20/07/2011 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Gavin Esler.

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Tonight, the Prime Minister tries to take the steam out of the


hacking scandal, spending hours in the Commons listening to MPs, and


finally using the "S" word, sorry. With 20/20 hindsight and all that


has followed, I would not have offered him the job. It is not


about hindsight or whether Mr Coulson lied to him, it is about


all the information and warnings that the Prime Minister ignored.


have got the latest on Murdoch's former lawyers, and the private


investigator at the heart of it all. The developments have been


different from day-to-day, I have no further comment to take at this


stage. However, this may change. The BSkyB deal off, the country's


best-selling newspaper scrapped, the Murdochs in trouble, how this


has changed the media in Britain. Who Two Taxing being better than -


Two Maxs better than one, they go head tohead. Germany and France try


again to fix the euro, is it fixable, the Shadow Chancellor


himself is here to tell us whether the euro can be saved.


Will the price tag mean that the high-speed railway will work.


is the dream, build it and they Good evening, after own during


frontal takes from the opposition, sniping in the media, and sometimes


lukewarm support from Conservatives, the Prime Minister appeared in the


Commons today to try to calm the storm over the hacking scandal.


With the Commons now in recess it seems to have worked, at least for


now, although there were continuing questions over Mr Cameron's


judgment, his staff appointments, and his interest or otherwise in


the Murdoch bid for BSkyB. Just yesterday the Prime Minister


was in Lagos, part of an African tour cut short. His last event, a


press conference with the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, that


really is his name. A speedy return to a frenzied


Westminster, no-one for now at least is calling him Goodluck


Cameron. David Cameron has been playing a none too subtle game of


grandmother's footsteps over Andy Coulson. Tiptoeing ever closer to a


more condemnatery line. He still hasn't made the outright apology


that the opposition are demanding, but today, he got closer than ever.


If it turns out I have been lied to that would be a moment for a


profound apology. And in that event I can tell you I will not fall


short. Of course I regret, and I am extremely sorry about the furore it


has caused, with 20/20 hindsight and all that has followed, I would


not have offered him the job, and I expect that he wouldn't have taken


it. But you don't make decisions in hindsight, you make them in the


present. You live and you learn, and believe you me, I have learned.


This should have been the first day of the parliamentary reserbs


instead a statement, and a debate on, yes, hacking. The leader of the


opposition, one suspect, would gladly do without any more


parliamentary holidays ever again. Why doesn't he do more than give a


half apology, and provide the full apology now for hiring Mr Coulson,


and bringing him into the heart of Downing Street.


Today the Prime Minister announced the names of the panel who, with


Lord Justice Leveson, will inquiry into phone hacking. They are Shami


Chakrabarti, the civil liberties campaigner and director of Liberty,


Sir Paul Scott-Lee, former Chief Constable of the West Midlands


Police. David Lord Currie. Elinor Goodman, former political editor of


Channel 4 News, and the former political editor of the Telegraph,


and Sir David Bell, former director of the Financial Times.


As Rupert Murdoch's private jet was cleared for take off, one thing is


absolutely clear, next time he lands in this country, he won't


enjoy such easy access to top politicians. It is his previous


meetings though that came under the most scrutiny in the Commons today.


Last Friday he revealed that since taking office, he had met


representatives of News International or News Corp,


including Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch, on 26 separate occasions.


So 0 the first question, so the first question I have for the Prime


Minister, is whether he can assure the House, that the BSkyB bid was


not raised in any of those meetings, or in phone calls with those


organisations. But although Mr Cameron addressed the subject marks


he didn't specifically answer the question. He asked about the issue


of BSkyB, the cabinet secretary has said there was no breach of the


ministerial code. You heard the evidence of Rebekah Wade yesterday


saying there was not one single inappropriate conversation. When it


comes to setting out meetings with News Corporation, I have set out


every single meeting since the last election. No, the Right Honourable


gentleman published a list this morning, but it does not go back to


the last election. Scenting perhaps a weakness a prosession of Labour


MPs repeated the same question. Prime Minister, did he ever discuss


the question of the BSkyB bid with News International at all the


meetings they attended. I never had one inappropriate conversation.


Backbenchers tried putting the question in more and more creative


ways. Prime Minister, have you ever uttered the word BSkyB in the


presence of Rebekah Brooks, Rupert Murdoch or James Murdoch? You know,


(sighs) Over the past couple of weeks the press has been full of


reports that Conservative MPs have not been too enthusiastic about


lining up to support their Prime Minister. Today, though, they were


certainly very keen. This might be an unpopular thing to saying, but


outside the Westminster bubble, I suggest the nation has had its fill


on the subject, it is actually getting fed up, it wants answers.


There is an inquiry under way, that is where the answers will come.


David Cameron's good luck today, though, was the last day of


parliament. It is committees and such that has kept this stoked with


fuel. A holiday is something the Prime Minister could do with.


Richard Watson is here to talk us through some of the new


developments tonight? Some interesting developments tonight.


One of the most significant things is News International today stopped


paying Glenn Mulcaire's legal fees, the private investigator at the


heart of the scandal. Glenn Mulcaire himself was facing up


wards of 30 civil case, he was arguing that he shouldn't have to


give evidence in these because he might incriminate himself or any


future legal proceedings. His legal costs would have been �500,000


upwards. News International having pulled the rug from bankrolling his


legal fees is significant. Is he going to talk now? As you can


appreciate we are in the middle of a number of inquiries at the moment,


it is a fluid and developing situation. Like I said, the


developments have been different from day-to-day, I have no further


comment to make at this stage. However, this may change. That's


hanging in the air. Something from Harbottle & Lewis, the wonderfully


named lawyers firm that used to work for News International? This


is deeply significant, it is complex territory, so bear with me


here. Back in 2007, News International appointed this firm


of lawyers to look at the case of Clive Goodman because he was taking


civil action against them. As part of that Harbottle & Lewis reviewed


a dossier of evidence and e-mail, some of these related to e-mail


traffic between Andy Coulson and the royal correspondent, talking


about the purchase of a confidential dossier of phone


numbers from the Royal Family. Now, Harbottle & Lewis were actually


asked, we think, to specifically look at the question of phone


hacking, was there any evidence of other people knowing about the


phone hacking. On that very narrow point, they wrote to News


International saying we don't find any evidence of specific evidence


of other people knowing about phone hacking, that assurance was relied


upon by News International for the best part of three years, and


following the evidence to the select committee yesterday it is up


for debate. This is absolutely crucial, when Lord McDonald, the


former DPP was asked by News International earlier this year to


review that dossier or part of it, a smaller part of the dossier, he


said to the select committee, within minutes he found evidence of


major criminality, for example, the attempted purchase of the


confidential Royal Household phone numbers. Harbottle & Lewis have


serious questions to answer about the nature of the advice they gave


to News International. Why did they give that narrow advice, maybe that


was what they were asked to do. The crucial difference tonight is up


until now harsh have not been able to defend themselves, because News


International said there was a duty of confidentialty. Tonight News


International have lifted that, Harbottle & Lewis are now free to


make their case to a select committee or the judicial review. I


think this will be dleep significant. We're joined by


Michael Fallon, and Ivan Lewis. Why did someone with the obvious


skills of David Cameron allow himself to get into a position


where some people saw this as a make or break moment for him?


wasn't a make or break moment, David Cameron was one of the first


to recognise that this had got beyond celebrities and politicians.


This was a very serious issue that both parties had allowed to drift


for years. This cosy relationship between politicians and the media,


the fact the press wasn't being regulated properly. Two years ago,


and he let it fester for the last two weeks? These allegations are


five or six years old, he made the point, that not only did the Labour


Government do nothing about it, but the Conservative opposition didn't


ask for it as well. See he - he sees this as an opportunity, and a


chance to recast the relationship between politicians and media, and


to see what can be done about recruitment to the police at a high


level. The Prime Minister is flog ago dead horse here, 136 questions


today, three hours in parliament, answering every question put to him,


he has apologised to him, set up numerous inquiries, there is


nothing else you can expect him to do, if he has made mistakes he will


admit it? David Cameron apologised for the furore about the


appointment of Coulson, he didn't apologise for taking Coulson into


the heart of Downing Street. said might? He ought to apologise


now. Mr Coulson, as far as we know is an innocent man. We heard today


David Cameron conceded that he was fully aware of the reports in the


New York Times that made serious allegation about Andy Coulson. He


wanted to look at Nick Clegg sat next to David Cameron today, who


made it clear, he looked the Prime Minister in the eye and told him he


shouldn't appoint Coulson to Downing Street. It is right we ask


Nick Clegg to come clean about what he said to David Cameron in the


early stages. It is repeating the mistake Miliband did today. You


flog a dead horse and realise the horse is dead. These were petty


party points today, Ed Miliband didn't realise the opportunity


today for addressing some of the big issues. The Prime Minister was


embarrassed when the BSkyB deal came up, there was a very pointed


question from Mr Skinner today, why is that so difficult for the Prime


Minister to handle? I don't think it was difficult, he made it


absolutely clear there was no inappropriate discussions with


BSkyB. What about these conversations? Happily Rebekah


Brooks the previous day had testified to parliament that there


were discussions with David Cameron that she wouldn't have had in front


of the select committee. Your definition of appropriate is what


Rebekah Brooks thinks? You are starting to split linguistic hair


about this. What is important here is if anybody discussed the BSkyB


bid it wouldn't have made any difference at all, even if they


hadn't discussed it, which they say they hadn't. If they had discussed


it, it wouldn't make a difference, because David Cameron was not


deciding the BSkyB bid, it was decided completely independently by


the Culture Secretary. The problem your party has and we know, it was


clear from what Rupert Murdoch said yesterday, that Gordon Brown and


Tony Blair had been sucking up to them for years? Isn't it


interesting that Rebekah Brooks talked about appropriate


conversations today, and David Cameron used appropriate


conversations today, what is very important here, since March David


Cameron has refused to tell me whether he has had discussions with


Mr Murdoch or Miss Brooks about BSkyB. Today Jeremy Hunt said out


of the blue today, the conversations that David Cameron


has had, have been irrelevant, so, has he had conversations or hasn't


he? I tell you why this matters, because if the Prime Minister's


judgment is in question, this is the Prime Minister who has to make


decisions about the economy, the health service, about welfare,


about the future of our country, if he gets his judgment so wrong on an


issue like Andy Coulson, people will start to ask questions about


his judgment more generally. express regret for the appointment


of Andy Coulson, this is linguistic hair spliting about what is an


appropriate discussion. The mistake Labour have made is to do all the


petty party points scoring, instead of looking at the big picture of


how to reform this thing for the future, a better way of deciding


media ownership, and clear up the issues with the police and have a


better system of press regulation. He's a clear speaker, couldn't he


clear it up and say I did have conversations with Rebekah Brooks


and others about BSkyB, but it had no impact about the bid? Jeremy


Hunt is the man who took the decision so whatever conversations


were had they have no impact. not say and come clean. He made it


absolutely clear to parliament he had no inappropriate discussion,


and Rebekah Brooks, the one who was supposed to have discussed it with


him, testified yesterday that she had no inappropriate discussions.


This horse is dead, you keep flogging it. What is important


about the whole process it was Ed Miliband who called for better


regulation for the press in the whole process, it was Ed Miliband


who called for an inquiry, it was Ed Miliband who said we need a New


Cross party media ownership, if you have too much power in the media it


leads to this. At every stage Ed Miliband has provided the


leadership. He's catching up now, but you were in Government for five


or six years, nothing was done. Thank you very much, enjoy your


holiday A series of inquiries have been


launched as a result of the scandal which has already changed the media


landscape, as we know phone hacking by newspapers in the future, as you


might think, is not very likely. The sale of BSkyB to Rupert Murdoch,


as we have been discussing, has been postponed, perhaps forever,


there are calls for privacy legislation, and as tempers cool,


will there really be any permanent changes when it comes to press


investigations, or intrusion, into people's private lives. Will this


whole affair hasten the decline of newspapers. I'm joined by Max


Clifford, who has enjoyed many celebrities about how to get their


stories in and out of newspaper, and Max Moseley, a strong


campaigner for privacy law after winning a libel case against News


of the World. One thing that has changed is the death of the News of


the World, are you happy about that? Obviously it is sad when


people lose their jobs, but at least they will not be able to do


to other people what they did to me and several people. That has


stopped now I think that is a God thing it should stop. You had a big


payout from the News of the World, some people said it was a million


pounds, are you sad or happy they have gone? I'm sad they have gone,


because the people that have been sacked, but actually they had


nothing to do with it. There is a few hundred people who have lost


their jobs that had no connection whatsoever with phone hacking.


you are sad. Am I right in thinking that the appetite for the kind of


stories they did will continue in the public so, the desire to fulfil


that in newspapers will continue, nothing big will change, the title


will go, but somebody else will do it? The Sunday Mirror printed an


extra million couple, the Star, several hundred thousand, they all


sold far greater numbers than they had previously, there is a huge


market. They are trying to capture that market. As indeed is the Mail


on Sunday. That won't change, people will still be looking at


your private life and the private lives of other people?


difference is now there is a recognition that we need to


safeguard privacy. Where until now there was no chance of getting any


sort of law done in England because parliament, the Government, even


the police, were all in the thral of Murdoch, now that has been


broken, I think there is every chance the spligss will look at


this objectively instead of asking themselves would it please Mr


Murdoch. Do you think the fear of the Murdoch has gone and they have


lost their power they had, so there is an appetite for the privacy law?


You have seen that. Mr Miliband, someone said to me what are the


Taliban doing asking questions in parliament, the other day. But they


are all standing up to Murdoch mur, they are all, if you like,


criticising, none of them would have done that before, they were


afraid of him. At the moment, Rupert Murdoch is a very powerful


and clever man, he won't take what has happened lying down. We will


see what he comes back with. The man has a lot of power worldwide n


Australia he has 70% of the media, big chunks in America. We think the


difficulty is when all the stuff comes out that is coming out now,


when all the information comes out, when we learn the full contents of


the Harbottle & Lewis dossier, for example, I think Murdoch will have


great difficulty keeping control of his company. I think he may well


end up going. That might be the case, but the reality is, I was in


a fish and chip shop in Byfleet, called Super Fish, I said everyone


has a right to privacy, but would you like to know the secrets of the


rich and famous, that was what they were saying. Everybody loves gossip,


it doesn't mean it is right to print it. That is the whole point.


So when it is pure gossip, when it is tittle tattle, when it is tawdry


revelations, there is a strong argument for not doing it. I think


we will get a law to stop it. hope there is not a law, I hope


there is a free pre, but a Press Complaints Commission that actually


is - press, but a Press Complaints Commission that is actually strong


enough to take care of the phone hacking and things like that. If


you intrude into somebody's private life, you have to justify it on the


grounds that the public should know this. It very much depend ones the


differences between what the public is interested in, in the fish and


chip shop, and what is in the public interest, the public might


be interested in Ryan Giggs sex life, but it is not necessarily in


the public interest? That is the law we have now. If you balance the


right of the individual to privacy against the right of the public to


know, and the judge applies a very intense fob cuss. The really


important thing is - focus. The really important thing is when it


is very focused it should be a judge not a tabloid editor which


has a strong vested interest. system is at the moment is unless


you are rich you can't take out the super-injunctions. You help people


in these case, financially, because you know that you have the means to


do that? First of all, Max is quite right, that is not a criticism of


the law, it is a criticism of the legal system, that alies all over,


it is too expensive. On the particular point, yes, I did and


have been helping a few civil actions, that, to begin with was


the only way to get it into the public domain. Do you think having


anybody own 40% of the British press, or whatever the figure, do


you think that is healthy? No, I have said for a long time, I think


probably something like 20-25% is the maximum any single person


should be entitled to, in terms of the control of the media in one


country, let alone 40%, with BSkyB it would have been a lot more. I


can't see then, anyone is too powerful and too strong and the


politicians need the support of the media. Far too much power in the


hands of one group. The combination of the press and television, it


should never have got to this stage. You are in business, you have been


in business for your whole life, do you think the Murdoch empire will


unravel? I think it will probably get broken up, at least in this


country, there is a problem with one family having so much power, it


is wrong. We need media plurality. Are you very happy to have taken


the payout from News International for invading your privacy, it was


obviously a difficult moment for you, you got a lot of cash out of


them? At the time I wasen the only one to take them on, as one of the


five people named nobody else went after them, when I got my


settlement people came out of the wood work and had the courage to


stand up with them. It was wrong, I had good relationship with News of


the World, as I have with every other newspaper and around the


world. I fell out with Coulson, we fell out over something, it wasn't


News of the World, I was still dealing with the other papers and


Sky. Did you have to sign a confidentiality report? No nothing


at all. The problems of the media have got gone away, in fact they


might have become even worse. The head of an emergency summit


tomorrow, the IMF has warned European leders to get their act


together and be more bold in stablising countries like Greece or


there will be global spillovers. The situation is very serious.


On the surface this is all about managing what they are calling a


partial default by Greece. In other words, that financing a new aid


package to Greece will involve giving back to people money already


lent to Greece less than they expected. There is something much


deeper at stake here, as different key players in Europe put forward


rival plans. And that is, the apparent disunity between France,


Germany, the big powers in the eurozone, and that is something


that sets a bad signal for the future for handling the other


sovereign debt crises that are bound to occur, that is what has


spooked the markets. As Greece waits for a new bailout,


Government austerity policies continue to provoke unrest. Taxi


drivers facing deregulation see themselves in a fight for their


livelihoods, today it turned violent. And as Europe struggles to


make up its mind about a new package the markets are losing what


faith they had, pushing the price of borrowing up for other


Governments, including Italy's. meeting is very important, this is


the real answer to the situation that we are facing. It is not only


the entire situation, the way in which Europe will manage a


situation which has been getting worse and worse. So the pressure on


leaders, critically those of France and Germany, to settle their


differences over the sovereign debt crisis, is growing steeply. Germany


has argued the banks themselves must share the pain of a new


bailout. But several other powerful EU countries say that would


effectively mark a partial Greek default, possibly triggering


financial turmoil. The head of the European Commission appealed today


for these differences to be settled now.


Nobody should be under any illusion. The situation is very serious. It


requires a response, otherwise the negative consequences will be felt


in all corners of Europe, and beyond. So the challenge facing the


leaders who will arrive tomorrow is clear enough. The question, though,


is whether they will be equal to it, and how they will reconcile an


array of possible options, almost all of which have serious downsides.


So, given that, is there going to be a deal? The German Chancellor,


Angela Merkel was playing it down earlier this week, President


Sarkozy has gone to Berlin tonight to try to get common agreement, if


France and Germany, the two great motors of the eurozone, political


and economic, can agree on this, the best way to put this package


together for Greece, then the rift will be healed between those two on


this issue, and things can move ahead. Now there is still


disagreement about this central issue, which is that the Germans


want banks to pay for at least some of this bailout, about 50 billion


euros worth, they want to do that from a tax op the banks that have


benefited from selling and dealing in Greek debt. The French don't


like that, obviously the financial markets are particularly nervous


about that idea. It seems to penalise people to give them back


less than they were expecting. That's the crux of it. But the key


thing really will be, whether any further agreement can be made in


the coming two days, both in Berlin, and then in Brussels later tomorrow


and Friday. On what the right mechanism should be with dealing of


crises of this nature. Because it is bound to reoccur, possibly with


the Spanish, with the Italians, with the Portuguese.


I'm joined now here in the studio by the Shadow Chancellor, Balls. We


have seen a series of sticky plasters and that will continue, do


you think the euro will continue in its present form? I think the euro


will last because there is a political commitment. Sticky


plaster after sticky plaster has been found out for a year now


because of a lack of decisive leadership from the Governments in


the eurozone to say we will sort this out. The crisis has moved from


Greece to Portugal and Ireland, now to Spain and Italy. This is hugely,


hugely dangerous and serious, and will have a direct impact on the UK


as well. We can't be bystanders, we are close to a real crisis. But we


can't be bystanders, but we have no way of particularly influencing


this, we are not playing in the euro, and you say lack of


leadership, that may be true, Britain can't offer it, what can


they do? Can, there is no doubt our Prime Minister and Chancellor have


been distracted in recent weeks, but the fact is that this is key to


our national interest. Half of our trade is with our European partners.


What should they do? They should say we are not in the eurozone, I


have to say thank goodness we are not, for Britain to be in the


eurozone would be a complete catastrophy. That is another reason


for saying we can't be in leadership? We can be an honest


broker. In past crises other countries have worked closely with


each other, the same should shap now. Our Prime Minister should go


to the meeting tomorrow, our Chancellor should be engaged in the


debates actively tomorrow. To do what, what should they say? They


should say you have to deal with the situation as it is now. You


have to stop the contagion, you have to accept that unless there


are clear guarantee, which are European wide, or eurozone wide, to


say we will put a guarantee under the debt of these countries, the


crisis is going to get worse and worse and worse. Has to be done. It


does mean more co-ordination. means German tax-payers have to


guarantee Greek debt? That is the reality. You wouldn't British tax-


payers to do that. That is why we are not in the eurozone That is the


price you pay for going into a single currency. Countries like


Greece have borrowed more cheaply because they were part of the


eurozone area. The point where that becomes clear it is in doubt there


is a crisis interest rates go up, the debt is not sustainable, as it


spreads into Spain and Italy, it is billions of exposure, hugely


significant, and the world cannot allow the eurozone to fail to


resolve its political issues and allow that contagion to destablise


the British and global economy. are effectively saying that the


eurozone has to get tighter and tighter bound together more tightly,


that the Germans really have to, you are saying that is implicit in


the project, that leaves Britain further on outsued, this is really


a two-speed Europe with Britain on the outside? I don't think it was


inevitable that the eurozone had to have that degree of fiscal co-


ordination, the more it went wide to countries in southern Europe it


was raisek. In European politics you have to deal with reality, the


reality is without greater burden sharing and co-ordination it will


be in deep crisis. The German taxpayer will have to be told this


is where we are. Britain would have more leverage, would they not, for


example, if the Labour Party voted against doubling the increase in


our contribution to the IMF, the Government was in favour of it, it


went through. You seem to be saying we should be telling people how to


do things but you are not prepared to do any money to it? I'm in


fairness with the prescription, not without sorting out the European


issues. The fact is our Government, our Chancellor and our Prime


Minister, have basically been absent from this debate in the last


year. We should be trying to lead these debates. They feel it is


complex, as Euro-sceptics we should keep out of it. We should be in


there making the argument, I don't think there should be a taxpayer


contribution to a eurozone facility. With great respect Ed Miliband two


weeks ago was being accused of not being able to lead his party, he


won't be able to lead Europe? Leadership is about dealing with


crises as they come along with a clear strategic view. In the last


two weeks Ed Miliband has had a clear strategic view on the hacking


and has led the debate. Our Prime Minister can't lead on hacking or


in Europe. That is a dangerous place for Britain to find ourselves,


essentially in the European debates, headless, when jobs and growth in


Britain are at risk. Do you see an appetite for the German tax-payers


to do what you have been suggesting, it is suggested within Europe, and


there is hugely contentious issues within Germany? In the end it will


happen, the longer it takes the more dangerous the crisis is. Our


Prime Minister and Chancellor should be urging action, and that


co-ordination. Spending other people's money is the point I'm


making? They shouldn't just say the bigger your cuts the faster, the


better. It hasn't worked in Greece or Ireland, here in Britain we will


have GDP figures, what has happened in the last six months is our


economy has flatlined. We are trying to take that medicine and it


isn't working, no wonder our Chancellor of the Exchequer is


worried tonight. My view is it is time for a bit of leadership.


Nine days are all you have left to tell the Government what you think


about HS2, the high-speed rail network which is planned to cut


journey times between the north and south of England, with trains


moving at more than 200 miles an hour. The cost, �32 billion.


Critics, many who live along the proposed route, say it is a waste


of money. Others say it is the only way to make the railways fit for


the 21st isn'try. Will HS2 ever I'm about to catch a train from


Birmingham to London, I'm looking forward to the time of reading a


book or do work. If the high-speed rail service comes in, more than


half an hour will be cut from my journey. It will cost an absolute


fortune, but supporters say it will deliver huge benefits to the


economy. Even at current speeds, long


distance train travel has become increasingly popular in Britain,


and the trains are getting more crowded. Building extra capacity is


part of a case for HS2, the high- speed rail project. Long distance


rail trips almost doubled in the period from 195 to 2008. Domestic


air travel grew rapidly too, but dipped sharply in recent years.


While the number of long car journies has hardly grown at all.


Just about everyone thinks the rail network needs extra leg room, but


there is violent disagreement on whether HS2 is the answer.


doesn't stack um economically, environmently, even technically it


can't operate in the way they said it should. We need the confidence


to develop the best technology available and make sure we are


connecting our cities properly and A big part of the economic case for


high-speed rail depends on the idea of saving people time. The


assumption is that valuable people are spending lots of valuable


minutes doing absolutely nothing when they could be working. But


does that really hold up any more? On any train these days, and not


just in first class, you will find people working away on laptops and


smartphones. Not only can I work, but I do it in comfort, and I'm not


disturbed by phone call, I'm more productive here than sometimes I am


in my office. But will getting to the office half an hour faster mean


a big boost to productivity? don't think it will make a


difference at all. I'm not sure it is money well spent. I work two to


three days a week in Birmingham. And we use the Internet and


conference calls any way. So really, I mean, we're living in a much more


technological age, I don't really see, I think it would be good to


invest maybe more in better Wi-Fi for more people. At speeds of 225


miles an hour or more, the HS2 project promises to transform rail


travel. It is in two stages. First the line from London to Birmingham,


to be completed by around 2026, at a cost of something like �17


billion. That will cut the time of the fastest journey from an hour


and 24 minutes to 49 minutes, there will be a knock-on effect for


trains heading further afield. The real time savings in the north of


England come in the next phase, to be completed in the mid-2030s,


pushing the total bill up to �32 billion. That would reduce the


journey time to Manchester to 55 minutes, to an hour and 13 minutes.


While an hour will come off a trip to Leeds, putting that city an hour


and 20 minutes from London. There is now ferocious opposition


to the plans, mostly from those living along the route. Opponents


say they prefer investment in existing networks, where passengers


would see benefits sooner. HS2, they claim, doesn't make any sense.


The business case is deeply flawed, I'm a business person and been


through many business cases and produced them. The costs exceed the


benefits, that is perception it will help the north, when all the


economist ace gree they will benefit primarily in London. Most


of the jobs will be created in London. This is an exciting, sexy,


pointy-nose projects at a time of austerity, like Concorde, can we


spend more than �1,000 a household for something that is not top of


the priority list and doing it in the most expensive possible way


with a completely new line. Business supports of the - Business


supporters say the economy will suffer in the north if it isn't


built and it is not just about speed. It is about tackling the


capacity restraint, I haven't seen a better way to tackle the chronic


capacity restraints we will face in the Network Rail. East Coast Main


Line will be full within 12 years, this is the best way to tackle the


capacity. The time savings are like the icing on the cake. They bring


additional economic and regeneration benefits.


Whether you think spending billions on high-speed rail is a good idea,


is how you see our working lives changing in the next few decades.


Is Britain going to be a country where Japanese-style bullet trains


speed to us meetings one hundreds of miles away in minutes, or does


it like this. Matt runs a software business a few miles from the high-


speed line. Jane hasn't met Billy. Everyone has been in the same room


not necessarily at the same time. He and four colleagues spread


across south-east England, meet on- line, rather than by hopping on to


a train. Where would you guys like money spent on high-speed rail or


high-speed broadband? Both. My vote is for high-speed broadband, that


is a more effective way of bringing people together in the future.


want high-speed broadband on trains!


This is the office of the future! For one huge train enthusiast, the


idea that fast broadband might replace fast trains is preposterous.


The music producer, Pete waterman commutes from London to Warrington


three times a week. Broadband doened employ people, all it does


is make telecommunication companies richer. Do we want to employ people


and distribute the wealth and bring more people into the working ethic,


or do we want to just put everybody playing games all day long. What


about the mounting evidence that the business case for HS2 doesn't


add up? No way the numbers add up, that is where the argument all


falls down, this is the dream. Build it and they will come. You


cannot analyse railway, you have never been able to. Since they


built the first railways, everybody has been doing figures. If you are


going to do that, don't build the railway. You can make 50 arguments


for and against. What they never do, is look at history and say every


time we built a new railway the country has changed for the better.


My trip to London is almost over, 80 minutes of wasted time or


productive work, take your pick. The truth is, the case for HS2 is


full of so many variables it is impossible to say today whether two


decades from now it will prove worthwhile. So, politics, not


economics, could decide where this journaly ends.


Now joining me is the Conservative MP whose constituency lies on the


route, and joining me from Birmingham is Patrick Twist, who


signed an open letter from business people supporting the Government's


plans. Why is it not the answer? simply doesn't make sense from a


taxpayer, value for money perspective, there is an awful lot


you can do with �30 billion, that will generate a lot more new jobs


in the north of England. It is not just new jobs, it is about getting


around this country, you do accept there are real problems on the


Network Rail? It doesn't solve those either. The rail problems are


now, we are incredibly congested on the West Coast Mainline. This


wouldn't do anything until 2026, 15 years away. There is a lot to be


done now, not waiting until then. What is the case for building this,


why do we need it? I think it is primarily the capacity issue, and I


have heard what Angela said, but the reality is that improvements of


that nature won't be delivered within the next six months or so.


Whatever the nature of them, they will be delivered over a longer


period. And the sort of improvement that is we are talking about would


not deliver the added capacity that is going to be needed in the long-


term through to the middle of this century. But Mr Twist I was struck


by hearing one of the leading advocates for it, effectively


saying it is a leap of faith that will cost the taxpayer �32 billion?


I don't endorse that, I don't think it will cost the taxpayer �3


billion. If you look at the case for HS2, the benefit cost ratio,


that is the ratio from cost to benefit, it comes out according to


the department for transport, who historically have not supported


rail projects. It comes out at 2-1. I know that a lot of people


watching this will think you don't like it because it goes through an


area that affects your constituent, and naturally they will be


irritated by it, not in my backyard. We see that with projects from wind


farms to high-speed rail links? am not a NIMOBY. It was raised to


my attention because it was going through the middle of countryside.


I supported the principle in March 2010, and objected to the route.


Over that time I have spent a lot of time looking into the business


case and the detail. It doesn't add up, tax-payers have a right to that


money. You don't want it to go through anywhere, you think it is


wrong. What would happen if we don't build it. Would would be the


downside for the country. We would have the issue of capacity,


whereby I don't know if you travel on the West Coast Mainline, already


if you travel up on a Thursday or Friday evening, you will find that


the trains are already full. We would be just left further behind,


you look across the world and see what's happened. In 1964 the


Japanese built their first line from Tokyo to Osaka, I haven't


heard the Japanese saying that was a mistake. In France, 30 years ago,


they are connected to two major cities, Paris and Lyon, they have


expanded it further. I entirely endorse what was said there, build


it and they will come. That is true about France and also Japan and


Spain? Of course there is an issue of distances, they have far greater


distances to travel. There is also an issue that there is some magical


thinking about the benefits of those projects, some of them have


been reduced. In China they are slowing their high-speed trains


down. In France there isn't an overwhelming endorsement for the


regenerative capabilities of high- speed rail. Very often the


regeneration is sucked into the city and way from the hub that is


seeking to benefit. With Members of Parliament at last


heading off for their summer break, we wanted to bring back the best


political brains in Britain. It says here, the Newsnight panel to


give us their thoughts on where we are in the hacking scandal and


politics more widely. I'm joined by Danny Finkelstein, who is a Times


columnist and used to be an MP for the Conservatives. Julian Astle,


and Peter Hyman. We have all been very entertained,


informed, it has been a fascinated, extraordinary couple of week, but


for the party leaders, has anything changed? Quite a lot has. Mainly in


the Westminster bubble, this issue won't decide the next election,


let's be clear about that. It has changed the dynamics, Ed Miliband


is on the front foot, a good week or two. David Cameron has looked


very uncomfortable, he has been on the back foot. It is a frustrating


few weeks for Nick Clegg, what he knows, most people would concede,


his party is the one party of the three that has managed to keep Anne


proper rate distance from the Murdoch people. Maybe it is the


other way round he would concede that too. For whatever reason that


is the historical fact. He hasn't a platform to make that case. He has


been sidelined. The good news from his narrow party political


perspective is this is a slow burn story. We have a year, maybe two


years of inquiries, revelations, investigations and so forth, as


that happens it will reflect well on the Liberal Democrats?


That is true, it won't go away however well David Cameron did


today? It won't go away for a story, nor ought it. Julian is right, it


is not an election settler. It will change the terms of trade in


Westminster, it already has t will help Ed Miliband, particularly with


his party base. Because, I think one of the reasons why he went down


disastrously, with his party base, was over the strike, and this


helped him to rebound. He restored the drop that it had in his numbers.


Is that true for the Labour Party, Miliband is saved as the leader, is


that good? It has given him a lot of space to talk about the things


he needs to, like the economy and health. He will be listened to in a


new way. I don't agree with this idea that no-one out there care


about this, they really care about education, health and the economy.


Of course that is true, but these things are connected. I remember in


Government working for Tony Blair, when there was a trust issue about


Tony Blair on an issue, on the other issues like health or


education, the polling went down. So, in fact, the trust contaminates


everything else. That is fair point. Just a minute, my guess is people


will look at the economy differently now and cuts, which the


Tories have wriggled out so far, because they trust Cameron a bit


less. It is true, most don't study the detail of the cuts and what


will happen to the NHS. We do think we know something about character,


that will be a problem? This has presented itself to most people


primarily as an issue about politics, it is primarily an issue


about my profession, with journalism and the police. The


effect on Cameron will be the misjudgment over Coulson, and


people do think that is a misjudgment ta, has affected them.


There will be some bleed over, I wouldn't exaggerate it into other


issues, there has been a sort of hysteria in Westminster about the


political impact this is likely to have in the medium term. It doesn't


mean it is not a hugely important issue, people do care. The politics


will be very important. significance of this for David


Cameron, frankly, is it seems to reinforce his negatives. He is


captured, he is a prisoner of his own background. He's seen as the


high society, blue-blooded, Conservative, which very rich and


powerful friends, who perhaps he is cut off from, who doesn't


understand the majority of the country. The pictures of him with


Rebekah Brooks and the Murdochs and all the rest of it simply reinforce


that, that may be unfair but that is the fact of the matter.


doesn't just look cosy in that sense, we heard all the stuff about


Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, when Cameron says we are all in it


together, do you not think the people in the chip shop is going to


say, you are all in this together? The Blair-Murdoch relationship was


not a friendship one. I was in the room when Tony Blair said, Rupert


Murdoch came a friend of mine. He actually said that. I was there.


This is a different one, this is about a set mixing together, this


is about them living together, it is about them socialising, they are


genuine friends, Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron. In terms of people


who meet doing business. I think there was a different relationship.


I think Tony Blair, God bless him was genuine in the relationship he


had with Rupert Murdoch, he wanted to go after, because he thought


that Rupert Murdoch had an understanding of what his readers


believed in, and he wanted to show that he was an appeal it him.


crucified Neil Kinnock in 1982 so the press being there is not


truement I'm struck by a genuine friendship being a bad thing?


struck by the phrase "I was in the room", all of these guys were in


the room. For many years Liberal Democrats have been patronised and


laughed at because they were never in the room, now it is a good thing


not to be in the room. That is all from Newsnight tonight, Michelle is


here with more tomorrow, good nationwide.


Hello, if it is warm sunny weather you are after, don't hold your


breath. Patience is a virttu, cloud around for many - virtue, cloud


around for many of us tomorrow. Scattered showers, some meaty by


the afternoon. Wherever you are, disappointingly cool once more,


with temperatures stuck in the mid- to high teens for the most part.


Difficult to nail down exactly where the showers will occur. The


potential is there. That said, across the far South-West of


England, there are showers sticking out in sunshine, the west of Wales


too. The majority of Wales will be disappointingly cloudy, with bursts


of rain developing by the afternoon. On a more optimistic note, Northern


Ireland will stay largely dry, with broken cloud and some sunshine.


Scotland too. There will be showers, particularly up over the high


ground. Many places probably avoiding these and staying dryer


than we have seen recently. Looking further ahead, a lot of cloud and


further showers rate right the way through to the afternoon.


Disappointingly cool across many areas. Chilly nights to come. A


similar story further south. Some bright spells but a lot of cloud,


and a few showers likely as well. Can you see the extent of a cloud


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