05/08/2017 Dateline London


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05/08/2017

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.


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Hello and welcome to Dateline London I'm Jane Hill.

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This week we discuss Ireland's growing fears about the

:00:32.:00:33.

What should the world do about the crisis in Venezuela,

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And is the Duke of Edinburgh setting the tone for us

:00:39.:00:42.

all, not retiring until the age of 96?

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My guests are: David Aaronovitch of the Times,

:00:47.:00:48.

Brian O'Connell, who's an Irish writer and broadcaster,

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Algerian journalist Nabila Ramdani, and Michael Goldfarb,

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the founder of the podcast FRDH - welcome to you all.

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The Brexit negotiations are on hold for the summer holiday -

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but that's not stopped the new Irish Prime Minister

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expressing his anxieties about the future.

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Leo Varadker made an outspoken speech in Belfast this week,

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and called for "unique solutions" to preserve the relationship between

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the UK and the European Union after Britain leaves.

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Brian, you're just back from Dublin -

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A distinct change of tone from Kenny's time. Leo Varadker has

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decided to distance himself from the UK. Kenny had, since the referendum,

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said to the other EU members we are very close to Britain and we can

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help Britain through this. Now, Leo Varadker is saying, in fact, Britain

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better get on with it. They have to come up with solutions for the

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border. In politics, as everyone around this table knows, words are

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important. What does a seamless border mean? If you cannot trade the

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way you used to? If, for example, the customs union is not there any

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more? Clearly worried about trade? It is crucial. This is not new. The

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way which the Irish Governmentmy concerns are expressed is far

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harsher. Michael? There is two things. The border. The economic

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border. Seems to be gone. And the more abstract, metaphysical border

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dividing the island since independence and the source of the

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Troubles. It is important again. But there is another border. Irish goods

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usually come by ferry into the islands of Britain and go across

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into the continent. If that changes, how will Irish goods get to the

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continent? A much longer at sea voyage unless they can arrange some

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sort of customs thing you land at Holyhead and exit at Dover. The land

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bridge, shipping goods to France, go on a ferry to France. But it is a

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much longer journey, as you say. The problem they have will be the land

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bridge. If Britain is no longer in the customs union, you cannot build

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a car park big enough to do the paperwork. Ireland's food industry

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is first in the firing line and has been since the referendum, the

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devaluation in sterling. Difficult to grow and produce in euros and

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sell in sterling in British supermarkets without taking a hit.

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About 18%, the hit, so far. David, is he speaking because it is obvious

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and no more negotiations for a few weeks, I will have my say?

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Expressing real frustration? Everyone I think is incredibly

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frustrated with Britain. It is quite obvious that the European

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negotiators are frustrated. There always was a problem after the

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Brexit vote, the degree to which, not only Britain could actually

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create a deal which gave the things it but it wanted, which were, some

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of which, incompatible. Within a structure that suited other people

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as well. Why should European countries trust a British

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Government, a British Prime Minister, to deliver on Europe given

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the politics in Britain given that almost no Conservative I Minister is

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in a position to deliver on Europe. If it was not for the splits in the

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Conservative Party, we would not have had the referendum, Brexit, and

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mucking around getting nowhere. The Government will say, we have this

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mandate and will continue to negotiate because we have two? We

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are not where we are... A threat from saying, if we get to the

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October summit and we do not seek and progress, and citizens' rights,

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and the financial settlement, if there has not been enough progress

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on Ireland by then, we cannot move onto the next page until there is.

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That is the threat Britain faces. The fact is, despite what Philip

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Hammond says, Brexit will affect every department of life. It will be

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a major headache, affecting everything from trade, security and

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agricultural and fishery policies. Ireland does not think it will be a

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smooth experience. Nor do the rest of us. Dare I say, one of the most

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perhaps predictable developments Brexit is the record number of

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British people applying for Irish passports. Hundreds of thousands of

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applications are being made in the UK and across Europe, and the rest

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of the world. I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't quite a

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few Brexit pro people among the applicants! We have no way of

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knowing that. Where is George Osborne's? The primary motivation of

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many levers and the question is emerging with such force proves that

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having your cake and eating it isn't really very credible as an option.

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Crucially, the Irish Republic and Ulster relationship has been stable

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recently but the Troubles could go up again. The DUP is now closest to

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the Government... Trade, one of's key concerns. A last note on the

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peace process, the power-sharing Government? The British and Irish

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Government are guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. They

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compensated structure that took a long time to negotiate and I do not

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think the British Government is paying enough attention to the

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north- south structures that are in place. That is the political part,

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but the economic part is the trade across that order. You cannot have

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the technological, technical solution to it. They say, for

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example, you can pay your customs duties on the same way as the tall

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by having a bar code in the windscreen of the truck. Ask anyone

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in Ireland what happens if you put a very small, on top of a very tall

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pole on the board of the Republic and Northern Ireland. The

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negotiations for Brexit get back under way at the end of August, and

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we measured the summit in October. There were major international

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developments in two areas this week, Let's start with Venezuela,

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and the controversial new assembly - packed with allies of the unpopular

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President Nicolas Maduro - held its inaugural session this

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week, amid widespread international The election that brought it

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in was marred by violence David, how should the rest

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of the world be treating Maduro? It is difficult for the rest of the

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world to respond. What do you do? The sanctions against Nicolas Maduro

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and the leading people in his party. And the reading figures of the

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governments, the people who are most significantly responsible for what

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is going on and to the descent of Venezuela into dictatorship, towards

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dictatorship. You can sanction them personally but it will not alter

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what they do. The problem is they are now so completely invested in

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the process of taking Venezuela away from any form of democracy, the

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place is in such a mess, were they to lose power they would almost

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certainly be indicted, go to prison. Unless someone can offer Nicolas

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Maduro and his friends a lovely refuge somewhere with lots of money

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on a sun-kissed island, it is difficult to see what is the

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inducements are you can create. I think what the outside world has to

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do is to give assistance to those people trying to help the Venezuelan

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people, human rights organisations and so on to try and mitigate the

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worst effects of what is going on. If the outside world in some way can

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offer its services as some form of negotiating body to help with the

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peaceful transition, that is what it has to do. There is no scope for any

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significant intervention in the affairs of Venezuela. That will not

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make things better. I don't think anyone will do it. I think that,

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from what I know of the country, what is interesting to follow is

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that, for all of the demonstration, you have not had the disintegration.

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People retreating into the hills, and and forming an insurgency to try

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and overthrew the Government. The people resisting Nicolas Maduro's

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moves towards dictatorship are using the right to assembly and is being

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shut down as they protest. It is a very strange and folding. There was

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a time in Latin America when there were a lot of left-wing

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authoritarian regimes. Right-wing authoritarian regimes, people went

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to the hills. That is not happening now. Colombia is adjacent. They have

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come to an arrangement with the Government and reaching a

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post-conflict situation. As in Northern Ireland. In Venezuela,

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trapped in some early 1970s time warp. There is not much the outside

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world can do, as David said, the traditional allies of the regime,

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Cuba is going to transition. There was a a decade ago when Chavez was

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still in power. Having economic problems and Cuba sent over doctors

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and aid. I do feel there are many steps to go but it is an internal

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process. I feel for my contacts in Venezuela, reporting from there,

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kind of stuck in that terrible situation of 80-90% inflation.

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Whatever they have accumulated in their lives is worthless and they

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are stuck. It is terrible. A long way to run? What strikes me is the

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way people in Britain take a particular interest in Venezuela

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because Jeremy Corbyn made vague noises about the country and

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suggesting she was a supporter of Maduro. He is pretty quiet at the

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moment, Colburn, because he is undoubtedly as baffled by the real

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situation as we all are. It is clear that Venezuela has been administered

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in an appalling manner, for decades, and policies have failed. The state

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could descend into civil war and outright disaster. It is wrong to

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look at a hugely complicated sociopolitical situation to the

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Trump prism meaning the Evans are a contest between old right-wingers

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and Jeremy Corbyn- style left. A propaganda war, in terms of cold War

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creatures. They have always been problems in South American

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societies. The real problems are not necessarily caused by governments,

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but a few families and cartels who amass all the wealth. This creates

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problems in South American society, the public. It takes more

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sophisticated solutions than having a left- right political argument.

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Seeing the whole thing in isolation this is the classic Donald Trump

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view of the world, presenting things as if they were completely new, is

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if this has not happened before. He does it with immigration, terrorism,

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and it is a far from impressive approach to the whole issue. It is

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quite hard to move away from Donald Trump.

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Secondly lets turn to North Korea and its continual testing

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At the time of our conversation, we await a UN Security Council vote,

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later on Saturday, on a resolution to strengthen sanctions

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Michael, we've seen Rex Tillerson on a trip to South East Asia,

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what do you make of the US approach to this?

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From what we know of life in North Korea, you could buy a 100,000

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sanctions on it and the regime and its close accolades will survive and

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the people will continue in their lives. I think that, I hate to go

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back to Donald Trump... I spoke too soon! One of the things about North

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Korea, we are paying attention because they claim to have developed

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intercontinental ballistic missiles that could deliver a weapon of mass

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destruction, to the continental United States, delivering it. They

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have tried it. They have not tested it that far. That is why everyone is

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paying attention. We are obsessed with Donald Trump and he has created

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his own reality, but another reality covers the whole planet. When it

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comes to North Korea, I think China and Russia and the governments that

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really will be the crucial ones. As we have seen, learned one thing from

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the six months of Donald Trump, he blasters. Makes big talk and

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speeches in front of his supporters but, in the end, much of his

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programme never comes into being. With foreign policy, that is a

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danger because someone somewhere will make a risk adulation and the

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United States will respond. In the case of North Korea, a few weeks

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ago, China reinforced its border along the river. This is a sign of

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who, really, we should be looking at is to control the situation. We will

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be curious to see what happens with this UN Security Council resolution,

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just to read it now that's UN security council recommendations

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mean anything in the long run, anyway. President Trump is

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ill-equipped, to do with North Korea, as he is with Venezuela. No

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future in sanctions in North Korea any more than Venezuela because it

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has not worked in the part. It will hurt ordinary people more than

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anything else. There is, I suppose, comfort to be drawn from Tillerson's

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remarks, he said, we are not your enemy but we are threatened by what

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you are doing. The roots, as Michael says, to some sort of resolution is

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through Beijing, not the way that Donald Trump is talking to Beijing.

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The Administration has said that, that is the route, as it sees it?

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The whole point about North Korea, it does not think in line with the

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West. A pariah state with a significant arsenal. For that

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reason, it needs to be taken seriously because it is

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unpredictable. Always the temptation for the incumbent president, Trump,

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to tackle niggling situation. It is usually Israel and Palestine, but

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North Korea is not far off. He has increased military action,

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negotiations, as options. Or doing nothing at all. Leaving it for his

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successor to worry about. I would hope that Donald Trump is not

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encouraged to escalate the situation. I was talking to a former

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UN ambassador Hu said sanctions will do nothing, it must be about

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talking, diplomacy is the only route? The central problem is the

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only Government who can affect things in North Korea and China is

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more worried about the possibility of the demise of the regime and its

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replacement by a pro-Western regime than it is worried, at the moment,

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about the level of sabre rattling from the Kim Jong-un Government. I'm

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sure both sides of worry. In China, talking about what happens if he

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overstepped the mark. Why is that remains their basic adulation, you

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have to assume that the only way you can do with this is by having the

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Chinese talk the North Koreans down and having the Chinese aware,

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themselves believing there could be a point in which their own

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graduation were changed. That is what, in the end, it is all about.

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You cannot innovate the place was you could form a large parts of it,

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but as we have been reminded of time and again, the capacity of the North

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Koreans to hit the South Korean capital, populated areas close to

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the border, so rapid and great the chances you can completely knock it

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out before that can happen are slim. If that graduation changes, maybe

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the other academicians will change. That is conventional artillery. Not

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just ballistic missiles. A horrendously fraught situation.

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Prince Philip officially retired this week - at the age of 96.

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He was the guest of honour at a special Buckingham Palace

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ceremony hosted by the Royal Marines.

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As the prince left they played "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow".

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Many people are now working well beyond the old retirement age,

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so is the Duke setting the new norm for all of us?

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Have you been writing about working longer? All of us will have to do

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it. I'm not sure if we are wanted on television at the age of 96. That is

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one of the reasons I like to go swimming in Florida, they are fatter

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than me. If anyone adopts this idea of a television channel for

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100-year-olds. Good on you, we say, patronising 90-year-olds. It is

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nice, obviously. It is good to think, especially as you enter,

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what? The early autumn? The thing is, this is an important subject

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because we keep hearing, as you said, we have to work longer. Will

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someone tell employers we have to work longer? There is nothing like

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the death that comes across a newsroom the minute someone hits 50.

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That is our business. Across the world, people in implement. Philip

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worked in the family firm. You can work as long as your children are

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willing to let you. Most people are in salaried employment. We are all

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having to work longer. Employers better learn they have to keep us on

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longer. If they fire enough of us, as we have seen in the US and we

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will see in the UK life expectancy begins to go back to the old days.

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People are dying sooner in certain demographics in America because they

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have been laid off and cannot find other employment. It is not that

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perfect. Someone should tell the boys in Silicon Valley, the smart

:24:06.:24:11.

28-year-old. Stop inventing robust to put us out of work! David, you

:24:12.:24:21.

were alluding to the fact there was a piece on the BBC today, a

:24:22.:24:28.

93-year-old retiring from a supermarket. Reg Chamakh buttress.

:24:29.:24:51.

-- Reg Buttress. The key to staying in work is self-employment. The

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ultimate self employment is to be working in the family firm like

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Prince Philip has been doing. Years ago, the Queen Mother reached 80 and

:25:02.:25:10.

90, I remember my poor mother saying, well, she looks great but I

:25:11.:25:15.

would look that good if I had not washed a cup in my life! I do agree.

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I don't think the Royal family can set the norm for anything because

:25:23.:25:28.

they are abnormal people. Quite literally an extraordinary group of

:25:29.:25:35.

people living in utter luxury in return for some pleasant social

:25:36.:25:38.

activity. Some quite boring, on some occasions! I don't think you would

:25:39.:25:47.

do the job. This is hardly heavy lifting. Certainly not real work. I

:25:48.:25:54.

think the Queen did a good job in 2011 in Ireland. Much appreciated in

:25:55.:25:58.

Ireland. A lot of people change their view of the British Royal

:25:59.:26:05.

family because of that. I think the Queen has been a munificent public

:26:06.:26:09.

servant with the younger royals can take an example from her. They have

:26:10.:26:15.

quit their military careers already and seem to be far more interested

:26:16.:26:23.

in endless holidays. I think you will find he has stopped his career

:26:24.:26:27.

as a rescue helicopter pilots because he is going to do full-time

:26:28.:26:33.

royal duties. This is hardly heavy lifting, especially in the context

:26:34.:26:37.

of how hard people work nowadays. People go very early in the morning,

:26:38.:26:42.

12 hours a day is the norm. Shorter holidays. Especially in the West,

:26:43.:26:50.

countries including Britain. Certainly in America, one of the

:26:51.:26:57.

hardest working countries I have lived in. Michael, employers, given

:26:58.:27:02.

that we need to keep earning, will have to find jobs for us all?

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Someone will have to find a job for a lot of people if people are

:27:09.:27:16.

working. Raising the pension age to 68, 70 by the time people who just

:27:17.:27:20.

entered the workforce are finished. Higher still then. People have to

:27:21.:27:27.

realise, they have to change, to be serious, three words - work, jobs,

:27:28.:27:35.

employment. It is employment we do not have. Work, everyone can find...

:27:36.:27:43.

Win the robust takeover, will the older robots be put out of work by

:27:44.:27:51.

the younger robots? Slung out by the new, shiny robots? Until they invent

:27:52.:27:59.

fibroblast to replace us, hopefully we will all be back for the next few

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weeks at least. Enjoy your summer holidays.

:28:09.:28:09.

That's all we have time for this week.

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Do join us again next week same time same place.

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