
this opportunity, thinks it might be
a bit of fun, change public
perceptions of her, she has probably
got the memory of Ed Balls changing
his perception, she didn't promote
neoclassical growth theory by doing
May be he would have won
if he had done that! Do you think
she will last?
I think she has a new
Can she win?
is 40 to one against, and 4-1 out
first, Amir Khan was a rank outsider
until he completed one of the tasks
and impress the audience and now she
hears one of the favourites, so come
on, Kezia, a few more fish guts and
you could be onto a winner. What
will happen next for Kezia is the
interesting thing. At the moment she
wants to come back and immediately
start voting again in Holyrood at
the end of her stint in the jungle,
but three weeks is a long time. She
may find that she's been offered
some appetising prospect. I'm
reminded of the World War I song,
how do you keep them down on the
farm if they have seen the Harvard?
I think you have enjoyed this far
too much! Thank you to all of my
I will go back on Monday, goodbye.
Jo Coburn is joined by the Times columnist Melanie Phillips and The Guardian's Rafael Behr. They discuss whether the UK is spending enough money on defence with former soldier Johnny Mercer MP.
The programme also includes debate around the government's policy on animal welfare and an interview with composer Matthew Herbert who is touring the UK with his Brexit Big Band.