13/05/2017 Dateline London

Download Subtitles




Foreign correspondents currently posted to London look at events in the UK through outsiders' eyes, and at how the issues of the week are being tackled around the world.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 13/05/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



This week: a sacking in Washington, a timely election leak in the UK,


and Donald Trump's visits to the Middle East and the Vatican.


Debating all of that are Stephanie Baker,


from the international news agency Bloomberg News,


Janet Daley, political columnist with Britain's Sunday Telegraph


newspaper, Jonathan Sacredoti from i-24 News, an Israeli


Mustapha Karkouti from the Dubai-based newspaper, Gulf News.


Donald Trump sacked plenty of would-be business moguls


on the reality TV series "The Apprentice", barking "you're


James Comey received his dismissal as Director of the FBI in a note.


Getting rid of TV contestants doesn't have many consequences;


sacking the head of the country's key crime fighting agency when he's


investigating those around you, well that's proving harder


What was he thinking? He did not handle the swell. He is not good at


firing people. The messaging was incredibly messy. He tried out,


various Trump surrogates to argue that this was prompted by a memo


from the Deputy Attorney General calling on his dismissal because of


the handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. No one was


buying that because Trump had praised his handling of that


repeatedly as had Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General. Then Trump


contradicted his own staff, and that he had been planning on firing him


anyway and he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he decided


to do it and actually the trigger had been watching James Comey


testify last Wednesday, where he said that the notion of his


intervention in the election to tilted towards Trump made him out of


the notches. That enraged Trump. The interesting and controversial thing


is the involvement of Jeff Sessions. He excused himself from the Russia


investigation because he was a key figure in the Trump campaign and his


involvement in the firing of Comey has raised a lot of questions and


criticism from Congress. He got flack for saying he had met the


Russian ambassador but had not mentioned it. Exactly. Lastly, Trump


dug his -- dug himself into a bigger codger Mercy with a veiled threat to


James Comey that he might not leak because they might be tapes. That


has set up a whole round of speculation about what kind of


taping system he has, good the comparisons with Nixon get any more


stark? You have top Democrats in Congress calling on him to release


whatever tapes he may have. I think that this is getting very troubling


and I think, his credibility is under question. He has appeared to


calm down a little bit in Washington. It looked like the


administration was getting into a rhythm of working. It is not just


the inconsistencies and contradictions, inexperienced White


House administrators do often screw up and contradict themselves, but it


is the shamelessness of it, it is the preposterous arrogance of it. He


contradicted his own earlier account of why he had sacked him and turned


it on his head and he did not seem the slightest bit embarrassed. Word


is this Rovira, narcissism, how can that possibly be credible in a


President? I am old enough to remember Nixon and Watergate and


there was at least a degree of shame and embarrassment and culpability


and when those tapes were released, the Watergate tapes, and he was


caught red handed having plotted the Watergate burglary and what was most


shocking, to the American public was the language that he used. Everybody


discovered that he spoke in the most obscene stream of four letter words


to his aides, they talk like gangsters, now Trump talks like this


in television interviews! There is something very peculiar that has


happened to the American political consciousness, for this even to be


not instantly impeachable. It gets to the whole issue of Nixon who went


to great lengths to deny that there were any tapes and now we have Trump


advertising that he has them. Perhaps making it up. I think what


is interesting about this is that we are dealing with the President who


plays by different rules, they are the rules of entertainment and


television. He seems well versed in those in ways that other politicians


are catching up then and while the media are on the whole condemning


him for these sorts of behaviours and absurd things he is saying, it


seems at odds of the way that the President of speaking. He is hiding


the real issues. The issues that he does not want discussed, like the


investigation into the alleged collusion with Russia is not what we


have discussed before. I would also say that like him or not, we need to


say there is very little concrete evidence that that has happened and


President Obama was also caught in 2012 saying that he wanted a bit


more time to get through his next election... These are not things


that politicians have not done in the past. He is the master of


distracting from them. The word collusion is a very strong word,


which implies there was conscious conspiracy with a foreign power, and


an friendly form her, that is tantamount to treason. The idea that


you have to prove collusion makes the case really hard. You think the


standard should be lower? Yes. I do not think collusion is the right


word. I was in Washington, DC and I was talking to officials. The main


worry is about democracy, what is happening, what is the impact, what


with that leave of democracy itself? Their main worry, is that society


itself, it cannot guarantee to stop that impact in a way. He is very


dangerous. They are really scared and frightened by hand. This is


really testing US institutions. I think he is democratically elected


as President even if people around this table do not like him and he is


following procedures, other people have been fired in the same role. He


was accused of filling his expenses. He went for a process that has


President and he is somebody, Comey is someone that the Democrats wanted


to have fired. They have looked awkward because they have gone from


say that this man was responsible through the election, one Democrat


told me that James Comey is a bit of a Boy Scout. It is difficult for the


Democrats to agree. They have said unfortunate things about him in the


past. In a sense, you could read, their interpretation of this as


having considerable integrity. Even though they have got a grudge


against him and they have grounds for objecting to him, they do not


like the way this has been done. That is a legitimate thing to say.


The issue is the timing, why is he doing it now? If it was about


Hillary Clinton, why was it not done the day after the inauguration?


Comey was about as for more resources to pursue the Russian


connection. Donald Trump is probably glad to be getting out of the


country. After the week he's had,


President Trump may be mightily He's heading to Saudi Arabia


and then to Israel before This is something much bigger and


has much bigger consequences. I wonder if people are viewing this as


a serious attempt to move the process forward in terms of the


Israeli and the Palestinians are whether it is just a bit of


international diplomatic theatre. It is extremely serious. That is what I


hear and also from the Americans themselves. At the same time, being


in that shaky position, I don't know how much that will impact on his


international activities and policy. He is very serious, he has been


talking to the Palestinian President and his people are saying that he is


very optimistic, apparently he did tell Abbas that he was serious about


the question of pressing Binjamin Netanyahu to come forward and sort


this out, because at the end of the day, there is an agreement, there is


an agreement between the two sides on the agreement, but the Israelis


are hesitating in moving there. Just on the question of the Israeli


position, Binjamin Netanyahu has been the dominant player in Israeli


politics for well over a decade but he is still only the head of a


Coalition government partly because the electoral system in Israel, is


he in a strong enough position to take some kind of initiative?


Historically, it has been right wing Israeli ministers who have managed


to make peace deals with Arab neighbours and I think there is


plenty of optimism around and I think Donald Trump really puts


forward a new window of opportunity for both sides. It seems that both


leaders have visited him in DC and both have come out of that


surprisingly saying that they got on very well with them, including Abbas


who said that there seem to be some area for development and that


is surprising because everyone assumes that Donald Trump would be


firmly on the side of Israel. What Donald Trump has to do now is what


we have been discussing before, turn this from being a show and being all


about him, this is the man who prides himself on making deals, this


is the ultimate deal and turn it into concrete action. He did the


first step by making both sides like him, something that Barack Obama


failed to do, he put a lot of pressure on Israel ask you for


preconditions that the Palestinians had asked for, including onset of


building. If anything, it in bold at the extremists on the Palestinian


side. Trump has managed in 100 days to get both sides favourable towards


him and perhaps to consider new negotiations. The issue has always


been that talks had been hobbled by preconditions, either going to be


preconditions, because we have been here before so many times?


Preconditions are really used in order not to take action, it is a


tactful thing and it is really ridiculous in a way, because the


whole plan is quite clear, there was also about 20 years ago, both sides


agreed and sat together and agreed on peace plans, there were other


meetings following that. It is the right wing government in Israel


which is really putting these obstacles, the settlement question


is very serious. There is an argument... The Palestinian


authority is paying the murders of people like the British student who


was stabbed. Soldiers who engaged in warfare. People who stab Christian


British students are not necessarily peacemakers. Those are not so little


for the families who lost people in terrorist attacks. Not little for


the Palestinians who lost people in military action. They are wrongly


used to create obstacles in front of peace. If you remember the press


conference that he gave, it was quite absurd in the sense that he


was saying, you guys sorted out between yourself and what ever you


agree on will be all right with me and I will sit here and do... Were


ever. It just shows the most appalling ignorance of the


difficulties and the complexities of the situation. I don't think he has


a clue. He is not the point man, his son-in-law is. The reason that both


sides but be feeling optimistic is because they think there is a vacuum


in the White House and if they both played their cards cleverly enough


they might be able to get... Isn't that what both sides really needed?


Even though his method of saying it is absurd A, what he is actually


saying is he will not impose things from outside, he wants to


facilitate, he has a ridiculous way of saying things... What he said


was, you figure out a deal that satisfies both of you, there is no


deal that satisfies both of them, that is the whole point and someone


has to arbitrate and if he is saying, I am not interested in


arbitration... I think he is keen to arbitrate but he is saying he will


not impose preconditions and vote for unilateral moves at the UN. I


suspect that what we are dealing with is a President I work we do not


understand how to read his service appearance. I am hoping. Maybe that


is all there is! I was in Washington, the Americans are


worried about the whole situation, because the entire region is in


turmoil and it is flaring up. This might transpire to the Palestine and


Israel situation. Imagine if that happened there, what is going to


happen? He is going first to Saudi Arabia which is an interesting first


white? The first trip of a US President is loaded with symbolism.


Going to Saudi Arabia, he is expected to get a warm welcome,


ironically, despite him pursuing this Muslim ban, Saudi Arabia


escaped that ban. I think leaders in Saudi Arabia who are keen to reset


relations, and were disheartened by the pursuit by Barack Obama of the


Iran nuclear deal, we reported this week that actually the Saudi Arabia


are prepared to invest in US infrastructure and that could be


unveiled at the same time. You could sell it as a domestic thing.


Exactly. Making America great again. The fact that he is warmly regarded


in Saudi Arabia could change the balance of power. Iniesta goes here


since. I do think largely speaking he is going on to the Vatican were


ironically he might perceive the roughest reception. Old to be a fly


on the wall! Pope Francis has criticised him, his immigration


policies and then he goes on to the G-7 will be heard finance ministers


expressing concern about the threat that his policies pose to


multilateral trade and the possibility that his moves could


harm global growth. In addition to the economic aspect, don't forget


Iran is going to be the main... He is building a Coalition that can


deal with Iran and Isis and for the first time those three are in


relatively good terms with each other and with America, something


which lie, not is gratuitous. It could be a moment that needs to be


seized. It's less than a month now


until Britain goes to the polls. The oppposition Labour Party


had its manifesto leaked, whilst in a joint TV appearance,


Prime Minister May and her husband lifted the - bin -


lid on their marriage. Last time, the pundits


predicted a hung parliament This time, the talk


is of a landslide. Janet, you and I were sitting next


to each other only two years ago, when you were proud to have been


pretty much the only person who predicted that the Tories were going


to win and that was not going to be a hung Parliament. Will you make a


prediction as to? Absolutely. Everyone will make the same


prediction, so I will not be unique. I have not met anyone who said they


would vote for Ed Miliband and that is why I make that prediction and I


have met here people who said they would vote for Jeremy Corbyn.


Considering that it is a foregone conclusion, this election, it is


surprisingly not boring. Partly because the Labour thing is such a


Marx Brothers production, it has become so shambolic, so for pure


entertainment value, it keeps you riveted. Everyone is also


speculating about what happens after is, what happens to Labour


and the Tories afterwards, what does Theresa May really believe in terms


of political principles. If she actually a Tory or is she trying to


occupy the centre-left left empty by Tony Blair. The big question, will


Jeremy Corbyn stay on as leader? It looks now as if he is intending to


and there is a lot of subterranean gossip about the leak of the


manifesto, was that intended to undermine him or was it intended to


rally the militant faithful to make sure he is allowed to stay on


afterwards? What will happen to that space that used to be occupied by


soft left opposition in this country? That is the most serious


question. How are you describing the selection if you are touching it at


all to your readers? It is very difficult, in a way, extremely


difficult, because the way we see it happening, the election system here,


based on constituency, in a way, is not presidential. Jeremy Corbyn may


have a better chance if that was a presidential system, because of his


populism policies and all of that, but we see it extremely difficult


for Labour to increase their seats in Parliament. They may lose a lot


more this time around. It is totally difficult to explain to our readers


this situation in Britain. There is no leadership of quality on both


sides, I must say, not only on Labour, the Conservative leadership


is not that impressive. It is not high-quality. I think that is very


unfair on Theresa May, she has played a blinder, she has managed to


unite our party that has always been divided over Europe. Is that


temporarily? Look how well she is doing, when plagued other leaders


and then we look at Jeremy Corbyn who on the other hand have been


trying desperately to appeal to voters at the far left and the


middle ground, offering things like extra bank holidays and free


tuition, it is a miracle he has not offered everyone a free puppy or a


unicorn. Then he said he was not a pacifist, we knew that, he has had


no problem with the IRA or organisations like how mass and


Hezbollah who specialise in killing civilians. He would say that they


were in situations they were forced into where they had no choice. He is


certainly no pacifist. He is not saying now that he would necessarily


accept those situations in current circumstances. He said he would


invite Hezbollah for tea. When someone was not leader of the party,


that is when we see their true colours. I'll be seen enough of


Theresa May, what this leadership means? She's talks about strong and


stable leadership but that is almost all we have got so far. Has she done


very well for a Remainer? She is now coming out as Mrs Brexit, people are


accusing her of wanting some sort of extreme Brexit, I would dispute this


distinction between the two. It is such a false dichotomy and I think


Theresa May is proving fairly consistent. She has been reliable


and perhaps a little bit boring for her whole


career, she is the first prime ministers who has not tried to play


it cool and she is continuing with the vicars daughter act, I think it


is not an act, that is the point. I think it is really heard. We have


this manifesto lake and we might have expected more hostility to it


than we actually got, has something changed in the political mood, when


renationalise the railways and restricting energy competition is


something that even the Prime Minister wants to do. I think most


people wrote off that leak of the manifesto as of no consequence


because he has no chance of winning. In a sense, the policies do not


matter. That is part of the reason why I find this to be one of the


most boring elections I have witnessed in this country. At the


same time, one of the most important, I think, in decades,


because of the impact on the country long term. With the terms of Brexit


being negotiated. She has called the election just as Britain is


teetering on the brink of an economic slowdown, we do not know


how severe it could be, why the Eurozone is just taking off. In that


sense that this is the shrewd politics, get it out of the way


before things get messy. Absolutely and it is shrewd of her to have


pushed ahead with it now. I do wonder... The reason why it is


boring if it was just confirmed the status quo and it is a question of


how big a majority she will get. I wonder if she will get as big a


majority as people are expected because the expectations are that it


is a slam dunk for the Tories are why even bother voting and there is


a certain degree of weariness with elections that we have had 2015


general election, 2016 referendum and that the turnout could be very


difficult to predict. I would be inclined to agree under other


circumstances but the referendum politicise the country in a peculiar


sort of way. People are politically hyperactive and they are not bored


with this, actually. They might be bored with this particular election


debate but they are not bored with the idea of who might lead the


Brexit negotiations. That is a matter that many people regard as a


matter of life and death and the idea that there could be any remote


chance that they could be let into the Brexit negotiations by Jeremy


Corbyn, I think that will galvanise. This is an extremely exciting


political moment for British people, for the first time in at least one


generation they had been given a direct say in the future of the


country, the constitutional direction it will take and they know


that they will need a leader who's going to carry them through that. It


is incredibly risky and that is why many people who did not like the EU


voted remain. On that argument, they have that lead already, she was


there and they could have on. She said she was planning that.


I am worried a little bit, we should not ignore the younger generation. I


have three children and they all think differently. And they are


pro-Jeremy Corbyn. They actually go out and vote? They will, no doubt, I


will myself. These are three kids, they represent, I think, a good part


of the society itself. That is an interesting change in the way


voters, the breakdown of the traditional alliances. Instead of


having class as the defining characteristic of who votes for


which party, it is now generations. I was at Cambridge the other week


and I will not say which college and I was talking to a considerable


number of students and almost to a man they were saying they voted to


support Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership and they were ruing the


day and they regretted it. We will all know the outcome in just under


one month. Thank you all very much for being with us.


That's it for Dateline London for this week -


we're back next week at the same time.


You can of course comment on the programme on Twitter @bbcshaunley.


Hello there. It is not plain sailing weather wise. They have low pressure


across the north-west of the UK and that is giving quite a bit of cloud


train but for many, there is sunshine on offer. That