08/12/2011 Newsnight


Kirsty Wark presents analysis of the European summit in Brussels. Mark Urban and Paul Mason examine the latest attempts to find a solution to the eurozone crisis.

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Tonight, as we go on air, the late nice horse trading and briefing has


begun in Brussels. It is the most perilous moment for the European


Union, since it was founded as the great bulwark against future


war.forged out of post-war Europe. But do today's leaders really have


a plan that can save us from what Sarkozy described today as Europe


Sarkozy described today as Europe exploding.


Home to a welcome he will never forget. David Cameron said he will


wield the veto to protect Britain's interest, already two of his


backbenchers offensively compared him to Neville Chamberlain, who


appeased Hitler. We will be live at the summit and with politicians and


bankers from across Europe. Also today, extreme weather ripped


through Scotland and northern England, shutting schools,


businesses and bridges and airports, with winds up to 165 miles an hour.


Later in the programme we will be joined by John Prescott, just back


from the climate change conference in Durban, to discuss with the


climate minister whether politicians are blowing cold on


their global warming commitments. Do you know this voice?


butterflies, high-flyers on high winds, invisible to us they plane


and soar. Beyond our minds' troubled conventioning. The man


described as the greatest living poet, who has given a rare


interview to Newsnight. Europe is a maelstrom, and tonight


Angela Merkel warned that national interests and egos have to be put


aside. Straight away there was discord when President Sarkozy and


Angela Merkel failed to agree David Cameron's demands for protection


for financial services in support of a new treaty. The mood music


from the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, didn't lift spirits


today, he revealed the bank wouldn't be stepping up to buy


bonds any time soon. Once a dream to some, the prospect of a


disunited Europe could be a nightmare. We're in Brussels. What


is the latest you are hearing? latest is they have finished dinner,


that has taken the usual form of people delivering their prepared


views, as it were, now they are getting into the more serious face-


to-face negotiations. This is either the sixth or eighth of the


save the euro summit, depending on how you wish to count them. It is


interesting how the rhetorical handle has to be cranked each time,


to suggest the end of the world is nigh. There really is a very


serious crisis out there hearing some of the language used by


President Sarkozy today, it went to new rhetorical extremes, talking


about the disintegration of the whole European project. It is


interesting that it isth seems to be the feeling that kind of


language is necessary, in order to get some of the leaders here to


focus, to set aside, certain national priorities in the common


good. And the very fact that this has been going on for as long as it


has, in the view of many bankers and diplomats, drawing out the


crisis and making it cost a lot more to solve, is evidence of


profound dysfunction at the heart of the European Union, and in that


sense, some of the rhetoric about how this is the most serious crisis


since the organisation came into being, does seem to have foundation.


Two-speed Europe, the term has been bandied about before, but the


divide between those in and out of the euro is deepening. The


formation of the European Economic Community in 1957 was meant to stop


nationalism destroying the continent again.


And to bring unity in its wake. But today, national interest appears to


condition responses to the euro crisis.


The people of Europe, the Governments of Europe, really, have


got to come to terms with that, that a degree of integration, maybe


something like the degree we have got, or maybe a little bit less


than that, but a degree of integration can be made to work.


But the ever-closer union, and to eventually have political unity,


although of a federal nature, that is not going to happen.


So the leaders convened tonight for their umpteen th attempt to resolve


the European crisis, Chancellor Merkel of Germany was pushing her


wishes of further fiscal integration with treaty changes.


TRANSLATION: What is important to me is the euro will get back its


credibility and we can change the treaties in a way that will help


the euro lead us into a stable future. She and President Nicolas


Sarkozy, have hammered out a measure of agreement between them,


and say they will push ahead with just the 17 eurozone countries, if


need be. They could be trying to intimidate Britain and other


outsiders from getting in the way. For the UK then, the dilemma now is


how to protect national interests from the margins.


It is about making sure that the UK is in the room when decisions on


the single market are taken, that goes beyond the City of London and


the financial sector, it is about pushing forward with a common


energy policy, a single digital market. No, no, no. Of course,


Margaret Thatcher wasn't afraid of standing in the way of federal


Europe, in fact, she revelled in it. That didn't result in exclusion,


and indeed, many Conservatives were not afraid of being kept out of


certain European conversations any way.


As for Cameron being isolated, neither here nor there, the Foreign


Office is always wet, they hate being isolate -- isolated, they


hate discussions going on in any room where they are not present.


The best thing is not to be present in the meetings, you don't want to


be worried about that sort of thing. For David Cameron, the desire not


to be painted as the summit's wrecker will be balanced by the


home political advantage that he may gain from being seen as a


defender of national interests. But that's not so different from the


others. Everyone wants different things,


sometimes it is like playing chess against 26 different people, rather


than just one person, I'm not that good at chess any way, I will be


doing my best for Britain, and I hope, if we get a good deal, that


will be good for Britain f I can't get what I want, I will have no


hesitation in vetoing a treaty at 27, I'm not going to go to Brussels


and not stand up for our country. For decades, European vision rees


extoled an ever-closer process of integration, in which national


differences would be subsumed in the common interest, and the


members of the EU would stand so close together that their positions


would become almost intis tinge girbable., -- indistinguishable.


But national leaderships are answerable to this lot, national


electorates. There have been many points in the past where national


interests and that of the EU have come into conflict. What has


happened recently is the economic crisis has exacerbated those


tensions, and this week, even countries that aspire to leadership


of the wider block, France and Germany, have been forced to


acknowledge that unity could crumble and that a two or even


multispeed Europe may result. In the fight to save the single


currency, German national interests have remained at the forefront,


quite quit, you might say, given how much of the bill they are


paying. But one reason that the eurozone crisis has grown so severe,


is national concerns have frustrated common action. Firstly,


I think euro-sceptics in our country make the mistake that they


seem to think that British separatisim means we are the only


ones standing up for the national interest. In all European


negotiations every member-state stands up for their national


interest, they have to all answer their own electorate. Chancellor


Merkel is in that position and is that is why's in a difficult


position. What might the community's kounders make of the


summit -- founders make of the summit. Given the sluggish way the


eurocrisis has been dealt with, they might vau depressing


conclusions. We know there was an early rebuff with the meeting


between Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron tonight.


What is the position tonight? of reTateing their position. The


centralish -- restating their position. The central issue that


has to be solved in the UK context is that of trying to drive away the


proposal tabled earlier this week by the French and Germans, of


harmonising tax arrangements, with the idea of a financial


transactions tax. That is clearly something the UK regards as being


dangerous, potentially to the City and its position in global finance.


In a way, you can say, that finding some sort of language, that allows


David Cameron to let the eurozone people do the core business their


way, and safeguard the UK national interest, is not the most difficult


of the problems that this summit faces. At its core are these


different distinctive positions of Germany and France about how this


issue should be solved. We have heard earlier this evening that


some language put forward in a draft document, that put forward a


way through this one could say in a way more friendly to the French


position, or tried to bridge the gap and create this big bazooka


that people are talking about, this Stability Mechanism, bring it


forward, the implementation of it, and allow, through it, the Central


Bank to play more of a role in stablising the whole situation.


That was put forward and has been rejected out of hand by Germany.


That is what's reported. It is simply the case that their


opposition to using the Central Bank as the lender of last resort,


and the policeman, if you like, is so fundamental, they will not


compromise that point. Those are the real core issues around those


types of issue. In that context, the British problem, it is a


significant one, clearly domestically and in party political


terms a very significant one for Mr Cameron, it ought to be solable.


We were talking about Angela Merkel's opposition to the ECB


being a lender of last resort. What was the mood music coming from


Mario Draghi, that he wouldn't be coming up with any more any time


soon? He has done some tactics, he has cut interest rates to a quarter


of a per cent. One FT journalist commented that is a quarter of a


per cent less insane than it was before. Many observers thought they


were crazy to raise interest rates, they have pumped a lot of money


into the European banking system which relaxing rules. These are


tactics, aggressive tactics adopted in the face of what? The German


banking system needs another eight billion, the banking system is


shaky with no strategy. The European Central Bank boss said


today, we are not even going to try to get around the treaty. We are


just not going to lend money to countries. That is the big stick


that is being waved over the delegates' heads now tonight in


that building. What exactly will the ECB be looking for, how does


that fit? If they say we are not doing it, that makes the European


Union have to, or the eurozone have to become a fiscal union before


they can. I think, for the owe fish nad doughs of the build -- owe fish


nad doughs of these dofficionados of the building, it is swinging


back to a fund position, a fund where tax-payers in Europe are


being exposed, rather than being exposed via the Central Bank. That


is what they are working on, who knows if tomorrow night we will be


swinging back to where the markets want us to be, which is the ECB,


lender of last resort. David Cameron had barely arrived in


Brussels when some of his backbenchers were Jacobiteing at


Westminster. Two Conservative MPs even compared him to Neville


Chamberlain, who, of course, tried to appease Hitler. We have had


enough of reading of British Prime Ministers over the last 20 or 30


years, in the days preceding a summit, that they would indeed


stand up for British national interests, that they would ensure


that our interests are protected. Excuse me. I will give way. And


then, coming back from a summit, with a kind of Chamberlainesque


piece of paper, saying I have negotiated very, very hard, I got


opt-out from this and that, and I have succeeded in standing up for


British interests, and that piece of paper is not worth the paper it


is written on. That was Edward Leigh. David Grossman, evoking this


period in history is incredibly shocking? Number Ten have called it


offensive and ridiculous, not just for David Cameron shown as the


apieceer, but other people in the scenario are the person being


appeased, the Hitler figure. A number of backbenchers are in


conflict with their leader over Europe. Why does this happen? It is


simple. The concessions to real politic at the top are more than


you can stomach. The euro-sceptics, like Edward Leigh and others who


spoke in the Westminster Hall debate, feel utterly vindicated by


what has happened in the eurozone. All the predictions they made and


warnings they gave. They were called lunatics at the time, and


yet they feel utterly vindicated by what has happened. What is worrying


for David Cameron in all of this, is the mistrust of the European


project has spread to him. Why? I could give you loads of examples


why they feel let down by him. I will give you one. Back in October


when they were told not to vote for a referendum, they were told, don't


worry, I will go to Europe, they will have to renegotiate a treaty


and I will then use that as an opportunity to exercise our might


in that scenario, and repatriate powers. Now they are told, now's


not the time. It would almost be rude for us to do that. In that


case, what do the euro-sceptics and the backbenchers do next? If there


is Anne greeplt, and hearing from Mark it is not clear -- an


agreement, and hearing from Mark it is not clear, they will scrutinise


it before the Commons statement and next Thursday, I hear, that the DUP


might be using their opposition day debate maybe to make a bit of


mischief. We will see what motion they put down and how many


Conservatives attempt to vote for it. We will be hearing again


towards the programme from Mark on the latest developments. Is this


likely to be the start of a whole new Europe. Joining me now to


discuss it is the former principal economist at the European Central


Bank, and the British Conservative MEP, Sophie Hannah, and from


Brussels, I'm joined by cash Cash, I'm joined by my guests here in


Brussels and in the studio. Do you distance yourself from any


idea that there is a Chamberlainesque moment for David


Cameron, do you think an apology is necessary? You should be very


careful in this game of making ridiculous parallels, which damage


your case. The only parallel that I think would be a fair one is the


whole country, the whole establishment was backing the wrong


policy the CBI and the TUC, the European thing is falling to pieces,


to go beyond that and imply we are dealing with Hitler is ridiculous.


You think they both should apology guise, on the record? I think if


you listen to what he said, he didn't said David Cameron was like


Hitler, if that was his intention I'm sure he would want to take that


back. Tell me, you have been listening to what David Grossman


was saying here, this whole era, this whole way of talking about


Germany, it is very dangerous, isn't it? Do you know, first of all,


I think the whole era of talking about this has split -- and these


splits in the Tory Party is missing the point. Talking about Cameron


and the backbenchers, backbenchers reflect what their constituents


want them to do, the reason they are concerned about this, is


because the people who are coming to their surgeries are telling them.


It is not just Conservatives, all parties supporters are angry about


how power has gone out to Europe. Do you think a deal can be reached


in the next 48 hours? I just pick up firstly on that last point about


democracy, these are the elected leaders of 27 democracies. It is


not technocrats, they are elected and accountable leaders, coming


together to try to deal with a common problem. In particular the


problem of excessive debt in a certain number of countries that


risks destablising the system in the eurozone and beyond. That is


what they are here to do. Richard n Italy and Greece elected prime


ministers have been toppled in favour of technocrats. That is what


the system has come to, in order to keep it together you have a


national Government with the sole purpose of doing what Europe tells


it to. Dan, you know perfectly well that the Greek Government was


toppled by the Greek political system, the Greek parliament, which


elected a new Prime Minister, the same in Italy. Nobody in any other


country can impose a Government on one of the fellow members of the


European Union. That is a myth. Having sorted that out, my original


question, do you think there can be some sort of deal, the bones of a


new treaty, worked out in the next 48 hours? I think they are work on


a package, some elements will involve decisions that can be taken


immediately on the basis of the existing treaties. Other decisions,


probably remember a treaty amendment and will take a longer


period of time. -- it is about which elements require a


fundamental change to the treaty. Will it lead to a two-speed Europe,


will there be the 17 and then the 10 at the moment? On questions


relating to the currency we already have 17 countries that share a


currency and ten that don't. It is natural those who share a currency


have to take some decisions together. They may want to take


more decisions together or impose more disciplines on themselves.


That doesn't detract from the rest of what the European Union does.


Even in the economic sphere, the bulk of policy making will be at


the level of the 27. Trade policy, competition policy, the common


rules for our Common Market, the world's largest single market,


which is so important for all of us. Let's deal with this. All that is a


matter for the 27. For the 17, it is perfectly possible the 17 could


agree a deal on a new fiscal rules, a new way of working without David


Cameron having any say so, that is the fact isn't it? I don't think so.


If you speak to anyone in the hall they tell you there is no prospect


of that. It would be the same as with the Social Chapter and other


things, the idea that they would start from scratch now, with a


completely new legal structure, new institutions, hiring new staff, at


the same time we are told we have to do this tomorrow because of the


immediacy of the crisis, simply not the case. Britain has an incredibly


strong position. If I'm wrong about that and the 17 will go ahead and


form a European economic Government in Richard's phrase, that is surely


good for Britain. It would mean the political bits of integration would


shift to the 17, leaving the EU as much more of a free trade area,


that is what my constituents would feel much more in accordance with


our national interest. All of this is predicated on a number of things,


being a former ECB banker, picking up on what Paul Mason was saying,


this is put together so ECB can take a bigger role and be the


lender of last resort? It does go together. If tonight or tomorrow we


hear about a move to stricter fiscal rules, it would give some


rules for the ECB to intervene more specifically in the bond markets.


What we heard from Mr Draghi today that they are not ready yet to be a


fully fledged lender of last resort here in the UK, from the Bank of


England, or in the US from the Federal Reserve. If there were


credible fiscal rules the ECB would be ameanable to do more than it has


so far. What about the idea of a separate fund, a taxpayer-funded


fund? Mr Draghi seems to have ruled that out, he didn't seem in favour.


The idea of this would be, especially if the IMF is involved,


then we get the conditionality, that this money is only released if


Governments do respect some objectives, which is one of the


main issues with the ECB, that it doesn't want to bail out


Governments. But coming to you again on that, there would have to


be new rules, wouldn't there, for the ECB to become the lender of


last resort? The ECB is the lender of last resort to banks already.


Qet is whether it can buy up Government debt. Remember it is an


independent bank, politicians can't tell it what to do. Though it does


take its own decisions by majority vote, internally, by the way, there


is no veto here, as to what it should do. In function of the wider


economic and political situation. I'm sure if a deal is reached now,


it will make it easier for the bank to do something. This is all about


getting the bank to become involved directly, isn't it? That is the


bottom line? To become more involved. It already is to a degree,


as you know. But actually, you know, this has to happen, doesn't it?


This is yet another bank bailout. This is yet another tax on ordinary


people, to rescue some very wealthy individuals from the consequences


of their own bad investments. We began by bailing out banks, now


whole countries, whether through a fund or printing money, it is all


the same thing. The EU has responded to this crisis at every


step with the same policy, bailout and borrow, you don't help an


indebted friend by pressing more loans on them. The other member


states of the EU are indeed lending money to those countries that have


excessive deficits and having problems borrowing, to give them


time to turn the corner. They are treating a debt crisis with more


debt. It is not tax-payers' money or grants, it is loans, with rate


of interest, so the countries get their money back with interest.


Every time that policy fails... plea come in. If the EC -- Marie


come in. If the ECB doesn't come in there is no point in a change to


the treaty? The ECB is the only institute that can do something now.


So all the cards are in Mario Draghi's hands moment? They act


together, the ECB takes into account what Governments agree on.


The fiscal rules are medium term, not an impact tomorrow. Let's look


at a possible outcome, would you like to see a deal done in Europe?


If that deal means sacrificing the prosperity of the eurozone states


to the maintenance of the single currency, then I think that would


be worse than the alternative. I think we now need an orderly


unbundling of the euro, we need to recognise the monetary union is the


disease rather than the cure and in keeping it together we are treating


the tumour rather than the patient. We will have more from the summit


later in the programme, as the leaders, we hope, start to give


their press conferences. In a moment we will be talking


about the very heavy weather in Scotland and the north of England.


Today it has been making headlines, and there is a red alert at the Met


Office, in a far off, much warmer country, talks about climate change,


which end tomorrow, have been less prominent on the radar. With little


sign of movement from the key players in Durban in South Africa


over the last ten days, and with the Keothavong agreement due to


come to -- Kyoto agreement due to come to an end next year. In a


moment I will put that to Lord Prescott, who negotiated the Kyoto


deal, and my other guest, now my science editor is with me now.


This is the point where the real negotiation begins with ministers.


There are some signs of progress. Just to remind you, climate


scientists will tell you if politicians want it avoid the worst


effects of climate change, emissions need to peak by 2020 and


then start to fall. Looking back two years ago to Copenhagen, the


broad aim of finding a global agreement with legally binding cuts


in emissions, that is not really what they are talking about here.


The aim is to find something beyond the first phase of Kyoto, it won't


happen in Durban, negotiators are playing a longer game now. America


is taking a tough position tonight. The EU has said it will agrow to a


second phase of Kyoto, beyond the first phase of Kyoto, if China and


the basic countries, the other countries, Brazil, South Africa and


India, if they agree now, that they will at some point, sign up to


legally binding targets. There is some talk of China signing up. On


money too there is movement. This fund to help developing countries


to cope with climate change, it is already processed, at this point it


is about who will get on to which committee rather than how the money


could reach vulnerable countries. Do you sense a change in mood and a


backing off as far as the UK is concerned? There is no tried and


trusted technique for moving to a low-carbon economy. That is the


problem. In times of economic gloom it is even harder to persuade


people that is a shift that is worth making. Some of the


coalition's messages on this have become muddy. This began with the


Chancellor, George Osborne's speech at the party conference, tauing


about moving away from this idea of vote blue, go green, what he said


then was the UK would cut carbon emissions no slower but no faster


than fellow countries in Europe. In the Autumn Statement, choose to go


compensate heavy industry for some of the costs of climate change


policies, and labels environmental policies as a burden to British


Industry. Those calling for a shift to the low carbon economy will say


the mixed message is not needed to inspire confidence in investors,


you won't get the money even if you have the skills and technologies.


Amongst consumers there is a signs there is a paling of enthusiasm for


green matters. There was a survey out yesterday, the British Social


Attitudes Survey. The results showed 37% of people surveyed think


that many of the claims about environmental threats are


exaggerated. That is up from 24% ten years ago. 26% of people are


saying they would be willing to pay higher prices to protect


environment, down from 43% a decade ago.


You suggest those kind of attitude surveys, that drop there in


exaggerated problems with the environment, means people are less


persuaded or more pragmatic because of their pockets? Because they are


talking about whether they are prepared to pay. We are seeing it


in the business community, where climate change priorities are


moving down the agenda. We are joined by John Prescott and Greg


Barker joining us from Durban. Do you sense an attitude change in the


UK? No, I think the UK are making a strong argument, actually, for


keeping the Europeans on-line with getting a proper agreement on the


second period of Kyoto. I did the meeting with him and the Chinese


negotiator, it was clear, I think they are moving towards an


agreement. What is the agreement? One, to recognise that the values


and the principles embodied in Kyoto II, will continue, and


therefore up to 2015, under the Cancun principles, we are working


in that direction. When you look at the change in mood in George


Osborne's statement, that basically, doesn't want environmental matters


to be a burden to British businesses and he's also given a


tax break to energy service industries. It was said that does


not mean clear mood music for investors? Tombly we are moving on


in terms of green economic d actually we are moving in --


actually we are moving on in terms of green economics. These talks are


very important. I went to Germany in September to see how Germany


manages to reconcile the fact that they have the largest renewable


energy sector in Europe, but are also a manufacturing powerhouse.


The fact is, Germany has just as much ambition as we do, here in the


UK, but, they give a total exemption to the enity-intensive


industries for paying for their climate policies and renewable tax.


As a result they have seen manufacturing flourish and making


big steps to decash onise their economy. We need to be a little


more sensible, we need to recognise...let me just finish this


point. We need to recognise that it is not helping the planet if we


just export jobs and businesses into other parts of the world. The


really difficult, tough thing is to decarbonise your economy. But at


the same time, recognise that you need to grow, advance manufacturing


and retain an industrial base, it is not easy, and we need to be a


more sophisticated policy to achieve that. You were the one you


said yourself, you need a clear policy going forward, you are the


one who said we need the low carbon economy, but what is happening is,


pragmatic position, which is not clear to inward investors about


what your policy is? We have got a great deal of policy. We are of


course going for a slight hiatus. You are sending mixed messages?


we are going through a slight hiatus because we are in a period


of policy transition and electricity market reform. That


will reform the electricity industry to the largest extent


since privatisation in the 1980s. All driven to move us to a


decarbonised basis. There is a lot in flux. What investors really want


is certainty, that is why we are bringing forward things like the


carbon floor price. People in times of economic need, John Prescott,


don't put environmental issues as a priority, did you know that? They


do need to know more. The polls showed that. We are not educating


enough about the difficulty. Perhaps they don't want to know


because it is too difficult? Perhaps they don't want the fear


they are hearing about. What about moving to a low-carbon economy.


What we have to change considerably is the way we do things. The man


who produced the extreme weather report you were almost referring to


there, he actually joined with me to launch a million, wait Kirsty,


sometimes you have to explain this, a million homes to be lit up using


solar power in India. In this country the smart metres, which the


Government is actually doing to reduce the demand. Or indoing


something which I found there, this is paper wine bottle, 10% less


carbon in its production. We have to look at a major change in


consumption and production. In the short-term, in the next two or


three years, when a lot of families are facing an economic nightmare,


frankly, they may in their heart of hearts believe they should do their


bit, sometimes it is a bit too hard? We have to take the long-term


view. What is the nature for the British economy, it has to be low


carbon, there is an agreement between myself and what the


Government is doing to get the targets. How do you make the


transitions difficult? To tell people it is better in ten years


times, we have to go on that policy. You believe the Government is doing


the right thing? They are doing a number of things, cutting back on


supsidies on solar we could argue about, allowing nimbus to decide if


they want a windture bin, when wind is a new energy, they shouldn't


allow that. There was plenty of extreme weather


in the UK, there is no suggestion that climate change had anything to


do with it. Right across what was once described as north Britain,


Scotland, Northern Ireland, and northern England, have had, and are


still having a day and night of violent storms of power outages.


The disruption to schools businesses and travel was enormous.


From the heavens this is what the storm looked like over Scotland


early today. Down below the cold reality blew in, a normal life for


hundreds of thousands of Scots was temporarily suspended. With


shorelines battered and the Forth Bridge closed for most of the day.


The wind force reached 165 miles per hour in the Cairngorms, 50,000


people were left without power. In a decade Britain hasn't seen worse


storms than this. The north of England was buffeted, the lorry was


upended on the A66 in Yorkshire. Two people had to be rescued when


their car was swept into the River York in Northern Ireland. In bane


bridge wind were 80 miles an hour and in Wales. It was Scotland that


suffered most, police advised against all travel in the centre of


the country. This was Helenburgh on the Firth of Clyde, up river


schools were closed north of Glasgow and the west. Consequently


this school bus was empty, the driver unhurt. In Aberdeen, car


owners had a lucky escape when a wall collapsed. We felt the


rumbling and the bang of the building that collapsed. Very scary,


we all got a scare. In Edinburgh the Hibs football


training session had to be abandoned. In north Ayrshire, a


wind farm burst into flames. Tomorrow, it is expected to be


calmer, with snow and ice. Just before we came on air I spoke


to the deputy First Minister, Nicola sturpblg sturpblg and I


asked her how -- Sturg eon and asked her how bad it was? This is


only the third time in ten years we have seen wind speeds like this.


There is significant disruption, in all of the circumstances we have


coped as well as could have been expected. Did the Resilience


Committee, model from these extreme conditions? We model for various


scenario, over the course of yesterday we were getting regular


advice from the Met Office, the police, and took decisions based on


that advice. I think the decisions we took, particularly last night,


around school closures, proved today to be absolutely the right


decisions. I have just come from the latest meeting of the


Government Resilience Commit year, it will meet at ministerial level


tomorrow morning. What about the pressure on the


emergency services? The emergency services have coped extremely well


today, the police have been first class as you would expect. The NHS


has coped extremely well in general, there has been some damage,


particularly to a hospital in Fife, that had part of its roof blown off


today. Transport authorities, both road and rail, have also coped


extremely well. There has been massive effort today.


Just briefly, what about the impact on the economy today? That is


likely to be significant. But employers have taken the right


decisions, many employers allowed their staff to go home early. The


public has, by and large, heeded the advise that was different, and


I thank them for their patience and their forebearance. That has meant,


although there is significant disruption, we have coped as well


as could be expected. You say it is moving north but also blizzard


conditions as well? The wind is moving north, the areas up north


are likely, over the remainder of tonight and into the early hours of


the morning, to see 90 miles per hour wind. Because the pefrpures


will be lower, there is also -- temperatures will be lower, there


is a significant risk of snow and business standard conditions, that


is why we continue to monitor the situation very closely indeed.


We will be live at the Brussels summit in few moments with some


ministers who have just left dinner. First, poets laureate are the


public's face of poetry. To raise awareness about the art. There is


one poet routinely described as one the greatest writing, but whose


critical acclaim supersedes his public -- sales.


He rarely gives interviews, but first Steven Smith had to find him.


When you are looking for England's greatest living poet, you might


begin with the landscape, he so memorably described.


An ancient land, full of strategy. This man's work has been called


"serious" even "difficult", he himself has kept a low profile,


almost to the point of invisibility. All in all then, he cuts an


agreably forbidding figure. It turns out all we had to do was


ask, in his new house outside Cambridge, Geoffrey Hill, 79, has


struck a rich seam of wrielting. have been writing -- Writing.


have been writing for 60 years. Then I felt happy if I managed to


write seven peoples in a year. I feel unhappy if I haven't written


seven peoples in a week. Really, that is extraordinary? Yeah. What


do you put that down to? I have pondered this, and I have got some


very secret ideas and theories as to what it may be due to. Wild hors


wouldn't drag them out of me. I will -- horses wouldn't drag them


out of me. I will write it on my death bed, like an old lady


donating her dand lion recipe to her -- dandolion recipe to her kin.


I will put it down in the autobiography. Can I explore it?


It is not to do with being happier generally? No, no. It is a mystery?


It is a mystery. It is all a mystery. You know, you just won't


tell me? I think I know. I think I know.


"as to the ant, when chance disturbs state, divisions huge,


minute, crude, delicate, like egg and spoon, white grub rice grain,


she works her reach with pitch and stretch, staid in that giant


flesh." My reputation is that of a solemn intellectual. Really I'm a


kind of rip roaring fantasist. I like getting on to a bench and


standing on one leg. In fact,the current Oxford Professor of Poetry,


credits a perhaps unlikely influence on his work. I was in a


shop in Leeds the other morning, said excuse me can you help me out,


he said, sure which way did you come in. I allowed my love of the


comedians to get into my poetry. future scolars of your work, should


have your stuff open on the one land and Ken Dodd and Frankie


Howard's material on hand. They would see a connection. I hope so,


yes, I will leave a lot of heavy hints. The way a comic will often


think to stregs the grammatically unimportant -- stress the


grammatically unimportant words. It brings out a quite equisite sense


of the individuality breaking through the formula.


Why haven't we heard more from Geoffrey Hill, the Bard of an


arkaiback Albion, we have simply been looking the wrong way. He has


plenty to say on Shakespeare and rap, for example.


From my relatively marginal experience of that, I don't think


any of the rappers I have heard, have the potential of great poetry


in them. I think that Shakespeare of this century, would certainly,


would certainly learn from rap, yes. "the butterflies, high flyers on


high winds, invisible to us, they plane and soar. Beyond our minds'


troubled conventioning, and do not err.


What do you hope to do with the professorship of poetry? I welcome


the opportunity to go over, once a term, and perform one thousandth as


well as Ken Dodd! I think he just might manage that. We go back to


the summit in Brussels. Mark has grabbed a guest.


Yes I have Lucinda Creighton, the Irish Europe minister, who has just


come from inside the negotiations, is the atmosphere behind there, as


they say in diplomatic speak, business like, is it a frank


discussion going on there? Most certainly. I think at the outside


there was a mood of deep concern, quite frankly, over the course of


the day, and obviously we came, myself and our Taoiseach from the


EPB summit in Marseille directly to Brussels, it was clear there was a


wide divergance of views. Now, I think, from what I'm hearing this


evening, leaders are moving closer together, and they seem to be a


little bit more upbeat and a bit more optimistic this evening.


what point in a summit like this, do people move past these opening


salvos, these positions and really begin to drill down. Do you see


evidence already occurring tonight, or will it all happen tomorrow?


think there will be progress tonight. I suppose at what stage in


the night I'm not sure. Certainly I think when it gets after midnight


people get down to business and want to start moving forward. The


soundings we are hearing from the meeting room tonight is that is


what is happening. It is business like, they are going through the


texts of proposals from Herman Van Rompuy, teasing out the issues and


findings areas where they can find common ground. Briefly, Irish


concerns about the possible fraings transfers tax, similar to the UK.


Is that a done deal or is it still possible for the UK and Ireland to


knock it out of the picture? don't think it is a done deal,


there are more than just the UK and Ireland, there are a lot of member


states with concerns about the tax proposal. From Ireland's


prospective, we would certainly not like to be separated from the kufpl


in that regard, that the eurozone would do something different to the


EU27. There is an argument of putting it into the context of a


global situation. Do we want to disadvantage Europe, vis a vis the


rest of the world. That is all from Brussels tonight, we will be back


tomorrow. That is all from Newsnight tonight.


Wherever you are, baton down the Wherever you are, baton down the


hatches, good night. Hill low, after an incredibly


stormy Thursday, there are quieters conditions on the way for fli. Icey


conditions to start the day in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the


North West of eing lan. A weakening band across England. That will be


aityure during the afternoon, appearing in the parts of North


Wales. To the south plenty of sunshine. A colder day than we had


today, temperatures held down in single figures. If you look at the


strength of the wind, it is breezeyo and the wind continue down


through the day, plenty of sunshine and dry weather. The weakening band


of rain, sleet and hill snow, not just affecting northern England,


but North Wales and Northern Ireland to begin the day. For the


afternoon there is plenty of sunshine, for much of Scotland it


is a Wighter day, thankfully, lots of dry d a brighter day, lots of


dry and cold weather, the snow showers here could create blaze


standard conditions over higher ground. Wet weather will move


through plan Chester, not a constant all-day rain. In parts of


Scotland to begin the weekend, snow, sleet and wind returning. Fine


weather, not just for Friday, but for Saturday, before things change


Kirsty Wark presents analysis of the European summit in Brussels. A former European Central Bank economist, Newsnight's Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban and Economics Editor Paul Mason examine the latest attempts to find a solution to the eurozone crisis.

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