16/12/2011 Newsnight


16/12/2011

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Emily Maitlis. What lies behind French criticism of the UK economy?


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Would you rather be French than British? France's Finance Minister

:00:08.:00:16.

suggests, economically speaking, we might.

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There's history to these spats, but this evening, the French are

:00:20.:00:23.

slapped down by Nick Clegg. Is it French nervousness about their own

:00:23.:00:30.

problems behind the latest row. Also tonight, author, polemicist,

:00:30.:00:37.

thinker, Susan Hitch has died, we will show one of -- has died. We

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will show one of his last interviews. I'm happy to take it as

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face value, I will take that, whatever has been said.

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You get a real sense of the year ticking away from up here. David

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Grossman looks back and down on Westminster.

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Good evening, it's not exactly the 100 years war, but let as say

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anglo-French relations have probably been better, this evening

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the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, described as simply

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unacceptable, French criticism of the UK economy, after the French

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Finance Minister suggested that Britain's economic situation was

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very worrying, and argued it was better to be French. The looming

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specter of a credit rating downgrade for France hangs over

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this argument, as does the recent European treaty by David Cameron.

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Tonight, as one ratings agency declares a solution to the eurozone

:01:36.:01:46.
:01:46.:01:47.

crisis, beyond reach, we ask which economy is superior.

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# God save our gracious Queen # God...$$NEWLINE There has often

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been a healthy rudeness about cross-channel relations. Honest

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John Bull, versus the scheming French frogs, Orla France versus

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England the spats go along way back. We have had spats over doing

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business, and now the business of last week's Brussels summit, means

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it has all broken out again. From Westminster, that's drawn a

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robust British response. I'm always pleased to be British. In this

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economic situation, although we have got a bigger deficit than

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anywhere else in Europe, because of the legacy of Gordon Brown, we have

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got two things very strongly in our favour, we have got our own

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currency, and so we are in control of our own destiny, and we have our

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own Bank of England, that can manage that currency. And we have

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got a credible fiscal plan, that has passed through parliament, that

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the markets believe. Those two things together put us in a far

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stronger position. From Joan of Arc, through to General de Gaulle,

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French leaders have aunch been good and saying no -- often been good at

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saying non or worse to Britain. What has angered them this time, is

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not just David Cameron's behaviour at the summit, the Prime Minister's

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veto forced precisely the outcome, an inter-governmental pact, rather

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than a full treaty, that President Sarkozy wanted. Rather the main

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trigger for French wrath, seems to be a threat by American credit

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ratings agencies to downgrade France's AAA rating, if there isn't

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decisive action to stablise the euro.

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To Nicolas Sarkozy, facing re- election next spring, it is a sign

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that the Anglo-Saxon world has no confidence in the future of the

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currency. And that it fears France, in particular, is dangerously

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exposed to the crisis in Greece and Italy. It is a natural moment,

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cynics would say, to try to undermine the standing of Europe's

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main non-euro state. So economically speaking, is it better

:04:07.:04:17.
:04:17.:04:18.

to be French? Or to be British? Britain's deficit 9.4% of GDP, is

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much bigger than France's at 5.7%. Its bebt is only slightly lower.

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90% against France's 8%. Its inflation rate is more than double,

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4.5 he%, against France's 2.1%. But in the City of London, this

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economist thinks that is not the full story. At the moment the two

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countries look much the same, to be honest, if you look at most

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economic and fiscal indicators. But I think, looking ahead, it is

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certainly the outlook for France that is probably worse, because

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France, is of course, in Europe, and directly hit by the eurozone

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debt crisis. Where as the UK is a little bit removed. What matters is

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the relative future health of the two economies. That depends on the

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fate of the euro. One ratings agency, FITCH, today, affirmed

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France's AAA rating, but said the long-term outlook is no longer

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stable, it is negative. It says France is the most exposed of the

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top rated eurozone states, to a further intensification of the

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crisis. I think it would be going a bit far to say France is the next

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Italy or the next Spain. It doesn't have the big debt problems those

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economies have. But its banking sector is exposed to those troubled

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peripheral economies. Its banking sec tosh is very fragile, that

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means its -- sector is very fragile, so the economic outlook is be

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:05:54.:06:03.

Ahead for the French, as for the British, more austerity, to bring

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down the deficit. But it may not be enough. The ratings agency, FITCH,

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said it believes that a comprehensive solution to the

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eurocrisis, is technically and politically beyond reach. As for

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the deputy, Nick Clegg who rebukeed French President, for what he

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called unacceptable French remark about the UK economy. A long-term

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relationship with a country, always keen to project its power on the

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world stage, is probably repairable, but the problem with its currency

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is another matter. Joining me now from Paris is one of

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Nicolas Sarkozy's MPs. Thank you very much for your time this

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evening. Your Finance Minister had his wrist slapped today by our

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deputy PM, but think he went too far? Well, I think that in fact,

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you know, we have kind of bad fever peak, but it will go down very

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quickly. I know that the Prime Minister rang up your Deputy Prime

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Minister, to try to rub off the misunderstanding between the two

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men. I don't think that this is very serious. It is showing, in

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fact, of course, that there is some anxiety in France about the

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eurozone's future. That it is true that I myself, I'm a very sceptical

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Uri man, but we are used to this kind of fever between the two

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countries, it never lasts very long. So it is good for the press, but it

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is, you know, it won't stand very long. Your deficit, as we saw, in

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those figures, is lower than Britain's, but your biggest problem,

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really, is that you are in the eurozone. Are you now saying you

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wish you weren't? I would agree with you, that in fact, this is

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true, I heard that the Bank of England and Britain, the British

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Government, had its own currency, and can master, you know, its own

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money currency policy. I agree with that. And in fact, this is very

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difficult, this is what in fact the Finance Minister said, it is very

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difficult to conduct, you know, in the eurozone a currency policy

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which could be adapted to each country. This is why, I think, that

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the eurozone may not survive very long. But, of course, I'm not

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representing the French Government when I say that. I only look at the

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facts, and I would say that the eurozone is in danger, especially

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also because the central European bank is very rigid, and because of

:08:57.:09:06.

the German attitude, in fact, which, they should do quanative easing to

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help the states, not just for the banks to help the states to invest.

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Looking at the political position, it is a very hard message this, for

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your President Sarkozy, going into an election year, then. Do you

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think this whole spat, indeed even the way the treaty was negotiated,

:09:26.:09:36.
:09:36.:09:37.

was a political manoeuvre to help him? No, I met personally President

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Sarkozy before the Brussels summit, he wasn't very surprised by the

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British attitude. He said to us a couple of MPs, that of course, if

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there is no agreement with 27, there will be an agreement between

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the euromember states, that means the 17. In fact, this is very

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normal. Because Britain is not belonging to the eurozone, and in

:10:02.:10:07.

this kind of discipline, bugetry discipline, that they tried to

:10:07.:10:12.

achieve, you know, it cannot really apply to Britain as such, because,

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in fact, this kind of budget discipline is to achieve, to save

:10:18.:10:22.

the euro, and I have doubts about that. Because in fact, this is not

:10:22.:10:27.

a question of budget deficit, it is a question of lack of

:10:27.:10:32.

competitiveness between the euromember-state. Thank you very

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much indeed. We appreciate your time. Thank you, good night.

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Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain is then

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to be lived far more intensely, we stumble, we get up, we are sad,

:10:44.:10:48.

confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There

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is nothing more, but I want nothing more. Christopher Hitch, wrote in,

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one since, his own momento hori, and thought about his death many

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months before it came. He talked candidly about cancer, making him

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sober and objective. Today it finally killed him. We look at an

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:11:20.:11:25.

extraordinary writer, polemicist, thinker. Dashing, smart, funny, to

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his admirers, the young Christopher Hitchens was the securing of idle

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thinking. A bit like Hemingway, he was a two-fisted writer, that went

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for typing, scrapping, oh yeah, and drinking and smoking too.

:11:42.:11:50.

Of a leftish bent, he nevertheless challenged sacred cow its like the

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mythology surrounding President Kennedy. Like everyone else of my

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generation, I can remember exactly where I was standing on the fateful

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day when John Fitzgerald Kennedy nearly killed me, I can remember

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the Cuba crisis. Some said Tom Wolf had Hitchens in

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mind when he created the hard- drinking hack played by Bruce

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Willis in the Bonfire of the Vanties. We had a number of Scotchs

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before lunch, big tumblers of Scotch. He had wine at lunch and

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Cognac after. We stumbled back up to the office, and sat down at an

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old desk with a typewriter, oOlevetti, he produced a thousand

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seemless words in an hour, he could write better than any mine drunk

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than sober. Hitchens had the work ethic of his

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her low George Orwell, if not the same addiction, to tea. Settled in

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the states, an American citizen, Hitchens reaction to 9/11, led him

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to modify his view of George Bush, and end up backing the Iraq war.

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People said, ignorant, unqualified, uncultured, uninstructed, if his

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brains were made of gun powder and they have detonated, they would

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barely be enough to disarrange his hair. Yet here he is, half way

:13:18.:13:23.

through his first term, with wall- to-wall public sympathy. So, were

:13:23.:13:28.

his critics premature, or has he been doing something right? Though

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he found common cause with Tony Blair over Iraq, the atheist

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Hitchens, by now ill with cancer, couldn't agree with him over

:13:37.:13:41.

religion. Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes you objects,

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in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick, and commanded to

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be well, I will repeat that, created sick, and then ordered to

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be well. Over us to superadvise this is installed a sell lest kal

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dictatorship, a kind of -- celles ti, al dictatorship, a North Korea.

:14:08.:14:11.

He was determined not to move the inch to the argument that religion

:14:11.:14:16.

might have some purpose or some justification to it. Unlike Orwell,

:14:16.:14:21.

who wrote a famous essay called Books Versus Cigarettes, Hitchens

:14:21.:14:26.

chose both. In other respects, he may be judged to be in the same

:14:26.:14:36.
:14:36.:14:37.

tradition as the master. Jeremy interviewed Christopher Hitchens

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last November, he started by asking about cancer. Are you terrified by

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it? No, it is a superstition, among many. I know where it comes from,

:14:46.:14:51.

if you would like me to say. When I was a child we were all very

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frightened still by polio, it takes an effort to remember that now, but

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in many countries still they are. Previous generations it would have

:14:58.:15:03.

been small pox, the heart that never gets the right rhythm,

:15:03.:15:07.

bronchitis, TB, but none have the same horror that cancer has been

:15:07.:15:11.

allowed to acquire. It is probably because of the idea of there being

:15:11.:15:18.

a live thing inside you. A sort of malignant alien, that can't

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overlive you, but does in a sense has a purpose to its life, which is

:15:23.:15:27.

to kill you and die. It is an obscene parody of the idea of being

:15:27.:15:31.

pregnant. I always feel sorier for women who have cancer than who have

:15:31.:15:35.

men. For men the idea of hosting another life of any kind, is hard

:15:35.:15:40.

to think about. But for a woman, it must be a grotesque, nasty version

:15:40.:15:50.

of the idea of being a host to another life. I have been idea why

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people propigsate with bogus cures, scare stories. I have set my face

:15:59.:16:08.

to try to demonstrate it is a maldy like any other, and will yield to

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science. That is what I will spend my life pushing. The most common

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word used for cancer is "battling"? I think that is a version of the

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pathetic fallacy. It is giving a real existence to a something that

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is in a sense, in a real sense inanimate. If it has a sort of life.

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I rather think it is battling me, it is much more what it feels like.

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I have to sat passively every few weeks and have a huge dose of kill

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or cure venom put straight into my veins and poll it up with other

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poisons too -- follow it up with other poisons too. It doesn't feel

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like fighting at all, possibly resisting, but no, you feel like

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you are drowning in passiveity, and being assaulted by something that

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has a horrible persistence, working on you while you are asleep. There

:17:08.:17:14.

will be people, who won't say it to your face perhaps, who will say you

:17:14.:17:21.

smoke and drank a lot? That is demystifying. It is people saying

:17:21.:17:31.
:17:31.:17:32.

it is God's gift to me to have it in on throat because that is the

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organ I used to blaspheme. If you have led a Bohemian life that I

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have had, it is precisely the kind of cancer that you would get, that

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is a bit of a yawn. Do you still consider yourself a leftist? I do.

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Many of your critics would say that as your waistband expanded your

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politics moved further to the right? They should see my waistband

:18:01.:18:05.

now, I have lost 30 pounds. It is such a well known script, it is

:18:05.:18:09.

deserving of the name cliche, I pin that accusation on my accusers,

:18:09.:18:14.

that is what they are resorting to. Do think of these labels apply to

:18:14.:18:24.
:18:24.:18:25.

you, leftist, or whatever, you are more of an iconclass. There isn't a

:18:25.:18:30.

global class now, some of us miss it, but it is gone. Is it likely to

:18:30.:18:35.

be replaced, I don't think so. Is there a socialist theory of an

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alternative world economy, just in theory that could stand up against

:18:38.:18:47.

the idea of a market system, not conspicuously, no. In fact the

:18:47.:18:49.

anti-globalising movement seems to be nostalgic for a preIndustrial

:18:50.:18:57.

Society in many ways, thus to be rather Conservative. From this you

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could probably tell I still think like a Marxist, which I do.

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believe in the dialectiv? And the materialism of history. Do you

:19:07.:19:11.

think it is a life well lived? have to leave that to others. I

:19:11.:19:15.

have been encouraged in the last few months by some extraordinarily

:19:15.:19:18.

generous letters, including, these are the ones I take most to heart,

:19:18.:19:25.

from people I have never met or don't know. If they say what I have

:19:25.:19:29.

written or done means anything to them, then I'm happy to take it at

:19:29.:19:34.

face value, for once. I will take that. And yes, it cheers me up. I

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hope it isn't written with the intention of doing so. Though I

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must allow for it, possibly being for that reason. But, in case you

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are watching this, anybody, and you ever wonder whether to write to

:19:49.:19:52.

anyone, always do, because you would be surprised by how much of a

:19:52.:19:57.

difference it can make. I regret, here is a regret, I regret not

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doing it more often myself. Thank you very much.

:20:00.:20:04.

My pleasure. Christopher Hitchens, talking to

:20:04.:20:08.

Jeremy last year. There is another chance to see the full half hour of

:20:08.:20:12.

Jeremy's interview with Christopher Hitchens, on BBC Two on Sunday at

:20:12.:20:17.

11.30pm. Joining me now is a close friend of

:20:17.:20:20.

Christopher Hitchens, the historian, Simon Schama. Really nice of you to

:20:20.:20:24.

come in, Simon, on a day that I'm sure is very difficult for you.

:20:24.:20:30.

could I not, Emily. I mean he's a man who clearly was not scared of

:20:30.:20:35.

making enemies, not scared of upsetting people, and yet there has

:20:35.:20:39.

been this tangible sense of affection for a man who embraced

:20:39.:20:44.

division? You know, I think it is partly because Christopher was

:20:44.:20:50.

really against a time of pablamand demureness, really. He believed him

:20:50.:20:59.

self to be sort of the inheritor of mischief makers, like Tom Payne and

:20:59.:21:08.

Wilks, The Levellers, and George Orwell. Well said in his essay on

:21:08.:21:13.

the English language and politics, that most political writing is in

:21:13.:21:23.

defence of the indefensible, and takes on a transparent melatricious

:21:23.:21:26.

quality Christopher was not like that, really, he wanted not to be a

:21:26.:21:31.

party person of any kind, but his own particular self, wielding his

:21:31.:21:35.

own particular sword. The bitter irony in way, for those of us who

:21:35.:21:40.

knew and were deeply fond of him. Was his notorious larger than life

:21:40.:21:45.

habits were completely of a peace with his intellectual courage. That

:21:46.:21:49.

is to say there was something morally decent about his double

:21:50.:21:54.

Scotch, if you catch my drift. That he was outside the normal

:21:54.:22:00.

boundaries of the polite, the conventional and the ingraceating.

:22:00.:22:07.

This idea of being a mischief maker, was it ever a polemicist for the

:22:07.:22:12.

sake of argument, or do you think he genuinely believed every time he

:22:12.:22:18.

went against the grain? I feel a complete fraud sitting in his shoes,

:22:18.:22:22.

which in many ways are impossible to fill. Being anguished at taking

:22:22.:22:26.

his name in vain. I think he would have said there was a certain

:22:26.:22:30.

amount of instinctive taste for mischief, that if there was trouble

:22:30.:22:34.

brewing he would seek it out. That is why he wasn't a conventional

:22:35.:22:38.

journalist or prepared to be an armchair journalist. He wanted to

:22:38.:22:43.

go where the sewer stunk most awfully, and he made sure he was

:22:43.:22:47.

there. He liked actually skiing along the race zor blade in that

:22:47.:22:53.

kind of way, to mix my fete fors, shocking to Newsnight and to Hitch.

:22:53.:22:58.

He would want to do that, the vast majority of the arguments,

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otherwise why, for God's sake, support the war in Iraq and

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alienate most of your ideolgical comrades. Most of the arguments he

:23:06.:23:13.

took he took absolutely from principle. Today we had this quite

:23:13.:23:16.

curious push from David Cameron about the revival of Christian

:23:16.:23:20.

values, there is something ironic of this coming on the day when such

:23:20.:23:26.

a passionate believer in atheism has died. Did it alter his approach,

:23:26.:23:36.
:23:36.:23:37.

do you think, to death? I'm sorry, Emily. In the sense of riceing Oder

:23:37.:23:47.
:23:47.:23:47.

of sanctity. Is that -- rising oder of sanctity. This idea that God is

:23:47.:23:52.

not great? I don't think he was like Richard Dawkins in a sense in

:23:52.:23:58.

which he felt there needed to be an impassioned neo-Darwinian crusade.

:23:58.:24:02.

He was surprised, bemused and shocked, all our generation were,

:24:02.:24:07.

I'm slightly older than him, that theocracy was possible in the 21st

:24:07.:24:11.

century. Not that religion was still hanging around, but religion

:24:11.:24:15.

which actually had the power of force to it. The great moment for

:24:15.:24:20.

many of us was the Salman Rushdie, it changed a lot of us, until that

:24:20.:24:26.

point, we could make jokes actually about making sin a crime, a capital

:24:26.:24:36.

crime too. After that, that fatwah wiped the smile from our faces. In

:24:36.:24:41.

that sense the doing the battle with the state still having the

:24:41.:24:45.

power of zealotry, that could get you in horrible trouble. I think

:24:45.:24:51.

during his illness, I will say this. I was put in mind of a great

:24:51.:24:55.

unrepentantly atheistic death, I know, eventhough Hume was some what

:24:55.:25:02.

of a story, Christopher would not mind being identified. Hume died a

:25:02.:25:06.

heroic death, reported by Adam Smith, by his friend, who was

:25:06.:25:11.

visited by a doctor, that said I'm delighted to leave you in better

:25:11.:25:16.

spirits than I imagined. Hume said no doctor, that you would not

:25:16.:25:21.

choose my truth, tell my enemies I'm dying as fast as I can, and my

:25:21.:25:25.

friends as easily and cheerfully as I can. The courage with which Hitch

:25:26.:25:29.

looked at his own death, was the sense, in truth is the ultimate

:25:29.:25:33.

strength, and you can aim for no better thing than that. Thank you

:25:34.:25:39.

very much. So this was the year then that

:25:39.:25:43.

politics was overshadowed by economics, and, yes, this was the

:25:43.:25:51.

year when division in Europe started to open up again. But a

:25:51.:25:55.

curious byproduct of this year, it was the year where the backbencher

:25:55.:25:59.

became a better known voice than those in the frontline of politic.

:25:59.:26:01.

David Grossman looks back on this year.

:26:01.:26:04.

Big Ben is getting ready for its big moment. In just two weeks the

:26:04.:26:10.

nation will turn to its four faces to get us started on 2012, but,

:26:10.:26:16.

before then, a little contemptation of the old year is called for. 2011

:26:16.:26:23.

has been a cracking political year, here are Newsnight's headlines.

:26:23.:26:33.

The they, it's worse. Europe it's back. Ordinary MPs, they are really

:26:33.:26:39.

quite cross! The sun is out today, but 2011 was the year that even

:26:39.:26:43.

more thick black clouds appeared in Britain's economic sky. In fact, it

:26:43.:26:47.

has got so gloomy that the entire deficit reduction programme of the

:26:47.:26:52.

coalition, has been destroyed. That, is having profound consequences for

:26:52.:26:56.

British politics. The Chancellor's Autumn Statement

:26:56.:27:01.

is usually, well, a bit dull. This year's though, was political

:27:01.:27:06.

dynamite. The bust was deeper and had an even greater impact on our

:27:06.:27:10.

economy than previously thought. And the result of this analysis is

:27:10.:27:14.

that the OBR have significantly reduced their assumptions about

:27:14.:27:17.

spare capacity in our economy, and the trend rate of growth.

:27:17.:27:21.

reason why the Autumn Statement was so seismic was the political

:27:21.:27:24.

calculation of both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, was

:27:24.:27:28.

that they would go into this coming election saying, look we have

:27:28.:27:34.

sorted it out. We can now start to delivering -- delivering some

:27:34.:27:39.

goodies. There is no way that will be the message at the next election

:27:39.:27:43.

now. The change for Labour is to say we won't be worse, we will have

:27:43.:27:46.

a convincing alternative, that up until now they have failed to make

:27:46.:27:51.

any impact in terms of the wider electorate as to what that message

:27:51.:27:55.

would be. It is a very long time to ask people to put up with quite

:27:55.:27:57.

dire circumstances. Groups of people in whom you rely to shift

:27:57.:28:01.

the vote in the centre ground, whether it is women aged between

:28:01.:28:05.

30-40, or swing constituencies in the Midland, or Medway towns, these

:28:06.:28:09.

classic areas where the big battles of British politics are fought, it

:28:09.:28:14.

gets hard Tory say come back to us, or come with us, -- harder to say

:28:14.:28:17.

come back to us, or come with us, if people are still going through

:28:18.:28:25.

tough times. Just like the mechanism of Big Ben, the coalition

:28:25.:28:30.

was finely tuned, it had been to be. Both party leaders knew one issue

:28:30.:28:35.

above all others threatened to rip their common endeavour apart, they

:28:35.:28:40.

had to do everything they could to resist making any new policy on

:28:40.:28:44.

that issue for the entire parliament. That issue, of course,

:28:44.:28:50.

was Europe. There were rum pblgs over the summer. Conservative

:28:50.:28:53.

backbenchers wanted David Cameron to make a treaty change in Europe

:28:53.:28:57.

dependant on Britain getting powers back. And David Cameron sounded

:28:57.:29:00.

keen. Any treaty change, as the last treaty change did, is an

:29:00.:29:03.

opportunity for Britain to advance our national interest. The Liberal

:29:04.:29:08.

Democrats were adamant this wasn't going to happen. This Government is

:29:08.:29:13.

not going to launch some smash 'n grab raid on Brussels on its own.

:29:13.:29:20.

But this month, that sense sayingal veto, and as a result, strained --

:29:20.:29:24.

sensational veto, and as a result strained coalition relations.

:29:24.:29:27.

Europe is the great potential killer of this coalition. It is a

:29:27.:29:31.

running story, that is the danger. Not one that erupts every nine

:29:31.:29:34.

months then disappears t will continue to be a theme throughout

:29:34.:29:39.

this parliament. And could, at some point, as Paddy Ashdown and others

:29:39.:29:43.

have hinted, break the coalition. David Cameron was rather pushed

:29:43.:29:48.

into that veto, after Number Ten spectacularly mishandled a

:29:48.:29:53.

completely meaningless vote on an EU referendum in October. Imposing

:29:53.:29:57.

the full force of a three-line whip on outraged backbenchers. I'm not

:29:57.:30:01.

prepared to go back on my word to my constituents. And I'm really

:30:01.:30:05.

staggered, no, I'm really staggered that loyal people like me, have

:30:06.:30:11.

actually been put in this position. Which brings us, rather neatly, to

:30:11.:30:19.

our final headline. The parliamentary drama in 64 though

:30:19.:30:24.

acts. At the other end of the palace of Westminster, from Big Ben,

:30:24.:30:28.

is the Victoria Tower, with shelves and shelves of vellum controls,

:30:28.:30:32.

Britain's laws going back to the 1400s. We, of course, don't needing

:30:32.:30:37.

to back that far. The big piece of parliamentary legislation this year,

:30:37.:30:41.

after the budget, was the health and social care bill. Not so much

:30:41.:30:45.

for what it did, but for what it told us about how coalition

:30:45.:30:48.

politics worked. The Liberal Democrats managed to get concession

:30:48.:30:53.

after concession by getting a bit nasty and cutting up rough.

:30:53.:30:56.

Conservative backbenchers looked on and took note, they realised that

:30:56.:31:00.

if they wanted to get things their way, well, it is the squeaky wheel

:31:00.:31:07.

that gets the oil. Not only were there rebellions. The ayes to the

:31:07.:31:10.

right, 111. Backbench committees came into their own, freed from the

:31:10.:31:15.

power of the whips, they drove the news forward, where once

:31:15.:31:18.

parliamentary committees may have helped try to bury news. I would

:31:19.:31:22.

just like to say, one sentence, this is the most humble day of my

:31:22.:31:26.

life. I think this was the year of the

:31:26.:31:29.

backbencher, they were certainly very lively, we have seen a new

:31:29.:31:32.

fearlessness coming in. You have seen a lack of control, if you want

:31:32.:31:36.

to put it that way, of the select committees. You look at someone

:31:36.:31:39.

like Louise Mensch, she doesn't come across when she's in her

:31:39.:31:42.

committee as someone who is very worried about what the whips or

:31:43.:31:45.

anyone else thinks about what she has got to say. And you might say,

:31:46.:31:49.

it is harder to remember the names of ministers who stood out this

:31:49.:31:52.

year than it is to think of a good clutch of interesting backbenchers.

:31:52.:31:57.

Funny that. So that's it, our time is up. And

:31:57.:32:02.

soon, so will 2011's. Above all, this has been another transitional

:32:02.:32:07.

year in politic, slowly, some times rather cluanky, our politicians

:32:07.:32:12.

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Emily Maitlis. What lies behind French criticism of the UK economy?


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