02/12/2011 Newsnight


02/12/2011

Presenter Gavin Esler interviews the British Ambassador to Iran following this week's attacks on the Embassy in Tehran.


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Tonight, hard times, how might ten years of austerity change the face

:00:11.:00:16.

of Britain. We have exclusive new research mapping whether where you

:00:16.:00:20.

live will be hit hard or one of the towns best placed to withstand the

:00:20.:00:24.

tough years ahead. Is the road to recover to be found in the

:00:24.:00:27.

Chancellor's love of new infrastructure projects. Richard

:00:27.:00:33.

Watson spends an interesting day on the A14. In my previous job I was

:00:33.:00:39.

doing boardroom level presentations using power point, now I'm

:00:39.:00:43.

delivering parcels, demeaning but an income. Will we pull together or

:00:43.:00:49.

pull apart, a dismal decade or lasting reform. We will talk to the

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author of Austerity Britain, and the Bishop of Durham.

:00:52.:00:57.

Britain's ambassador to Iran, relives the moment when the embassy

:00:57.:01:01.

was invaded. Diplomatic property ransacked and diplomatic ties

:01:01.:01:04.

shattered. These are buildings of historic significance, not just for

:01:04.:01:09.

Britain and the world, but Iranian history too. That doesn't seem to

:01:09.:01:13.

have inhibited those who got into the building in vandalising the

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portraits, tearing the portrait of Queen Vicoria, and cutting out the

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head of Edward VII. Good evening, the mood from the

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Bank of England, to the Treasury, to Ten Downing Street this week,

:01:30.:01:34.

seemed to involve various novels from Mark Dixon, Bleak House, Hard

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Times, but not as far as we know, Oliver Twist. We have had austerity

:01:40.:01:45.

Britain before, despite ups and downs, not the sustained period of

:01:45.:01:48.

economic misery this week's Autumn Statement forecast for as you you

:01:48.:01:55.

will. We have been looking at a study exclusive to Newsnight, by

:01:55.:01:59.

Experian, that reveals which areas will be hit hardest. How did they

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find out which are the most vulnerable areas? They are looking

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at the effect of the spending cuts and job cuts that flow from them.

:02:06.:02:09.

This is the first analysis that has been done since the Autumn

:02:09.:02:12.

Statement. It takes into account not only the austerity we already

:02:12.:02:18.

knew about, but also the further austerity that came in with the

:02:18.:02:22.

Autumn Statement. The big real term pay cut, and the 1% pay cap, twice

:02:22.:02:26.

as many public sector workers nearly as we thought would lose

:02:26.:02:30.

their job, 7 10,000 of them. It looks in England, looking at local

:02:30.:02:33.

business, how they are doing, and also how vulnerable local people

:02:33.:02:40.

are to a drop in income. Top, as you can see is red car and

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Cleveland, second, Hartlepool and Middlesborough. Those three areas

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are within ten tiles of each other. The pain is not very -- ten miles

:02:50.:02:59.
:03:00.:03:05.

of each other. The pain is not very If they are most vulnerable, there

:03:05.:03:09.

are some areas less vulnerable? course they are, those aren't very

:03:09.:03:19.
:03:19.:03:23.

well spread either. If you look at They are the commuter belt.

:03:23.:03:28.

Surrey, and St Albans, it also co- relates with the industries

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involved. The most vulnerable industries at the moment, according

:03:31.:03:36.

to Experian, are things like engineering and chemical, typically

:03:36.:03:42.

concentrated in places like Teeside. Banking and shuerpbgs, in spite of

:03:42.:03:46.

the crisis, not vulnerable, -- insurance, in spite of the crisis

:03:46.:03:50.

not vulnerable, spread in the south of England. What about income

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groups? In the next graphic we have a breakdown on how the effect of

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austerity, how austerity will effect the different income groups.

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It is not actually the poorest there who are affected worst.

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Perhaps, partly because, for example, unemployment benefit is

:04:05.:04:09.

going up by 5.2%, so are state pensions. Working Tax Credit. The

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sorts of benefits that are relied on by the not quite the poorest,

:04:13.:04:17.

but the next poorest, are being cut back. Obviously austerity will bite

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there. Most of all, if you are working as a nurse, a teacher,

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local Government worker or central Government, you are facing a real

:04:24.:04:29.

terms pay cut. What this research really shows is if there is pain,

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it is not very well spread. In fact, it is quite concentrated,

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particularly in areas like Teeside. I'm joined by Ian Swales, the

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Liberal Democrat MP for Redcar, the I can't remember considered, as we

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have been talking about, as the most vulnerable to the years of

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austerity ahead for all of us. How concerned are you to represent that

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kind of area? I don't share the pessimism of this study. The

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Government's determined to rebalance the economy towards the

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manufacturing and the real economy, and we can already see in our area

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the effects of that. I think the study is tending to rate sectors

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like banking and insurance, and underrate the revival we will see

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in manufacturing. The Government's determined to back that. No doubt.

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If we came to Redcar, we would not recognise the study, we would see

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the sunny uplands, we would not see an area most vulnerable to this, as

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Experian says. You would not see the sunny upland, the area has real

:05:31.:05:34.

problems, the Government recognises that, the Regional Growth Fun was

:05:34.:05:38.

added to by a billion in the Autumn Statement this week. That helps

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areas like Redcar. I have three enterprise zones in my constituency

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alone. In this week's statement, they are now going to get 100%

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capital allowances, because the Government's determined. This

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Experian research was conducted after the Autumn Statement, it

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doesn't seem as if the Autumn Statement has done anything at all,

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except neglect kwhrief, for your constituents? It has done three

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positive things, the Regional Growth Fun has been expanded, my

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constituency has been doing very well out of that fund. There has

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been help for energy-intensive industries. That is very important

:06:10.:06:15.

to our area. Of course, as I said, enterprise zone, which are already

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all over Teeside now, are getting 100% capital allowances, which will

:06:21.:06:24.

enable people to invest. We can already see people investing, in

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fact, it is interesting, just last night, a house builder came to

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Redcar and said they were investing in the town because they could see

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it bucking the trend and it could actually be an area of success. I

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think the local picture is a bit different, partly because of the

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backing from the Government. In an attempt to boost growth, the

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Chancellor, George Osborne, this week, targeted various parts of the

:06:49.:06:53.

country, with more Government spending on infrastructure projects,

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things like roads and bridges. He talked about plans to improve the

:06:57.:07:01.

A14 in East Anglia, is that the road to prosperity. We went to find

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out. It has been very trickery over the

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past four years, to keep myself fully employed. I have been

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managing to do part-time work here and there, through agencies, and

:07:22.:07:32.
:07:32.:07:34.

I'm currently working as a courier. I'm probably, after my expenses,

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I'm probably earning about �800 a month to clear. That's nowhere near

:07:43.:07:53.
:07:53.:07:54.

enough. 52-year-old former sales executive, Ian Miller, spends a lot

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of time on the A14, delivering packages on a freelance basis.

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Following redundancy, he's grateful for work. It is far from the days

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of a salary man. I have never had this problem before. I have always

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thought I would be in full-time employment. It is very difficult to

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survive, really with food bills increasing all the time. The cost

:08:21.:08:28.

of heating, of house, mortgage, every week we struggle. So the

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Government has announced plans to spend millions here improving the

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A14. But will this trickle down to affect the local economy. Britain

:08:36.:08:41.

now faces at least two years of austerity. I spent the day around

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here speaking to local people about their employment prospects.

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The A14 corridor, Cambridge to Huntingdon and beyond, has been

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identified by the Chancellor as a priority for investment. Part of a

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Keynsian stab at the economy. Ian Miller lives bang in the middle in

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the village of Swavesey. We accompanied him to his local car

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wash, staffed up by eastern Europeans. There was no queue, the

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owner said the 30-car-a-day business was in decline. I have

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watched one car turn up, how is business? Business has gone down.

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It is no good. There is no money, everybody no money, no money, no

:09:26.:09:30.

money. People haven't the money to spend? No, nothing. Have you

:09:30.:09:37.

noticed a big difference? Big, big difference this year, to last year.

:09:37.:09:41.

A big difference. Employers say that freedom to hire

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and fire is the key to surviving any downturn. These workers are

:09:46.:09:53.

probably viewed as fully flexible. But one person's flexibility is

:09:53.:09:56.

another's casualisation, and two years of austerity will further

:09:56.:09:59.

rode the traditional view of employment. What do you think about

:09:59.:10:03.

the political classes, if I can put it like that at the moment. Do they

:10:03.:10:07.

offer any solutions to these problems? I can't see that at the

:10:07.:10:14.

moment, no. Do you have any faith in any of the parts? -- parties? No,

:10:15.:10:20.

I don't. They all team to be doing, singing from the same song sheet,

:10:20.:10:28.

all the time. Nothing inspires me to think things will get better in

:10:28.:10:31.

the short-term. Not everyone is suffering, though, those who can

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squeeze the lemon harder stand to make cash. We ran into this man,

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who specialises in equipment fitted to commercial vehicles, which

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tracks employee performance. It is a good place to be at the moment.

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Is that because business is keener to press down on costs? Absolutely,

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operationally, fuel costs, vehicle insurance costs. I don't think if

:10:58.:11:03.

you are able to prove that by spending money you can reduce money,

:11:03.:11:08.

there is still good business to be done. Bonus? Absolutely, one that's

:11:08.:11:13.

picking up the cost for a round the world trip that I'm embarking on

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tomorrow morning for a month. Roughly how much? Just short of

:11:19.:11:25.

�20,000. �20,000 in this tough economic time? It is one of the

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businesses that doesn't seem to be adversely affected by the recession.

:11:28.:11:33.

Back at Ian's village, we caught up with a family friend, who has

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experienced redundancy himself. This skilled commercial welder and

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former labour manager, mentors 700 apprentices and 450 until full-time

:11:45.:11:47.

construction students. The A14 improvements will allow a new

:11:47.:11:51.

housing development, which isn't too far from Cambridge to go ahead,

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really to push this one on, it has been sitting in the back for about

:11:55.:11:59.

four or five years now. The A14 will have that knock-on effect, get

:11:59.:12:04.

this town or village started, employ local labour wrecks hope.

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For many British workers, then, the immediate outNew Looks bleak, the

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crucial question is -- the immediate outlook looks bleak. Or

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will -- What will be the effect of years of austerity, how might is

:12:26.:12:31.

reshape our lives. My guests are here to discuss this, we are joined

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by the Bishop of Durham in our Newcastle studio. David how do you

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think we will be affected and it might reshape our lives, facing

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this austerity? I think we might be profoundly affected, our historical

:12:44.:12:50.

parallel, both with the immediate post-car period, and the austerity

:12:50.:12:54.

Britain period, more like the 1930s were like now, the shortage of

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money, coming out a period of mass unemployment, I don't think we can

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feed off historical experience for future projection. The nature of

:13:06.:13:09.

British society has changed so fundamentally in the last half

:13:09.:13:16.

century, I would be wary of that. One of the things that people look

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at is to Greece and Italy and the failure of political elites and

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lack of confidence in them, do you think that could happen here?

:13:24.:13:28.

Probably not, no. I'm much more worried, frankly, about the

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austerity that will be imposed by an unelected Government in Greece,

:13:31.:13:35.

particularly, and in Italy as well, because there, the social

:13:35.:13:39.

consequences seems to me to be really frighten. If you get real

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social disruption, -- frightening, if you get real social disruption

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and civil disorder because of that austerity, will the army suppress

:13:49.:13:53.

it in the name of an unelected Government. You are getting into

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dangerous territory. What about here, a Government of the left or

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right, there was no, even in the 1930s, no appetite for the strong

:14:01.:14:05.

man, they didn't do well? At least there is a sense here that the

:14:05.:14:08.

political institutions have not been discredited, the democratic

:14:08.:14:13.

process hasn't been lost, people may or may not have had their

:14:13.:14:16.

confidence inspired by the Chancellor's list of road works

:14:16.:14:22.

last week, but at least there is a sense that this is ameanable, it is

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democratically accountable, you could, in theory, vote this

:14:25.:14:29.

Government out, your confidence may not be inspire by the alternative

:14:29.:14:33.

either. When it comes out of your reach as an electorate, that you

:14:33.:14:37.

get the terrifying social consequences. From where you sit,

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Bishop, do you see the possibility of unrest, or lack of social

:14:41.:14:47.

cohesion, or a chance that we might reevaluate the last 20 or 30 years,

:14:47.:14:51.

become less greedz greedy, less materialistic? That is only going

:14:51.:14:55.

to happen if there is a real change of heart. The A14 is a long way

:14:56.:14:59.

from here up in the north-east, your survey showed very clearly

:14:59.:15:04.

this is the area that will be hit very much the hardest. I think the

:15:04.:15:09.

trouble with austerity is that, what's a slight chill in Chelsea is

:15:09.:15:16.

a pretty good Ice Age up here. There is a serious issue about

:15:16.:15:20.

whether we act with solidarity and people working together or not. For

:15:20.:15:23.

that to happen there has to be a very significant change of heart

:15:23.:15:32.

and change of social attitudes. Also a reexamination of values.

:15:32.:15:40.

much less sanguine than Janet, to be honest, about the necessary

:15:40.:15:43.

future integrity of our democratic system and institutions, given the

:15:43.:15:48.

disconnect we now have between people at large, and politics, and

:15:48.:15:51.

the cynicism, and corrosive cynicism really. That was fine, as

:15:52.:15:55.

it were, that was a healthy scepticism, if you like, when times

:15:55.:16:02.

were good, when times get difficult? Where would that go, we

:16:02.:16:08.

could turn off and be apathetic? Who knows n the 1930s, a terrible

:16:08.:16:12.

shrufrp, mass unemployment, but social order -- slump, mass

:16:12.:16:19.

unemployment, more social order was maintained, it was a cohesive

:16:19.:16:22.

society, people knew their place and expectations were less. All

:16:22.:16:28.

that has changed completely, plus we have this disconnect. Of course

:16:28.:16:32.

it depends, wae simply don't know, and predictions haven't -- and we

:16:32.:16:35.

simply don't know, predictions haven't been accurate, these

:16:35.:16:39.

predictions may be the same way. don't necessarily have confidence

:16:39.:16:44.

in the present governing class Oregan racial of politicians. I

:16:44.:16:53.

have a lot of confidence that the - - Or generation of politicians. I

:16:53.:16:59.

have a lot of confidence in the democratic process. You have no

:16:59.:17:07.

danger of a populist ...What, populist what? Coup or movement.

:17:07.:17:11.

Populisim is an inherent part of democracy, politicians competing

:17:11.:17:15.

for votes in crass ways can be populisim, or responding to public

:17:15.:17:18.

opinion, depending on your point of view. Let me bring in the bishop

:17:18.:17:22.

again, you raise the prospect of whether we will effectively act as

:17:22.:17:26.

a community or not, or we will be divided amongst ourselves, won't we

:17:26.:17:30.

also, perhaps, look at some of the great institutions of the society

:17:30.:17:34.

that we have built up since the war, the welfare state, the National

:17:34.:17:37.

Health Service, and look at the lack of money, and maybe even those

:17:37.:17:40.

things, which have almost been beyond criticism for many people,

:17:40.:17:46.

will be looked at, and perhaps, suffer? The reality is, that it's

:17:46.:17:50.

three years since the recession hit us, it is over three years, well

:17:50.:17:54.

over three years now, we are effectively in a depression.

:17:54.:17:58.

Economically, and in any classical definition. What we're seeing is

:17:58.:18:01.

that these great institutions, which over the years, have served

:18:01.:18:06.

us so well and continued it do so, with great dedication, simply are

:18:06.:18:11.

struggling to find the capacity to do it in the future. That will mean

:18:11.:18:16.

a lot more people taking part in the life of the community, in

:18:16.:18:21.

looking to the common good. That's a very substantial change of

:18:21.:18:27.

attitude. It sounds like the Big Society, doesn't it? Well, that I

:18:27.:18:30.

really couldn't comment about, I think. The Big Society is something

:18:30.:18:35.

that the church has known for a couple of hundred years at least.

:18:35.:18:39.

OK, but moving beyond that, to this question of those great

:18:39.:18:42.

institutions, we may find that Government is simply short of money

:18:42.:18:47.

and has to be conservative, because they can't do things, they can't

:18:47.:18:51.

afford it? I think it is possible there will be a re-thinking of the

:18:51.:18:56.

welfare state, and of its functions and of its scope. I don't think

:18:56.:19:03.

much will be inherently suspicion or antagonistic to the idea of the

:19:03.:19:07.

welfare state or volunteerism, or the Big Society, as was so powerful

:19:07.:19:11.

before the welfare state came along in the 1940s, complimenting each

:19:11.:19:14.

other, I don't think that is necessary a problem. It came out of

:19:14.:19:19.

austerity didn't it? Very much so. But, the fact is, that as we are

:19:19.:19:25.

now structured, the welfare state has huge and own you are inous

:19:25.:19:29.

responsibilities that are only -- ownerous responsibilities that are

:19:30.:19:34.

increasing at the moment. It may be the Government may have to re-think

:19:34.:19:38.

institutions. Welfare reform, the time has come, because it is

:19:38.:19:41.

necessary to reform T I hope this Government, or whatever follows it

:19:41.:19:46.

makes use of that opportunity, to think in a constructive way about

:19:46.:19:52.

reforming it. The entitlement culture has pretty much reached the

:19:52.:19:58.

point of no return. It will have to bring in volunteerism, we will have

:19:58.:20:01.

to re-think the entire benefits question. You pointed out the

:20:01.:20:05.

difference between Chelsea and the area where you are, that would be

:20:05.:20:14.

even very differently, presumably where you sit? We mustn't talk

:20:14.:20:18.

ourselves into a state of despair and sit like rabbits in the

:20:18.:20:22.

headlights. There has to be a clear effort towards regeneration, that

:20:22.:20:26.

covers areas like this. That's going to have to come from renewed

:20:26.:20:29.

confidence in the corporate sector, which is the only one that has

:20:29.:20:35.

significant funds at the moment. And also, by much greater

:20:35.:20:40.

participation, and use of voluntary support, and the kind of Christian

:20:40.:20:44.

commitment that comes from the church and from other bodies, which

:20:44.:20:47.

has historically been one of the great underpinnings of our society,

:20:47.:20:54.

and holds it together, is something that is becomes seen again as

:20:54.:21:00.

essential. I think that's all true. One

:21:00.:21:03.

dimension we haven't pointed out is the question of equity, equity of

:21:03.:21:08.

pay and suffering, we are all in it together. At times it doesn't

:21:08.:21:13.

really feel like that, and one can look at aspects of national life,

:21:13.:21:16.

and some seem far more privileges than others. There have been

:21:16.:21:20.

shocking figures recently to do with chief executive pay, the 49%

:21:21.:21:27.

figure, the recent commission's findings over disparity in the last

:21:27.:21:31.

30 years between normal pay and top pay. Some kind of action, I think,

:21:31.:21:36.

needs to be taken, otherwise there will be resentment. I think that is

:21:36.:21:40.

true, the action has to be taken on the part of people with personal

:21:40.:21:42.

moral responsibility. It would be dangerous idea that the Government

:21:42.:21:45.

should some how intervene in what individuals are paid, that would be

:21:45.:21:52.

a dangerous road to go down. Britain's ambassador to Iran has

:21:52.:21:55.

described to Newsnight the terrible moments when the embassy in Tehran

:21:55.:21:59.

was invaded by a mob, personal effects were looted. Property

:21:59.:22:03.

defaced or destroyed. The expulsions of Iranian diplomats,

:22:03.:22:07.

that took place today, means relations which what is a pivitol

:22:07.:22:15.

regional power, are at a low point. With me is the BBC Iranian

:22:15.:22:20.

correspondent, now in London. First of all, remind us what happened?

:22:20.:22:25.

Tuesday there were demonstration, demonstrators broke into two

:22:25.:22:29.

different compounds in Tehran, the embassy, where the ambassador and

:22:29.:22:34.

his staff were in a safe room, and the residential compound where non-

:22:34.:22:39.

essential staff were sheltering. The protestors were from a

:22:39.:22:44.

paramilitary volunteer force linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard, that

:22:44.:22:49.

reports directly to Iran's Supreme Leader. The feel anything Britain

:22:49.:22:54.

is this was state-sponsored. What kicked it off? It was sparked in

:22:54.:22:58.

the latest saga between the west and Iran's nuclear programme. In

:22:58.:23:02.

November the IAA released a report into Iran's nuclear ambitions n

:23:02.:23:07.

response Britain decided to cut ties with Iran's banks, that

:23:07.:23:10.

angered Iran, Iran vote today downgrade ties with Britain. At the

:23:10.:23:15.

same time an important anniversary was coming up, that of the

:23:15.:23:18.

assassination of an important nuclear scientist in Iran, and they

:23:18.:23:22.

say that Britain and Israel za did t they don't have diplomatic

:23:22.:23:26.

relations with Israel, so anger focused on Britain. It is important

:23:26.:23:31.

to point out where we are with the nuclear programme, Iran says it is

:23:31.:23:35.

peaceful but continues to enrich uranium. It is a covert war going

:23:36.:23:40.

on, a lot of mystery explosions, and talk of cyberwarfare. We

:23:40.:23:44.

understand there was mazery explosion outside Tehran, 17

:23:44.:23:47.

soldiers were killed, and one general, the founder of Iran's

:23:47.:23:51.

missile programme, but the nature of a cyberwar, a covert war, is

:23:51.:23:55.

nobody talks about it. But the British, in terms of this incident,

:23:55.:23:59.

are convinced this was instigated by the regime, or they stood by

:23:59.:24:04.

while it went on? Yes, one of the British points is what they saw at

:24:04.:24:07.

their embassy, reflects the power struggle that is going on at the

:24:07.:24:10.

moment in Iran, it is not between the Government and the opposition,

:24:10.:24:16.

that happened in 2009, the defining conflict in 2011 is within the

:24:16.:24:19.

conservative movement. On the one hand you have President Ahmadinejad,

:24:19.:24:22.

he has the support of the working- class, he wants to get clerics out

:24:22.:24:26.

of politics. On the other hand you have the Supreme Leader, he has the

:24:26.:24:29.

clerics and the Revolutionary Guard. It was his people, Britain believes,

:24:29.:24:36.

who went into that embassy. The ayo Tola doesn't travel, he hasn't left

:24:36.:24:44.

Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad likes to travel, the key point is this,

:24:44.:24:48.

empty embassies suit the Ayotollay more.

:24:48.:24:54.

The British ambassador has returned to the UK, and spoke to me at the

:24:54.:24:58.

Foreign Office earlier. I asked him who was to blame? Iran is not the

:24:59.:25:05.

sort of country where spontaneously a demonstration congregates and

:25:05.:25:10.

attacks an embassy. That sort of thing only happens with the support

:25:10.:25:14.

of the state. There were a number of reasons, with the benefit of

:25:14.:25:20.

hindsight, it is very clear this was a state-supported activity. The

:25:20.:25:29.

main organisation involved in holding the rally were the Basig h

:25:29.:25:34.

students, they are a state organised but very widespread,

:25:34.:25:38.

almost paramilitary force. They report to the IRGC, who report to

:25:38.:25:42.

the Supreme Leader, so there is a chain of command that the students

:25:42.:25:46.

fit into. That goes up to the top of the state. You took quite a lot

:25:46.:25:49.

of pictures of the damage, immediately around you, you didn't

:25:49.:25:52.

have much time, but you did photograph it. Perhaps you can

:25:52.:25:57.

describe some of the things that were damaged. Some of it just looks

:25:57.:26:02.

like vandalism? A lot of it was vandalism. I was very fortunate

:26:02.:26:06.

that I was living in one of the great historic residences that the

:26:06.:26:09.

British Government owns around the world. That doesn't seem to have

:26:09.:26:13.

inhibited the people who got into the building in vandalising the

:26:13.:26:17.

portraits, tearing the portraits of Queen Vicoria in two, and removing

:26:17.:26:22.

the bottom half. Cutting out the head of Edward VII, removing the

:26:22.:26:27.

picture of our present Queen, and doing willful damage to furniture

:26:27.:26:31.

and writing graffiti on the walls and smashing up the room where is

:26:31.:26:38.

they could. It felt like, you know, very spiteful, mindless vandalism.

:26:38.:26:46.

It wasn't quite mindless. They also renofd anything electronic. --

:26:46.:26:50.

removed anything electronic, mobile telephones, personal equipment,

:26:50.:26:56.

computers, and anything that might give information about who you were

:26:56.:27:01.

talking to, or what you were doing. They went after that very clearly.

:27:01.:27:05.

Did it ever occur to you, that you might be taken hostage, as happened

:27:05.:27:09.

to the Americans some 30 years ago? It would be untrue to say that

:27:09.:27:12.

those thoughts don't go through your mind, of course, you hope

:27:12.:27:16.

that's not going to happen. I would like to say something about the

:27:16.:27:19.

northern compound. The experience of staff there was more difficult

:27:19.:27:23.

than for us. The first aim is to get off the compound as quickly as

:27:23.:27:27.

you can. Two of our staff managed that. But because the crowd came in

:27:27.:27:32.

quickly, they blocked off the escape exits for the others. The

:27:32.:27:36.

others of the staff went to their safe houses, and locked themselves

:27:36.:27:42.

into what we call our "keeps" the idea is you stay safe for a limit

:27:42.:27:45.

the amount of time, until the police can turn up and rescue you.

:27:45.:27:49.

That doesn't work if the police have no intention of coming to

:27:49.:27:53.

rescue you in the first place. One colleague had locked himself

:27:53.:27:57.

properly in his keep, he had pressed a heavy safe against the

:27:57.:28:04.

iron door, and a bed against the safe, and braced himself against

:28:04.:28:07.

the bed, they came for him because they knew he was there. They are

:28:07.:28:10.

banging on the doors, you can imagine, they are breaking the

:28:10.:28:15.

windows and trying to bash the door in. He kept them out for 45 minutes,

:28:15.:28:20.

at the end the door was broken around him, but the keep had done

:28:20.:28:24.

his stuff. But there were no rescuers coming to help him. Do you

:28:24.:28:28.

think you were, in a sense, collateral damage in a big power

:28:28.:28:32.

struggle going on at the top of the regime? The invasion of the two

:28:32.:28:36.

compounds was not unconnected with the resolution that was passed two

:28:36.:28:40.

days earlier, to downgrade relations and expel me as the

:28:40.:28:49.

ambassador. And the instigators of that resolution were the speaker of

:28:49.:28:53.

the foreign affairs committee. Both those people have high ambitions,

:28:53.:28:58.

as you know, one of the principals of the Islamic Revolution of Iran

:28:58.:29:03.

is that you can do yourself a lot of good by bashing the Brits. They

:29:03.:29:06.

both said after the resolution was passed to downgrade the

:29:06.:29:15.

relationship, they said Britain, this is only the beginning. Key

:29:15.:29:21.

Largo larg said that, and -- Ali Larijani said, that and the speaker

:29:21.:29:25.

said mark the words, this is only the beginning. Is it your

:29:25.:29:29.

assessment that there are, therefore, some people in power in

:29:29.:29:32.

Iran, who would welcome a serious confrontation with the British,

:29:33.:29:37.

Americans, Israelis, with whom ever, because that will solidify their

:29:37.:29:41.

political position? I think there is an element in their thinking

:29:41.:29:45.

that goes along those lines. There is a huge degree and risk of

:29:45.:29:49.

miscalculation. I tried to say this when I was in Iran talking to the

:29:49.:29:53.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs people, and to the Foreign Minister, that

:29:53.:29:59.

they shouldn't underestimate the sense of determination of the west

:29:59.:30:05.

to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions. So I think they probably

:30:05.:30:10.

didn't expect us to send home the Iranian Embassy from London. You

:30:10.:30:13.

can, reading through the lines, you can see in the way they have

:30:13.:30:19.

responded to that move, some remorse in having provoked it. I

:30:19.:30:26.

think that might apply more generally too.

:30:26.:30:31.

Thank you very much. That's all from Newsnight tonight, join Jeremy

:30:31.:30:34.

for a major investigation to the causes of the summer riots, in

:30:34.:30:39.

Presenter Gavin Esler interviews the British Ambassador to Iran following this week's attacks on the Embassy in Tehran.