05/08/2017 Dateline London

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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.


This week we discuss Ireland's growing fears about the


What should the world do about the crisis in Venezuela,


And is the Duke of Edinburgh setting the tone for us


all, not retiring until the age of 96?


My guests are: David Aaronovitch of the Times,


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


Algerian journalist Nabila Ramdani, and Michael Goldfarb,


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


The Brexit negotiations are on hold for the summer holiday -


but that's not stopped the new Irish Prime Minister


expressing his anxieties about the future.


Leo Varadker made an outspoken speech in Belfast this week,


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


the UK and the European Union after Britain leaves.


Brian, you're just back from Dublin -


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


way which the Irish Governmentmy concerns are expressed is far


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


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


dividing the island since independence and the source of the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


sell in sterling in British supermarkets without taking a hit.


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


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


Expressing real frustration? Everyone I think is incredibly


frustrated with Britain. It is quite obvious that the European


negotiators are frustrated. There always was a problem after the


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


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


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


as well. Why should European countries trust a British


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


a major headache, affecting everything from trade, security and


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


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


perhaps predictable developments Brexit is the record number of


British people applying for Irish passports. Hundreds of thousands of


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


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


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


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


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


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


Crucially, the Irish Republic and Ulster relationship has been stable


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


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


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


Government are guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement. They


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


think the British Government is paying enough attention to the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


we measured the summit in October. There were major international


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


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


President Nicolas Maduro - held its inaugural session this


week, amid widespread international The election that brought it


in was marred by violence David, how should the rest


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


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


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


governments, the people who are most significantly responsible for what


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


significant intervention in the affairs of Venezuela. That will not


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


authoritarian regimes. Right-wing authoritarian regimes, people went


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


come to an arrangement with the Government and reaching a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Whatever they have accumulated in their lives is worthless and they


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


way people in Britain take a particular interest in Venezuela


because Jeremy Corbyn made vague noises about the country and


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


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


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


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


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


look at a hugely complicated sociopolitical situation to the


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


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


creatures. They have always been problems in South American


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


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


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


sophisticated solutions than having a left- right political argument.


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


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


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


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


quite hard to move away from Donald Trump.


Secondly lets turn to North Korea and its continual testing


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


later on Saturday, on a resolution to strengthen sanctions


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


what do you make of the US approach to this?


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


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


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


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


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


intercontinental ballistic missiles that could deliver a weapon of mass


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


danger because someone somewhere will make a risk adulation and the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reason, it needs to be taken seriously because it is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


themselves believing there could be a point in which their own


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


just ballistic missiles. A horrendously fraught situation.


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


He was the guest of honour at a special Buckingham Palace


ceremony hosted by the Royal Marines.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


People are dying sooner in certain demographics in America because they


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


they are abnormal people. Quite literally an extraordinary group of


people living in utter luxury in return for some pleasant social


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


countries including Britain. Certainly in America, one of the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


weeks at least. Enjoy your summer holidays.


That's all we have time for this week.


Do join us again next week same time same place.