12/09/2011 Newsnight


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

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As long as there isn't another crisis for eight years, and as long


as the Government acts on the advice it has been given, British


tax-payers shouldn't be stung into bailing out the banks again.


In the bank vaults of Britain, they are getting ready for a lower


profit world. But in the City do all the delays


and complication buried in today's proposal for reforming banks, mean


the party goes on for the bankers. The Government is here to argue


that this is the real deal. This FBI agent tells us that the


CIA's so-called enhanced interrogation of Al-Qaeda prisoner


was waste of time. Not the official view. They prevented the violent


deaths of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people.


know that Dick Cheney is not saying the truth, because I was there.


you are worrying about whether your child getting the attention they


need in the early years, relax, or maybe you shouldn't, too risky.


It was a decisive moment in the history of attempts to get the


taxpayer off the hook for the greed and stupidity of bankers, the


Chancellor said today. He didn't use the words "greed" and


"stupidity kgs ", that is not his - ", has not his style, we will see


how disease yef he is when he acts on the recommendations the


commission set up to look into the banks. It will be 2019 before the


measures will be implement. - implemented. We better hope they


remain sensible until then. It was the absence of this stuff


that sank Liamman and Northern Rock, lack of capital, lack the liquid


cash. The collapse of the credit system left banks that said they


were solid, melting down. Today, the man they picked to design a new


banking system laid out his plan. The ring-fence. Only ring-fenced


banks would supply the core domestic retail banking services,


taking deposits from ordinary individual, and small businesses,


and extending overdrafts to them. Ring-fenced banks could not


undertake trading, or markets business, or do derivatives. Banks


will be split down the middle between stuff the UK packs pair is


prepared to bail out, and - taxpayer is prepared to bail out


and stuff it is not. For a company like Barclays, right in the firing


line t might look like this. Outside the ring-fence dos its


giant investment bank, the African banks, the private bank for rich


people, and probably the credit card business. And that just leaves


the �4.5 billion retail business inside the ring-fence, it is not


much. The other big proposal is on how much capital banks have to hold.


Modern banks don't actually keep much money in the bank itself. As a


result of Vickers they will have to, not inch the actual vault, but that


and pieces of paper you can turn into cash quickly. As a result of


that they will make less profit. Before the crash, it was typical


for UK banks' capital cushion to be under 4% of the money they lent out.


Now, under new international rules, called Basel 3, they have to hold


7%. For banks big enough to sink sink the economy, Vickers says that


should be 10%. There is even more pain, on top of the 10% capital


they have to hold there will be another 7-10% of loss-bearing bonds,


making 20%. Those who speak for Britain's businesses don't like it.


We are very concerned that we will be out of step with the rest of the


EU, and potentially elsewhere in the world. Because what's being


proposed today is certainly a higher requirement on UK banks than


elsewhere, that will add a cost to doing business and banking in the


UK. But there are risks involved. One is that the new rules damage


competitiveness and profit, not just at the banks, but for the


whole UK economy, because the banks are a big part of it. The other,


which follows, is that the Treasury then loses money, as banks leg it


somewhere else. Some bankers hoped this


competitiveness issue might bring the committee itself to water down


its conclusions. But, in vain. benefits of reducing the


probability of crises of this nature, which a recurring


phenomenon with the banking system we have, are absolutely


overwhelming. So competitiveness is a tiny part of this. It is very,


very important not to get hung up on this one aspects.


So now it all comes down to politics. The commission said the


proposals might harm some individual banks, but for the UK


economy as a whole, the outcome would be neutral. And what the


bankers wanted was for the politicians to say they will delay,


they will pick and mix, and consult a bit more, and see what other


countries do. But in the end, they did more than that. We support the


commission's radical reforms, on ring-fencing and regulatory


standards. And the Chancellor, who revealingly supports them in


principle, we agree with the Business Secretary and support them


in practice. We support these measures in principle and will put


them into practice through the detailed legislation. You can't


support all of this in practice, because it requires detailed


legislation, which even John Vickers says is not part of this


commission. So, let there be no doubt, we support the Banking


Commission's report. We will legislate in this parliament.


the deadline for implementation will be 2019. For many of the


banks' critics, Vickers did not go far enough. Protestors staged a


tableau right in the middle of the bankers' lunchtime, the message,


they are zombies on taxpayer life support. Some banking experts want


a straight forward split up between investment and retail. We feel the


only sure way of making sure there is tho contagion between the


essential parts of banks, and the speculative banking part is to


split them up. It worked before, it worked in the US, it worked here


when these activities were in different companies. These are


untried proposals, there is a lot of opportunity to find holes in


there, and why on earth does it need eight years to implement.


it or not Vickers sets the agenda. The precision detail is yet to come,


but Britain is set for the world's most radical shake-up of the banks.


Paul is with us in the studio now, as is our political correspondent.


If you had to pick winners and losers? One set of losers are


people who said consistently Britain can't act before the rest


of the world and Europe before regulating the banks. Most notably,


algs stair Darling, Gordon Brown and Ed Balls, that is they said in


their time in office. That section of the City of London who thought


they would get Vickers to water down his own report. At the very


last moment of the remit being set, they got inserted into the remit,


it mustn't harm British competitiveness and the tax take


for the Treasury. Vickers has said it won't. So take it away from


there. I think as well, anybody who thinks that George Osborne is just


in the pocket of that section of the City. He could have stood up


today and said, very interesting, not proven, I will do a bunch of


studies that delve into all this evidence, he didn't do this. He


said, under pressure, we support the principle and we will enact it.


David, there seemed to be quite a lot of cross-party agreement on it


today? There absolutely was, that was one of the most striking things


about today. In the last general election, if you wanted to get a


cheer from a packed public meeting f we have such things any more in


the UK, it would be to stay string up the bankers, put them in sacks


and stick them in the Thames. We didn't get that today. A lot of the


political weather is now talking about how to stop it again, which,


of course, is the most important thing to happen. Retribution,


however politically expedient and attractive for parties, is not


going to get that job done. Indeed the Treasury, though, there is


still a lot of jittery people about whether this can be implemented,


even on this seven-year term, without doing the things Paul was


talking about in his report, about frightening banks off and sending


them offshore and taking a less big part in the British economy. What


about the Liberal Democrats? That was another striking point about


today, Vince Cable couldn't have been more supportive. The hymn


sheets were handed round and Vince was singing with the best of them,


it could have been conduct bid George Osborne. In the last few


months he has been very notable with the hostile things he has been


saying about bankers, particularly in interviews. None of that today.


What will be particularly interesting is how Liberal


Democrats not in the coalition, not in ministerial office react to this,


that we won't see for the next few days. Particularly the Liberal


Democrat Conference, the first political conference of the main


conference season. Next week isn't it? Exactly.


Joining us now is the Treasury minister, Mark Hoban, who is


financial secretary to the Treasury, that is right isn't it.


Are you going to implement all the recommendations in this report?


What George Osborne set out today is we would bring in legislation by


2015, and all the recommendations would be implemented by 2019.


will implement all the recommendations? What he said is


we're going to look at Sir John's report over the course of the next


few months. It is a complex report, it is a very piece of analysis.


There are some issues we need to work our way through, and we will


produce our final response towards the end of this year. It is pretty,


it is really, in essence, very simple, the separation of retail


and investment banking operations and the requirement to hold more


capital, both those things you will implement? Yes, George Osborne has


been very clear. At the rate at which is said in the report?


Absolutely. Because any argument that anyone makes to you about an


effect upon competitiveness, or an effect upon taxation would be


invalid, wouldn't it, because Professor Vickers has already said


so? What we did when we set the terms of reference for John Vickers,


was to be very clear about asking him to look at the impact on


competitiveness on banks based here in the UK and the impact on taxes.


What Sir John has done in his report, the commission's report, is


to ensure that for the international activities of UK


banks, like Barclays, RBS or HSBC, they will be capital levels set at


international standards, but the capital levels for the ring-fenced


domestic activities should be set at a higher level. This talk about


a need to consult further in all the years up to 2015 and on to 2019,


who do you want to consult with? is a hugely complex topic, we need


to get it right. I don't think anybody would expect us to


implement it overnight. You don't need to know anything else?


need to know whether to implement it through regulation or


legislation, how you define precisely what is domestic what is


international business. Some of the complexties of banking need to be


taken into account. We need to make sure we work through properly the


costs and benefits of Sir John's work. It is interesting you mention


regulation, you are a man who believes in less regulation, aren't


you? We have set out, since the coalition Government was formed


last year a very clear plan on how we regulate the banking sector.


you personally believed there was too much regulation beforehand?


have said we believe from the result of the crisis we need to


make sure there is proper regulation in place. That is why we


are transferring the safety of the banks to the PRA, taking action on


consumer protection issues. There is a very clear direction of travel,


when it comes to what we are going to do to tackle regulation and the


banking sector. Less than a year before the banking crisis hit, you


were saying we had to resist arguments for greater regulation?


What we need to do is make sure we get the right regulation in place,


and make sure we have regulation that needs to increase. You don't


deny you said that? We saw what's happened during the banking crisis,


we recognise that the regulations didn't work. You said


authoritatively then there thank there was no need for greater


regulation, you were wrong? We have accepted that. Is there any reason


to believe you are any more likely to be right at this time? If you


look at the lessons we have learned as a country from the financial


crisis. If you look at the impact of the structure of the banking


sector on the risk imposed on the British economy. Things should have


been addressed a decade ago, they weren't. We have picked up the


lessons and want to reimplement them through John Vickers work, and


through the work happening internationally and the domestic


reform programme. Do you want to join Ed Balls and the apology he


made earlier today for the Government as failure last time


round, there was a failure in opposition too? We can all hold our


hand up to what happened prior to the financial crisis A number of


people missed it. What we have done is tackle the issues. Nobody was


prepared to address the structure of banking until we got into office.


We have asked the questions about what does it mean to have a big


banking sector in the UK what do we need to do to reform the regulatory


system in the UK. Questions the previous Government weren't


prepared to ask. With us now is Peter McNamara, the


former head of corporate strategy at Lloyd's TSB, Will Hutton, who


submitted his own sub miss to the John Vickers committee -


submissions to the John Vickers committee.


This should save banking, shouldn't it? Well, there is a very


interesting position, middle of the road, that has been adopted. As we


heard in the earlier piece, there were two choices behind the


Government at one fundamental level, one was to completely separate the


retail and investment banking wings. The other one was to do nothing but


impose tougher regulatory hurdles in terms of capital requirements.


What they have said is go for a middle role, build something we


call a ring-fence around the retail piece, and what we will do is


impose hire capital requirement - higher capital requirements. Do you


think it will work? It is difficult to get all the detail around this.


That is why it will take some years to implement. Will Hutton your


knees are knocking already? Look, I disagree very strongly with that. I


think, given where we are internationally, to ring-fence was


probably as far as you could push it. This will be good for the


economy at large, I don't agree that actually ring-fencing in of


itself is going to damage recovery. What might damage recovery is if


you actually push capital up too quickly, but there is no reason to


do that. You get the legislation, you do the ring-fencing, the ring-


fencing, I think, will create a part of the British banking system


that will consecrate itself and devote itself to lending to British


business and consumers, they will do that better than in the past,


they will be less tempts to go into the Wild West of the casino banking,


and then we can bring in higher capital as and when it is


appropriate. If the capital regime was high now, I would be argue to


go lower it. I'm hardly, you have to separate these two things out.


Bringing capital in could be prematurely, ring-fencing in itself


is not a problem. Do you fear, as some of your colleagues do, that


this will make banking so safe, it will be very hard for banks to


lend? I think it is a dodge. I think that this is completely


beside the real issue facing the country. What is beside the real


issue? That is how to grow the economy. That is what we should


spend owl of our time focusing on. We shouldn't keep an eye on the


banks at all? The important issue is how to get the economy growing


again. If I had to make a choice, as a nation we can only choose one


thing right now, strong banks or strong economy. It is clear we have


to be, we know growing the economy is about growing SMEs, and


therefore, particularly for the banks that we own, we should be


holding them to the lending targets, which I don't, I'm extremely


sceptical that the lending targets that everybody says are being met


are being met. One of the reasons why they are not being met is banks


can put the scarce capital they have got at the moment, behind any


proposition anywhere in the world. Once you ring-fence and say that is


the amount of money sitting behind British business lending they have


to do it. They are not tempted. That is a hopeless...The Fact of


the matter is this will never see the light of day, and we will get


so wrapped up in the complexity, carving up this and that, and the


economy seven years later will be no better off, and the SMEs won't


have the capital they need to grow their business. In seven years time.


Why not get the banks on here and question them on Newsnight whether


or not they are lending to people. The reason we don't have bankers on


the programme very often is they won't come on. There is a real


question of banks making themselves accountable publicly? There is a


lot of them, find ones that will. can tell you, most of our


researchers spend much of the day on the phones to banks across the


land, they put their heads down. That is the big problem with


banking, and its advocates in this country. Bank something not the


only industry, nor manufacturing, digital, content, IT, we have a


whole wealth of expertise, and growing entrepeneurs, these


businesses need lending. We need to feed them. The absolutely critical


point at the moment in the economy is to kick start the private sector


in a much bigger way than we have done. Without that we will suffer


severe unemployment as the public sector contracts. One of the major


concerns of doing that is to give enough incentive to the banks, and


to entrepeneurs, to lend and create that employment. Frankly, dare I


say it, if you have to choose, probably the balance is quite right,


that you have to push the economy of the private sector harder and


faster at the moment in the cycle, than we probably thought three


years ago when the banking crisis developed. Now, if you are going to


constrain that activity, you are facing both the disadvantage that


you may lose some of the capital which is required and the lending


required into that sector, and you won't get the growth without it.


is just the Council of Despair. The idea that the choice between bank


reform and growing the economy is completely false. It is a canar put


up by most people who want to protect an indefensible business


model. Bank assets in this country is four times the GDP, it is huge


in relation to that. There is a permanent risk of another banking


crisis we have to do something to make uer system safer. This is


something on the table, which is feasible, which will not actually,


ring-fencing will not damage flows of credit to the private sector.


Financial services are a global industry, we can't regulate at


national level. The simple fact of the matter is getting our economic


house in order, should there be another cry sifs any sort, it will


always come a different way - crisis of any sort will always come


in a different way than the one before. Why not have national


surplus, then we can stand whatever shock it comes the other way.


is lots of ways to make the economy grow, quantitative easing, fiscal


policy, building institutions that support entreprenurialism. You


don't have to live with a chronically unsafe banking system.


Ring-fencing in itself won't damage credit flows to the private sector.


Inappropriate increases in capital too quickly might be, but my God,


you have as much chance of that as pigs flying. We have heard from


Mark Hoban, it will take until 2019 to do that. The simple fact is this


will never come into effect. That is a strong statement, why say that.


The split between retail banking and investment banking, I don't


believe it will ever come into effect. The complexity and gran


laterity will wrap itself into it, we will become focused on getting


the economy moving, let's drop it. Everyone is getting excited by the


savings, and taking vast amounts of money from the taxpayer, you say


the mechanism won't work? I don't believe it will come into effect.


Is that a lack of will on to the banks or just generally? Listening


to the level of complexity that needs to be decided, there will be


years of deciding through that complexity. Meanwhile the point is,


industries changing and evolving constantly and bypassing, as


innovation always does to regulation. The minister is not


taking part in this discussion, do you want to respond to that, will


you make it happen? We have said very clearly we will legislate by


2015 and the reforms will be in place by 2019. I disagree with Judy


as point, strong banks or a small economy. We need strong banks to


have a strong economy. These reforms will strengthen the banking


system and make the economy stronger than in the past. Heretic


point, this ring-fencing is not going to happen, she says? We will


legislate by 2015, implemented by 2019. We have been crystal law -


clear on it. George Osborne, Vince Cable, parliament is very clear,


this is going to happen. Let's talk about one thing straight away,


there is no co-relation between strengthening the bank and


supporting industry. You can have very strong banks that don't lend.


That is how you make them strong, reduce the risks and exposure to


lending, they become strong. That is not helpful to the economy


gearing up and the growth of the private sector. That growth has to


be inserted into the retail piece. If you price that retail piece of


the business, disadvantage at that stageously, against the other


components of the - disadvantageously, against other


components of the business. The most damming thing that could be


done. People will lose jobs because of this. They won't grow. If you


said ring-fenced, deposits have to remain in that. John Vickers made


the point, that money will be available for lending to banking,


because it is ring-fenced in the entity, rather than being used to


support international activity. John Vickers made that point clear


in his report. Let's look at that point, if you are lending money,


longish term to either small businesses or people to die their


houses, the borrowing of short-term money from deposit orators from


savings and current accounts won't fund. That straight away d


depositors, from savings and current accounts won't fund it.


That straight away is the balance of short-term needs of customers


against the long-term needs of the bank. Then you are starting to


constuct derivative structures inside your bank, running contrary


to the ring-fencing. If nothing was booming at this point in time.


your proposal to do nothing, saying it is all so difficult and


complicated, we can't act and make decisions and come to conclusion


about this complexity, it has to stand, nothing must happen s that


your point. Not at all. What is your point. At this point in the


cycle, the UK growth and creation of employment is the paramount


importance. The strength of banks is probably something that you


can't wholly address with a complex piece of legislation, only within


the UK. Because what type of crisis are hitting banks as we speak at


the moment. In the rest of the European area. British banks may be


safer as a result of this. Very quickly. Very quickly at the moment


banks are hit by sovereign debt problems. Quite outside anything


that is in this one. That is causing instability in Europe, and


the InterBank markets which, we are forced to operate in, because all


of this legislation applies around the European economic area. So you


do nothing. Failing bank in the rest of Europe can be contagious to


the UK. Thank you very much indeed.


The terrorist attacks which occurred a decade ago yesterday,


the single greatest outrage in modern history, could not have been


prevented, and obliged the United States to use practices like


waterboarding, because there was no alternative. Wrong, according to an


FBI agent who worked at the heart of the operation against Al-Qaeda.


Ali Soufan was present at the site where top Al-Qaeda suspects were


tortured. He said former officials haven't told the truth about the


effectiveness of practices like waterboarding, or whether 9/11


itself could have been forestalled. He has given this only British


interview to us. Stepping out of the shadows,


appearing for the first time on camera, Ali Soufan, the former FBI


agent, with an eyewitness account some people don't want him to tell.


They are trying to stop me and others from telling the world what


really happened over there. He believes huge mistakes were made,


with devastating consequences. happened because we failed to


prevent it from happening. We were looking for them overseas, they


were here. People in our Government knew they were here.


He was the interrogator who saw the CIA try to break a key terrorist


suspect, and fail. What happened here at Ground Zero


has prompted a fierce debate. Could it have been prevented and did


America go too far in trying to stop it happening again? Now, for


the first time, we can hear from the man who interrogated some of


Al-Qaeda's most important figures, who was on their trail before 9/11,


and who was there when the gloves came off in the fight against


terrorism. Ali Soufan joined the FBI's New


York office in the mid-1990s. He had been assigned to the team


gathering evidence against a new emerging threat. Born in Lebanon,


Sofuan had emigrated to America as a teenager, he was one of the only


Arabic speakers in the FBI, and was picked out by his boss to be


deployed across the world, in pursuit of Al-Qaeda.


This is a brick from the facility where Bin Laden got his official


brief from shaik Mohammed on 9/11. Sofuan's search for answers about


9/11 began the day after the attacks. He was in Yemen, where he


had been investigating Al-Qaeda's womaning the previous year of a US


warship - bombing the previous year of a US warship. He tried to


unravel the spider's web of Al- Qaeda's network. On September 12th


a CIA officer passed him an envelope. What was in there,


shocked Sofuan, there were details of two of the 9/11 hijackers that


the CIA had failed to pass on. think it was probably the worst


feeling that I have ever experienced in my life. It is a


combination of frustration, anger, sadness, betrayal. I did not know


how to react. The only thing I recall is I left the office, went


across the hall to a bathroom, and I just threw up.


The CIA folder included intelligence on meetings in Asia,


involving people Sofuan was investigating, and the two men who


were involved in 9/11. The CIA knew the two had entered the US months


before the attacks. But despite repeated requests, it did not share


all it knew with the FBI. What makes you so sure it would


have made a difference? We were looking for them overseas, they


were here. People in our Government knew they were here. We were not


told. It still makes you angry? Absolutely. I will be angry until


the day I die about this. I mean look how many people died. Look how


the world changed. Look how we Within months of 9/11, the Taliban


and Al-Qaeda were ousted from Afghanistan. America began to round


up hundreds of suspected terrorists. But the top Al-Qaeda leaders


escaped, until in early 20002, President Bush made a dramatic


announcement. We recently apprehended one of Al-Qaeda's top


leaders, a man named Abu Zebaida, he was spending one of the top


operating officials of Al-Qaeda, plotting and planning murder. He's


not plotting and he's not planning He's under lock and key. We're


going to give him some company. That company included Ali Soufan.


His expertise in interrogation and Al-Qaeda led him to be sent to the


secret CIA site where he was held. Sofuan can still not disclose the


location, although we believe it to be Thailand. He was definitely


still in pain, and it was a major surgery. Sofuan found Zubada in bad


shape, having been shot during his capture. Death is not an option a


CIA cable set out. Sofuan set about trying to obtain his secrets, it


didn't take long. We were getting actionable intelligence, this had


the possibility of saving lives. This included the identity of the


mastermind of 9/11. But even though Sofuan had got him to talk, some in


Washington believed Zubada knew more. Abu Zubada was about to


become the guinea pig for what the CIA called enhanced interrogation


techniques. The idea was that the detainee has to look at the


interrogator as if he's his God. He's the one who terms if his life


is going to be better, or worse. He had a set of techniques at the time,


these techniques were nudity, low level sleep depravation, up to 24


hours, loud music and so forth. Sofuan, who lost friend on 9/11,


had practical, rather than moral objections. I will not lose sleep


if a terrorist is nude, it won't work, it won't work on a top notch


terrorist. My experience is you can watch way more flies with honey


than vinegar. By now, Sofuan had interrogated


many Al-Qaeda operatives, trained to resist torture. There is a


different emotional button that you have to press to make them co-


operate, sometimes it is family, sometimes it is ideologies, however,


even when you think you are having very good relationships with them,


in a split of a second you ask some questions. Now if you see me


outside you will kill me, absolutely, they will tell you they


will slaughter you like a sheep. The treatment of Zubada had


intensified, Sofuan had enough? were seeing some stuff, if it


happened in America, the person would be arrested. Absolutely, it


is an abuse of a prisoner. He threatened to arrest the CIA


contractor who was leading the interrogation. The FBI told him to


come home. Zubada was then water boarded 83 times.


interrogations were used on hardened terrorists after other


efforts failed, they were legal, essential, justified, successful


and the right thing to do. The intelligence officers who


questioned the terrorists can be proud of the work, proud of the


results, because they prevented the violent death of thousands, perhaps


hundreds of thousands of people. Are you saying that Dick Cheney is


lying? I know that Dick Cheney is not saying the truth, I was there.


Everything the proponent of enhanced interrogation techniques


claim that was obtained, because of enhanced interrogation techniques


and waterboarding Zubada, we got when we were on the ground this,


before enhanced interrogation techniques existed. Back in the US


Sofuan went undercover, pretending to be a personal representative of


Osama Bin Laden in America. It was to be his last assignment.


Ali Soufan left the FBI frustrated, prevented, he felt, from doing his


job. His attempts to tell his story now, and counter who he sees as a


misguided narrative of 9/11 are also being met stubborn resistance.


Sofuan has a book published today, the CIA demanded many cuts, it is


an apart of a wider attempt to control the official version of


9/11 and the last ten years. People over there are reacting


narrative, not national security information.


I always tell myself, hopefully time will heal. Ten years later, it


The CIA told us today that any suggestion the CIA purposely


refused to share critical lead information on the 9/11 plot, with


the FBI is baseless, and the suggestion that the Central


Intelligence Agency has requested redactions on this publication,


because it doesn't like the content is ridiculous. They refused to


comment on the waterboarding allegations. If you want a child to


get on you must focus on them intensely since they were born. The


idea that you have to shape their development by the age of three is


under attack. It is now being claimed that the fevered attentions


of anxious parents may be unnecessary. The suggestion is, of


course, a great comfort to every run ragged parent in the land. But


is it true that benign neglect could be as helpful as eager


intervention. Life's busy enough as a toddler,


there is walking and talking to be mastered, and a crashing weight of


parental ambition to be carried. For those short years at the start


of life are said to be crucial for social and academic development.


Studies by neuroscientists measuring activity in the brain,


have provided the foundation for early years intervention by the


state. The last Government pioneered this focus with


initiatives including the Sure Start programme, and an early years


curriculum. The coalition Government has


continued to advocate an early years approach. On the cover of one


proper was this photograph of two brains, suggesting there was no


doubt how vital early intervention was. The report cited studies


claiming that a child's development score at a mere 22 months, could


serve as an accurate predictor of educational outcomes at 26 years.


It also suggested that boys judged at the age of three as being "at


risk" had two-and-a-half times as many criminal convictions at aged


21 as those deemed "not at risk". But tomorrow, a conference at the


University of Kent, will call into question the focus on this early


years strategy. They want less Government intervention at this age,


and suggest it is time parents calmed down about the importance of


childhood. With us now is Lee director of


parenting studies at the University of Kent, helping to organise that


conference. And the psychologist, Oliver James, joins us from Oxford.


Why do you think this emphasis on the first years wrong? It is a very


old prejudice, that is the first thing to say, it is certainly


predating anything that anybody says they have found out recently.


It is at least 300 years old. I think what has gone on more


recently, though. There is an increasingly moralistic dynamic to


claims about the early years. So increasingly shrill claims are made


if parents don't heed by what is said, then really terrible things


will happen to their children. It is becoming increasingly politic


sized. Neither side can demonstrate it is wrong? The claim about


neuroscience is entirely wrong, there is no new neuroscience that


tells us if parents don't do things with little children their brains


will be shrunk. It is an unwarranted claim, it is better


understood as neurononsense or neuromania, than any sense nl


argument about anything. - Sensible argument. I don't know


why we are discussing it on Newsnight, it is a completely


accepted fact by people who have read the evidence, which DrLy low


hasn't. The quality of care you have in - Dr Lee hasn't. The


quality of care you have in your early years reflects your adult


life. Particularly emotional development. If you look at page


335 of my book, you will see 30 studies which show quite clearly


and without question, that the earlier the damage is done, the


earlier a child is maltreated, not loved, abused and neglected, the


earlier it is neglected, the more likely it is to suffer all sorts of


emotional problems in later life. Take, for example, a study of 800


children, which showed that if there was maltreatment between 0-3,


the outcomes were that much worse, if the maltreatment was between 3-6,


or 6-9. Have you read any of these studies, Dr Lee, going on about the


neuroscenes is completely irrelevant. Have you read the


studies? I have read many of them, plenty say one thing and one the


other. Name one study that doesn't, that contradicts the contention


that the early years are more important. Can I say something.


Name one study that contradicts Oliver James's assertion? There is


plenty of studies, if he reads Jerome Kegan, can I say something


or not, no, OK. My argument about this, and my perception of the


research is it is like lots of areas of research, where there is


plenty of different findings and we can have a perfectly reasonable


debate. The thing that has happened in this area, which is why I say it


has a moralistic dynamic, is certain people like Oliver James


have become increasingly shrill in the way they are posing things.


They want to turn research into a battering ram to convince parents


to do what they think they should do. The research demonstrates one


thing, surely it is his duty? doesn't demonstrate one thing.


Studies are studies, and we have a debate about what studies say, that


is a reasonable discussion to have. What isn't reasonable is to one-


sidedly turn this into a crusade and to override the idea that


parents have an entirely legitimate right and a legitimate interest in


deciding for themselves about various aspects of how they conduct


their family life. Like, for example, whether or not to put a


child into daycare. Oliver James is currently on a crusade against


mothers putting their children in daycare. He can say what he wants


about studies, some studies say one thing, some say the other, I think


in the normal run of family life, you should let parents decide what


they think is best for themselves, let them relax about all of this,


and do what makes sense in terms of work-life balance and conducting


ordinary every day family life and getting things to fit together. It


is just really got out of control and over the top. Would you be


willing to let parents relax? Absolutely I'm all in favour of


letting parents relax and let them do what they want to do, which


survey after survey shows is look after their children and love them.


Dr Lee has not read the survey, she hasn't read the studies. If you had


read them you would know they clearly show that the early years


are critical in setting the electrochemical thermostat for the


rest of your life. That is why it should be the basis of Government


policy. When Gordon Brown was trying to bail out the banks, he


kept on saying we will do whatever it takes to save the banks. If only


he had said we will do whatever it takes to enable parents to be able


to look after their children, to be at home and look after their


children? Can I finish. Parents are doing a fine job, we already have


an early intervention culture by what ordinary parents are doing


every day. The reason we do that is to allow all parents of under


three-year-olds to have the national average wage, each family


should have that. One or other parent, they could share that and


always be at home. Or if they don't want to look after their children


they can employ a nanny, this could be paid for by redistributing


wealth or 1% of the British land mass is owned by the Ministry of


Defence, why not sell some of that off. It is an interesting, unusual


idea, but you have no objection to that in principle, do you? I think


if...It Can't do any harm to have an intense focus on a child in its


early years? It depends, there is plenty of other studies and plenty


of research. Name one, name some studies, you keep saying, you


obviously haven't read the literature you can't name them?


talking about sociological studies which you haven't spent an awful


lot of time looking at. Looking at mothers' experience of parenting.


have read those studies, some of which were done at the University


of Kent. I sense we are not going to get a meeting of minds. We are


obviously not, it must be possible to have a reasonable discussion


about this, it must be possible to recognise that every day experience


of lots and lots of mothers and lots and lots of parents at the


moment is far too anxious and worried actually what we need, I


think, is a public discourse that recognises we don't have a


phenomenal parenting deficit in this country, most parents are


doing a great job, we should recognise that. Thank you both very


much. The European Union voted today to enhance Cliff Richard's


pension, they are extending the copyright on music performances


from 50-70 years, all sorts of codgers benefit from royalties on


things like this, here it is while we can still afford it.


# You came into my heart # So tend early


# With your burning love # That stings like a bee


# Oh now that I surrender # So helplessly


# Now you say you're gonna lead me # You're gonna leave me


# Baby Hello there, the winds will ease


down only a little bit overnight tonight tomorrow will be another


windy day. Heavy showers drifting across, the strong winds across


southern areas, it stays wet in northern and western Scotland.


Inbetween there will be good spells of sunshine. Still a blustery day


across known England. A few heavy showers drifting across the


Midlands towards East Anglia and the south-east. Especially during


the early part of the afternoon. Most of the early showers in the


south west will be in the morning, the afternoon promises to chase the


showers away, the same goes for Wales. Wherever you are tomorrow it


will still be windy, still feeling cool, the wind blowing a few


showers into western parts of Wales. Much of Northern Ireland, rain


arriving late in the day. Still arriving here across much of


Scotland. The biggest issue across northern and western Scotland will


be the rain. It continues to build up through the day. There will


still be some during the course of Wednesday. There is the risk of


some tkphrooding problems across the far north and west of Scotland


as the rain continues to mount up. Elsewhere, further south, by


Wednesday hopefully the winds will be lighter, and we will start to


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