19/08/2011 Newsnight


19/08/2011

Newsnight reports on how the British Council compound attack in Kabul unfolded and assesses what its impact on attempts to bring peace to Afghanistan will be. With Emily Maitlis.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 19/08/2011. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

The chances of a double-dip recession are rising, as the world

:00:09.:00:14.

economy speaks with its numbers and shouts "big trouble ". The price of

:00:14.:00:18.

gold hits a record high for the second straight day. It is one of

:00:18.:00:23.

the few safe havens left. Six months ago analysts were saying

:00:23.:00:27.

it would be all right, the world economy was clawing its way out of

:00:27.:00:30.

the abyss. Now fatal uncertainty stalks the market.

:00:30.:00:35.

We asked the man credited with predicting the last crash, if we

:00:35.:00:39.

are about to see another. Suicide bombings in Kabul, target

:00:39.:00:43.

the British Council. What will the timetable for the draw yawn do to

:00:43.:00:50.

the security of our - drawdown do to the security of our troops.

:00:50.:00:56.

Political perils of going into the other house. Sally Bercow survives

:00:56.:01:01.

the night in Big Brother, what are the consequences for little husband.

:01:01.:01:04.

Does your husband actually know you are here this evening? He does now,

:01:04.:01:08.

he's not exactly chuffed about it. To discuss it, we are rejoined by

:01:08.:01:13.

political husband and wife team, Christine and Neil Hamilton, and

:01:13.:01:22.

the Conservative MP, Jacob Rees- Mogg.

:01:22.:01:24.

Good evening, when banks aren't safe and Governments are bankrupt,

:01:24.:01:30.

it is time to head to your log cabin, tweeted the economist who

:01:30.:01:37.

predicted the crash of 2007, not everyone has a log cabin to hand,

:01:37.:01:42.

everyone agrees with the sentiment. Bad economic data piles on top of

:01:42.:01:46.

bad economic data. High street figures are down, markets in

:01:46.:01:52.

continual motion sickness, and the European debt levels in crisis. We

:01:52.:01:57.

will hear from the author of Black Swan, Nicolas Nassim Talib, what he

:01:57.:02:02.

believes the long-term remedy is. First a week of turmoil.

:02:02.:02:06.

When banks and deposits aren't safe and Governments are bankrupt, time

:02:06.:02:14.

to buy canned food, Spam, guns, ammunition, gold bars and rush to

:02:14.:02:24.
:02:24.:02:25.

the mountain cabin. Thus speaks Dr Doom, via Twitter. Investors are

:02:25.:02:29.

doing that, gold has hit an all- time high and the Swiss franc is

:02:29.:02:32.

soaring against the dollar. On the global stock markets, the direction

:02:32.:02:36.

of their graphs is down. The market is crashing, that is what is

:02:36.:02:39.

happening. The market has crashed in Germany, and France, it is on

:02:39.:02:46.

the edge of a 25% fall in the UK. Which is a crash, a good old

:02:46.:02:50.

fashioned crash. It is crashing because Governments of Europe are

:02:50.:02:55.

in very bad way financially. months ago analysts were saying

:02:55.:03:01.

everything would be already, the world economy was slowly clawing

:03:01.:03:07.

its way back to recovery, now the chances of a double-dip are high,

:03:07.:03:14.

so why? After Lehman Brothers, credit markets collapsed, trade

:03:14.:03:19.

collapsed, tkwroth and the stock markets collapsed. So Governments

:03:19.:03:24.

unleashed two kinds of stimulus, they cut taxes and boosted splik

:03:24.:03:27.

spending, the so-called fiscal stimlau, they cut interest rates to

:03:27.:03:32.

zero, and after a bit of hesitation - stimulus, they skut interest

:03:32.:03:39.

rates to zero and after a bit of hesitation, printed money.

:03:39.:03:42.

Some currencies and political systems were not strong enough to

:03:42.:03:52.
:03:52.:03:52.

take the strain. The Greek crisis ignited chaos in

:03:52.:03:56.

the eurozone, right now only lending by the European Central

:03:56.:04:01.

Bank is keeping Italy and Spain afloat. The future of the euro is

:04:01.:04:06.

at stake, now growth here is faltering. The outcome is grim as

:04:06.:04:10.

we go forward. The reasons are, first of all, a lot of the recovery

:04:10.:04:13.

we had been seeing in Europe has come about because of exports, but

:04:13.:04:18.

there is no doubt that exports are starting to slow down quite

:04:18.:04:22.

appreciably. Particularly exports to Asia, which had really been the

:04:22.:04:25.

key catalyst driving European industrial growth in recent

:04:25.:04:30.

quarters. In America, large parts of the

:04:30.:04:34.

population see state spending as against their core religious and

:04:34.:04:39.

constitutional beliefs, and now that's filtered through to politics,

:04:39.:04:43.

stymieing President Obama on the budget. This week's market mayhem

:04:43.:04:50.

is driven by fear, that America's recovery has run out, that Europe's

:04:50.:04:54.

banking system could explode, and politicians, the world over, have

:04:54.:05:03.

little idea about what to do next. The danger we have right now is

:05:03.:05:06.

that although we're not at the moment in a recession, that the

:05:06.:05:12.

sharp falls we are seeing in equity markets could actually drive down

:05:12.:05:16.

confidence, and drive down wealth, and in turn, precipitate a

:05:16.:05:19.

recession, which would then make the markets want to fall further

:05:19.:05:23.

from here. There is a real danger of a downward spiral, unless we get

:05:23.:05:28.

some force that comes in to intervene and arrest that. Another

:05:28.:05:31.

fear driving the markets is that the cure could be worse than the

:05:31.:05:36.

disease. The way out economically is a tried

:05:36.:05:41.

and tested method, which is inflation. A level of inflation, 5-

:05:41.:05:46.

6%, exactly what we have in the UK. A devaluation of the currency,

:05:46.:05:50.

which is what we have in the UK. Austerity to cut back the costs in

:05:50.:05:53.

the state, we have that in the UK. In Europe you haven't got that, in

:05:53.:05:59.

America you haven't got that. The same will have to happen in America,

:05:59.:06:03.

5-6% inflation per year, for five or six years a devalued currency

:06:04.:06:07.

and austerity, that reality is frightening the markets.

:06:07.:06:13.

Britain, riots apart, is not se centre of this global stress. But -

:06:14.:06:18.

at the centre of this global stress, but any trouble is bad for us, we

:06:18.:06:20.

are one of the most globalised economies in the world.

:06:20.:06:25.

A few moments ago I spoke to Nicolas Nassim Talib, author of the

:06:25.:06:30.

influential Black Swan theory of unpredictable events A few months

:06:30.:06:33.

back on Newsnight he used this theory to warn of civil unrest on

:06:33.:06:39.

the streets of London, which came to pass. I came to ask would world

:06:40.:06:43.

recession be his next prediction? don't think the bad news will be a

:06:43.:06:49.

recession. The bad news is that not figuring out what got us here, and

:06:49.:06:53.

continuing to commit the same mistake. Too much debt and too much

:06:53.:06:59.

of what we call the "agency" problem. On the part of the

:06:59.:07:03.

financial system. Let me tell you what that problem is, the tumour at

:07:03.:07:06.

the centre of the system not removed. It is when someone makes

:07:06.:07:10.

money and gets a bow New York and when they lose money we pay the

:07:10.:07:16.

price, the taxpayers, the future generations in this case. The core

:07:16.:07:23.

of the problem is that asymmetry in pay-off, socialising losses and

:07:23.:07:27.

privatising the gain, and the generator of that iniquity is still

:07:27.:07:31.

there. You are basically saying the banks got away with it, are you?

:07:31.:07:35.

What has happened, since the crisis these people got us here and they

:07:35.:07:38.

are reaping the benefits. As an industry they have not suffered.

:07:38.:07:44.

You have people in the streets, unemployed people, we have the

:07:44.:07:48.

Federal Reserve doing everything to finance these bonuses. This is, I

:07:48.:07:52.

mean, I'm outraged. What do you think actually needs to happen then

:07:52.:07:58.

to the banks that you think have gone unchartered? The first time we

:07:58.:08:04.

bailed out the banks was in 1982, 1983, during the Reagan years, they

:08:04.:08:09.

said OK, this should never happen again. But the fact that they

:08:09.:08:15.

bailed out the banks again in 1987 and repeated it, gave the banks the

:08:15.:08:22.

feeling they could hijack society, to extract the bonus system, it is

:08:22.:08:26.

extremely sneaky, in a sense they know if they make a mistake someone

:08:26.:08:31.

else pays for it, and when they benefit they get it. In 2008 when

:08:31.:08:39.

they bailed out the banks once again, They should have set the

:08:39.:08:44.

ground to remove the problem, they did not. The banks today have

:08:44.:08:48.

hijacked the Government, it is the inverse of what the French did,

:08:48.:08:52.

they socialised the bank in 1981, in the US the banks took over the

:08:52.:08:55.

Government. What would you make of the Bank of England here, the

:08:55.:08:58.

stability chief arguing that actually banks need to be taking

:08:58.:09:02.

more risk, not less to get us out of recession, that is what he

:09:02.:09:06.

advocates? I mean, it is not whether the banks should be taking

:09:06.:09:13.

more or less risk, the banks should be something other than machines to

:09:13.:09:17.

generate themselves bonuses. The banks should be something more like

:09:17.:09:21.

a utility, we are bailing them out because they are a utility,

:09:21.:09:25.

otherwise we will let them die like other business, like the car

:09:25.:09:28.

industry, like other businesses. We should remove that problem. It has

:09:28.:09:32.

not been addressed. Today the banks are vastly more centralised than

:09:32.:09:38.

they were before the crisis. They are much more powerful than they

:09:38.:09:43.

were before. They have incredibly sneaky lobbies in Washington, it

:09:43.:09:46.

looks like every monetary policy we have had in the United States for

:09:46.:09:50.

the last ten years was there to accommodate them, and today more

:09:50.:09:53.

than ever. We have not solved the problem that got us here. Surely

:09:53.:09:57.

you are not just saying that the world economic woes we are looking

:09:57.:10:01.

at at the moment are all down to bank bonus, are you? No, it is

:10:01.:10:05.

because the monetary policy that we are engaging in, in the United

:10:05.:10:09.

States, putting interest rates at zero, seems to just do nothing but

:10:09.:10:12.

supply banks with cheap money, that's it, nothing else. What

:10:13.:10:16.

should change in terms of the policy now? The first thing we

:10:16.:10:22.

should have done is try to remove the cancer by working on lowering

:10:22.:10:25.

indebtedness in society, particularly the United States, we

:10:25.:10:29.

lost three-and-a-half years, we should have started the process

:10:29.:10:33.

very early, tried to turn that to equity. It is like a country cannot

:10:33.:10:38.

survive on air, money is air, you print money it is air. You need to

:10:38.:10:43.

do something other than just print money and create public liability.

:10:43.:10:47.

We have not done it. The aim is to get growth back into the economy?

:10:47.:10:56.

The word "growth" to me, by itself is meaningless. It is like saying

:10:56.:11:01.

"speed", you need safety before growth. A uponcy scheme generates

:11:01.:11:06.

growth, that is not the growth we want. People who talk about growth

:11:06.:11:11.

without robustness are not acting responsibly. Growth that is going

:11:11.:11:14.

to make the system collapse in two or three years not the growth we

:11:14.:11:19.

want. We want to clean up the system, we wasted three years doing

:11:20.:11:29.
:11:30.:11:30.

nothing but transferring money into the pockets of bankers. The take on

:11:30.:11:35.

the British Council offices in Kabul which left 12 people dead is

:11:35.:11:39.

a reminder that the fight against the Taliban is far from won. The

:11:39.:11:42.

British Council is a non-political organisation that works on soft

:11:42.:11:46.

diplomacy, a kind of cultural openness, which occasionally makes

:11:46.:11:49.

it vulnerable. If this is hoi a non-military target is viewed, what

:11:49.:11:53.

about the troops, as their numbers in the country diminish. The

:11:53.:11:57.

drawdown timetable is intended to leave no British troops left by the

:11:57.:12:02.

spring of 2015. How will that be managed, and how easily targeted

:12:02.:12:10.

with the last ones. This was a carefully planned three-

:12:10.:12:15.

phase asalt. It began in the early - assault. It began in the early

:12:15.:12:20.

hours of the morning in a dusty middle-class area of Kabul. Taliban

:12:20.:12:24.

fighters moved into the side streets that lead from the

:12:24.:12:31.

mountains, armed with rocket- propelled grenades and machine guns.

:12:31.:12:35.

They fired on a checkpoint, killing the police on duty. A vehicle

:12:35.:12:39.

packed with explosives was detonated outside the main gate of

:12:39.:12:42.

the British Council nearby, bringing down a wall and killing

:12:42.:12:46.

guards. The blast shook half the city. What followed was an eight-

:12:46.:12:50.

hour gun battle with Taliban suicide bombers fighting Afghan

:12:50.:12:54.

security forces and New Zealand SAS soldiers, helped by British, French

:12:54.:12:59.

and US troops. At least 12 people died, including a New Zealand

:12:59.:13:03.

soldier. Why does the Afghan Government

:13:03.:13:08.

think that the British Council was targeted? We are still

:13:08.:13:13.

investigating why this was under attack. But, as you know, the

:13:13.:13:19.

terrorists they are attacking international organisations in

:13:19.:13:24.

Kabul city, also the Government entities. So we do not have any

:13:24.:13:27.

conclusion at the moment, since the investigation is on, and we will

:13:27.:13:35.

have to wait for the results. This is a vicious and cowardly attack,

:13:35.:13:39.

but one that didn't succeed. I spoke to the ambassador in Kabul

:13:39.:13:42.

this morning, and he assured me that all of the British Council

:13:42.:13:46.

staff are safe and back at the British Embassy, and the embassy is

:13:46.:13:50.

safe, obviously there has been a tragic loss of life of Afghan

:13:50.:13:54.

police and others. The British Council is partly

:13:54.:13:59.

funded by the Government. And in Afghanistan it concentrates on

:13:59.:14:07.

English language schools. Clearly the work we are doing,

:14:07.:14:11.

working with the schools and universities to modernise the

:14:11.:14:14.

education system. To provide access to education for young women, to

:14:14.:14:18.

give opportunities for young Afghans to have contact with the

:14:18.:14:21.

outside world, is something which those who want to close the

:14:21.:14:26.

community off, do not want to see happen. And in some senses, it is

:14:26.:14:31.

precisely to stop the sorts of things we are doing that perhaps

:14:31.:14:36.

cause the attack on the compound. So why should this happen now. Well,

:14:36.:14:41.

today is the 92nd anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from

:14:41.:14:45.

Britain, but perhaps more importantly the Alban are well

:14:45.:14:48.

aware that there is growing pressure in - the Taliban are well

:14:48.:14:52.

aware there is growing pressure in the west for the troops to lead.

:14:52.:14:56.

The date for total withdrawal is little more than three years away,

:14:56.:15:02.

and peaceful transfer of control is supposed to be under way.

:15:02.:15:04.

Afghan forces have had responsibility for security in

:15:04.:15:09.

Kabul since 2008, though NATO troops also operate in the city, of

:15:09.:15:15.

course, as today's events showed. The aim is that NATO combat troops,

:15:15.:15:18.

including around 10,000 British soldiers, should leave Afghanistan

:15:18.:15:21.

by the end of 2014, or soon there after, depending on conditions on

:15:21.:15:29.

the ground, and the rate to which Afghan forces are trained.

:15:29.:15:35.

And there's pressure on the US and Britain to hurry that process along.

:15:35.:15:39.

Sow does today's take show the tragedy - so does today's attack

:15:39.:15:44.

show the strategy needs re-thinking. One former member of the Defence

:15:44.:15:49.

Select Committee, argues there must be talks with elements of the

:15:49.:15:54.

Taliban. The Taliban are many, many different groups of people. Of

:15:54.:16:00.

course they find common cause with Mullah Omar and others, but if

:16:01.:16:04.

Mullah Omar is not playing ball, and it sound as if that is the case,

:16:04.:16:10.

then what we have to do is work on spliting the Taliban movement, so

:16:10.:16:13.

that you bring the insurgency to a level that can be managed in the

:16:13.:16:18.

long-term. I mean, you know, there are pragmatic Taliban who actually

:16:18.:16:24.

care about their country, and don't want war forever.

:16:25.:16:29.

The British Council plan to continue their work in Afghanistan,

:16:29.:16:34.

and remain there when the troops have left. Today's attack puts the

:16:34.:16:37.

timetable for that and the current strategy for dealing with the

:16:37.:16:41.

Taliban under question. Joining me now is Lord Hutton, the

:16:41.:16:45.

former Labour Defence Secretary, and from Washington, Kurt Volker,

:16:45.:16:50.

the former US Ambassador to NATO. Very kind of you both to join us.

:16:50.:16:56.

John Htuton, the presumption is that - John Hutton, the presumption

:16:56.:17:00.

is Afghanistan is getting safer, and Kabul safer, which allows us to

:17:01.:17:05.

plan specifically a drawdown timetable. Something like this must

:17:05.:17:09.

start changing your mind? This is a very security breach in Kabul,

:17:09.:17:15.

there is no point preend iting otherwise. Is it in itself -

:17:15.:17:18.

pretending otherwise. Is it in itself going to change the

:17:18.:17:21.

timetable that the British Government and President Obama have

:17:21.:17:25.

set down over the next few weeks, probably not. We have to look at

:17:25.:17:29.

Afghanistan as a whole, and look at what is happening in the country as

:17:29.:17:32.

a whole. There have been improvements in the security in

:17:32.:17:35.

Kandahar, east Afghanistan we should continue to be worried about,

:17:35.:17:38.

the security development there is. Kabul there will be incidents here

:17:38.:17:42.

from time to time. But the prime timetable for withdrawal is being

:17:42.:17:45.

driven by the importance of US politics, and President Obama's

:17:45.:17:48.

decision that he wants to go into the next presidential election

:17:48.:17:52.

being able to say there is a significant reduction in the

:17:52.:17:55.

American combat presence in Afghanistan. Her Majesty's

:17:55.:17:58.

Government here and other NATO countries have very little option

:17:58.:18:04.

but really to fall in with that imperative. Presumptionably you

:18:04.:18:10.

would agree with the political - presumably you would agree with the

:18:10.:18:13.

political imperative, but would you worry about the troops? Lord Hutton

:18:13.:18:18.

is right about one thing, the attack itself is not serious in the

:18:18.:18:23.

whole situation, it is unincident in Kabul, it is worrying but not

:18:23.:18:29.

significant. The bigger issue is the question of time table and

:18:29.:18:33.

strategy, it is impossible to bend our will on the strategy set. It is

:18:33.:18:36.

a long-term challenge. We need to be clear about what our objectives

:18:36.:18:40.

are, and we can achieve those objective, regardless of the time

:18:40.:18:44.

lime, as soon as you put a time line on, that you signal to the

:18:44.:18:48.

public that we don't have the will to be there, put in question your

:18:48.:18:52.

resolve to achieve your objective, you give a shot in the arm to the

:18:52.:18:56.

Taliban who think it is a matter of time, and they can use that time,

:18:56.:19:01.

with incidents like this, to create a climate of fear and doubt about

:19:01.:19:07.

the future, and put pressure on other Afghan s not to side with

:19:07.:19:11.

them but to sit it out. To put that point to Lord Hutton,

:19:11.:19:16.

could you do this with objectives. Basically the time line is a very

:19:16.:19:21.

visible signal to the Taliban? always decline to put a time line

:19:21.:19:25.

on when British troops would come home. For exactly the reasons

:19:25.:19:28.

outlined. You disagree with the position of the current Government,

:19:28.:19:34.

then? I wouldn't have been in favour of a time line as hard and

:19:34.:19:38.

definitive as was set. What we have to do now, I don't think that is

:19:38.:19:41.

going to change, we have to make sure it works in the best possible

:19:41.:19:45.

way we have. All the NATO allies and partners have is to try to

:19:45.:19:49.

focus on this now. I accept what was said, I think it is difficult,

:19:49.:19:52.

knowing all we know about Afghanistan, all the precedents to

:19:52.:19:56.

take into account, how hard it is to keep your foot on the pedal of

:19:56.:20:00.

reform to try to get increases in capability amongst the police and

:20:00.:20:03.

military in Afghanistan, it will be gamble. I don't think we should

:20:03.:20:07.

kill ourselves on anything other than that. I don't see the time

:20:07.:20:14.

line changing. I think the politics now are pretty well clear. I think

:20:14.:20:17.

the British and American forces must do the best they can now. I

:20:18.:20:21.

think we can do that now. Lord Hutton referred to it as gamble.

:20:21.:20:24.

Would you have to make the admission that by the time the

:20:25.:20:29.

troops need, the job, bluntly put, will not be finished? Absolutely. I

:20:29.:20:33.

want to come back to the point of a time line, though, there is an

:20:33.:20:37.

opportunity to pivot here. The time line that has been announced right

:20:37.:20:41.

now, is really the withdrawal of the surge forces. Unlike in Iraq,

:20:41.:20:45.

where we withdrew the surge forces after they had established some

:20:45.:20:48.

measure of greater stability, in Afghanistan we are withdrawing them

:20:48.:20:52.

at a time when violence is up. Nonetheless, I think that time line

:20:52.:20:59.

is right, that is fixed and before the upcoming presidential election.

:20:59.:21:03.

From that point forward there is an opportunity to pivot. We have

:21:03.:21:06.

ourselves out on a limb, where we have a huge military financial

:21:06.:21:12.

commitment that we can no longer sustain, the solution is to draw it

:21:12.:21:16.

down. If we look over a longer period of time, with a steader

:21:16.:21:20.

commitment more targeted, both hitting the tourist organisations,

:21:20.:21:24.

including the Taliban, and strengthening the security forces,

:21:24.:21:34.
:21:34.:21:36.

for a much longer time, that may be a way to pivot.

:21:36.:21:42.

Could this thing move forward more quickly than we think? Not without

:21:42.:21:45.

threatening the success of the mission. I'm not sure entirely what

:21:46.:21:50.

this deaf vision of combat mission is. We hear it - definition of

:21:50.:21:55.

combat mission is. We hear it will be the end of combat mission by the

:21:55.:22:00.

end of 2014. No-one has explained that. If we go on training military

:22:00.:22:05.

and police, we embed our troops alongside them, that is how we do

:22:05.:22:09.

that, if we are under fire we defend ourselves. There is plenty

:22:09.:22:16.

of opportunity for to us see this mi mission through. We have

:22:16.:22:20.

tremendously capable spoke forces which I would imagine will be still

:22:20.:22:24.

in and around the vicinity, making a contribution. The important thing

:22:24.:22:30.

to do is win the conflict, which winning it means we leave in a

:22:30.:22:34.

position where the Afghan Government can handle its on

:22:34.:22:37.

security effectively and competently, without having to rely

:22:37.:22:41.

on a large number of NATO force, that will be success in the

:22:41.:22:46.

campaign. When Big Brother had the brain wave

:22:46.:22:52.

of inviting The Speaker's wife into the house, they must have realised

:22:52.:22:58.

they reached the parts of reality shows haven't reached yet. The

:22:58.:23:03.

political classes were chattering, and even here at Newsnight we asked

:23:03.:23:09.

a few questions. Does it demean the Office of the Speaker, or is it a

:23:09.:23:12.

sexist reaction to an independent women doing what she wants to do.

:23:13.:23:16.

We will hear from Christine Hamilton, who feels it is wrong for

:23:16.:23:22.

her to appear there. And from the Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg,

:23:22.:23:30.

who doesn't. Those who missed her debut appearance here it is. It is

:23:30.:23:40.
:23:40.:23:46.

Sally, I have to ask, does your husband actually know you are here

:23:46.:23:53.

this evening? He does now. He's not exactly chuffed about it. I really

:23:53.:23:58.

genuinely didn't expect the media furore it caused. Because of who

:23:58.:24:03.

I'm married to, it is not acceptable. The dirl, Sally. She's

:24:03.:24:13.

an MP. An MP means, she's. We will ask Big

:24:13.:24:16.

Brother. Jedward. She owns the House of Commons, that's what I

:24:16.:24:19.

have heard, she owns it with her husband, that's who she is, really

:24:19.:24:24.

important. Let's turn to the Hamiltons, who

:24:24.:24:29.

join me from Edinburgh. You can't really be too pompus about this, it

:24:29.:24:35.

is a bit of harmless fun? It is for the TV channel, but it will demean

:24:35.:24:38.

the husband by the kind of programme we have just seen a clip

:24:38.:24:42.

of. She says she's doing this to give two fingers up to the

:24:42.:24:45.

establishment. In every other respect she's very happy to enjoy

:24:46.:24:49.

all the privileges which her husband's seniority in the

:24:49.:24:54.

establishment gives her. That means she's a parasite to fraud. She

:24:54.:24:58.

suffers from what we might call attention surplus disorder, she

:24:58.:25:02.

can't get enough of it. That is her problem, rather than our's. As far

:25:02.:25:05.

as the House of Commons is concerned, what she's doing is

:25:05.:25:10.

making the speaker's office, through her connection with the

:25:10.:25:13.

Speaker, into a figure of fun. Let's put it to a current

:25:13.:25:19.

Conservative MP, do you share that? No, it is nonsense. She's not The

:25:19.:25:23.

Speaker, she's not maybe of the Royal Family, or defined by her

:25:23.:25:27.

husband's job. She's doing this programme, which may not be

:25:27.:25:30.

considered high-class television by many people, but it's not The

:25:30.:25:34.

Speaker who is doing it. He's doing his job completely independently of

:25:34.:25:39.

that. A lot of people will say actually she is famous for being

:25:39.:25:45.

The Speaker's wife. She's not famous for being a Labour

:25:45.:25:49.

councillor, she is famous for the fact she's married to John Bercow?

:25:49.:25:53.

If you look at what people are famous for, it is all sorts of

:25:53.:25:56.

things. There is a celebrity culture in Britain that promotes

:25:56.:25:59.

people who haven't necessarily done anything in their own right, but

:25:59.:26:02.

have been touched by other people who are famous. That is a different

:26:02.:26:05.

matter all together. That is not particularly her fault, that is

:26:05.:26:08.

just the way the press is interested in people. Let me put

:26:08.:26:12.

this to Christine, would you have done this whilst your husband, Neil,

:26:12.:26:17.

was still an MP? Absolutely no way. You mentioned earlier that I have

:26:17.:26:22.

been on the very first I'm a Celbrity Get Me Out of Here. I'm a

:26:22.:26:24.

perfectly ordinary private individual, a private citizen, I

:26:24.:26:28.

don't owe anything from the state or receive anything from the state,

:26:28.:26:32.

I'm not married to the highest commoner in the land, which Sally

:26:32.:26:37.

is. My position is 100% different. What you might call the Sally

:26:37.:26:42.

Bercow Sir cushion when it started I fully supported her, I am in

:26:42.:26:45.

fully agreement that a woman should do what she wants and not be

:26:45.:26:51.

defined by her husband. I think Sally has taken it far too far. Big

:26:51.:26:54.

Brother, I think it is highly demeaning, I have turned it down

:26:54.:27:01.

twice. She's in awe autounique position. No wonder - she is in a

:27:01.:27:07.

unique position, no wonder her husband is staying in India.

:27:07.:27:13.

Let's talk about someone who didn't turn it down, George Galloway, he

:27:13.:27:19.

did it while he was in office, there he is, pretending to be a

:27:19.:27:25.

cat? George Galloway might a prize fool of himself on Big Brother, he

:27:25.:27:28.

decided to do that. I don't think there is anything fundamentally

:27:28.:27:31.

wrong with people appearing on bad television shows, that is their

:27:31.:27:41.

choice, and people have their views of television, mine is Newsnight,

:27:41.:27:46.

others want to watch Big Brother, good luck to them. I'm glad to say

:27:46.:27:50.

my wife has more sense. You have a lot of colleagues who would agree

:27:50.:27:54.

with what the Hamiltons are saying tonight, would it not help to

:27:54.:27:59.

campaign against him, is he not more vulnerable because of this?

:27:59.:28:03.

don't think so, people who oppose the Speaker because of what his

:28:03.:28:07.

wife is doing make them look ridiculous, that is up to her. It

:28:07.:28:12.

must be on what he does as Speaker, it happens what he is doing is

:28:12.:28:16.

supporting the legislature against the executive, I'm in favour of

:28:16.:28:19.

that. That is tremendously important, and shouldn't be lost in

:28:19.:28:24.

this fog of Big Brother. When people hear from you, they will

:28:24.:28:31.

have a moment of pot and kettle, they don't think of you two as

:28:31.:28:35.

turning down offers for finding publicity? I have turned down Big

:28:35.:28:39.

Brother twice, and a lot of things, people only know what you do and

:28:39.:28:43.

not what you turn down. We are both perfectly independent private

:28:43.:28:47.

citizens, we do not have any connection with any high offices of

:28:47.:28:51.

state like she does, we are a totally different category. I don't

:28:51.:28:55.

think you think there was a little bit of fundamentally good old

:28:55.:28:59.

fashioned sexism, if it was an MP, or a bloke, or even when George

:28:59.:29:05.

Galloway did t people are rather more accepting of it, she will get

:29:05.:29:12.

more flack because she's female? she were the Speaker and the spouse,

:29:12.:29:17.

John would be on there, it would be the same where does it go next,

:29:17.:29:23.

cage fighting, mud wrestling, where does the line draw itself? She will

:29:23.:29:28.

make herself look an idiot, I think, the same way as George Galloway.

:29:28.:29:31.

Throughout history there have been strong-minded women who caused

:29:31.:29:35.

their husbands embarrassment, you can go through it, that is all

:29:35.:29:38.

that's happening, it is not a big constitutional issue, I hope she

:29:38.:29:46.

Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS