05/10/2011 Newsnight


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It's the threat of another banking crisis, and not a speech to a huge


conference hall that keeps political leaders awake at night.


Is there a plan to stop another crash? How close are we to a


banking meltdown? And is there a way to prevent it? With Greece in


turmoil once again, the markets seem to think that Europe's leaders


are about to act. But is that just wishful thinking?


We discuss who's going to default, who's going bankrupt, and who's


left carrying the can. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister


shares with us his views on borrowing. The only way out of a


debt crisis is to deal with your debts.


And on mortgages. Because the lenders won't lend, the builders


won't build, and the buyers can't buy. We're going to sort this out.


So are we supposed to borrow money or not?


The Syrian Government lets Lyse Doucet into the town where soldiers


have clashed with protestors, there is no problem at all. We haven't


talked to one person in Duma. We haven't spoken to a single person.


You want us to go, OK, we're going. Also tonight, the moods of the time,


and music of the time. You know I hate rembering, I can't bear it, it


is all past, you know. Brian Eno, veteran musician and


record producer is here to talk about what these horrible economic


circumstances might do for modern music.


The British news machine was focused on Manchester today.


Dutifully dancing attendance on the Prime Minister's speech to the


Conservative Party Conference. But decisions of much more importance


than anything announced there, were being mulled over elsewhere. For


the crisis in the euro has now become a banking crisis. And the


possibility of a catastrophic collapse had the German Chancellor


promising today to shore up banks the European Union muttering about


similar and the sper national monetary - International Monetary


Fund talking about getting involved. Is there any plan emerging to shore


up the banks? Four months ago, in the middle of the last Greek crisis,


I remember being briefed by people close to this action that there was


a danger of another Lehman Brothers. If we let Greece default it would


shoot through the system and cause another Lehman Brothers. Four


months on, all the signs are that many of the stresses in the system


are higher than they were when Lehman collapsed. There was a


danger, it is not inevitable, that we could have a similar kind of


crisis, at more or less any moment. Against this you have to judge what


the actions are. There are just three things that need to be done.


Greece needs to be sorted out. It is either defaulting or not


defaulting. But there is a committee chewing its pen sit,


right now in Athens, deciding - pencil, right now in Athens


deciding whether or not to do that. The banks need to be recapitalised,


someone needs to say there is a plan, not what it is, just a rough


outline and people agree it. That too, we have not had that today.


Then the big countries, bubbling on the edges, Spain and Italy, which


have more structural problems, not so urgent as Greece, but probably


bigger. Somebody needs to work out what is to be done about them. I


just, with protestors on the streets of Wall Street, protests


going all over America, not yet on the scale we see in Greece and


Italy, but people generally expressing their disquiet. The


short answer is today's been almost day of inaction and going backwards.


The bad news drips out day by day, Greece set to miss its budget


target. Dexia, the Belgium bank, in trouble, Italy downgraded, and


ominously, the bad news flow is speeding up. Faced with the dlet of


a Greek debt default, the banks most exposed are showing. It is


Dexia, based in Belgium, but so big it would have to be bailed out and


broken up with French help. Dexia is not a very big bank. It is


partly French and partly Belgian. There is doubt about which country


stands behind it. It has a lot of exposure to sovereign debt,


particularly Greece. There are reasons to worry about Dexia, on


its own it is small. The bigger concern is people will start to


worry about other banks, they are even talking about Deutsche Bank,


the biggest bank in Europe. Next in the firing line, French banks, and


they are not just exposed to Greece. This is a mesh of the default risk


This is a mesh of the default risk faced by 25 major global banks. It


is higher now than in 2008, that reflects fears of a global slowdown,


a second credit crunch, and political paralysis. Suddenly there


is talk of bank recapitalisation, as in 2008, a mixture of Arab and


far eastern billions and state bailouts. Who will organise it?


Chancellor Merkel today came round to the idea in principle.


TRANSLATION: The German Government, as the Finance Minister has made


very clear in the last two days, stands ready to implement such a


capitalisation of the banks if it is needed. We need criteria, we are


under time pressure wrecks need to make a decision quickly. The IMF


seemed to make a decision today. It volunteered to pile in, alongside


Europe, and start rescuing banks Europe, and start rescuing banks


itself. There are many other possiblities that are now opened up


by this new model for the FSF that we could envisage and we would be


ready to make that role. Like ourselves, many other private


investors. This is revolutionary, creative, thought the journalists.


Within hours, the IMF had retracted the proposal. Moody's last night


downgraded Italy's credit rating by three notches, and gave three


reasons. And again, it is down to more than just Greece. They cited


the increased risk that Italy would default, the downturn in the global


economy, and political leadership uncertainty. A sideswipe at Silvio


Berlusconi's chaotic Government. Shows at the centre of the 2008


bailout are exasperated at the foot-dragging and inaction. They


need to understand the lessons we learned in 2007/08. The first is,


act very quickly, secondly, overshoot market expectation,


thirdly, act comprehensively, seal off all the avenues of attack, and


lastly, don't disagree with each other in public. They haven't


learned one of those lessons. Greece it is a deluge of rhetoric,


protest, tear gas, and economic pain. Few doubt where it will end.


Really, Greece is in a situation where it is insolvent, and the deal


agreed on its behalf with banks is insufficient to make it solvent. So


it needs to have a further restructuring. They need to


actually have a firewall between Greece, which is insolvent and


Italy and Spain, which has liquidity issues. So it has been


another day of rioting andify finance, with nothing solved, and


very - at high finance, with nothing solved and very few


questions answered. Joining us now is Lord Myners, the


former finance secretary, who organised the recapitalisation of


the banks here in 2008, Tracey Corrigan, editor of the Wall Street


Journal, Europe, and from our studio in Washington, we're joined


by the kpwheist, Dr Robert Shapiro, who advised President Obama, and


now the IMF. How close are we to banking


meltdown? We are already in a banking crisis, demonstrated by the


fact that banks are no longer able to finance themselves, many of them


in the short-term markets, they are having to rely on the European


Central Bank. The closer we get to that abyss the more concrete the


plan will be that the Government, that the IMF or EFSF, will have to


come up with to convince the market we are not about to go into a


meltdown. Robert Shapiro, how does it look from where you are?


looks very serious, there has been an underlying problem from the


beginning, that is a monetary union can only survive if the full faith


and credit of the union is behind the full faith and credit of each


member. The problem for the eurozone is there are only really


about six members, and only one large one, who have really sound


full faith and credit. The problems have really outpaced the capacity


of the eurozone's arrangements to address them. So consequently they


have to go to more radical reforms. So, just leaving the question of


the reform of the euro, to one side, looking specifically at the banking


crisis which this has developed into, Lord Myners, you were in


charge of the recapitalisation of the banks in 2008, what should be


done? Decisive action. Without any further delay. In this type of


situation, if you delay, it becomes more costly. The banks need a


significant increase in capital. A minimum of 50 billion euros,


possibly as much as 150 billion. Plus more liquidity and decisive


action by the regulators to agree some new common standards about


capital. The key thing is to move with determination and with a


comprehensive programme. It is very interesting f it is as plain as the


nose on your face, why hasn't anyone done it? Because none of the


political leaders want to have to tell Tony Blair tax-payers that


once again they are car - to tell their tax-payers that once again


they will be carrying the can for this. What do you think? It is not


just the money, they have to come up with a set of arrangements,


which will assure global investors that if the problems in sovereign


debt continue that there will be, that there is access to a great


deal more money. The amount of money required to recapitalise at


this point, may be a small traction of what would be required if we had


a - fraction of what would be required if we had a full blown


crisis on Italian and Spanish sovereign debt. Is there enough


money physically to do it, Lord Myners? This would require the


combined resources of national treasures, the union Financial


Stability Facility, and the IM - national treasure rees, the


European Financial Stability Facility, the IMF is not willing to


step in and provide funds, the Governments have to say they will


be there with capital and compel the banks to take capital. That


means tax-payers? Yes. It is interesting the IMF is talking


about coming into it, if reluctantly, there is clearly a


worry that the eurozone won't get it sorted out and may need the IMF


as a backstop. Who are the main problem makers, let's Naimos?


structural, you have to get - name names. It is structural. You have


to get all the countries to agree. In the turnt extension of the EFSF,


that is going on at the moment, we are waiting for a vote in Slovakia,


where a junior partner in the coalition is holding things up.


Let's suppose political leaders remain resistant, what happens?


they cannot address this in a credible way, I believe within two


to three weeks we will have a meltdown in sovereign debt, which


will produce a meltdown across the European banking system. We are not


just talking about a relatively small Belgium bank. We are talking


about the largest banks in the world, the largest banks in Germany


and France. That will spread, it will spread to the United Kingdom,


in part through sovereign debt problems in Ireland, it will spread


everywhere because the global financial system is so


interconnected they are each, all the banks, counter parties to every


significant bank in the United States and Britain, Japan, and


around the world. This would be a crisis that would be, in my view,


more serious than the crisis in 200. - 2008. Is he exaggerating? I wish


I could give a more cheerful complex. We are on the verge of a


perfect storm. A number of European countries cannot raise money, banks


are therefore increasingly worried about the default, therefore people


won't lend money to banks, therefore banks won't lend money to


business. Something has to be done. It has to be done substantially


across the whole of Europe. If you do it individually, country by


country, you simply shift the focus from one bank to another. That is


why in October 200, we obliged all UK banks to increase capitalisation.


We are often accused, journalists of being apocalyptic, this is an


apeople lips. What happened to the spirit of the G20? You can still


see a way round this, on a more positive note. You can still see a


way of taking concerted action which would now, the banks have


short-term funding, they can get short-term funding from the


European Central Bank. There is not an immediate liquidity crisis. If


we get a situation where the banks are recapitalised, and the Greek


situation sorted out, and the markets convinced that Spain and


Italy, which are really the big ones, will get through this, even


with some trouble. If we can push things out a couple of years until


that happens, it can still be averted. Are we talking about a


crisis that affects, apart from the taxpayer, who has to pay out if


action is taken. If the banks go under, does it affect ordinary


people? It will have an effect on economic activity. It is worthwhile


saying that the UK banks are pretty strongly capitalised. This is not a


problem for UK and Scandinavian banks. You have already heard Dr


Shapiro say it will affect UK banks? It will affect the UK


economy, which is why we have an interest in the economy. The UK


banks n relative terms are very well capitalised compared with most


European banks. Well, what we don't know, we do know, for example, in


the United States, there is relatively, our banks have


relatively little exposure to European sovereign debt. They have


been getting rid of those holdings for a year. However, no-one knows


the state of credit default swaps held by these institutions, again


sovereign debt, and against European banks. Nor do we know the


state of Credit Default Swaps held by British banks. Nor are we


certain of how serious the exposure of British banks is to the Irish


sovereign debt problems. What needs to happen night now, Lord Myners?


Very significant agreement across Europe to recapitalise the banks.


This problem can be solved, it is within the wit of man to do t but


it requires the political will of Europe's leaders to agree a


programme as soon as possible. Thus far we haven't seen it, have


we? No, they are talking in more urgent terms about the plan for the


plan, but we haven't got the plan yet. We need to get that now.


Thank you very much. We really need two things, not only


to recapitalise the banks, even more crucially we have to come up


with a credible plan to preserve the stability of the sovereign debt


of Italy and Spain. Thank you very much.


The main political conference season came to an end today with


David Cameron's speech to the one ten thousand nt of the electorate


who spent the last few days in Manchester. There was some old,


some new, some borrowed and everything washed in blue. A work


aday speech, for a work aday crowd. He said there was no money for


fireworks, so he asked people to imagine a fireworks display in the


future. At party conference top politicians


get photographed all day long, the leader's speech, his opportunity to


give us his picture. The Chancellor, of course, knew what he was going


to say, as party members queued to get in, they could read the preview


quotes handed out in time for this morning's newspapers. The whole


purpose of the speech is, not to say anything, at least not to say


anything startling or revalatory. We have been told to expect a


restatement of main of the themes that we have heard from the Prime


Minister many times before. The need to sort out the economy. If


there is a change, it is simply going to be a tonal nudge, to put a


bit more optimisim into the picture. So, you can imagine the


consternation in the Prime Minister's camp, when it turned out


he had, or his aides had, actually, said something. In briefings to


journalists, which resulted in this headline. "Pay off your credit


cards, for the sake of the economy". The quote says the only way to deal


with the debt crisis is to pay off your debts. That means households,


all of us, paying of the credit card and store card bills. This


message is both ecomomically and politically difficult. Ecomomically


because if everyone starts paying off their debts and spending money,


as the Prime Minister appears to be telling us, we can kiss goodbye to


a whole load of economic growth. It is what economists call the parodox


of thrift. Politically it is difficult, because team Cameron


know how bad it is to have a bunch of pretty well off people in


cabinet, appearing to lecture the rest of us about what we should do


with our money. Even as the seats were filling up,


we were told the line was supposed to have described what was already


going on. People were already paying back their debts, not, that


this was the Government in some way, telling them what to do. In any


case, we were told, the line was being we written. The Prime


Minister's background was a blue sky obscured with clouds, it fitted


with his core message on the economy. We need to tell the truth


about the overall economic situation. People understand that


when the economy goes into recession, times get tough. But


normally, after a while, things pick up. Strong growth returns,


people get back into work. This time it is not like that. People


want to know why the good times are so long in coming. The reason, he


said, was before we could recover, well we had to pay back debt. In


saection containing the rewrit - a section containing the rewritten


line about credit cards, Mr Cameron said borrowing more was not an


option? Why, because it make us it more risky and the threat of higher


taxes in future. The only way out of a debt crisis is to deal with


your debts. That is why households are paying down the credit card and


the store card bills. What had been a controversial line had become


unremarkable. And no-one was surprised by Mr Cameron's pledge on


the euro. As long as I'm Prime Minister, this country will never


join the euro. Labour were blamed for the debt and criticised for not


apologising. Public sector strikes were condemned, growth, Mr Cameron


said, would come from the private sector. It needed, he said, a


change to the planning laws. Mr Cameron said we needed a housing


revolution to provide enough homes and enough lending for people to


buy those homes. Some kinds of debt, it seems, are OK. Mr Cameron


pledged to end, what he called, the scandal of barriers placed in the


way of loving families adapting babies in care. And he said because


gay marriage would strengthen family life, his party should


support it. I don't support gay marriage in spite of being a


Conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a


Conservative. But mostly this speech was an


exhortation, to believe in what he called the can-do spirit of Britain.


No Britain ever had the largest land mass or richest resources, but


we had the spirit. It is not the size of the dog in the fight, it is


the size of the fight in the dog. Overcoming challenge, yes,


confounding the sceptics, reinventing ourselves. We have the


ideas and the people, and now we have a Government freeing those


people, backing those ideas, let's see an optimistic future. Let's


show the world some fight. Let us pull together, let us work together,


and let us together lead Britain to better days ahead.


APPLAUSE George what did you think of that


speech? I thought it was fan tais particular, it struck the right now


- fantastic, it struck the right note, all about leadership,


optimisim. He won this over. He also spoke to the country. That is


what we have been doing at this conference. The stuff about credit


cards, was that poor drafting? he spoke what we have all been


saying, this is a debt crisis, we need to deal with our debts, we


understand you can't borrow your way out of debt, that analysis is


shared by the British people. Mr Cameron's exit music was clearly


inspired by yesterday's called cat flap (Love Cats by The Cure)


The Conservative conference ended for the year.


Stop talking, there is an audience out there. James Forsyth, the


political editor of The Speckor, and John McTernan, political


adviser to Tony Blair. They were chewing the fat of what went on in


the conference. You might as well continue for the benefit of


everybody. Three major conferences over what do we know about the


state of British politics then? know there is a complete absence of


genuine analysis about the depth of the crisis we face in Britain,


Europe and the world, and any actions that any of the leading


politicians can sketch out in any detail, that could give people


confidence that the political leadership have some project to


lead. I think we also know that the mass membership political party is


completely and utterly dead. It was striking today during David


Cameron's speech how many empty seats there were. Empty seats


during a leader's speech. The Prime Minister's speech. I mean, this is


a new going to fringe meetings, most people who get up to speak


come from lobby groups and NGOs. There is a real problem in politics.


There were moments when Cameron improved his delivery during the


speech, those were the moments intended to be clipped for


programmes like this or the news. There is something really sad


happening. Why is the BBC slavishly sending off dozens and dozens of


people, why do you go there, and you go there, these are empty


events? I think the time has come to say we don't need annual party


conferences any more. We're the only political culture in Europe


that has annual conferences. They have now run their course. There is


no purpose for the speeches, there is no purpose for the meetings. If


it wasn't for the lobbyists paying for the passes and sponsoring the


fringes. The party is addicted to the money from the lobbyists and


the fringe meetings. They never made policy in the Tory Party, or


the Labour Party for 20 years have they? I think the end of the mass


membership party also reflects John's point, that there is a lack


of reality to a lot of this talk. There is also, I think, a problem


of, the one speech at the Tory Party conference that soared a


little bit was George Osborne. It actually had some explanation to


people of what is going wrong with the economy, this is why this time


it is different, and this is why we are not growing. That is what we


need. That is the danger of politics at the moment, is it seems


incredibly detatched from people's lives. That is, when you look at


what is going on in Europe, this is going to...To Be fair to the


politicians, it is not entirely their fault they are detatched from


real life. A lot of the events, which are really going to determine


how people live in this country, aren't within their gift any way,


are they? I think one of the big criticisms of Cameron's speech


today, is there was no sense of what Britain wants the eurozone to


do, or the rest of the world to do. There was no sense of I'm going to


get on the world stage and load. It was almost very much here is what


we do while the rest of the world go to hell in a hand cart. We are


in a difficult position in terms of the eurozone. You heard the chaps


here a few moments ago, talking about this possible cat it is a


trophy about to overwhelm us, we don't have dog in that fight, do


we? It is not even having a dog in the fight. I think we should


probably ban all metaphors about dogs, cats and fighting.


You have Obama facing an election, Merkel facing election, Sarkozy


facing election. The three biggest players in the G20, involved in


this, are all in fear of their own electorates. So there is a bit of


paralysis in other people's politics that is feeding through


into this. In contrast, and I think Lord Myners was right, the contrast


with 2008, in a global vacuum, actually Gordon Brown did something,


he flew to the eurozone and told them what to do. He did take the


space and said the world should orchestrate pumping in money and


demand. The difficulty today is it is not clear to me that Gordon


Brown, or Alastair Darling would know what to say or their like, let


alone have the authority to say it to the eurozone. In the end


somebody has to take leadership. That is what was odd about


Cameron's speech. The leadership was the strap line, there was


nothing to lead, unless it was making sure that people can use


highlighters in classrooms without health and safety instructions and


goggles. When it came to the details they were pathetic. What


did you think about the cock-up over the question of credit cards,


what does that tell us about the state of the party. It is a very


small thing, but, if you are going to try to orchestrate the


newspapers to go with a particular line, you better get it right,


hadn't you? I think what it tells you is how politicians are


struggling to explain. The metaphor for the Conservative Party like to


use is the deficit is like the nation's credit card, you can't


keep running it up and borrowing more and more money, because you


have to pay higher interest and then you end up bankrupt. When they


tried to fly it in the speech in the extracts, then they said are


you telling everybody to pay for credit card, because that would


suck demand out of the economy. And also this thing of David Cameron


being a very wealthy man. I think it is simpler than that, they don't


have a proper operation in Number Ten. So many people must have read


that, before you brief a passage to the paper, the press team, the


political team, policy team, number 1, they all have to see it. In the


whole set of people that looked at it, they didn't see it causing a


bad headline. There are people works closely with the Prime


Minister that don't know how newspapers operate or language can


be mest misconstrued. There is a failure at the head of the


operation. If you brief it, it has to be in the speech.


A woman came back from the dead today. Actually Syria put a woman


on television, whom the regime claimed had been reported by


foreign media as having been beheaded. Thus, they boasted, do we


give the lie of the concerted campaign of subversion and


terrorism being raged against the boufd leader accidental dictator,


Bashar al-Assad. Western reporters who want to find out what is really


going on there aren't allowed in. The authorities made an exception


for our Lyse Doucet. Though quite how helpful this is to have the co-


operation of the regime is another Douma, a suburb of Damascus.


An activist in Douma gave us this footage, showing clashes between


troops and protestors. They say it has been going on for months.


This is why we asked the Government for permission to visit Douma. It


was the first place in Damascus to see protests.


As we entered Douma, the mood changes. We start seeing soldiers.


Look more closely, they are concealed in this olive grove. A


car joins us, a group of men we are told know this neighbourhood, they


will show us around. We ask to go to places where people


gather. They take us to a filling station. We have been trying to


negotiate with our escorts, as they are called, what we can see in the


suburbs of Douma. It is clear they don't want us to see very much. It


is the time of day when not a lot of people are out in the streets,


but they still don't want us to go to the markets or places like this.


They don't really want us to film here. It feels like a ghost town.


We insist we have to meet people who live here. They insist we need


to move on. Our next stop, a roundabout. Pretty,


but deserted. We were hoping it was a gathering place so we can meet


some of the people of Douma, but, in fact, it is pretty quiet here.


We hear the call to prayer. Could we go to the main mosque? They say


there isn't one. What does he want? You haven't done anything wrong.


haven't finished Douma yet or talked to one person in Douma. We


haven't spoken to a single person. You want us to go, please, please.


OK, we are going. They tell us it is for our


protection. Terrorists could attack us. We were told we had to leave


immediatey, we weren't really told why. It is really frustrating. We


were told by the Government we had to show the truth of the situation.


But how can you do that when you can't even film.


This may be what they didn't want us to see. This footage was filmed


by activists. They say it is from the day we were there. A


demonstration, and then arrests. We can't do anything here.


terribly sorry. We asked to go back. We are back in Douma again, after


our last visit we complained to the Government, they have given us


permission to return. We drive past the olive grove where


soldiers still wait. We return to the roundabout where we had been


told to leave. Last time we filmed trees and a flag. This time a palm


tree is part of the story. Those are blood stains do you think?


Syrian officials told us a bomb had been found here the day previous.


They wanted us to see the work of what they called armed gangs.


Around 1.15 pm yesterday, three officers were trying to dismantle a


bomb planted here, unfortunately the bomb was being detonated from


the remote. So the man who was trying to dismantle it, with his


hands, has been split into two pieces. His compan and the other


two were killed. - Companion and two others had killed. A man drives


up on a motorcycle and said he hadn't heard an explosion. A crowd


starts forming, there is confusion about what happened here. Why were


they killed if it didn't destroy the tree? Hard one to answer.


As the crowd grows there are more men in shell suits, shadowing us,


talking on mobiles, listening in. At times like this, Damascenes, who


don't have anything nice to say about the Government, don't say


anything at all. Unexpectedly one man starts speaking. He wants to be


heard and seen. He tells us his son was picked up by security forces


yesterday. What was your son doing? Was he protesting? He said they


were leaving the mosque, there was a demonstration outside. They


weren't at t but they started shooting towards them. They were


separated and he saw him being dragged away. His mother is crying


looking for him. We will arrest him. Why did you


decide to tell us your story? He said he was afraid now, but what


will happen will happen. No armoured gangs? Look how quickly


the crowd has gathered, they saw a foreign camera here and people


wanted to tell their story, in fact this man is very brave to tell us


the story of his son who has been taken in.


We head down the street to Douma's main mosque, we are immediately


surrounded by young men. Suddenly it's a protest.


Their voices carry. Within minutes security is on the way. A bus has


just arrived with soldiers and yet they are still chanting, and they


are not leaving. This is our weapon, they say, the


camera is our weapon. Freedom, freedom. Freedom.


wanted to stay to see how this would unfold, but we were told we


must leave, there is a threat against us.


But we don't miss everything. Soldiers to the left. Oh my God, oh


my God. Oh my goodness. I can show you what


is happening to the right of me, I can't show you, there are two green


buses of soldiers pulling away from the square. They just flooded this


area moments after we were here, and people were criticising the


Government for arresting and shooting at people. As soldiers


move down the street, our second visit comes to an end.


We are leaving Douma now, but unlike all the other places we


visited during our time in Syria, we leave knowing what people think,


because they told us. This horrible feeling, we don't


know what's going to happen to them We still don't know what happened


to the people we met. Today some activists sent us this footage from


Douma. We can't verify it, but it appears to show soldiers outside


someone's door. Well now, back here, whatever


solution is found to the current economic crisis, if indeed one can


be found, we are going to be living in difficult times for a long while


yet. Money, or lack of it, trust, or lack of it, hope or lack of it,


shape our cultural world as much as they shape our politics. Pop Art


and punk music, for example, are inacceptable from particular times.


So what can we expect this unhappy era to throw up. Do hard times make


good music or art? We thought it would be interesting to hear what


Brian Eno, one of the world's foremost music producers and


writers thinks. Before we hear from It's Nick Clegg's one-time adviser


on youth issues. In his own salad days, as the keyboard noodler-in-


chief of art rockers, Roxy Music. His outfits were enough to catch


your eye, or even have it out! Don't think the roof's leaking down


at Eno's lab, no it is the sound of ambient music. The composer has


been applying his cool all can he me to this often misunder- alchemy


to this often misunderstood genre. You think him of the music boffin,


the musical genius of music. His CV is pretty impressive, starting from


Roxy Music, his own wild and strange solo years, and then as a


producer for multi, multimillion selling albums by people like U2


and Coldplay it's a maverick genius burrowing around on the fringes of


rock n' roll, producing some of the most interesting work of the last


30, 40 years. Do grim times produce great music.


Eno may be in a position to know. When he was producing David Bowi,


he's lepbldly Berlin albums in the 1960s, Britain had strikes. In 1980,


the year of Ronald Reagan becoming President, he was working with


seminal American outfit, Talking Heads. The theory that poverty


equals interesting culture, is not necessarily one I would like to


pursue, I would rather people weren't poor. But obviously when


you have a situation like this, it makes people angry, and it makes


people frustrated if they are not depressed. And that means they are


going to do something. Whether or not it takes the form of the riots


that we have seen, or whether or not it takes the form of people


making music, or whether or not it takes the form of other types of


protest, music is great form of communication. I would always hope


people would make music and will make music to accompany these hard


times. I'm sure they will. It will be very exciting. As to how Brian


Eno makes music with U2 and others, we sense it is not by turning all


the knobs up to 1 he has been known to issue musicians with cryptic


notes. Sometimes I write on bits of card, rhythm, melody, precussion,


something like that. He has these cards that he invented that he


would produce, and they would just have words on them, you know, like


"blue" or "brain", or "tomorrow" or "side salad", I don't know what. He


would produce the cards in the studio and the musicians have to


play side salad or blue. It is a way of pushing people out of their


box. Coldplay released an album, helmed


by Mr Eno at the time of the banking crisis. That is the last


banking crisis. Hmm, have we hit snag with the theory that troubled


times bring forth great music. Ha ha ha had a.


Well, you know, everybody has to pay the bills. And also, if you are


asked to do something, it is very pleasant. And if you're asked to do


something you often do it. I don't have a problem with Eno producing


Coldplay or U2. He does plenty of other stuff besides that is


interesting. Eno remains endlessly inventive, his latest idea he calls


generative music n which a computer sequences programmed sounds. I like


it, but I'm not sure it is the Christmas number one. The chrome-


domed maverick genius, or whatever is here. With side salad! How is it


chrome-dome! This theory about difficult times making interesting


music, do you buy it? I think difficult times make for good


audiences. I think when times are difficult people are much more


interested in art. They are much more interested in seeing things,


in being challenged in new ways, in finding exciting new feelings. In


comfortable times people aren't very much. Do you think it is


happening now? Yes i do. I think there is much more live performance


than there has been ever in my life. And of course, there are all these


new arts that are appearing now. A lot of them internet based or ap-


based. Which are really very exciting, that is the beginning of


the future. I think the conventional art forms are losing


their funding, in some respects, but creativity is a little bit like


water, it seeps out wherever there is an outlet. You are talking about


music being the expression of creativity, or is it border than


music? Broader - broader than music? Broader. You have to look at


all the new art forms, you have to look at 1911 and looking at the


first films made. It is very difficult to imagine when you see a


flickering train going into a station, that, that will turn into


Sit Zen Kane or something like that or Martin Scorsce. What other sort


of things? There are lots of things called aps and a lot of people


carry a computer in their pocket, means an artist has a new place to


work. A lot of people are taking advantage of it, including me.


you taking advantage at a visual level, a musical level, or what?


Both of those things. Some how it is all scrambled up together?


That is one of the things going on, the distinctions between the arts


are starting to break down. Everything is much more power rus,


it is possible to - porous, it is possible to work in a new landscape


that is visual, musical and textual. And everything is available?


Including the complete history of recorded art. One thing I notice


with young musicians is their palate is enormously broad. They


are able to bring in Dave Brubeck and Talking Heads and collageing


them together. One of the problems an artist faces is to decide what


form shall I work in, what am I doing. I didn't have that problem.


I inherited the idea of being a particular type of musician and I


expanded it a bit. I never was looking at 50 years past of music


as my palate. They are all equally available and considered equally


worthwhile, whether Dave Brubeck or Beethoven, or whatever? Do you know


this term "open source" t refers to way of constructing and creating


things, by sharing them. In a way, the whole cultural world has sort


of gone open source. So that everybody is making things, making


them available to be shared. As soon as they are digital, they are


very shareable, it is very easy to bind together things that are


already digital. This idea of open source, which sort of loses the


idea of the artist as the primary controlling individual, and the


artist becomes more like a member of a commune. So artists are


working more and more in communities, and I think people are


as well. Is there a particular type of sound that emerges from that


sint sis at the end, in a way that you can associate punk, for example,


with a particular time in our history? Well, I think, though I


don't like to blow my own trumpet, that this idea of generative music,


that I talk about, is something that will prove to be a feature of


the future. The idea of the composer being more like a gardener


than an architect. The vision of the composer traditionally is


somebody who has the whole piece in their head and writes it down.


Where as, I think, more and more what people are doing now, is


assembling sets of musical seeds, and planting them, and watching


them develop, watching them evolve. Both electronically and through


sharing with other composers and musicians. So, I think we're in a,


Cameron talks about the Big Society, it is actually here, we are already


doing t we won't recognise it for a long time, but there is an expon


earnings expansion of the thaing - exponential expansion from the book


The Rational Optimisim, the growth of the collective mind, the idea of


people becoming more and more intelligent by sharing in a larger


and larger collective mind. Do you know our brains are getting smaller.


That is an alarming thought on which to end. That's it for tonight.


Quite a blustery spell of weather, rain clearing away from the south-


east over the next hour or two. All eyes to the North West, we will


start the day with blustery showers. Despite a bright start further


south and east, the showers will rattle in on the breeze. Most of us


can expect a shower or two on the day. It will be cooler than it has


get higher than the mid-teens in most places. Not everyone will get


showers, most will. When they come along, they could well be quite


heavy. The further north and west you go across the UK, the more


widespread and heavier there could well be hail and thunder mixed in


as well. Those winds will gust up to 50-60 miles an hour for a time,


across parts of Northern Ireland, and up across western Scotland as


well. Over high ground of Scotland, we could well see some snow, up


over the mountain tops, primarily. A chilly feel, a blustery wind,


plenty of showers around. The good news is on Friday most of the


showers have dyed away, it will be a bright and - died away, and it


will be a bright and crisp end to the week. Make the most of it, it


won't last that long, a ridge of high pressure will come in, the


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