21/09/2011 Newsnight


21/09/2011

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


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Transcript


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If you can keep your head while all around are losing their's, you

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obviously haven't a clue what's going on.

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Banks in trouble, politicians panicked, and the printing presses

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being warmed up for more money printing. From Athens to London to

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Washington, trouble is brewing. economy is weakening under us, the

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tide waters are receding, there is not much left in terms of demand,

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we have to do something to try to stimulate it. As the countryside

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revolt over planning deepens, David Cameron tries to reaching out to

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the campaigners. The boss of Next, wishes he would stand firm, he has

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six big stores he would like to build and can't under the present

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laws. Sick and hungry, they say, because they don't support the

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Government. Yet Britain gives hundreds of millions to Ethiopia.

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Are British aid officials allowing a brutal Government to decide who

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lives and who dies. Can the International Development Secretary

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tell us why we assist a bunch of thugs. This is our future, we start

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building it today. The Liberal Democrat leader gives his people a

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beginners guide to Government, it is jolly hard, apparently. How long

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can this pitch last. 20% cuts in pensions tens of

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thousands of redundancies. The economic crisis is so bad, a

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handful of country's problems with one currency. In Washington the

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Federal Reserve is trying feverishly to drive down the cost

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of borrowing, high spending money converting long-term loans into

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short-term debts. We should have the four horsemen of the apocalypse,

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but we have our guests. Let as start with the Greek

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Government tonight. What have they decided they will do, and will it

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be acceptable? There was no deal tonight, Jeremy, because a deal

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would involve a full austerity package from the Greek Government,

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and the IMF and the European Union, the so-called troika, handing them

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over eight billion euros into their bank account. This hasn't happened,

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it won't happen because we have only had half the story. The Greeks

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have announce job losses and pensions cuts, and tax rises on the

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poorest paid. They have announced this central property tax, two

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billion euros a year, collected through electricity bills will last

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to 2014. One is it is not enough, and secondly, I have heard the IMF

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is call for the Greeks to meet their 2011 target. They are way off

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that and spiralling further away. This isn't going to happen. My take

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on what's happened to today is this is the Greeks putting on the table

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this is what we can do. They will go to Washington at the weekend and

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say do you really want to bankrupt this country over the difference

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between what we have delivered today and what you want. We have

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been tending to see this as the last few weeks as a crisis in the

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eurozone, but actually it is clear, this is a global crisis, isn't it?

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I think it is certainly a big global worry, of course it is not

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just Greece causing worries, it is also the slow growth of the US and

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other economies, the difficulty in climbing out of the debt crisis

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that we saw in the last three years, and the fact that we're still

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having to turn to the central banks for help. What is very striking in

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the last few weeks is we have had people drawing parallels with the

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October 2008, the feeling we had then. In some ways the situation is

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better and in some ways it is worse. You had the stark warning from the

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IMF yesterday about the state of the economy. Another stark warning

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today about the state of the financial system, and particularly

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the state of Europe's banks. I think that is something that is

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going to be increasingly focused on in the next few weeks. The IMF says

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the European banks are looking at paper losses of $200 billion

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because of the losses over the last few years. You have a lot of people

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turning to the Europeans saying this is a grobl problem, we told

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you to fix Greece, we haven't fixed Greece, for goodness sake you must

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at least protect your banks from the consequences of that failure.

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Does it looks a if there could be major European banks going down on

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this? We have seen three big American banks downgraded today,

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several Italian banks, one Belgian banks, on top of the French banks

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downgraded last week, all on top of the bleeping radar of the Greek

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crisis. If somebody issues the word "default" into the conversation,

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sooner or later it will come on the agenda properly. If they can save

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Greece for October, in December we have huge repayments and March. As

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Stephaine says there, the declining growth rate of the world, combined

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with the declining tax take of this country, has to pose the question,

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what losses are sitting inside the French, German and Belgian banking

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system. That is really the question. Until we get the new fund. The ESF,

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the safety net to catch those losses there is a giant question

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mark. Central banks are increasingly talking about printing

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money, quantitative easing. We are just finding Governments, once

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again, and all of us turning to the central banks, for more of a quick

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fix, more of a support for the recovery. I think there is a lot of

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uneasiness about how much the central banks can do. We saw the US

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Central Bank, the Fed today, do the excitingly entitled Operation Twist,

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which was last attempted in the early 1960, I won't go into the

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less exciting details of what they did. They are not injected money

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into the economy, because they are worried about some of the

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consequences of having lots more money around. They are shuffling

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the debts and assets they told, in an effort to push down long-term

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interest rates, so lower mortgage rates and business loans. A lot of

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people saying I'm not sure this will have a big impact. A lot of

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companies in the US have lots of money to invest, they are not

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investing it, interest rates are already low, that is the issue.

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Even the central banks have less ammunition now to throw at this

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than they did a few years ago. Another key point in that IMF

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report that we saw today, on the state of the financial, the global

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financial system, is they worry this long period of superlow

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interest rates, is not only putting off the day of reckoning when it

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comes to debts in Europe and elsewhere, but it is also actually

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laying the seed for another crisis. Because it is actually sending

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people off looking for high returns and yields, risky investments again,

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just the kind of behaviour we saw leading up to the last crisis.

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There are some real concerns here about running out of ammunition.

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What a cherrio note on which to end. Thank you very much.

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Be Last night's suggestion that the Government might ever so slightly

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depart from its deficit plan, there has been one message coming out,

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there is no alternative to plan A. As the world economy gets worse and

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the growth rates are down, there is a distinct note of serious anxiety.

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What are the discussions at the top of Government, what are the options.

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Is there anything better than hoping Mervyn King comes to the

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rescue? It's difficult for anything very much to flourish in autumn.

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But particularly chill winds have gone blowing through the British

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economy. Borrowing and unemployment up, growth forecasts down. And

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there is that currency crisis on Britain's doorstep too.

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So the political message to the Liberal Democrats today, employment

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and economic growth is firmly rooted in the Government's thinking.

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Deficit reduction, it lays the down daigss for growth, but on its - -

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foundations for growth, but on its own it is not enough. That is why

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we are investing in infrastructure, reducing red tape, promoting skills,

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getting the banks lending. But the outlook for the global economy has

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got worse. So we need to do more. We can do more, and we will do for

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more growth and jobs. So what exactly can be done to stimulate

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economic growth and create jobs. Both the Treasury and Nick Clegg's

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own advisers have rubbished suggestions that an extra �5

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billion can be found to invest in infrastructure. Instead the deputy

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Prime Minister has been talking about shaking the Whitehall tree,

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that is clearing blockages in the system and making sure existing

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projects are finishing on time. Some of the most prominent members

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of his party believe the Government can go further, without uprooting

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their commitment to eliminating the deficit.

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The Liberal Democrats don't want to take a leaf out of Labour's book by

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dramatically slowing down deficit reduction. There are calls more

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moving resources around. I'm one quite attracted by a reduction in

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VAT. Plan B, or even plan A plus, these are the plans that dare not

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speak their names, because of the risk of affecting the whole issue

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of confidence. I don't doubt for a moment, that contrary to what was

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said in public, I don't doubt there was a lot of work going on in

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private as to just exactly what could be done within the envelope

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of the predicted public expenditure, which would allow for stimulus. It

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is a very, very fine judgment. have agreed the plan that there

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will be investment, but it is not good at being a plan sitting in the

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departments of Whitehall, it has to be happening in the north-east and

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the West Midlands, it is getting the scheme on the ground, the

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houses being built, the infrastructure being laid, first

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thing, and then we have to, it seems to me, look in Government for

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anything else. Where we can perhaps take some money that might have

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been spent, not with the direct effect on the economy, and move it

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to somewhere where it can have that benefit. But there are fears that

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displaying any deviation from current spending plans could spook

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the markets. So the Government is looking for other ways to help the

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economy pick up. Money, of course, doesn't grow on

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trees, but it is quite handy that the Bank of England can print it.

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Newly published minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee, have

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raised the prospect of a new round of what is called quantitative

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easing. I have not hidden the fact that looking at the economy as a

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whole, that is one contribution that they could make to stimulate

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recovery. The economy is weakening under us, the tide waters are

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receding, there is not much left in terms of demand, we have to do

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something to try to stimulate it. The last thing that remains is QE.

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As well as quantitative easing, the bank also discussed whether

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interest rates could go even lower, beneath half of one per cent. Some

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ministers say even within the current spending plans, the

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Government itself can do more to promote growth. We had to have

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stability and stimulus. We have to have both together. Stability

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consists of sticking with our commitments on deficit reduction,

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we are going to do that, we won't deviate from that, were there are

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things that can be done to stimulate the economy. Today the

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key measure from Government is that there will be no departure from

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plan A. But some say, if you separate the wood from the trees,

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you would realise that plan does allow the Government to do more, to

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boost growth in difficult times. How close do they come to plan A

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plus, or plan A, sub section 1? There is going to be a growth

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strategy unveiled at November. And there was discussion in the cabinet.

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It was put on in Danny Alexander's talk about putting a rocket under

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existing plans and getting them in on time. After the word about �500

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billion was announced, it was slammed on by the Government and

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said it was not going to happen. That doesn't mean there aren't

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those pressing the Government to do more. There are quite senior

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Conservative backbenchers saying, actually, plan A has to be ajusd.

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They are taking a look at the growth figures, and they will

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remain low, and the Government will have to take a look at plan A plus,

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and plan B. The Government's calculation was simple. Why risk

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sending a signal to the markets that you might be considering

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fiscal stimulus, and you might in some way be departing from the plan,

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for the sake of �5 billion, when we heard from the Monetary Policy

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Committee, there could be �50 billion going in through

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quantitative easing, or printing money, much easier politically.

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One of the ways of mending the economy, the Government has been

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telling us, for weeks now, is to reform the planning laws, so that

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in future they are tilts in favour of developers. This simple idea has

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achieved the brilliant feat of uniting conservation organisations

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from the National Trust, against a Conservative Prime Minister. Today,

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David Cameron, tried to mend his fences with them, by claiming he

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also wants to protebt the countryside.

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It is a picture-perfect vision of England, at the heart of the

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Toryshires, place you might expect to be at peace under a

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Conservative-led Government. Beneath the idyllic exterior of the

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Northamptonshire village of win nick, not including the animals,

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trouble is brewing. Within I public speaking, I was told to do

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something very flashy, I hope that was flashy enough for David Cameron

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to remember win nick. Bruce is a scientist that mixes herbal

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cosmetic products for cleaning products. He has always been a

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loyal Tory, and a donor to the party. What is happening outside

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his front door is making him change his mind. For years he has been

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enhancing the countryside for those to enjoy. Now, he believes the view

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will be ruined by a row of 400 wind turbines, that a German company

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wants to build along this ridge. If the plans go ahead it will be the

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Government's fault. To make an economic decision, not a viable

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decision, to take over big areas of British countryside is a mistake.

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The Conservative Party will be decimated at the next election by

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the bad decisions. They need to look at "middle England", their

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electorate, they are not taking any notice of them, they don't want

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wind farms in beautiful areas. they get their way, the valley will

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be overlooked by seven turbines, creating enough clean enemy for

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10,000 homes. On shore wind is a vital part of the UK generation mix.

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It enables us to be part of making sure the lights stay on. We need to

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reduce our carbon emissions, and we need affordable energy. Wind

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technology fits that bill, in fact, wind is one of the cheaper forms of

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technology to design, build and operate.

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Whether or not the plan goes ahead, will be decided at a public inquiry

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early next year. And though localvilleagers are almost

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unanimous - local villagers are almost unanimously opposed, it may

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go through. The Government wants to empower local communities, but it

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also wants to encourage economic growth. Many now fear when there is

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a contradiction between those two aims, it is growth that will come

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first. The coalition's new planning policy framework, designed to

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simplify the he can siing system, says decision makers at every level

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should assume that a default answer to any development proposal should

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be left, and planning authorities should approve all individual

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applications whenever possible. The local council leader is against

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the wind plan, although it is going to public authority before it is

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agreed. It should be local people making local decisions, not be

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negative, we are a pro-growth council, we are all about growth,

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it should be about allowing us to make the decisions. If planning

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applications are not popular locally and should be heard at the

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appeal, the appeal inspectors should take note of concerns.

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residents are co-ordinating a campaign against proposals, they

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say, don't make environmental or economic sense. When the Government,

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as in this case, get something hopelessly wrong, we should be

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allowed to have our say, that is the British way. Now, aware of

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concerns like that across rural England, the Prime Minister has

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written to the National Trust, to try to reassure them that the new

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planning policy isn't an attack on Here the local Conservative MP is

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supporting his constituents in their battle against the wind farm.

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He doesn't think voters will desert his party over planning policy, but

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he wants the planning minister, Greg Clarke, to be clearer about

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his intentions. There is too many grey areas about some of these

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proposals. I sat in a meeting two weeks ago with Greg Clarke briefing

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us on what the proposals actually meant, and then came out and read a

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national newspaper the next day that said exactly the opposite. I

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just think any confusion, it is our fault if confusion lies out there,

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we need to clarify those things. What many want here is simply to be

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hold that local people will have the last word on major plans

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affecting their community, regardless of national parties. For

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the Government to agree to that, would not be so much a

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clarification as a u-turn. Over 20 of the country's biggest

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businessmen wrote to the Times, and said these planning changes were

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the only way for the country's economy to grow. One of them was

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the chief executive of Next. Don't you love the countryside? Yes, I

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live there. I don't think the planning reforms are about

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concreting over vast swathes of the country, if you read the proposals

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there are measures to protect the green belt, to protect areas of

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outstanding natural beauty. As the MP said on the programme there,

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this has been a huge communication problem. That is no what the

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legislation does. This is a bogus issue, the royal town planning

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institute says 80% of applications are approved. 90% of large

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commercial applications are approved, within three months?,

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what's the problem? The problem is. I will give you an example, we have

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six stops we would like to build, invest �30 million, all on

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brownfield sites, employing about 1,000 people, we can't do that

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because the planning system won't let us. It will take a long time,

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my guess is half of them will go through. For those people who say

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there is no problem, it is not true. The reason why the statistics are

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very mislead, is because in a lot of places we don't get to the stage

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of applying to planning permission. I went to one council and said we

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would like to build a shop outside your town, and they said we don't

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want those types of jobs in our area, don't bother applying for

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planning permission, so we didn't. The statistics don't tell the whole

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story. If the new regulations applied only to brownfield sites,

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you would be perfectly happy? company hasn't any plans to build

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on Greenfield sites. Other companies do, they want to do so

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because it is cheaper and the cost of putting in the infrastructure is

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not their's but the local authorities, that is undesirable?

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Not in all cases. We occupy only 8% of this country, 92% of the country

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are green fields, the idea we take some of those green fields and

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enhance the living standards and solve our housing crisis with a

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small fraction of the line. There isn't a housing crisis? There is if

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you are a young person look to go buy a house. That is a cost of

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housing crisis, there is actually a surplus of housing? No, there is no

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surplus of housing that people want to buy. The trouble is it is all

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very well saying you have a job in London, but actually there is a

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house for you in North Wales that is vacant. You need to build houses

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where people want to live. It is all very well for people to say let

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them eat brownfield, we need to build houses where people want to

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live. Would you accept the principle that brownfield sites

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should be developed first? Absolutely. This is where, and

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there is an enormous consensus on this, one of the main things that

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the planning changes can do is to make it easier to develop on

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brownfield sites. At the moment regulations around building on

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brownfield sites, means it is almost impossible to do it

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economically. I was talking to a doler last night a site in

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Clerkenwell, wants to build housing on it, has been told he can only

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build affordable housing, that means he can't afford to build

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anything, that site will stay vacant. You have said that

0:22:420:22:46

affordable housing is a desirable thing? It is, but the policy for

0:22:460:22:50

affordable housing is making it less affordable because it is stop

0:22:500:22:53

anybody building anything new. you worried the Prime Minister is

0:22:530:22:58

going soft on the issue? Absolutely not, what the Prime Minister said

0:22:580:23:01

today is exactly what the legislation said, it says it is

0:23:010:23:05

going to protect green belt, national heritage, it says it will

0:23:050:23:10

insist on good-quality design, which has never been insisted on bf

0:23:100:23:14

before. It is funny how the papers back to the preservation trust

0:23:150:23:19

hasn't got the message? Read the document, it makes all those things

0:23:190:23:24

clear. How big a hole are we in if we don't get these changes? That is

0:23:240:23:29

a good question. As all your reports said there is no easy

0:23:290:23:33

demand solution to this, we can't lend our way out of it, we have to

0:23:330:23:38

build our way out of it. The problem with building is it

0:23:380:23:41

requires physical change. If people want to build new shops, offices,

0:23:410:23:48

somebody says no you can't do that, we will stagnate.

0:23:480:23:51

Is money given by British tax- payers to prevent starvation in

0:23:510:23:58

Africa being used stpor a preive regime there. Britain is a second-

0:23:580:24:02

largest donor of aid there. The Government there has been

0:24:020:24:06

accused of a crackdown against opposition supporters and

0:24:060:24:11

journalists. First IRA minder of how this programme and the bureau

0:24:110:24:20

of - a reminder of how this programme and the Bureau of

0:24:200:24:26

Investigative Journalism looked at this issue.

0:24:260:24:31

Undercover in the Horn of Africa, Newsnight and the Bureau of

0:24:310:24:34

Investigative Journalism travelled to uetyopia to look into mounting

0:24:340:24:38

allegations of human rights abuses. We revealed evidence of children

0:24:380:24:45

dying of hunger. Aid used as a weapon of oppression, to staff the

0:24:450:24:50

opposition into submission. 20 years of mass arrests, extra

0:24:500:24:55

judicial killings and rape. They used to beat me, they used to do

0:24:550:25:04

whatever they like. Then they started raping me. $3 billion in

0:25:040:25:09

long-term development aid flows into Ethiopia every year, despite

0:25:090:25:15

these allegation, all denied by the Ethiopian Government. This is

0:25:150:25:22

completely a report that lacks objectivity, it also lacks even-

0:25:220:25:32
0:25:320:25:34

handedness, and as a matter of fact, it solely got the source which it

0:25:340:25:40

used are opponents of Ethiopia. But following our investigation,

0:25:400:25:45

members of the Ethiopian diaspora, have told Newsnight that there has

0:25:450:25:51

been a concerted Government backlash. Sadly, there has been a

0:25:510:25:57

crackdown by the security forces on people who are suspected to have

0:25:570:26:01

co-operated with the programme. We have certainly got propers that

0:26:010:26:04

some people have been arrested, - reports that some people have been

0:26:040:26:10

arrested and questioned by security forces, and some people have left

0:26:100:26:14

the area for fear of what would follow. The crackdown has widened.

0:26:140:26:18

In the last two months at least 40 opposition politicians, their

0:26:180:26:23

supporters and journalists, have been arrested by the Security

0:26:230:26:25

Services. Amnesty International researchers were expelled from the

0:26:250:26:31

country last month. I have heard from political

0:26:310:26:33

opposition groups that there is really increased tension now

0:26:340:26:38

amongst the political opposition, civil society activists have said

0:26:380:26:43

that the situation is rapidly deteriorating. To use their words.

0:26:430:26:46

Journalists are more afraid, even than they were before. We are

0:26:460:26:50

talking about a country where there is a significant climate of fear.

0:26:500:26:54

All of those groups are already kpraith operating in a cloim mate

0:26:540:27:01

of fear. As our - Operating in a climate of fear. As our report

0:27:010:27:05

showed allegations of torture in prison is rife. I have never seen

0:27:050:27:13

such being gaigs of human beings. The most certificate - Degradation

0:27:130:27:17

of human decision. The European Human Rights Commission reported

0:27:170:27:21

there is no evidence to suggest cruel, inhumane or degrading

0:27:210:27:28

treatment in prisons. Many have questioned its independence.

0:27:280:27:38
0:27:380:27:40

If really they wanted the Human Rights Commission to work, just low,

0:27:400:27:49

- justly, legally, I think there is a lot to be said. But these are

0:27:490:27:57

puppets appointed to the commission. Last year, the UK gave the

0:27:570:28:03

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission �20,000. - �230,000. A generation

0:28:030:28:07

of people are beaten, some have lost their lives. We challenge a

0:28:070:28:12

lot of diplomacy, including British diplomats to get access to what is

0:28:120:28:18

going on. What is their response? They say the Government is

0:28:180:28:24

interference, the Government says this and that. More apologetic, not

0:28:240:28:30

really pressing hard to get what is going on.

0:28:300:28:36

Despite the Ethiopian Government's emphatic denials, more evidence has

0:28:360:28:42

emerged. US diplomatic cables, released by WikiLeaks, detailed

0:28:420:28:45

widespread systemic and wanton human rights abuses over the years.

0:28:450:28:49

Hangings, branding people, gang rape, abitary detentions and

0:28:490:28:55

killings. We also investigated allegations

0:28:550:28:59

that aid was being used as a tool of oppression. People in areas

0:28:590:29:03

loyal to the opposition denied aid, fertiliser and seed, allegations

0:29:040:29:08

previously brought to the attention of the international community.

0:29:080:29:15

position of the community is dismissive, they always want to

0:29:150:29:20

dismiss it as an isolated incident, where we present them with some

0:29:200:29:23

proof. And we challenge them to go down and check it out for

0:29:230:29:33
0:29:330:29:34

themselves. They don't want do it. And again, the US gaict cables show

0:29:340:29:44
0:29:440:29:56

Critics say there is an overwhelming body of evidence, and

0:29:560:30:03

that they are losing faith. I have given up on the west. I do

0:30:040:30:07

not believe that the west is interested in democracy and the

0:30:070:30:15

rule of law and human rights. In the third world. Human rights and

0:30:160:30:18

democracy are central to development. The dilemma for the

0:30:190:30:23

west, how to engage with a Government seemingly intent on

0:30:230:30:26

crucialing dissent. Shortly before coming on air

0:30:260:30:29

strikes I tacked to the International Development Secretary

0:30:290:30:33

- I talked to the International Development Secretary, Andrew

0:30:330:30:38

Mitchell. Do you accept that British aid is being used for

0:30:380:30:44

political purposes in Ethiopia? I don't, but I accept serious

0:30:440:30:48

allegations made in your film and they need to be answered. I raise

0:30:480:30:51

these allegations when I meet Ethiopian ministers, I will meet

0:30:510:30:55

one in a few minutes. When I see the Prime Minister, I always raise

0:30:550:31:03

these allegations with him. But you have never seen them proved? One of

0:31:030:31:08

the allegations, which you mention, is about the misuse of food support.

0:31:080:31:13

We had that investigated by officials in some detail about six

0:31:130:31:19

or seven months ago, they found no evidence at all of systemic misuse

0:31:190:31:24

of food support. So I accept completely that these allegations

0:31:240:31:34
0:31:340:31:34

must be looked at. Just to be clear about that particular allegation

0:31:340:31:40

did your investigators go to Ethiopia to the place in question?

0:31:400:31:44

My investigators are the officials based in Ethiopia, and run the

0:31:440:31:47

British development programme there. They investigated these allegations,

0:31:480:31:54

and as I say, they discovered that there was no systemic misuse of

0:31:540:31:59

food support. When you look at the assessments of

0:31:590:32:03

the human rights record of the Government of yeethyopia, the

0:32:030:32:10

hanging of - Ethiopia, the hanging, the health authorityure, mass rape

0:32:100:32:20

and everything else d torture, mass rapes and everything else, one

0:32:200:32:25

wonders why one pound from Britain should go.

0:32:250:32:29

The British Government will press for these investigations to be open

0:32:290:32:32

and independent, that is entirely different from British aid going to

0:32:320:32:36

Ethiopia, none of which goes through the Government. We should

0:32:360:32:40

be clear that British development, over recent years, has made a huge

0:32:400:32:44

difference in Ethiopia, saving literally millions of lives. You

0:32:440:32:47

can see this now by looking at the way in which the desperate

0:32:470:32:52

situation in the Horn of Africa is affecting Somalia, where probably

0:32:520:32:56

nearly 400,000 children are at risk of dying later this year. Compare

0:32:560:33:00

that to what has happened in Ethiopia, where the international

0:33:000:33:05

development effort has been hugely successful. We have probably cut

0:33:050:33:07

the prevalence of malnutrition amongst children, in the last 20

0:33:070:33:17
0:33:170:33:19

years bs by nearly 50%. British aid works. Can I clarify one point, you

0:33:190:33:23

said the British aid doesn't go through the Ethiopian Government?

0:33:230:33:29

There is no general support through the Government of Ethiopia, that

0:33:290:33:33

was stopped in 205, after the election of the Prime Minister on -

0:33:330:33:36

2005, after the election of the Prime Minister on that ecation. We

0:33:360:33:40

have an extensive social protection programme, that is administered by

0:33:400:33:45

an independent Government organisation, which we monitor

0:33:450:33:50

extremely closely, and it gives support to some seven million

0:33:500:33:54

people in Ethiopia. That uses aspects of local Government, but

0:33:540:33:57

don't go through the central Government, and it relies on

0:33:570:34:00

regional implementation to deliver T I have seen it for myself and

0:34:000:34:04

followed the way in which the programme works. I have seen how

0:34:040:34:12

effective it is in saving lives. The accusation is that aid itself

0:34:120:34:19

is being manipulated for other ends? The accusation is food aid is

0:34:190:34:21

being manipulated, British officials investigated it on the

0:34:210:34:25

ground, and found that we can't be certain it never happens, but we

0:34:250:34:29

found no evidence of systemic manipulation of food aid. Do you

0:34:290:34:36

also believe this Government won.6% of the vote in the elections in

0:34:360:34:42

2005? Well the independent analysis of the election was that it wasn't

0:34:420:34:48

perfect, but it was, in African terms, quite good, and better the

0:34:480:34:53

than the previous election. How is it, given your confidence in the

0:34:530:34:56

legitimacy of the Government there, that the Americans have come to

0:34:560:35:00

very different conclusion about the sort of regime it is? These are

0:35:000:35:04

leaks through WikiLeaks, they are quite dated, but I emphasise that

0:35:040:35:09

all these allegations should be investigated independently. We

0:35:090:35:11

always press, when these allegations are made, and they are

0:35:120:35:16

allegations, that they should be properly investigated. These

0:35:160:35:21

allegations aren't very dated, they date from 2009? They refer to

0:35:210:35:27

events that took place in 2008/2009, two years ago, since then we have

0:35:270:35:32

made very strong representations and the investigations of my

0:35:320:35:35

officials into the distortion of food aid was six or seven months

0:35:350:35:43

ago. After we recorded that interview, the Department of

0:35:430:35:46

International development clarified that no department official had

0:35:460:35:50

been into the field specifically to investigate allegations of misuse

0:35:500:35:55

of aid. Their investigation was, they say, a desk-based study

0:35:550:36:01

conducted from Addis Abada, which did not seek to approve or disprove

0:36:010:36:06

allegations of distortion. One of our news channels carried a

0:36:060:36:11

headline "Nick Clegg gets standing ovation after speech". Of course he

0:36:110:36:16

did, it would have been news worthy if he hadn't. It is the job of the

0:36:160:36:21

stewards at the conferences to make sure critics bin it before they

0:36:210:36:27

enter. From a distance, in content terms it was a sober speech for

0:36:270:36:32

sober times. A sub-fuss sob bright has been the theme of the

0:36:320:36:42
0:36:420:36:46

conference. Nobody wants to think their party

0:36:460:36:50

has been blue rinsed, ask them what they have in common with the

0:36:500:36:54

Conservatives, and they are most likely to say? I'm not sure.

0:36:540:37:00

can't think of anything. What have you got in common with a

0:37:000:37:05

Conservative? I don't know. Nick Clegg's advisers admit he has

0:37:050:37:10

a big job to do today. He has to try to push back that tide of

0:37:100:37:14

Conservatism, trying to contest every inch of political territory

0:37:150:37:18

within the coalition. But at the same time, take ownership of the

0:37:180:37:23

coalition, take pride in it. The easiest way to get a cheer today

0:37:230:37:28

would be to bash the Conservative Party. But, we will know just how

0:37:280:37:31

secure Nick Clegg feels in the support of his party by how little

0:37:310:37:41
0:37:410:37:43

he does that today. The first priority has been to

0:37:430:37:46

reassure the activists, the people who will have to knock on doors and

0:37:460:37:52

try to win back voters. Without them on side, there can be no Lib

0:37:520:37:58

Dem electoral recovery. His first task was to thank them. I know how

0:37:580:38:05

painful it has been to face anger and frustration on the doorstep.

0:38:050:38:12

Some of you maybe even wondered, would it all be worth it in the end.

0:38:120:38:19

It will be. I have been genuinely moved by your spirit and your

0:38:190:38:25

strength. Thank you. This reassurance went on at length, time

0:38:250:38:29

and again Mr Clegg told his party they were doing the right thing,

0:38:290:38:34

not the easy thing. The toughest job of all, turning around the

0:38:340:38:37

economy. The deputy Prime Minister repeated his insistence there was

0:38:370:38:42

no moving away from the coalition's deficit reduction programme. This

0:38:420:38:48

has been ment painful cuts, agonisingly difficult - this has

0:38:480:38:53

meant painful cuts and agonisingly difficult decisions, not easy, but

0:38:530:38:58

right. The main take was on Labour. Mr Clegg delivered his own version

0:38:580:39:05

of gloshed's "no time for a novice" line. This was aimed at the adviser

0:39:050:39:10

top of the Labour Party. The two Eds, behind the scenes, lurking in

0:39:100:39:14

the shadows, always plotting, always scheming, never taking

0:39:140:39:19

responsibility. And at this time of crisis, what Britain needs is real

0:39:190:39:25

leadership. This is no time for the back room boys.

0:39:250:39:30

Labour then painted as the party of vested union interests. The Liberal

0:39:300:39:34

Democrats, Mr Clegg said, by contrast, the party of the national

0:39:340:39:42

interest. We are in nobody's pocket. Lessons to be learned over tuition

0:39:420:39:47

fees, and a determination to resist Conservative calls to repeal the

0:39:470:39:51

Human Rights Act Let me say something, really clear about the

0:39:510:39:58

human acts. In fact, I will do it in words of one syllabel. It is

0:39:580:40:04

here to stay. So much for the break, there was

0:40:040:40:10

also, he said, a Liberal Democrat engine pushing forward, like an

0:40:100:40:15

initiative aimed at tackling the causes of this summer's riots. Help

0:40:150:40:19

for young people with no help for the future and going through the

0:40:190:40:23

cracks. I'm launching a new scheme to help the children who need it

0:40:230:40:27

most, in the summer before they start secondary school. A two-week

0:40:270:40:31

summer school, helping them to catch up in maths and English, and

0:40:310:40:34

getting them ready for the challenges ahe. After all the

0:40:340:40:40

economic gloom, the message at the end was hopeful. Britain is our

0:40:400:40:45

home, we will make it safe and strong. These are our children, we

0:40:450:40:51

will tear down every barrier they face. This is our future. We start

0:40:510:40:58

building it today. This was essentially a speech about

0:40:590:41:02

reassurance. Don't worry, the deputy Prime Minister was saying,

0:41:020:41:07

this is still the party you joined. But, through tough, uncomfortable

0:41:070:41:11

choices, we, together as a party, have managed to make a difference

0:41:120:41:17

to the country we love. You would have put more Tory

0:41:170:41:20

bashing in there? No, what is important is to demonstrate we are

0:41:200:41:23

doing tough things, not easy, but absolutely right. And demonstrating

0:41:230:41:28

for the first time in 70 years you have liberals in power making a

0:41:280:41:32

clear difference. As soon as the speech ends, the battle to

0:41:320:41:35

interpret begins. As ever, with a leaders' conference speech, there

0:41:360:41:42

is no guarantee that anyone, beyond the hall, has heard a single word.

0:41:420:41:50

With us to discuss the speech are the Guardian columnist, Deborah Orr,

0:41:500:41:57

and editor of the Spectator. Were you moved, you're a Lib Dem, were

0:41:570:42:01

you moved? I was moved almost to despair. You have to laugh, don't

0:42:010:42:05

you. It was, I suppose, the best he could do. Because he feels that he

0:42:050:42:09

has to justify the choices that he made himself. But for me, they are

0:42:090:42:13

not really justifiable. In that, I don't mean that I don't accept they

0:42:130:42:17

had to do, as Gillian Duffy would put it, "go in" with the

0:42:170:42:22

Conservatives. I do accept that the arithmetic of the election meant

0:42:220:42:26

that they had to do that. But the choices that they have made since

0:42:260:42:33

doing that have been ridiculous. I mean they really are in the midst

0:42:330:42:39

of a self-immolation, and the idea they are doing the so-called right

0:42:390:42:42

thing, I don't believe that, that they are some how in the end going

0:42:420:42:46

to gain respect from all of this is ridiculous. It was interesting his

0:42:460:42:51

take was all on Labour, wasn'tn't it? It does make you wonder whether

0:42:510:42:54

he's saying the Tories are our lovers forever more, he said we

0:42:540:42:59

will never again trust Labour with the economy. You can tell that

0:42:590:43:03

easily the mass majority of that hall would rather he was in

0:43:030:43:06

coalition with Labour, as they were in Scotland for a while, than being

0:43:060:43:11

in bed with the Tories. He's trying to reposition himself as the voice

0:43:110:43:15

of opposition inside the Government. That was what the speech was about.

0:43:150:43:22

This time last year he was saying he loves David Cameron so much, now

0:43:220:43:27

he's saying the Tories are wicked they want to abolish human rights,

0:43:270:43:30

but don't worry us Liberal Democrats won't let them do it. It

0:43:300:43:35

is not plausible situation. Are we looking at a one-term deputy Prime

0:43:350:43:42

Minister, would you imagine? would imagine so, yes. Everything

0:43:420:43:46

is so up for grabs at the moment. What you have, actually, is a

0:43:460:43:52

political system that's in a state of flux in itself. At the time of

0:43:520:43:57

the expenses scandal, and the last election, the two party system was

0:43:570:44:02

on its knees. The Liberal Democrats who were offering alternatives have,

0:44:020:44:06

instead, been co-opted by one party to prop up the two-party system

0:44:060:44:10

they were supposed to be against. The whole thing is a bit like the

0:44:100:44:15

banks, you have this sort of zombie political system, marching on, with

0:44:150:44:20

Nick Clegg being the very person who was supposed to provide an

0:44:200:44:27

alternative, propping up this two- party system, of tit for tat. He's

0:44:270:44:31

trying to change them all to British politics. But the Tories

0:44:310:44:35

have proved toxic for the Liberal Democrats, they have lost half of

0:44:350:44:39

their support. The polls suggest he would lose three quarters of his

0:44:390:44:42

MPs through the next election. They are putting on a brave face. He's

0:44:430:44:47

trying to remould the party along liberal lines, saying they have

0:44:470:44:52

existed for 360 years, they haven't, it is as long as Kylie Minogue's

0:44:520:44:56

music cretaceous and they will be probably outlasted by it, the way

0:44:560:45:03

things are going. It is interesting he has chosen the 350 years,

0:45:030:45:06

because he has taken the social element of the Liberal Democrats

0:45:060:45:11

out of history today. He's saying forget the Social Democrats, we are

0:45:110:45:18

the old Gladstone party. This is how he wants to go, he thinks he

0:45:180:45:24

can lure Tory voters. He was trying to carve that for him. What do you

0:45:240:45:28

think? I think Tory voters have been thin on the ground since 197,

0:45:280:45:32

so the Tory voters he thinks he's going to lure, I'm not really sure

0:45:320:45:37

where they are going to come from. I don't think it is a strategy that

0:45:370:45:47
0:45:470:45:47

can work. I think that the death of the Social Democratic wing of the

0:45:470:45:54

party is a very sad and tragic thing. I do think it is what

0:45:540:46:01

Britain needs in the future. So what's happened here with the

0:46:010:46:06

coalition and with Clegg, it really makes me feel sort of sad and

0:46:060:46:10

worried for the future. It sound as if you are on the verge of tears?

0:46:100:46:14

No, I'm not on the verge of tears. But I really do think, it is easy

0:46:150:46:18

to laugh at and to sneer and be angry, but it is a very, very

0:46:190:46:24

serious thing that is happening, it is a very awful, hollowing out of

0:46:240:46:30

an already very hollow political system that we are seeing here.

0:46:300:46:36

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