17/08/2011 Newsnight


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

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A year ago, the Government trumpetted plans for a


rehabilitation revolution, now David Cameron's praising judges for


handing down harsh sentences. But can the system cope with the sea


change. Newsnight has learned that one council is having to use the


Premier Inn hotel chain, to accommodate young offenders on


remand. I'm very much taken aback by this. I don't think the lawyers


or the community at large, when they learn that a local authority


takes into the care and custody young people that the next step for


that young person is say Premier Inn. I will ask the former Home


Secretary, Jack Straw, what he makes of all this. The Work and


Pensions minister says Britain is in the last chance saloon when it


comes to solving this social crisis. But unemployment has gone up today,


and stands at nearly 2.5 million. The Employment Minister is here to


answer criticisms that Britain is not working.


Also tonight, why was Gloucester a charming Cathedral City shaken by


the riots. I have travelled extensively and go to London a lot,


and feel more at threat in Gloucester than any other city in


the country. And is the best way for women to


get ahead, to lose weight and look sexy, a controversial new book


argues so-called erotic capital is an asset females should exploit.


The author is here to argue her Good evening, as of tonight, 1,297


riot-related cases have gone through the courts. And 65% of


those in the dock have been remanded in custody. But can the


prison system cope, and does the justice system, already under the


strain of 25% cuts, have the budget for this sudden spike in cases. It


was only a few months ago that the Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke,


hailed a new rehabilitation revolution, and as described


prisoners in outdated facilities. It turned out before the riots, one


local authority has had to warehouse at least one alleged


offender in a budget hotel chain. I think we are being too lenient.


It is perfectly reasonable for the courts to take the view that these


sentences should be at the tougher end of the spectrum. The mood is


clear, the public wants tough sentences for those involved in


last week's looting. So six months for stealing a bottle of water it


is. And from the Prime Minister, nothing but support for the courts.


I think it is right that we should allow the courts to make decisions


about sentencing. You weren't sitting in the court, I wasn't


sitting in the court, we didn't hear the evidence, they decided in


that court to send a tough sentence and message and it is very good


courts feel able to do. That what happened on the streets was


absolutely appalling behaviour, to send a very clear message that it


is wrong and won't be tolerated is what the criminal justice system


should be doing. How will this square with the Government's long-


term plans to cut the prison population, and the budgets much


courts and Legal Aid. Over the next four years the Ministry of Justice


needs to shed a quarter of its costs to meet Government spending


targets. What's more the Secretary of State for Justice is on record


as saying he doesn't think jail always works. This was the Justice


Secretary in a major speech last year on sentencing reform. Just


banging up more and more people for longer, without actively seeking


toe change them is, in my opinion, what would you expect of Vic


Toryian England. And it is time we dk Victorian England, and it is


time to focus on today's communities. Too often prison has


proved a costly and ineffectual approach that fails to turn


criminals into law-abiding citizens. It was an abrupt change in Tory


policy, rather than the prison works approach of the 1980s, the


new Justice Secretary actually wanted to cut prison numbers by


3,000. The approach is bourne out of philosophy but also cold hard


numbers. To keep a male in prison for a year, costs �40,000, sending


him there costs �30 though in court costs. Currently in England and


Wales there are 8 6,000 people detained at Her Majesty's pleasure,


just 2,000 short of operational capacity. So far there have been


1300 riot-related cases heard, two- thirds of the alleged offenders


have been remanded in custody. In Ealing, one of the centres of the


riots, the local Tory MP believes the Government may need to look


again at its budget cuts to justice. The Prime Minister made it very


clear in the House of Commons last week, when he was asked about this,


that it is for the judges to decide on sentences, if they decide to


send people to prison it is the Government's obligation to provide


prison places for people. How will the Government do that if it needs


to quarter the budget of the ministry? There are other things


being looked at, not just prison place, we are looking at things


like Legal Aid and all sorts of other things as well. Not just


prison places. My view is, if we need to keep for prison places we


need to do that. Today Newsnight has new evidence of the pressures


on the criminal justice system. We have learned that Richmond Council


has used a west London branch of the Premer in Inn, hotel - the


Premier Inn hotel chain to house a prisoner on remand. The council


wouldn't confirm how long the youth stayed there. Wefrpb we asked the


hotel were they aware of the The revelation has shocked a


leading criminal barrister. very much taken aback by this, I


don't think either lawyers or indeed the community at large, when


they learn that a local authority takes into the care and custody


young people, that the next step for that young person is say


Premier Inn, I'm surprised, I put it so far as being flabbergasted to


hear this. Both the Ministry for Justice and the department for


local communities say it is matter for the council.


Balancing the public mood for justice, as well as the budget, is


now the dilemma facing the coalition. But a prison reform


group says we should also be thinking about what works the


Particularly for short prison sentence, versus community


sentences, where there is fair comparison in terms of the type of


person that might be doing the sentence, and the type of offences


they have done, the reoffending rates are sharp, almost two-thirds


will go on to reoffend, half of that on community sentences


reoffend. But that's not what the public


wants for now. The last ten days have seen extraordinary shifts in


the demand for tough crime policies. Whether the Government can deliver


that long-term is a question no-one is answering at the moment. We


asked to speak to someone from the Ministry of Justice, but was told


nobody was available. Joining us now from Manchester is the former


Justice Secretary and Home Secretary, Jack Straw. First of all,


what's your reaction to the news that Richmond council used Premier


Inn, to house an alleged offender on remand. I find it extraordinary,


I'm not sure it is lawful. If an offender whether under 18 or over


18, is remanded in custody there are very strict rules about the


circumstances in which they are kept in a room from which they


can't take any escape, that is certainly not Premier Inn, so


Richmond Council have to do a great deal of explaining. Their silence


this evening, their refusal to offer any explanation of this


practice, underlines the fact that this is an indefensible practice


itself. Is there any situation that you can think that would make it a


justifiable decision? No, I have never heard of this, there are


circumstances in which someone may be remanded on bail, on conditions,


and for example an authority can't find a bail hostel so they put them


somewhere else, an equivalent. In that case they would obviously make


sure there was an arrangement made with the owners of that premises,


which in the case of the hotel hasn't happened. What do you make


of the fact that Premier Inn was completely ignorant of what's


happening? I share astonishment in this. Presumably, it would mean


that Premier Inn correction easily have put a guest in the next room?


Of course they comfortable the whole thing is bizarre as well as


extraordinary. Richmond Council, and by the way, a senior Liberal


Democrat minister is, Vince Cable, is a member of parliament for one


of the two Richmond constituent circumstance he too needs to


explain what on earth is going on. You talked about the fact you think


there are pretty strong rules in place, but the Ministry of Justice,


the Department of Local Government, it is not matter for them surely,


rather than a council to determine the rules. Is this not something


central Government should be very clear on? Of course, I was


reflecting when I heard that statement, the minister for justice


said this is something for the local authority. It isn't, there


are self-evidently in any civilised society, strict rules about whether,


particularly juveniles, should be sent into custody, and if they are,


the circumstances, the physical circumstances, the arrangement for


their supervision. By the way, I'm also very surprised that Richmond


Council apparently thought it was necessary to send this juvenile


into the Premier Inn, as an alternative to a proper, licensed,


secure establishment. Because in the last two or three years, the


number of places for under 18, under 18 prisoners in secure


establishments, that are being used, has dropped significantly. There


has been a great deal of slack in the system. At the moment


presumably there isn't slack in the criminal justice system per se,


what should be done about that? so much. That I was looking at the


Ministry of Justice website before I came out, they were boasting


about the fact they had 2,500 spare place, even up to what is called


the operational capacity, there is margin above that, because of the


building programme. That is the building programme that, frankly, I


got going, Ken Clarke has cancelled all of that programme that he can.


On this issue, Wii you started, the so-called rehabilitation revolution,


we are all in favour of improving rehabilitation of persistent


offenders, the glib statement about the prison reformers, comparing


community punishments and comparing the reoffending rate with those on


short-term sentences won't wash. It is baloney, 96% of those who go to


prison for a short-term sentence have been tried on a community


punishment and failed, and three quarters of them, have seven or


more sets of convictions. Now not only are we seeing at the moment


this spike, because all these cases are going through the courts. 5%


are on remand. Do you detect that is reflective of a mood in the


community which the Government has picked up on. A mood that people


are feeling themselves much tougher about this? Yes, look, prison is


the punishment of last resort. Where you have and have, as we had


a week ago, gangs taking the law into their own hands, becoming an


arky on the streets, and make - anarchy on the streets and the


state has to clamp down on that. That will cost money, not only for


all the people who may end up on jail, but all the appeals that may


be heard, how will that be paid, considering a 5% cut in the justice


system? - a 25% cut in the justice system? With great difficulty, and


the ministry's budget will bust. will bust? Yes. Over a year ago Ken


Clarke ludicrously volunteered much greater cuts in his budget that he


needed to. He was trying to show avenues very virile justice


minister. If you think it will bust, are you in favour, for example, of


judges handing out four-year sentences to two men for inciting a


riot that didn't take place, but inciting a riot on a social


network? In principle I'm in favour of that sentence. There have to be


tough sentence, I wasn't in court, that is the point the Prime


Minister made, I'm not going to judge the circumstances as if I had


been in court. I'm absolutely clear that people who xir, which is what


these - conspire, which is what these people sought to do, to


organise a riot, whether they do that by Facebook or out in the


street, must expect and deserve a very tough sentence. One of the


five principles of sentencing set out in the 2003 Criminal Justice


Act, as the chairman of the Magistrates' Association was


referring to today, is that of deterrent, you can't have this


anarchy, you have to deter people. But now there is a cost to that,


and the Government will be wholly failing in the first duty of any


Government, which is to keep the streets safe f it does not meet


these costs. Today's unemployment figures offer


little comfort to the Government in the wake of the riot, with a rise


of 38,000 in England and Wales in the three months to June, the


largest rise for more than two years. A figure the Chancellor


describes simply as "disappointing". The general secretary of the trade


The Female Eunuch son said the savage cuts have ended


opportunities in the public sector, and it is the private sector


struggling to withstand the economic downturn. With the


announcement of 11 more Enterprise Zones in England be the magic


bullet. Bradford Leeds, today's the small


rise in unemployment significants barely matters, the problem here is


entrenched. Years of depravation have left 46% of people here with


no qualifications at all, finding a job is tough. My job is to get work,


I'm doing college, that is the only way to do it is to get a trade in


college. Now the Government has stopped EMA, you have to pay for it


yourself, it is hard to pay for it. Figures today show youth


unemployment above 20%, the evidence is it is scarred, a spell


on the dole before the age of 23 can affect you throughout your


working life. There are permanent scaring effects from this temporary


unemployment shock. For example an individual who has a spell of


unemployment during youth, their wages will be lower, even up to 20


years later. So they can have wages when they are 42 which are 20%


lower than an individual who wasn't unemployed during their youth.


part of the solution, says the Government, is Enterprise Zones, 11


new ones were named today. In the zone you get 100% business rate


discount for five years. Simplified planning regulations and Government


support for superfast broadband. need the private sector to be the


engine of growth and jobs. The good news is the private sector has


created around half a million jobs over the last year, we need it to


go further and faster to make sure there are good will-paid jobs for


all our people. That is why Enterprise Zones matter. Here is


the kind of place it is supposed to work. Cobalt Light Systems a high-


tech start up in Oxford. It has 15 employee, mainly scientist, but is


about to go into production mode, which should mean more technician


jobs. One of the options for us, is to start to manufacture, as our


products gain acceptance, and I think the innovation centres and


the Enterprise Zones certainly will help us to do that. As we grow, for


example, we will have to move out of this innovation centre, there is


some Greenfield sites nearby, and certainly the Enterprise Zones will


encourage new build structures that we can potentially move into and


occupy in the future. But, as for many UK firms, the problem is the


absence of a trained and skilled work force. If you look at where


the Enterprise Zones are cited, there is a mismatch, it is always


some distance from the unemployment black spots. The one in London is


near Canary Wharf, the two in Birmingham are not exactly in the


worst hit areas, it is the same across the country. There is a


reason. Fundamentally I think these places have become unattractive for


businesss to locate in, want to set up. That is a very big challenge


these places face. We know the types of things that would improve


the economic boincy of these areas would be to improve their skills


profile. For example, areas like Stoke Hull, Birmingham, all areas


with an Enterprise Zone, have between 17-19% of their working age


people unemployed. Addressing these deep seated challenges will be more


important to the long-term economic growth potential of these cities.


The first Enterprise Zones were launched in the early 1980 today


they are widely believed to have failed. The relocated existing jobs


didn't create new one, and what stalled employment was sustained


recovery, which is what is not happening today. Schemes such as


the private enterprise scheme, they are incentivising the private


sector to create jobs, this won't have a quick impact on youth


unemployment. We need a direct scheme that quickly takes the


individuals out of unemployment and into work or education now. Because


if we don't do that the consequences for these individuals


will last a lifetime. And there is another problem revealed in today's


figures about migration, employment among British workers in red, falls


rapidly at the start of the crisis but only among foreign nationals in


yellow. But then, in the recovery, foreign workers have taken more


jobs than UK nationals, especially in the last two quarters. Here's


the view on that from people. are coming over working minimum


wage, we can do the same work for minimum wage, it is harder for an


English person, than a Polish person who can get a job straight


away. The real nightmare for politicians in the recovery, is we


get a recovery in private sector demand, but the work force can't


match it. With nearly a quarter of all adults economically inactive,


the skills base is being eroded, with one million unemployed it is


not catching up faster. There will be 250,000 school leavers with A-


level results tomorrow to add to that.


The private sector hasn't delivered the jobs bonanza fast enough to


deal with the numbers of 17-23- year-old who is are on the dole and


unskilled. They will left behind? There is a huge youth unemployment


challenge. If you look at the labour market over the last 12


months, we have seen four-times as many jobs created in the private


sector, as jobs lost in the public sector. Who are they going to?


of the frustrations is we haven't had up to now a scheme to match


unemployed British workers to vacancies. We have that now, that


is designed to solve that problem. You have the enterprise areas, but


not in the areas where there is all the unemployment, there is a


mismatch immediately? That is not right, if you look at the north-


east, areas particularly affected, an area where we can't to see a


bigger and stronger private sector, there are two Enterprise Zones, one


in the Tees Valley and one around Newcastle. That will serve as an


engine to help grow the private sector. You are not matching the


unemployment black spots with skills. If you don't put highly-


skilled training in areas where the factories are, the factories will


go to foreign nationals as we see on the graph? You talk about it


being far away, in London we have black spots in South-East London,


we have an Enterprise Zone around Canary Wharf, that is a short


commute away. In the north, black spots in Newcastle and an


Enterprise Zone around Newcastle, they are there, and close by and


accessible. The fact is the jobs aren't going to British national,


that graph was perfectly clear, as the recovery starts, foreign


nationals, not British nationals are getting the jobs. That is a


strange position for a Conservative Government? We recognise that


problem, one of the key goals of the providers who are going to be


delivering our work programme s to match individual job seekers to


find the right opportunities, to remote vait people who have been


out of work for long time, to fill the skills gap to make sure there


is the ready work force. filling of the skills gap is too


slow. It must be very disheartening for 17-23-year-olds, who haven't


got the skills now and see this whole wave of schoolchildren coming


out behind them. You atrify if you are unemployed, your skills become


less. That is right. If you look at young job seekers we have done two


things. Along with the work programme and the support we


provide through organisations like the Prince's Trust, our work


experience scheme is delivering those opportunities for precisely


those people. Joining us now are Martina Milburn, the chief


executive of the Prince's Trust, Laura Rennis, long-term unemployed


but now running her own business and from Newcastle, Andrew Hodgson,


the chief executive of a high-tech manufacturing company on north


Tyneside. Andrew Hodgson, you heard the minister say that the skills


are there in the right areas, you run a high-tech company, what's


your experience? For the last two years we have recruited about 200


people, all of very high skill. But I have to say that most of that has


been achieved by taking from companies that have been laying off.


I think we are reaching the point now where we are struggling to find


people with the right skills going forward. We tried to do things with


the local colleges and universities to address, that clearly, as you


have said, it is quite a slow process. In fact, you don't have


young engineers? We have some young engineers entering our population,


but over time we have seen, in the last ten years, the number of


people taking up science and technology-type degrees have


dramatically reduced and therefore the quality of people entering the


population at graduate level has been severely reduced. You have a


lot of unemployed people in your area? The north-east as the highest


level of unemployment, we have one of the lowest levels of skills,


clearly you can see the co-relation between those two numbers. That is


firsthand experience for a man trying to run a high-tech company?


This is precisely the reason why we have had 100,000 extra


apprenticeships. It is essential for a high-tech business to develop


the skills at college and university level that are right for


those companies. You heard manufacturing capability talked


about, we have to make sure where we have investment in manufacturing,


we have skills that are built amongst the existing unemployed


community, that they are remote vaited and we find the right


vacancies for them. .We Have to match the employers with employees.


This is where the Prince's Trust comes in, you are matching people


so far off the scale of skills, how does this help them? The way you


help those types of young people is with a lot of support. One of the


things we have been discussing with Government is the amount of support


and long-term support that those young people need, and it isn't


just about the cash, it is about the people and meantors that go


with them. How long were you unemployed? About four or five


years. What did that feel like being there, somebody else in the


film thought about it there you feel like you are atrifying on the


dole? You get a sense of demote vaigs, you become very defeatist


and depressed, you get very fed up, I know myself I didn't want to not


have a job. Is that the experience of a lot of your friends r a number


of your friends in the same position? At the time I do remember


a lot of my friends were seeking employment, but thankfully they are


all in employment now. What is your impression of the skills gap?


training do you think people need? There is a lot of attention for


people to achieve the core subjects, English, maths and science, there


are a lot of young people who are cast aside that don't achieve


highly in the main academic subjects. There are so many young


people if they were channelled in the same way to complete CDT, wood


shop, electricians courses and things like that, they wouldn't be


cast aside and put that element of doubt upon them that they are not


able to achieve anything. Is that your experience with young people


that they are not channelled in the right direction? I think so, with


the apprenticeship level it is set quite high, you need to have NVQ


level 2 or 3, and the group we are talking about haven't even got NVQ


level 1, just to finish, a young person told me a while ago they had


left their apprenticeship, because they were doing a plumbing course,


but they had to spend all the time doing the history of plumbing, I


don't want a plumber who knows the history of plumbing, I want someone


to mend my sink, that is the bit we have been working closely with


Government to engage those young people, but it takes longer. It is


practical experience and help. don't have the time, and they don't


have the time, Chris Grayling, surely there needs to be a lot more


done. A number of young people simply aren't even on the starting


ladder? One of the problems is many employers are reluctant to take on


someone straight from school or college. We are trying to do


through the work experience scheme is to get employers, we have now


thousands of young people going through the scheme, into the work


place for a couple of months to show employers what they can do.


that enough, Andrew Hodgson? Sorry. Is it enough now to say to young


people here is two months that you can go away and work out what you


want to do, and then you have to find your path, is that enough?


think it is very, very difficult, we hear a lot from various employer


groups about the employability of young people, I think it is


important that people understand that is an issue, maybe two months


does give people chance to folk cushion but clearly we need to be


working with people - focus, but clearly we need to working with


people to see they have the growth paths for the future. Do you think


things will get worse before they get better? I think things will get


better. We are looking through the Enterprise Zone in the north-east,


creating 3,000 low-carbon jobs, I think the number will be more like


10,000, there are a lot of opportunities for British companies


to focus. We have a pretty good skills base, not with standing


everything we have said today. We have a great infrastructure in the


north-east, I think we have started on a path to growth. Path to growth


there, a slow path to growth maybe, the danger is you won't do enough


to turn this around in time? These are difficult times economically


there are two things we have to do to try to build employment. One is


to create the kind of environment we are talking about through


Enterprise Zones, where businesses are growing and creating jobs. The


other is through the work being done by the work programme,


Jobcentre Plus, and the organisations like the Princess


trust, providing specialist support for the long-term unemployed, that


is what we are doing as well. In an interview today the Work and


Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said Britain was the last


chance saloon when it came to the social crisis, that wasn't the


crisis but the crisis is coming. Most of the violent disorder took


place in inner cities, some more quiet pockets of England fell


victim to the rioting too and looting. We went to find out what


happened. This doesn't look like the place to contemplate the


problems of contemplery Britain. Gloucester is an easy going city on


the tourist circuit. Famous for the Cathedral and for once being the


unlikely home of mass murderer Fred West. On Tuesday last week its


image suddenly changed. Windows were smashed and shops looted.


Bristol was quieter, but the trouble across the west has the


police at full stretch. Gangs of youths took to the streets hurling


rocks and bottles at police, smashing windows and starting fires.


Firemen needed police protection against the rioters. 24 people have


been charged so far. I understand that most of them are white. Just


over a week on, the arrests have continued, cases go through court,


and the city has returned to its pleasant, normal tranquility, at


least on the surface. There is still a furious debate, why


Gloucester, why on earth should there be riots here? The riots have


led to soul searching with inevitably very different and


sometimes startling conclusions. Outside the Cathedral, I met two


ladies who worked there. Were you surprised this happened in


Gloucester? Not at all. You weren't surprised? Not at all. Do you not


feel safe in Gloucester? No, I don't. We were mugged in May in the


porch of the Cathedral. Just round the back here? Yes, I have


travelled extensively, go to London a lot, and feel more at threat in


Gloucester than any other city in the country. They haven't got


discipline, they haven't got discipline at home, and therefore,


they grow up with the idea that the world owes them a living, that the


gang culture takes over, nobody else matters, and I think it is


very, very sad. We have got to do something. The local MP was,


perhaps, naturally, concerned for the city's image. I'm not sure I


would call them riots. I think the police themselves would say. Police


taked with bottles and stones, buildings set on fire, firemen


frightened because they were being attacked themselves, that is a riot


surely? No. Police had to stop people coming into the centre here,


that is the way they talk about it? I think the word "riot" is too


strong. We had a very disappointing night with significant disturbances


and one empty building, set on fire in an upper room. That doesn't


really mean a riot. It is all about image for Gloucester, isn't it?


doesn't help Gloucester's reputation, we know it was a bad


night a lot of us were very cross about it. I had 700 e-mails from


people frustrated about such things happening here. We had a fire in


the college just over here. And then a large group forming up in


East Gate Street. The police took me on a tour of last week's trouble


spots. They did well in keeping rioters out of the city centre.


is here they managed to find things to grow at the police. People were


using bottles they brought from pubs to use as missiles. Assistant


Chief Constables argued that cutbacks could have been a factor.


If you look at what is happening across the whole of the country in


terms of cutbacks of services for a number of people, it is likely that


is going to have an impact on people feeling valued or being


listened to or getting the services they need. Some of that may have


played out on Tuesday evening in Gloucester, I think it is really


hard to say there was a direct impact. Certainly, what we would


all like to see are far more services for young people, far more


activities to engage young people and actually make them feel they


have a stake in society, that they have some hope of getting a job in


the future, some hope of getting a decent education and training, and


they have actually got their place in society, where they are earning


a living and they would do all of those things that the rest of us


would like to do. Gloucester may have the appearance of a well off


affluent city, but the figures show 9,000 people out of work across


Gloucestershire. This is one of the most deprived areas, with high


unemployment and most claiming benefits across the city. It is a


multiracial part of the city. It was here the rioters caused damage


after failing to reach smarters shops across the city.


There is place for young people to go here. Some of the time. The


Youth Peace Project was launched last week just after the riot. It


is funded through the Home Office, using money eased from criminals,


it is only open four hours a week. Back about five years ago there was


four youth centres all open sometimes four nights a week, for


up two to three hours at night, then they had summer provisions


during the summer holidays when young people are not at school and


college T has diminished ridiculously. The project is run by


Delroy Ellis, a one time drug dealer, now praises for community


work. He used to run another youth club but it closed last December


because he lost its funding. He claims there is a connection


between that loss and the riot? Told by people that nearly 1500


people that attended the meeting from the riots came from Star 66,


that is from the old club. I'm not saying I could have stopped it, I


would have put something in place if I knew it was a rioting night, I


would have opened up the youth club and say come on and talk about it.


How does he see the problems of young people in the area? 70% of


the kids I work with on daily basis they have no aspirations, they are


saying what is there out there. You have told me there weren't nothing


out there when you were 21, you are now 34, what is out there for me 21


years on, it is upsetting. If they feel no-one listens to us, we are


not valued, we haven't any hope for a different life, some of those


people will be engaging in criminal activity, not to condone it, but


understand what it is about. They see greed taking place in other


parts of our society, in all the different strata of our society,


they see people getting away with that, there is something here about


saying what about me, don't I get some as well. What happened here?


There seemed to be many reasons. Copy cat rioting, boredom, despair


at lack of opportunities, and just plain greed. The unemployment


figures revealed today the number of women out of work has hit levels


not seen in 23 years. How can females improve chances of


employment. A controversial new book by a senior research fellow at


the London School of Economics argues that the fairer sex is


missing a trick. Catherine Hakim argues that women have something


called "erotic capital" and they should use it to get on in the work


place. She cites Carla Bruni and Christine Lagarde as all luring


mistresses of "erotic capital", she also says in today's culture women


should be less squeamish about selling themselves. We think this


is what she might have in mind. # Because you're gorgeous


# I'd do anything for you # Because you're gorgeous


Managers I know you'll get me through


# You said my clothes were sexy # You tore away my shirt


# Because you're gorgeous # I'd do anything for you.


Margaret came to the leadership of the party, and primeship, by being


a sweet little blonde lady batting her eyelashes with big floppy bow,


how feminine can you get, you never ever saw her in trouser, even that


connoisseur of women, Alan Clarke said, that Margaret Thatcher had


good legs. It wasn't the whole The exponent of this theory, Dr


Catherine Hakim is here, along with the writer, Laurine Penny. You are


suggesting there is human capital, social capital, employment capital


and erotic capital. You seem to be saying there is a male sex deficit,


men don't get enough sex and therefore, women should exploit


that to get on. Really what I'm saying is men and women benefit


from erotic capital, in fact the research results show that men seem


to be getting a higher return on their erotic capital than women. So


maybe women have a little bit of catching up to do. What you are


suggesting is women should make the most of themselves? Men and women


should make the most of themselves. Like what? First of all it is


important to define erotic capital, and what my book says is that


social and physical attractiveness is important in all areas of life,


and gives people an advantage in all social situations. If you


understand erotic capital and the power it gives you in social


situations you will be more successful in the work place, in


friendships and the politics of private life. But what you are


seeing primarily dealing with women here, is erotic capital gets women


on, and women who are erotic in whatever way that is are more


likely to do well in the work place and should exploit it, and the


problems in the work place are nothing to do with discrimination


and sexism and whatever, it is just women don't come on properly?


don't say in any place in the book that it is not about sex


discrimination, that that doesn't exist. I'm simply saying that


erotic capital is one of the personal assets, for men, as well


as women, that has been overlooked in all writing so far, and we need


to now focus on. Reading this book, and listening to


this talk about erotic capital really makes me very sad, because,


yes, you should make the most of yourself, it sounds very obvious,


saying, this is the way the world is, you can't change it, women are


judged on their appearance, that is the way it is. I like to this isn't


the best of all worlds, we can't change it, but it just takes a bit


of imagination. 100 years ago Dr Hack wouldn't be able to go and


study for a PhD, stating the obvious in the book, it seems to


say that the world can never change and women can only be judged on


their appearance. That is not good enough, we need to say more to


women. You say it is an advantage to man, men have the most


advantages in terms of being more attractive, and that is the fault


of radical feminists, that is what you say? I don't say that, I simply


say the research evidence is that people with, who are socially and


physically attractive earn something like 10-20% more than


people who are unattractive. I'm simply saying that feminists have


been reluctant to accept that it can be an advantage and a benefit,


that's just being said this evening. If women have this erotic capital,


why don't they benefit from it then? I'm saying women haven't


benefited as much as begin are benefiting, there seems to be a bit


of catching up to do. In other words there is sex discrimination


going on here, but it is a kind not many people have recognised,


because nobody has wanted to recognise the importance of erotic


capital as a personal asset in all roles of life. It is not just the


labour market, it is friendships, private life, getting on, and


making life easier for you in all sorts of contexts. What Catherine


Hakim is also saying, is part of the whole story about erotic


capital is the sex industry. And that actually it would be a much


better way and much fairer way to run society, and women would be


advantaged, if they decriminalised sex workers and women were allowed


to charge for sex, because men understand that? Well, all this


talking about sex work and the sex industry, and erotic capital as a


way of measuring relationships, it is a very mercenary way of talking


about relationships between people. What really strikes me most about


this book in this argument is it is very, very inhuman. It is talking


about human relationships as a species of returns and marketing.


Isn't that the case, isn't it the case that people are quite


mercenary and calculating when it comes to relationships? No, I think


you can think a lot better things of people, people are also very


loving, it is possible to be decent to one another without seeing life


as a constant market and selling yourself, it is a sad view of the


world. Do you think you should sell yourself all the time? Economists


point out anything that is scarce has value, and attractiveness,


social and physical attractiveness, charm, being able to get on well


with people, as well as beauty, as well as sex appeal, all of these


things have scarcity value and therefore, as a result. You believe


women should be allowed to sell themselves for sex without any


criminality and men should be encouraged to buy, that because


that is what women should pride themselves in that? I didn't say


that, my book says explicitly that the sex industry should be neither


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