17/01/2012 Newsnight


17/01/2012

Has Ed Miliband's cuts policy split Labour? New information about the Italian cruise ship tragedy and the founder of Wikileaks debates piracy. With Gavin Esler.


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Tonight, could Ed Milliband's new position on Government cuts split

:00:10.:00:15.

the Labour movement? The GMB union, courted by Ed Milliband when he ran

:00:15.:00:20.

for leader, threatens to cut ties with the party. Is Labour's policy

:00:20.:00:24.

even coherent, David Grossman is on the case. Is Labour, in seeking to

:00:24.:00:28.

both oppose the Government's cuts, and not promise to reverse them,

:00:28.:00:31.

really, I don't know. Trying to have it both ways!

:00:31.:00:36.

We will hear from the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls. The striken

:00:36.:00:39.

Italian cruiseship, we have new revelation about how close it came

:00:39.:00:45.

to rocks on a previous voyage. Rare access to the work of Arab

:00:45.:00:49.

League monitors in Syria, swamped by opposition crowds, as they

:00:49.:00:54.

present evidence of atrocities. Everyone knows the Arab League, the

:00:54.:00:57.

international body, with the best chance of influencing the Syrian

:00:57.:01:00.

Government. That is why people are so desperate to have their voice

:01:00.:01:04.

heard today. The Government wins the vote to

:01:04.:01:10.

abolish adult disability living allowance, we debate whether the

:01:10.:01:20.
:01:20.:01:20.

most vulnerable will suffer, with Tanni Grey-Thompson and our wests.

:01:20.:01:26.

WikiLeaks takes down its website to protest on plans for against on-

:01:26.:01:36.

line piracy. Good evening, being in opposition

:01:36.:01:39.

is never easy. Being in opposition during the worst economic crisis in

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the lifetime of most voters, and probably with three years to wait

:01:42.:01:46.

for an election, has proved extremely bumpy for Ed Milliband in

:01:46.:01:50.

recent weeks. Tonight he faces a new test, a row which cuts to the

:01:50.:01:54.

heart of the Labour movement. Trade union leaders are furious with Mr

:01:54.:01:58.

Miliband, for backing the Government policy of capping public

:01:58.:02:02.

sector pay, and refusing to commit to reversing any coalition cuts.

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Since the unions give Labour almost 80% of its funding, not from public

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sources, threats by one major union to split away are being taken very

:02:10.:02:20.

seriously. As we will hear from Ed Balls in a moment.

:02:20.:02:24.

The philosophical battle over how to rescue the economy has never

:02:24.:02:30.

been more entertainingly presented than in this brilliant video. Has

:02:30.:02:40.

there been another convert to the side, is Labour abandoned

:02:40.:02:48.

Keynesianism. They have changed their tune significantly since the

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Shadow Chancellor said they would not reverse cuts and exercise pay

:02:55.:02:58.

represent. Len McCluskey, the general secretary of the Unite

:02:58.:03:08.
:03:08.:03:24.

union, has written a scathing Len McCluskey is entitled to his

:03:24.:03:28.

view, but he's wrong. Because I'm changing the Labour Party, so that

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we can deliver fairness, even when there is less money around. That

:03:32.:03:37.

requires tough decisions. It requires tough decisions to put a

:03:37.:03:40.

priority on jobs over public sector pay, for example. It also requires

:03:40.:03:44.

us to say, yes we do believe the Government is going too far and too

:03:44.:03:49.

fast with their cuts, but we're not going to make specific promises to

:03:49.:03:52.

reverse those cuts, unless we are absolutely sure that we know where

:03:52.:03:55.

the money is coming from. unions say they accept that Labour

:03:55.:04:01.

has to keep its options open. That it can't give a blanket promise to

:04:01.:04:05.

reverse all of the coalition's cuts. But what's particularly angered

:04:05.:04:10.

them right now is the language that Ed Balls turned to at the weekend.

:04:10.:04:15.

He said he's afraid we will have to keep all of these cuts. Not, I will

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see if the money turns up and see if we can do something to reverse

:04:19.:04:23.

some of them, if we get back into power, no, we have to keep all of

:04:23.:04:27.

the cuts. Ed Milliband needs to go back to the drawing board to re-

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think through a coherent deficit reduction plan, which he should

:04:30.:04:35.

have, but one that has some real meat in it. Not these vague

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statements. Public sector workers, and especially low-paid public

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sector workers, need to keep their spending power, as part of the

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recovery of our economy. It is the only way for this country into the

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future. The anger does appear to be widespread. As well as Len

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McCluskey from Unite, Paul Kenny, the leader of the GMB, has written

:04:56.:05:06.
:05:06.:05:12.

The hint is clear, no affiliation would mean no subs to the Labour

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Party, this matters, of course, because of how dependant Labour is

:05:16.:05:21.

on union funding. In the past four quarters that we have figures for,

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Labour raised �21.5 million in donations, �19.8 million, or 92% of

:05:27.:05:35.

that, came from the unions. The GMB gave �1.8 million, and Unite, �4.2

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million. Huge sums of money that Labour won't want to lose. Among

:05:39.:05:43.

the unions, there is a particular sense of betrayal at Ed Balls, the

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Shadow Chancellor. Whilst he was pitching for their and other Labour

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votes in the leadership contest, he said very clearly that he thought

:05:50.:05:56.

even Alistair Darling's deficit reduction plan was too fast.

:05:56.:06:00.

argued in 200 within Government, to both Gordon Brown and Alistair

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Darling, that whatever the media clamour at the time, even trying to

:06:03.:06:08.

cut the deficit in half in four years was very difficult indeed, a

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mistake, it was too severe to be credible or sustainable. Now, his

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critics accuse him of taking a completely contradictory position,

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signing up to the coalition's plans. Meanwhile, some Labour supporters

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think it is completely pointless to have this discussion at all.

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think it is a strategic disaster, the problem is, most of the public

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is not going to pay much attention to what is basically a very narrow

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positioning for mostly the Westminster media, who are obsessed

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with what should be the deficit reduction Plan B. Most people in

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the country are worried about jobs, they are worried about standard of

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living and other issues. I think the Labour Party has to focus on

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them and address their concerns, and right now, what we are doing is

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basically still focusing on having a technocratic, macro-economic

:06:54.:07:01.

discussion. The Fed sets rates low, are you

:07:01.:07:07.

starting to get it. The ideolgical debate continues, it may not be a

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philosophical switch that Labour has signalled, but the unions are

:07:10.:07:14.

promising a fight. The question is, will voters even notice Labour's

:07:14.:07:19.

new position. If they notice l they understand it, if they understand

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it, will they approve? Earlier tonight I met the Shadow

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Chancellor, Ed Balls, at his office in Westminster.

:07:29.:07:32.

How concerned are you about the anger amongst some trade unions as

:07:32.:07:36.

to what you were doing in effectively joining the Government

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in agreeing to cap public sector pay? I'm concerned at the rising

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unemployment, a flatlining economy, the inheritance that Labour will

:07:44.:07:48.

face in three years time, which is very difficult, and the need for us

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to face up to difficult choices. We can't now make commitments on

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spending or tax rises to reverse what the Conservatives are doing.

:07:57.:08:02.

But nor can we say, with any credibility, in the next two years,

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we think, that higher pay, for public sector workers, should come

:08:06.:08:10.

before jobs. We can't make that argument. I'm afraid, George

:08:10.:08:14.

Osborne, I think, contended not to continue with his pay freeze, his

:08:14.:08:18.

policy has failed. I'm afraid there is now no choice if we are going to

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keep unemployment down in the future, to say, jobs will have to

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come before pay. As you well know, you will lose friends over this,

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lose supporters, you will lose people who back your party to the

:08:29.:08:34.

tune of 80% of what your party needs to just survive. Because

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that's where the unions come in. Why should trade unions agree to do

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that, pay you, while you are doing what the Government are doing to

:08:42.:08:48.

them for free? We're the opposition. The Government, a Conservative-led

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Government, is making terrible mistakes on the economy, they are

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cutting too far and too fast. Unemployment is rising, it is

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having a very difficult impact upon people working in the private and

:08:58.:09:03.

the public sector. You are agreeing with their policy, broadly. Labour

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cannot, from opposition, change that, until we are in Government.

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To be in Government we have to set out an alternative, it has to be a

:09:10.:09:13.

credible alternative. If we come along and say, we could be popular

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with the trade unions today, by saying we will spend more, tax less,

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pay people more. If people say that doesn't add up, that doesn't make

:09:22.:09:25.

us credible, it makes us less credible. What we have to do is say

:09:25.:09:31.

there is a better way, a fairer way, to get the deficit down, to get the

:09:31.:09:34.

economy moving, to get growth and jobs back. A five-point plan for

:09:34.:09:38.

jobs and growth, tough decisions on pay, but also done in fair way.

:09:38.:09:43.

Just on the specific point, do you take seriously the threat from the

:09:43.:09:48.

GMB to disaffiliate from the Labour Party? I don't want the GMB or

:09:48.:09:52.

Unite to disaffiliate from the Labour Party. You take it

:09:52.:09:57.

seriously? I want people to be working together for stronger and

:09:57.:10:00.

fairer futures for our country. We can't make our policy on the basis

:10:00.:10:04.

of that. We have to make our policy on what will be the best way

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forwardor the country, and what could show Labour in a credible way,

:10:08.:10:14.

can make difficult decisions, when we will be faced with clearing up a

:10:14.:10:18.

very difficult Tory economic mess, that we can see at the moment.

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you understand why there is personal anger at you, for many

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people, particularly in the trade union movement, not confined to

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that, you were the golden boy for the case for Keynesianism, you were

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the one that said these cuts were wrong and will choke off growth.

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You were the one that said even Alistair Darling's cuts might be

:10:36.:10:39.

too far, too fast. Now you are saying your starting point is to

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keep all the cuts. That is a big u- turn? No, I am saying today, as I

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said a year ago and two years ago, the deficit must come down, there

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have to be hard choices on tax and spend, but if you go too far and

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too fast, as I warned consistently over the last year-and-a-half, the

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danger was it wouldn't work, the economy would flatline,

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unemployment would go up. In the Autumn Statement, George Osborne

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had to admit, not only all that, that he's borrowing �158 billion

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more. The problem is I can't wave a magic wand and blow away that

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inheritance. Our task, as Labour, will be to clear up George

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Osborne's economic mess. You also said in a speech to Bloomberg in

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August 2010, when you were running for the leadership of the party,

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adopting the consensus view might be the easy and safe thing to do,

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but it doesn't make you right. Now you are adopting the consensus view,

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the view held among the Liberal Democrats, and the Conservatives,

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effective low, that there is no alternative to these cuts --

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effectively, that there is no alternative to these cuts? That is

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100%, emphatically wrong. I think George Osborne should change course

:11:50.:11:55.

now. His cuts are too far and too fast. He is crushing growth. The

:11:55.:11:58.

reason our interest rates are so low is because's getting it wrong.

:11:58.:12:03.

Unemployment is going up. He should have now, as we have advocated, a

:12:03.:12:08.

temporary cut in VAT, boost public investment, repeat the bank bonus

:12:08.:12:11.

tax. Why is it the unions don't get it distinction, Len McCluskey

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saying today, the real points of differenciation between Labour and

:12:15.:12:20.

the Government on the economy are very hard to identify, he's saying.

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You have even sophisticated union leaders who don't understand what

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you are doing? I have read that article, and on that, Len McCluskey

:12:27.:12:31.

is plain wrong. I argued for action now, to boost growth and jobs. I

:12:31.:12:34.

argued for long-term reform, to make sure economy stronger and

:12:34.:12:38.

fairer. On the one hand you are saying, I'm against these cuts in

:12:38.:12:44.

general, they are wrong, but in specifics you can't tell us any one

:12:44.:12:49.

you would reverse, that is complicated message to get across

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to people? Abolishing the Future Jobs Fund and the EMA, looked as if

:12:53.:12:57.

it would save money, but it has contributed to rising youth

:12:57.:13:00.

unemployment, costing the country more in benefits. You would reverse

:13:00.:13:05.

that? That is why we are saying, have the bank bonus tax now, the �2

:13:05.:13:10.

billion, and use it for youth jobs. I can't make a commitment now, I

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will not know how much money there is, and less in three years time.

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If you pursue that, you will have to say we will see how things turn

:13:16.:13:21.

out in three years time, why should we listen to you in the next three

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years? Because George Osborne is doggedly sticking with a plan that

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is failing. He should have changed course six months ago, he still can

:13:27.:13:31.

today. He still can in the run up to the budget. I will say to him,

:13:31.:13:35.

day by day, week by week, the approach he's taking, too far and

:13:35.:13:40.

too fast, is unfair and not working. The longer he persists, the bigger

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the pain, the bigger the damage, and the greater the damage in

:13:44.:13:46.

inheritance we will face, because of his mistakes, that is the

:13:46.:13:50.

position. Let's look at one specific issue coming up today, the

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question of disability living allowance. The Government says by

:13:53.:13:57.

getting rid of this they will save some 20%, they hope. You can't say

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to us tonight, that you would reverse that in three years time?

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If I said that to you today, you would say, rightly, how do you know

:14:05.:14:09.

what you will be able to afford in three years time. You are opposing

:14:09.:14:13.

it today, and getting MPs and peers to oppose it, isn't that a very

:14:13.:14:17.

difficult message. That is my point, you are saying we oppose it, but we

:14:17.:14:20.

can't say we will reverse it? Another example, the VAT rise last

:14:20.:14:25.

year to 20%, was an unfair tax rise, which choked off the recovery, and

:14:25.:14:29.

flat lined the economy, it will probably lead to more borrowing in

:14:29.:14:33.

the economy, it was the wrong thing to do. They shouldn't have done it,

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we are calling for a temporary VAT cut now. Can I say to you and to

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viewers, I promised -- promised as Shadow Chancellor in three years

:14:43.:14:50.

time I will definitely reverse that. I can't promise anything until I

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know the state of the economy. Byrne says, the basic line and gut

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issue for most supporters f you can't help the disabled, the poor

:14:58.:15:02.

and most deserving people in this country, many Labour Party

:15:02.:15:05.

supporters will say what's the point. You can't commit to that?

:15:05.:15:09.

three years time, absolutely not. As a Shadow Chancellor, I have to

:15:09.:15:12.

know that our manifesto is being properly costed, in the context of

:15:12.:15:16.

the times, and can be paid for. I think what they are doing on

:15:16.:15:19.

disability living allowance is a big mistake and unfair. The

:15:19.:15:23.

benefits cap will lead to more homelessness, the way it is

:15:23.:15:27.

designed. The abolition of the Future Jobs Fund, will make youth

:15:27.:15:31.

unemployment higher, taking tax credits away from families on

:15:31.:15:34.

�25,000, hitting women harder, is unfair, wrong and damaging. The

:15:34.:15:40.

question you are asking me, is can I to your viewers make promises

:15:40.:15:44.

about three years time. Nick Clegg made promises, the promise not to

:15:44.:15:47.

raise VAT, he broke his promises straight after the election. I

:15:47.:15:51.

won't make that mistake, that is wrong and not the right way to do

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politics. I won't make that mistake. Thank you very much.

:15:55.:15:59.

Newsnight has uncovered new evidence tonight, relating to the

:15:59.:16:02.

sailing patterns of the striken Italian cruiseship, Costa Crociere,

:16:02.:16:08.

it ran into rocks off the coast of Tuscany. What have we found out

:16:08.:16:11.

tonight? There seems to be a bit of a mismatch between some of the

:16:11.:16:15.

statements made by the company that owns the Costa Crociere, on the

:16:15.:16:19.

routes taken by the ship over the last few months. It is best

:16:19.:16:24.

illustrated by a map. This is a map showing the incident and the route

:16:24.:16:29.

taken last Friday by the Costa Crociere on the red line. You can

:16:29.:16:36.

see in the circle where it hit the rocks, it cruised on for a few

:16:36.:16:41.

hundred metres, it doubled back to a bay where it could get passengers

:16:41.:16:45.

closer to land. Look at the route taken last August by the exact same

:16:45.:16:50.

ship, it went very, very close to the incident from last Friday, very

:16:50.:16:53.

close indeet. If you go to the top of the map, you will see it went

:16:53.:16:59.

close to land before sailing off. 230ms according to the public data.

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That is crucial, the company said in a statement yesterday, that

:17:02.:17:06.

their ships don't travel any closer than 500ms to the shore. We know

:17:06.:17:10.

this because the technology tracks these ships exactly to where they

:17:10.:17:18.

go. Lloyd's look very carefully into it, I spoke to the editor,

:17:18.:17:25.

Richard Meade. We have discovered that the company saying that the

:17:25.:17:29.

captain taking a rogue master and individual position, this is not

:17:29.:17:34.

true, the ship took this position a year earlier, and the master would

:17:34.:17:38.

have known that, that this was a safe route and the ship had done

:17:38.:17:40.

this before. This evidence does stack that up. Very interesting.

:17:40.:17:44.

What are the company saying about this? We were only able to reach

:17:44.:17:47.

them an hour-and-a-half ago. They say they are looking into it, and

:17:47.:17:50.

verifying this. Crucially they are standing over the statements made

:17:50.:17:56.

by the chief executive, Foschi, yesterday. What happens to the

:17:56.:18:00.

captain in charge on Friday, was also the captain last August, we

:18:00.:18:04.

don't have that, that is the known unknown. We learned some more about

:18:04.:18:08.

the aftermath of the disaster as well? There is an extraordinary

:18:08.:18:11.

audio tape out there now, a conversation between the coastguard

:18:11.:18:18.

and this captain, Schettino, when he appears, the coastguard appears

:18:18.:18:21.

to be ordering, Francesco Schettino, to get back on the ship to ensure

:18:21.:18:26.

all passengers are off the ship. We have audio from that. Are you

:18:26.:18:29.

refusing to get back on board the ship, tell me why you are not

:18:29.:18:33.

getting on board. I'm not going, because there is the other lifeboat

:18:33.:18:41.

that has stopped. Get on board, that is an order. It seems to be a

:18:41.:18:44.

pretty angry exchange between the coastguard and the captain.

:18:44.:18:48.

captain was arrested over the weekend. He was brought before a

:18:48.:18:51.

judge today. Now he's facing manslaughter charges. So far there

:18:51.:18:58.

is an investigation under way, 11 confirmed dead so far.

:18:58.:19:02.

Syria, today was the last day that Arab League monitors were to

:19:02.:19:05.

continue their investigations of alleged human rights abuses, before

:19:05.:19:09.

writing their report. Newsnight's reporter travelled with the Arab

:19:09.:19:13.

League team inside Syria, and found they were mobbed by protestors,

:19:13.:19:17.

desperate to show the world, what they believe is incontravertable

:19:17.:19:19.

proof of the violence unleashed by the Assad Government, against

:19:19.:19:25.

civilians. Pursued by reporters, they are

:19:25.:19:29.

racing off for a last spot inspection. One of the Arab

:19:29.:19:35.

monitoring teams checking Syria's compliance with a deal to end the

:19:35.:19:40.

violence here. Today they are visiting a place near Damascus, an

:19:40.:19:43.

opposition stronghold, ringed by soldiers. They are barely out of

:19:43.:19:48.

their cars before they are accosted by a grieving mother. TRANSLATION:

:19:48.:19:53.

In the name of God, let me kiss your hand, my son has been arrested,

:19:53.:19:57.

his name is Mohammed, Assad's gangs killed my other son, right in front

:19:57.:20:05.

of my eyes. Already emboldened by the monitors'

:20:05.:20:15.

arrival, demonstrators are gathering. Their slogan" the people

:20:15.:20:21.

demand the hanging of the President".

:20:21.:20:24.

The observers' presence in Syria hasn't achieved much, more than 400

:20:24.:20:28.

people have been killed in the uprising since the mission started

:20:28.:20:34.

last month. But it is the only independent force these people have

:20:34.:20:37.

access to. Everyone knows the Arab League is the international body

:20:37.:20:41.

with the best chance of influencing the Syrian Government. That's why

:20:41.:20:49.

people are so desperate to have their voice heard today.

:20:49.:20:53.

Down this street, they say, Government snipers have been firing

:20:53.:20:56.

on protestors. Soldiers are positioned on a roof top, even

:20:56.:21:03.

today. Here, apparently, is the evidence of their work.

:21:03.:21:07.

TRANSLATION: They shot him from the roof of the building, military

:21:07.:21:10.

officers live there. My friend, Mohammed, he was about to finish

:21:10.:21:16.

school. He was walking in the street when they shot him. This

:21:16.:21:21.

woman says she has recorded another crime, a 13-year-old boy, shot dead

:21:21.:21:26.

in front of her. TRANSLATION: was an only child, he went out of

:21:26.:21:32.

the mosque, the sniper shot him in the eye. Bashar al-Assad, may the

:21:32.:21:37.

same thing happen to your children. I filmed this myself, house wives

:21:37.:21:44.

like me have become journalists. And suddenly the monitors, supposed

:21:44.:21:47.

to be neutral, have become the heros of this crowd. Everyone wants

:21:47.:21:52.

to believe they can help. But they won't say whether they

:21:52.:21:57.

will or not. TRANSLATION: No we're not allowed to speak to the media.

:21:57.:22:03.

I can't give you my impressions. Some don't trust them. TRANSLATION:

:22:03.:22:08.

Are you working with the regime? They tell us you are with the

:22:08.:22:14.

regime, lime like your son, tell us the truth. This young man won't

:22:14.:22:18.

dare show his face. Now I am sure when you go out from here, they

:22:18.:22:25.

will come to here to banish us and kill us. Can the Arab League help?

:22:25.:22:30.

They do everything for Libya, they do everything for Tunisia, for

:22:30.:22:37.

Egypt, and now for Yemen, but for Syria, no. Why?

:22:37.:22:42.

This is a tiny bubble of free speech that has been created around

:22:42.:22:45.

the monitors, with but everyone is afraid what will happen after they

:22:45.:22:48.

have left. Even the monitors themselves are warning people that

:22:48.:22:53.

they will have to disperse pretty fast. The monitors have gone, he

:22:53.:22:59.

says, now they will kill us. They will kill me. At the end of

:23:00.:23:03.

the street soldiers wait. They have got a different story to tell the

:23:03.:23:09.

monitors about the protest we have just seen. Tran These young men who

:23:09.:23:12.

come out on the streets -- TRANSLATION: These young men who

:23:12.:23:17.

come out on the streets, they don't know what they want, they are being

:23:17.:23:22.

incited by armed gangs. These holes we have seen in shutters, in walls,

:23:22.:23:27.

these are holes from bullets from Government snipers? TRANSLATION:

:23:27.:23:32.

The Government never shot anyone in the street. It was armed gangs that

:23:32.:23:38.

did it. The army is here to protect the citizens. Then, the monitors

:23:38.:23:42.

were gone. And so were the protestors.

:23:42.:23:46.

Tension returned to the streets. Now Syrians wait to hear what the

:23:46.:23:49.

monitors will say in their report later this week, and what further

:23:49.:23:55.

action, if any, the Arab League will take against President Assad's

:23:55.:24:01.

regime. What is certain is for now, the people here are again alone,

:24:01.:24:07.

against the power of their state. We're all in this together, has

:24:07.:24:12.

become one of the cliches of the age of austerity, but by all of us,

:24:12.:24:15.

the Government means people with disabilities. Earlier tonight the

:24:15.:24:19.

Government won a vote in the House of Lords, on a bill that would

:24:19.:24:22.

scrap disability allowance, and replace it with a new scheme, aimed

:24:22.:24:27.

at cutting spending in this area by 20%. The Government victory by the

:24:27.:24:30.

slender margin of 16 votes was a relief for the coalition. But the

:24:30.:24:34.

row over what campaigners see as penalising some of the most

:24:34.:24:44.
:24:44.:24:45.

deserving in our society, is far from over.

:24:45.:24:50.

DLA is my independence, every day going out, shopping, going to

:24:50.:25:00.
:25:00.:25:04.

socialise, visit people. To live and work independently, Analise

:25:04.:25:07.

needs help. Her disability living allowance means she can pay for

:25:07.:25:12.

transport to go to the office, do the shopping and see her family.

:25:12.:25:15.

the allowance was cut, I wouldn't be able to do the things. I would

:25:15.:25:19.

have to rely on friends and family to pick me up and take me places

:25:19.:25:25.

and help me. I love my independence. I want to be independent. Changes

:25:25.:25:29.

to disability living allowance are part of deep reforms to the welfare

:25:30.:25:37.

state. Aiming to cut �18 billion of spending. More than �2 billion of

:25:37.:25:41.

that will come from replacing DLA with a new personal independence

:25:41.:25:47.

payment. It will affect two million claimants of working age. That is

:25:47.:25:51.

16-64. The Government has announced the change, but given very little

:25:51.:25:55.

detail, not least how much the new benefit will actually be worth. And

:25:55.:26:00.

the uncertainty is adding to the resistance. Everybody receiving

:26:00.:26:04.

disability living allowance, is worried that they are going to be

:26:04.:26:09.

affected. The number of working age people claiming DLA, has risen from

:26:10.:26:15.

1.65 million in 2002, to two million in 2010, and is projected

:26:15.:26:21.

to reach 2.2 million, by 2015. But the Government says the change to

:26:21.:26:26.

the new scheme will slash that number to 1.7 million. Taking

:26:26.:26:31.

500,000 people off the benefit. Reformers say the change is overdue.

:26:31.:26:35.

At the moment people can actually get the benefit just by filling in

:26:35.:26:38.

forms. There isn't a medical assessment to tell whether they are

:26:38.:26:41.

telling the truth. The Government takes it on trust you are telling

:26:41.:26:46.

the truth. In fact, there is a cottage industry of firms, who, for

:26:46.:26:50.

a fee, will show you how to fill the forms in and get the been fits.

:26:50.:26:55.

The number of people claiming DLA has trebled since it was introduced,

:26:55.:26:58.

the Government is spending �12 billion a year on that. All the

:26:58.:27:02.

payments, very important for people with really severe disabilities

:27:02.:27:05.

will continue, but there will be a medical assessment, to make sure

:27:05.:27:10.

those getting it really need to get it. But the assessments are

:27:10.:27:13.

controversial and led to the latest confrontation between peers and the

:27:13.:27:18.

Government over welfare reform. Tonight Baroness Grey-Thompson, the

:27:18.:27:23.

paralympian, narrowly lost a vote to delay the new benefits

:27:23.:27:28.

introduction. I have had nearly 600 e-mails from different disabled

:27:28.:27:30.

people, saying they are terrified of the changes going to happen. It

:27:30.:27:33.

is really important that the assessment process will properly

:27:33.:27:37.

record, if losing DLA has a negative impact. Disability groups,

:27:37.:27:42.

like the Papworth Trust, where Analise works on reception, five

:27:42.:27:46.

mornings a week, accept the case for reform. Currently no allowance

:27:46.:27:51.

is made for the fact that people's levels of dependency can change.

:27:51.:27:55.

But they are highly suspicious about the fact the Government has

:27:55.:27:58.

determined how much it will save before a single person has been

:27:58.:28:03.

assessed. It feels, to a lot of the disabled people commenting to us,

:28:03.:28:07.

that their concern is they are trying to create an assessment that

:28:07.:28:11.

achieves a reduction in finances, rather than trying to create an

:28:11.:28:15.

assessment which fairly evaluates what people need, and then takes

:28:15.:28:21.

the cut at whatever that level might be. Analise and her partner,

:28:21.:28:27.

Keith, manage their lives with help from the DLA and regular visits

:28:27.:28:30.

from their carer. The Government says all those who need the new

:28:30.:28:33.

benefit will get it. For Analise this is a time of insecurity over

:28:34.:28:43.
:28:44.:28:44.

the things she values so highly. Her ability to live independently.

:28:44.:28:50.

Listening to that report with me were Tani Grey-Thompson, the

:28:50.:28:53.

Paralympic athlete campaigning against Government plans in the

:28:53.:28:56.

Lords, and Harriett Baldwin, on the Work and Pensions select committee.

:28:56.:29:01.

Can I begin with the point that was made there, this is being done to

:29:01.:29:05.

save money, laudible, but because you have said it will be 20%

:29:05.:29:08.

savings, perhaps 500,000 people won't get it. It sounds as if you

:29:08.:29:12.

have made the decision and trying to fit everything else into the

:29:12.:29:15.

money-saving needs of this country? I'm glad that we are having this

:29:15.:29:20.

discussion, because I'm on the select committee that scrutinises

:29:20.:29:23.

the DLA transfer at the moment. We are taking evidence from people on

:29:23.:29:28.

this particular issue at the moment. I just really want to reassure

:29:28.:29:33.

Analise and people like her all over my constituency and other

:29:33.:29:36.

constituencies, that this personal independent payment that is coming

:29:36.:29:40.

in, the change is, effectively, that there will now be a face-to-

:29:40.:29:44.

face assessment. Secondly, that the benefit will be assessed on a

:29:44.:29:48.

regular basis. I think one of the things that is characteristic about

:29:48.:29:54.

the current DLA, is 70% of the awards are on a permanent basis,

:29:54.:30:00.

and never reassessed. Of course people's conditions can fluctuate

:30:00.:30:04.

over time. It is estimated �630 million is currently paid to people

:30:04.:30:08.

who no longer need it. You accept presumably the overall case for

:30:08.:30:11.

saving money where we can, and people shouldn't get benefits when

:30:11.:30:15.

they don't need it. What are you worried about? There is no doubt

:30:15.:30:20.

that DLA did need reform, nobody is arguing against that. There is a

:30:20.:30:23.

massive fear amongst disabled people about who will get cut.

:30:23.:30:27.

Especially when things like 20% are bandied around. It is 20% of

:30:27.:30:31.

numbers, 20% in funding. The figures released yesterday, that up

:30:31.:30:34.

to half a million disabled people could be affected is just

:30:35.:30:39.

terrifying, DLA is used as a benefit, it is not an out of work

:30:39.:30:43.

benefit, it is available for everyone. It is used to paper over

:30:43.:30:48.

the cracks, NHS support, or local social service support, people use

:30:48.:30:53.

it to help make their homes accessible and buy the right

:30:53.:30:57.

seating and equipment. It helps people get to work, it is a very

:30:57.:31:01.

important benefit. My fear is f those people get cuts, disabled

:31:01.:31:05.

people will find it hard to stay in work. Without a deep assessment

:31:05.:31:08.

process, we could be pushing a very large group of disabled people into

:31:08.:31:12.

an I can't remember where they have much more severe needs and more

:31:12.:31:16.

cost. Is this 500,000 a target, where did you get that number from,

:31:16.:31:21.

that worries people, people looking at it saying it is possibly me?

:31:21.:31:24.

That is terribly important. The points that were made there, are

:31:25.:31:28.

really an important thing. This is a very valuable benefit to people,

:31:28.:31:32.

which is paid whether you are in work or out of work. A large

:31:32.:31:36.

percentage of people who receive it actually don't even realise that,

:31:36.:31:41.

it is a benefit that is paid to help people with the additional

:31:41.:31:46.

costs of either care or mobility. In terms of when you say our target

:31:46.:31:50.

is to save 20%, it could be 500,000 people who come off it. When the

:31:50.:31:54.

Government says that, doesn't that give you, as somebody scrutinising

:31:54.:31:56.

this, pause for thought, that is the important thing for the

:31:56.:31:59.

Government, and perhaps that is the wrong way to go about it. You

:32:00.:32:03.

should go about reform, face-to- face interviews should take place,

:32:03.:32:06.

and you should take some time, and then figure out how much you are

:32:06.:32:13.

going to save? The amount paid out is �12.6 billion, the amount her

:32:13.:32:18.

projecting to pay out by 2015 -- they are projecting to pay out by

:32:18.:32:23.

2015 is broadly what it is in 2009/2010. There has been quite a

:32:24.:32:27.

large increase in the number of people receiving this benefit. That

:32:27.:32:31.

is logical f you assume that no-one who has been receiving it for a

:32:31.:32:35.

long time has been reassessed. There may be people whose

:32:35.:32:38.

conditions have improved, but without that reassessment. I do

:32:38.:32:43.

agree with you, it is not helpful to be having this against the

:32:43.:32:46.

particular backdrop of budget pressures. This is a reform that

:32:46.:32:50.

would have to happen, irrespective of what kind of conditions the

:32:50.:32:57.

economy was in. Are there any things that could be done which

:32:57.:33:01.

would retain the principle, you said it has been there for 20 years,

:33:01.:33:05.

it needs reviewing perhaps. That could keep the principle of review,

:33:05.:33:09.

but make people a lot happier about face-to-face interviews, which

:33:09.:33:12.

presumably are quite an ordeal if people think what would be

:33:12.:33:17.

involved? They can be a huge ordeal, especially people who have

:33:17.:33:20.

fluctuating conditions on daily basis, or people whose conditions

:33:20.:33:24.

aren't going to change. A long time was spent discussing at committee

:33:24.:33:28.

and report, is trying to make decisions about who should have

:33:28.:33:30.

face-to-face interviews, what should be able to use medical

:33:30.:33:33.

evidence to support it. It is making sure we get the right

:33:33.:33:37.

process. I think there is a lot of fear amongst disabled people.

:33:37.:33:46.

People who have been through transition from IBE to ISA feel

:33:46.:33:50.

quite distrustful of the process, ESA has a high turnover appeal, a

:33:50.:33:54.

very high appeal rate, people want to feel a little bit more

:33:54.:33:57.

comfortable that the consultation is being carried out, that disabled

:33:57.:34:03.

people are involved. One of the things that Lord Freud said tonight,

:34:03.:34:08.

is they wouldn't be using the social model of disability to

:34:08.:34:11.

decide this, lots of disabled people feel they will be locked

:34:11.:34:14.

away and ghettoised without a way of getting into society. Is there

:34:14.:34:18.

any way you can see of keeping it, trying it out in certain areas to

:34:18.:34:23.

see if it works, anything that would ease people's fears without

:34:23.:34:27.

conceding the principle? I think the current application form, which

:34:27.:34:34.

is 60 plus pages, isn't it, is also not exactly a really easy way to

:34:34.:34:39.

apply for this benefit. I think face-to-face could be something

:34:39.:34:44.

that really reassures people over time. But I do accept that when the

:34:44.:34:47.

work capability assessments were brought in, under the previous

:34:47.:34:50.

Government, for people on Incapacity Benefit, that process,

:34:50.:34:54.

when it first started, didn't work very well. There were a lot of

:34:54.:34:58.

appeals. Hence the suspicion that has been talked about? That is the

:34:58.:35:01.

backdrop and frame of reference that people potentially are going

:35:01.:35:06.

through this new change and are viewing this with. There is no

:35:06.:35:11.

question that the Government has brought in Professor Harrington to

:35:11.:35:16.

make improvements to the work capability assessment. He's on his

:35:16.:35:18.

second review now our select committee reported on ways that

:35:18.:35:21.

process could be improved. Briefly, do you think there is some way that

:35:21.:35:25.

the opposition can go now, that you can still push this? We still keep

:35:26.:35:30.

pushing it. I think what was very useful about today was that Lord

:35:30.:35:33.

Freud came a lot further forward in terms of what he's proposing. One

:35:33.:35:37.

area of concern I have is the assessors will still only have a

:35:37.:35:40.

broad education in disability, we need to make sure they have the

:35:40.:35:44.

right education to assess people properly as a disabled person we

:35:44.:35:48.

will keep fighting and try to protect those half a million

:35:48.:35:52.

disabled people. If you are planning to research

:35:52.:35:55.

something on Wikipedia tomorrow, you might be better to do so after

:35:55.:36:01.

you have heard our next item and before you go to bed. Tomorrow

:36:01.:36:05.

Wikipedia will be on strike for reasons, its co-founder, Jimmy

:36:05.:36:09.

Wales, will explain in a moment. It is to do with proposed new laws in

:36:09.:36:13.

the United States to clampdown on internet piracy, which opponents

:36:13.:36:20.

say, threatens freedom of speech. January 1th, the birthday of Cary

:36:20.:36:23.

Grant, the anniversary of the founding of Bentley motors, field

:36:23.:36:31.

hockey was born, and James Cook discovered Hawaii. From 5.00am

:36:31.:36:37.

tomorrow, a self-imposed blackout on the site will happen for 24

:36:37.:36:42.

hours N the words of the co-founder, Jimmy Wales "do your homework

:36:42.:36:47.

earlier". The blackout is in opposition to the Stop Online

:36:47.:36:53.

Piracy Act, and Protect IP Act, both bills want to tackle on-line

:36:53.:36:57.

piracy by preventing American search engines from directing users

:36:58.:37:01.

to sites with stolen content. The bills would allow individuals or

:37:01.:37:07.

companies to sue if their copyright is infringed. One of the main

:37:07.:37:10.

backers of the legislation has been Hollywood. With recent convert,

:37:10.:37:15.

Rupert Murdoch, tweeting about what he calls the piracy leader, Google,

:37:15.:37:20.

over the issue. Similar web blackouts will be planned by other

:37:20.:37:25.

sites. With 20 million planned visitors, he hopes the action by

:37:25.:37:30.

Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington. The approaching

:37:30.:37:34.

darkness hasn't been embraced throughout the Internet. Twitter's

:37:34.:37:39.

chief executive said closing the Internet on a single issue was

:37:39.:37:42.

ludicrous. It could be shelved after the White House said it could

:37:42.:37:45.

not support law that is would reduce freedom of expression and

:37:45.:37:47.

undermine the Internet. President Obama could use his presidential

:37:47.:37:56.

veto.? I'm joined by the co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, and

:37:56.:38:03.

Shaun McAleer from the Picture a-- and my other guest. Explain why you

:38:03.:38:07.

are so opposed to the moves by Congress. Internet piracy is piracy,

:38:07.:38:12.

it is still left, isn't it? Yes, absolutely. You know, for us, we

:38:12.:38:17.

are quite strong defenders of copyright, within our community, we

:38:17.:38:21.

have very rigorous policies inside our community. It is not so much

:38:21.:38:24.

about that. For us it is that these bills are very badly written, and

:38:24.:38:28.

don't really address the problem in the right way. I think a useful

:38:28.:38:32.

analogy might be, if you hear that there is this great invention

:38:32.:38:35.

called the automobile, and two years later you find out the

:38:35.:38:39.

automobile is being used by bank robbers, the answer is not to

:38:39.:38:43.

regulate and ban automobiles, the answer is to deal with that problem

:38:43.:38:51.

directly. In search engines were directing

:38:51.:38:55.

people to website where is they could buy crack, people would think

:38:55.:39:03.

it is awful, your automobile analogy is wrong, there is some

:39:03.:39:07.

responsibility for the search engines? We have a good set of

:39:07.:39:11.

rules in the United States about you know, the takedown provisions,

:39:11.:39:17.

the digital and copyright act has been in place and is working well.

:39:17.:39:21.

We don't need toen gauge in the things these bills contemplate,

:39:21.:39:25.

things like constructing DNS blacklists, so people can't access

:39:26.:39:33.

sites. It is about how sloppy the legislation is, than the goals.

:39:33.:39:37.

Michael O'Leary, sloppy legislation in Washington, I'm shocked, do you

:39:37.:39:42.

think the main point, that he's against theft and believes people

:39:42.:39:45.

have intellectual property rights, but you can't have sloppy bills

:39:45.:39:49.

that interfere with our freedom to research things on the internet

:39:49.:39:52.

freely? I would disagree with the characterisation that the bill does

:39:52.:39:55.

any of the things mentioned in the set up piece or my friend from

:39:55.:39:59.

Wikipedia. The simple fact of the matter is this bill doesn't shut

:39:59.:40:03.

down websites or make them illegal. It is simply focused on websites

:40:03.:40:07.

that are engaged in criminal activity, stealing the product of

:40:07.:40:11.

American workers and profiting from it. If you are a legitimate site

:40:11.:40:14.

like wick peedia, there is nothing to be concerned about. The second

:40:14.:40:19.

point I would make, if they share the goal of deal be with piracy,

:40:19.:40:22.

the best approach, is to come forward and offer solutions. I

:40:22.:40:25.

think shutting down a legitimate business for one day, while it

:40:25.:40:29.

draws a lot of press attention, it is a cute gimmick. It doesn't solve

:40:29.:40:32.

the underlying problem. One of the things the White House said this

:40:32.:40:35.

weekend in their statement, they would like to see interested people

:40:35.:40:39.

to come forward and craft reasonable solutions. So we're

:40:39.:40:43.

happy to meet him half way on the argument that he is against piracy,

:40:43.:40:48.

but we're not 100% clear how shutting down a website for a day

:40:48.:40:55.

to draw attention to that really advances that cause in any way.

:40:55.:40:59.

1234 Make a suggestion how this could be redrafted in language we

:40:59.:41:03.

understand, that would make it better for you and everybody?

:41:03.:41:05.

absolutely strongly support the concept that we should come

:41:05.:41:10.

together in a peaceful, thoughtful way, to craft legislation that

:41:10.:41:13.

actually carves out the real problems here, and avoids burdening

:41:13.:41:17.

everybody else. For me one of the biggest issues here is the question

:41:17.:41:23.

of follow the money. If we can look into who are these major criminal

:41:23.:41:27.

pirates, how are they profiting and so forth, go after the money, don't

:41:27.:41:31.

go after freedom of speech, don't force us to stop telling people

:41:31.:41:34.

where the sites are and that kind of things. Go after the money?

:41:34.:41:38.

think that is a half measure, frankly, I think you yourself said

:41:38.:41:42.

it in your set up, when you were saying don't the search engines

:41:42.:41:46.

bear some responsibility for making the Internet safe and legitimate

:41:46.:41:50.

for everyone. What this is really about, frankly, is excluding the

:41:50.:41:54.

search engines and putting all of the onus on other parts of the

:41:54.:41:58.

ecosystem. The simple fact of the matter is everyone who plays a role

:41:58.:42:00.

in the Internet has a responsibility in making it safe

:42:00.:42:06.

and leg depit mit, there are search engines that -- legitimate, there

:42:06.:42:09.

are search engines that play a role in that. We haven't seen their

:42:09.:42:13.

willingness to do that. That is unfortunate, what is lost mind the

:42:13.:42:18.

gimmicks and blackouts is there are tens of millions of American

:42:18.:42:20.

workers harmed by piracy, they deserve the attention and response

:42:21.:42:24.

they are not get anything that debate. That may be correct, but

:42:24.:42:28.

search engines are search engines, they are not web policemen, they

:42:28.:42:33.

couldn't do it? That is absolutely inaccurate, the search engines have

:42:33.:42:36.

a much greater understanding of what they are doing out there.

:42:36.:42:40.

Google, for example, their entire model is predicated on where you

:42:40.:42:45.

come up in the search results. They have ad programmes predicated on

:42:45.:42:48.

that. The notion it is simply a search request going in and there

:42:48.:42:53.

is no way of knowing it, it is not accurate. If they are told by a

:42:53.:42:56.

court order a neutral federal court in the ufpl states, that they

:42:56.:43:00.

should not be taking con-- in the United States, that they should not

:43:00.:43:05.

take consumers to a site because it is engaged in piracy, they can do

:43:06.:43:09.

that. In the US this is where we get into serious first amendment

:43:09.:43:14.

issues. What you are saying, is if Google knows where criminal

:43:14.:43:19.

activity is going on, they are not allowed to tell people. In the US

:43:19.:43:22.

that doesn't fly. Thank you very much. A quick look at the front

:43:22.:43:26.

pages. The Times says a revolt over Labour

:43:26.:43:29.

raid on its local party activists, they are forced to give up

:43:29.:43:33.

they are forced to give up ownership.

:43:33.:43:40.

They have fashionable picture there of Ian Hislop, appearing at the

:43:40.:43:50.
:43:50.:43:50.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 66 seconds

:43:50.:44:57.

That's all from Newsnight, from all Good evening t may be frosty at the

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moment over parts of England and Wales. Temperatures rising through

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the night. A mild start to the morning, a damp and murky start as

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well. Mist, fog and a lot of rain too. Brightening up through

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Scotland and Northern Ireland, through northern England through

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the second half of the day, temperatures dropping away through

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the afternoon after highs of 10 in the morning. Into southern England

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is itth stays cloudy and damp through much of the day. Drizzle

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light and patchy, dismal day, breezy as well. Temperatures here

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probably around 11-12 at best. Misty and murky across the south.

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The north coast brightening up briefly, before the afternoon is

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completely through. Northern Ireland, temperatures here will

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have dropped through the day. But we will see the return of sunshine

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after a cloudy, damp start. A few showers across the northern and

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western areas. They could turn increasingly wintry on the tops of

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the mountains. Milder and colder, and cold and breezy day on Thursday

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across many parts of northern UK. There will be sunshine here. Not as

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much sunshine further south. More than we will see on Wednesday, but

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Thursday will start cloudy and damp across many southern areas, the

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In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Gavin Esler. Has Labour leader Ed Miliband's endorsement of a public pay freeze harmed his grassroots strength? The fight to stop changes to disability benefits, an exclusive look inside Syria and the Wikipedia blackout over web censorship laws.


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