19/01/2012 Newsnight


Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman asks what are the initiatives and rules that would form David Cameron's vision of 'popular capitalism'? We speak to Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm.

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The market is the best imaginable force for improving human wealth


and happiness, according to our Prime Minister today. It just needs


a little adjustment. And it's not just him, it is all the main party


leaders. They don't buy it at the protest


camp, but how has this mainstream consensus been built, and can it


last? I have been speaking to the Marxist historian, Eric Hobsbawm.


Capitalism developed a sort of pathological degeneration of the


admit Smith's line, in which you believe that responsibility had


absolutely nothing to do with it. The question for our guests: if


capitalism is so broken, why is an alternative so very hard to


imagine? The story of how the British


Government betrayed this man when he tried to warn them that tax-


payers' money was being given to companies accused of money


laundering. I don't know how else to put it, at some point or the


other I will have to pay the price for what I have done.


What do you mean? Retribution. There will be some form of


retribution. The Most Excellent Order of the


British Empire, to receive the honour of Knighthood. Calls mount


for the man who shredded the royal bank of Scotland to be striped of


his Knighthood. Since when has incompetence within an offence, and


since when could jailbirds keep their peerages.


Both the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition spent


today arguing for a socially responsible version of capitalism.


They follow ed the Deputy Prime Minister, who is a fan of what he


calls a John Lewis-style of economy. The days of an ideolgical divide


are gone. The de bait now is just how the market works. The voices


saying that even if you put lipstick on a pig it is still a pig


are muted or ignored. Our economics editor, Paul Mason, reports.


Today, if we're frank, many people are questioning, not just how and


when we will recover, but they are questioning the whole way in which


our economy works. The Occupy protest at St Paul's may be facing


its final days, but its legacy could be this, both Labour and the


Conservatives vying with each other to verbally beat up capitalism.


Yesterday, unemployment rose again, and across Europe...With


speechwriter recruited from the Guardian, and an audience from the


Co-op movement, Mr Cameron weighed in. No true Conservative has a


niave belief that all politics and politicians have to do is just


stand back and let capitalism rip. We know there is every difference


in the world between a market that works and the one that does not.


Markets can fail. Uncontrolled globalisation can slide into


monopolisation, sweeping aside the small, the personal, the local. But


we are the party that understands how to make capitalism work. Across


London, it was the turn of Labour to wave the red flag against


irresponsible capitalism. challenge to David Cameron is to be


judged on his deeds not his words. So, if he's serious about tackling


irresponsible capitalism, he needs to clampdown on the fact that train


companies are ripping people off. If he's serious about tackling


irresponsible capitalism, he needs to take action to break up the


rigged energy market. If he's serious about irresponsible


capitalism, he needs to take action to stop those exorbitant bank


charges. That is the proof that he is really serious about this agenda.


The drivers of discontent are clear, a million young people on the dole,


wages stagnant, growth shuddering to a halt, millions shut out of the


credit market. But what does all the rhetoric about capitalism


really mean. If by capitalism we mean the concentration of wealth,


power and influence, among a few rich people in place like the City


of London, nobody in mainstream politics, in truth, intends to do


much about that. One reason might be, the absence of alternatives


Over the past 18 months, the UK Uncut movement, has pushed issues


like corporate tax avoidance and inequality into the headlines. This


woman, a veteran of those protests, at the age of 26, is notm prised


with the concept of -- impressed with the concept of responsible


capitalism. When politicians like David Cameron and Ed Milliband set


up these strange die cots me of responsible and irresponsible


capitalism I just don't believe it, there are systemic issues with


capitalism. Your movement avoids the systemic issues, because there


is no alternative coming out of your movement? It is not our


responsibility to come up with the alternative. It is the


responsibility of UK Uncut and Occupy, to put pressure on


Governments to deliver fairer and more progressive and more people-


centered society. The reason we elect politicians is so they can


come up with cold, hard alternatives, of which there are


many. But, among the high towers of high


finance, not many people can see an alternative, even if they can see


major flaws in the current system. At the Financial Times, they are


running a debate entitled "Capitalism in crisis". For all the


column pages filled, the solutions are remarkably thin.


Can you see any alternative view, as in the 30s, when there is a big


inflection point in economic thinking, is anything emerging?


the moment the answer is no. There are two sorts of reasons for that.


First Minister, there is no equivalent of communism, nobody


believes in a fundamentally different system. We have to


remember the 30s, many people z most intelligent people believed


that there was that sort of alternative. We are not getting the


sort of Keynsian revolution, even within mainstream politics, we are


going back to Keynsian revolution. The most unconventional thinking is


Keynsianism, that is an 80-year-old system. The answer is, no. We are


seeing demonstrations on the scale of the 30s, and strikes and trouble.


Could the ultimate strength of modern capitalism be, that even


those on the streets can't imagine it ever ending. 20 or 30 years ago,


a young activist on the left, like you, would have just said I'm a


socialist, why is that so hard now? Well, I do consider myself a


socialist, and sometimes I do baulk at saying it, because I think


people of my age have been conditioned, I suppose, by things


like the Cold War, and by Stalin to see socialism as this kind of


monolithic state control over the very tiny minute new shy of your


life. For me, publicly-owned services means everybody puts their


money in the pot, so everybody has stake in the services and ensures


the purpose of the services is to make sure everybody is cared for,


and not to make profits for a few people at the top. Which is what is


happening in a lot of industries at the moment.


Capitalism, irresponsible or not, has become global, complex and


high-tech. The actions of national Governments limited by financial


reality, whatever their rhetoric implies. Even the rhetoric, these


days, ain't what it used to be. At almost any point in the 20th


century you could have found influential figures offering an


alternative analysis to the idea now common place in all three


political parties, that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with


capitalism, it is just a matter of how it operates. According to


Marxist interpretation, selfishness and inequality aren't an abhoration,


but the natural product of capitalism.


Marxists aren't quite on the endangered species yet, the oldman


of Marxism, Eric Hobsbawm, published a book, How To Change The


World, at the age of 94. I went to speak to him earlier.


The Prime Minister was speaking today about responsible capitalism,


do you think such a thing exists? As an economic system, capitalism


has nothing to do with responsibility. It has to do with


growth, with making profit. Over the last 40 years, it seems to me,


capitalism developed a sort of pathological degeneration of the


Adam Smith's line, in which you believe that responsibility had


absolutely nothing to do with it, because all good results, such as


they were, would arise from operations of the free market,


provided the free market were left completely free. What's really


talking about is just capitalism, isn't he. The idea that capitalism


can exist, alongside some sort of social, moral system, in which


there is a degree of equity? It can, if it is made to. By itself, there


is nothing to make it function like that at all. Why is it, do you


think, that when we see capitalism clearly in crisis, in the west now,


why is it that no-one else is reaching for these Marxist utopian


solutions? Marxism isn't a utopian solution. Marxism is a definition


of problems, which we have to deal with, and with which capitalism


cannot, at present deal. The major problem, at the moment, which is


going to be very, very hard for anybody to deal with, is that what


was the transformation of the world through capitalism, and high-


technology, and enormous extraordinary advance, one element


of production has become surplus to requirement. Namely people. If we


go on developing, what happens to the people who previously managed


to get in on the system, largely through getting jobs, getting good


living jobs, bad living jobs, but jobs? We can see some of the


problems right now in detrialised areas. What happens, particularly -


- deindustrialised areas, what happens, in particular to the men,


when there are no jobs. When you look at the riots last summer, do


you think they have a political element to them? I think the riots


were a reaction to a society of demoralised people, that doesn't


know what happens. These particular riots weren't, I think,


particularly political, and it would be a mistake to read that


into it. But, the fact that a large number of people are demoralised


because there is nothing for them to do, is more than the temporary


phenomenon of unemployment. Once upon a time, 80% of the population


in the world were farmers. And that's the only way we could get


the food. Nowadays we can get all the food we want, with maybe 2% or


less of people farming. Now this is happening with the other parts of


production too. That's where the real danger lies. So what do you


make of the Occupy movement? interesting thing is the response.


The response both on the part of ordinary people, to see that this


extraordinary inquay ee quality, social and economic -- inequality,


social and economic inequality, is in some sense seen as a moral


inequality in most cases, is intolerable. The idea that even


among the capitalists, that this isn't what they were supposed to be


producing. To that extent, the lack of self-confidence in capitalism at


the moment is one element that we have to count into the crisis.


You're just an old Marxist clutching at straws aren't you?


not clutching any straws, because I'm pessimistic. I doubt whether,


in fact, a solution will be found. Evently no doubt t will be. I


suspect we are looking forward to a rather stormy period in the next


20-30 years. Thank you very much. With us now are the Labour MP, and


historian, Mr Hunt, Eamonn Fingleton from the times, and Julie


Meyer, founder and CEO of the investment company.


Why are all the party leaders talking suddenly about responsible


capitalism? Because when there is so little growth people think about


fairness. They think about weather what


people are getting out is related to what is going in. It doesn't


occur to them in the good times? is less of an issue. When


capitalism is producing a lot, people are getting a lot out. They


don't worry how other people are doing, if they are doing better


than them. What do you make of the talk? When we are beginning to see


the bonuses come out of the City, there is a very real sense of the


inequality of the system. What is interesting, in a sense, this


debate has only begun at such intensity now, when we have had the


ramifications of it for the last three years. It is getting very


interesting. It seems to me that the perameters of the debate are


centre left and progressive. About how we remodel the neo-liberal


capitalist model we have had for the last 30 years. For those of us


on the left it is a very exciting time. Do you think there is a


crisis in capitalism? I don't F we mean capitalism as a market economy,


where profit is the motive, you have to drive things to


profitability. You can't tax a loss, you tax a profit, in order to have


money for public service, you have tob to have profitability as the


goal. What we have seen over the past 30 years capital markets have


lifted a million people out of poverty. They continue to do that.


If you speak to people in their 20s they take it for grant in their


lives that they have the freedom to engage in the market. We're the


market. You can't say there is something wrong with the freedom to


pursue your livelihood, every day. The capitalist model lefting people


out of poverty in Brazil, in China, in India, is very different to what


we have here in western Europe. The point about capitalism is it has


these many manifestations, capitalism changes over time. The


great achievement of Marx was to hissor size capitalism, and put it


in -- historicalise capitalism and put it into history. The Soviet


Union in the end. These are trivial and as if siel points about a


historian's record that you -- facile points about a historian's


record. It was true and that was the thrust of his career, and the


Soviet Union ends up in a position where it couldn't print off the


paper to write down the people it was executing. It was debating


points about capitalism. It is about trying to identify the


alternative, when you heard criticisms about capitalism, some


of which are true, I didn't understand what Eric Hobsbawm's


solution, when he did it was a catastrophic one. It is Germaine,


you can't say capitalism is in crisis or has to be replaced, go


and sit outside St Paul's, and ask what do you propose instead, say it


is childish to ask. There are bad people in the world, we will never


get rid of them. I personally think it is 5%, not 50% of the people. We


live in a world where capitalism, market economy reflects human


nature, we can't change that. We can only encourage positive


behaviour. We will never, ever, in the history of the world, change


the fact is there will be bad people who try to rip people off.


When you talk about this being an exciting time to be on the left,


there isn't any alternative that most of us can see being canvased


anywhere? There is not an alternative in the sense of are we


going back to the Marxist model of socialism of the 1850s, and the


reason that is not going to happen is because we have lost faith.


Socialism ultimately is an act of faith. Any place it was implemented


it was an abject failure? models of socialism that were


implemented were very different to Marxist thinking. The point of this


is we were discussing earlier. me a favour. The interwar years. We


were discussing in some of the contributions, the progressives of


the 1890s and the 1900s, the way you tackle inheritance tax and


inequality those are the centre left arguments. That is where David


Cameron, the ultimate PR man who has very little structured beliefs


can see where the debate is going, and wants to be there. The PR man


doesn't sit with the childish sixth form debating point you made


earlier. You are misunderstanding what people think about fairness.


They think of fairness as putting something in and getting something


out. A fair exchange, no robbery, the market accords well with the


idea of that fairness. When the markets fail, as they have done,


and where they see people taking out outsize rewards not related to


their input, they begin to ask right questions, and they require


reform. There has never been a socialist alternative to property


rights and exchange. Nor has there been a socialist idea of fairness


that challenges the idea that you put in and get out. That is why


socialism intellectually has been a failure, not in the 1850s, but in


the 1950s and the 1990s. This is a charicature of socialism, we had


strong elements of socialism in the British society in the 1940s, 50,


60s, some were strofpblgt the welfare state is an achievement of


socialism. It is an achievement of Lloyd George, Churchill and


Bevanage. It is a socialist achievement, most people would


regard it as the same. This is fine territory to discuss it. We are


seeing a failure of the City model of the last 15, 20 years, I


represent Stoke-on-Trent, you go and see ministers today, and


Treasury civil servants today, they are still in hock to the


traditional City interests. There is no programme from this


Government on manufacturing or industry. When people express


objections to capitalism, it is always focused on people in the


financial institutions, it is not focused on James Dyson or Richard


Branson? It is true in this country our industrial policy is


concentrated too much on the financial sector. The financial


services sector should be a service sector to industry. It should back


the industrialists of the day. For all of the people who want to get


upset about the size of City bonuses. It should be noted you pay


62% of that away. But the point is, really you have to be creating


wealth, and all of society benefits from that. It is not about the


bankers, it is about backing the industrialists. The point today


about it being a moral mechanism too, do you believe it is a moral


mechanism? Absolutely, I think it is the moral mechanism, to give me


the freedom to choose to live my life the way I do. If I want to


work 80 hours a week, choose my livelihood. What is more moral than


to allow me to do. That what is not moral is if all of the people


occupying St Paul's Cathedral, angry at the bankers' bonuses could


see the wastage in Government. There is no evidence that


Government is an efficient steward of our money. That is where they


should turn their anger. efficiency a moral good in itself?


If dupls down to my money and how the Government -- if it comes down


to my money and how the Government spend it, it should be very moral.


When it comes down to you and your friends undermining a great deal of


the real economy with real jobs and mortgages and businesses who over.


We drive money into the revenues of the financial coffers of this


country. �4.8 -- 4.8 million SMEs, I'm an entrepeneur not banker.


couldn't do it properly, we are all clearing up. This is why the state,


Government had to step in. 6% of businesses create 50% of new jobs.


You are talking about this moral point that David Cameron made, that


the market in itself was a moral mechanism? It can be. In a sort of


beautiful Adam Smithian world were the butcher, the baker and the


candle stick maker are having a lovely relationship. The way to be


moral is to regulate it. You have wicked and evil people. Without


property rights and exchange people starve to date. -- death. You know,


for my father, who came here from a Soviet prison camp, Brent Cross


shopping centre is a moral institution. Being able to feed


your family is a moral institution, so I just don't accept the argument


that there is some socialist alternative to that. If you haven't


got an alternative to that, we simply end up arguing about how to


regulate capitalism, to ensure it acts in the interests of all. Of


course there have been failings. But I still don't understand what


your alternative is to either the elevated rhetoric level or the


prosaic level to capitalism. fine with that debate, I do not


believe, I lack faith, I can't move from the king dom of necessity to


the king dom of freedom. I'm in favour of the market, it is how you


regulate it. Can you trust this Government, Prime Minister, son of


a stock broker. Come on, you speak as an MP of a party whose leader


talked about a golden age of parliament. It funds the party, can


you trust them to sort out this mess. You are quoting Eng les and


Marx and attacking sons of stock brokers doesn't get you very far as


a Labour Party. Certainly not with the young people. This country need


to hear be jealous of people who work hard and make money. That is


not what we need young people to hear. This is really about the size


of the state, what we should try for an alternative, just for an


experiment, try the Laufer Curve, people should pay a lot of tax. How


do you increase tax, you drop the percentage, you optimise tax, not


putting it up, you up it. It is a continuum. You pay 15% if you are


very, very rich f you work and do the right thing you have to pay 25-


30%. The problem is Art Laufer drew the graph on a napkirpbgs there was


a reason, he hasn't data points, we don't know where we are on the


curve. It is a continuum. We are talking mechanics here. Can


you imagine, within any of your lifetimes, any of our lifetimes,


some sort of alternative philosophy. You say it is a great time to be on


the left. Is there going to be some sort of alternative, seriously


canvased to a moderated market mechanism? What we have to do is


move away from the traditional shareholder model. Nick Clegg's


speech was very interesting, employee-ownership, John Lewis


model, co-operate co-optives. I don't think the Conservative Party


is anywhere near of it. It is the circle partnership, taking over


failed NHS hospitals by giving employee ownership to circle


partnership to revolutionise healthcare. He started with the


principle that everybody has the right to great care. Those models


are out there. Capitalism is changing as I call individual


capitalism, it is not big business it is around the individual.


have collapsed from the great rhetoric about capitalism a few


minutes ago, into let's have some more mutuals and co-operatives,


everyone is in favour of, that it is your imagination of the


Conservative Party isn't. You can't imagine any kind of alternative


philosophy? I'm still waiting. The attack on consumerism, which seems


to me to look at the great history of pest lins and starvation and war.


-- And shopping as the great social ill. That movement of consumerism


has come up with no alternative to property rights, rule of law and


fair exchange. What you are suggesting, all perfectly debatable,


comes within that debate, but they are not an alternative.


The secretary for international development has admitted to


Newsnight that his department betrayed the name of an anti-


corruption whistle-blower. The information was passed on to a


private equity firm he had accused of investing in corrupt company. It


was said to be an inadvertant error, and issued an apology,-to-the man,


who was investigated by private investigators and his children


followed to school. Corruption is the curse of the


developing world. In Nigeria corruption is seen as perpetuating


poverty, violence and crime. Britain committed to help change


things. This is what happened to man who warned the Government it


may have been investing in corruption.


Instead of investigating my report, the people who I accused, to place


me on their investigation. The whole idea of protecting my


confidentiality was thrown out of the window, right from the winning.


Ology Oloko has just found out that every aspect of his own life, his


birth in England, his education in businesses -- and businesses in


Nigeria, has placed under investigation. He was secretly


watched and photographed. That was just the start. They came to my


house, take pictures of my family members, follow me to my children's


school. What is that about? What do you think about following you to


your children's school? I think I'm very, very upset about that, and


very outraged about that. I cannot see the bearing, how that bears on


my children. I can't see how any investigation into me, what has


that got to do with my children, their school, their identity.


had been worried that British tax- payers' money, intended to help


Nigeria were he worked, was being invested in companies thought to be


involved in money laundering. Three years ago, on a Christmas visit to


Brighton, he took his concerns to a Government department, it was a


brave step, according to his friend. It takes great courage to come


forward and expose corruption in a country like Nigeria. The head of


Nigeria's main investigative agency was forced into exile after being


threatened with death, because he was probing corruption.


So we're not talking about the cosy atmosphere of exposing something in


Britain. We are talking about people putting their lives at risk.


He knew this, and before presenting the dossier of allegations, he


insisted they didn't pass on his identity. You have to understand, I


knew I was putting myself at risk, and I made, I went to a lot of


effort to try to protect my identity. To get assurances that my


identity would be protected. Yet, it was leaked. At the root of what


went wrong is the relationship between DFID, the department for


aid, and its private enterprise arm, the Commonwealth Development


Corporation, the CDC. Where DFID delivers aid for infrastructure,


schools and hospitals, CDC puts money into private companies,


aiming to build up a country's enterprise culture. In the past


eight years CDC's assets have doubled to �2.7 billion T has


achieved this financial success through private equity funds.


Critics say that has meant big money for fund managers, but little


for the intended beneficiaries, the world's poor. I think all of the


evidence does suggest that CDC is not operating with anything like


the proper oversight one would expect. It is, if you like, going


rogue. Dotun Oloko was promised his identity would be kept secret, it


wasn't, his dossier was handed by DFID, to the CDC, who handed it to


the private equity firm whose investments he had questioned. Then


capital partners, they boast of delivering returns to investors,


including CDC, faced with the allegations, they told investors


that he was mill illusionious and criminal, and they were --


malicious, and criminal, they were hiring private investigators to


uncover his motivations. The secret surveillance began, they captured


him at his home, his children's school and church. In Nigeria they


interviewed his school friends and colleagues. Everywhere Dotun Oloko


was beyond reproach. There was no issues of reputational concern, he


was described as a proud, principled, fun-loving and upright


businessman. Meanwhile he himself was told by friends that questions


were being asked. He suspected DFID, the development department, had


leaked. But for over two years they denied it. The development


secretary, Andrew Mitchell, told Dotun Oloko's MP, his allegations


had been thoroughly investigated, concluding, that DFID had gone as


far as it could. He hoped the extremely comprehensive response


drew a line under the matter. has written me many letters where


he has tried to draw a line under this, and saying he hoped it


signals an end to the course pond dense. You say he should have known


what was going on? He should have found out, and investigated it a


lot more than he clearly did. Matters came to a head when Dotun


Oloko was sent a copy of Control Risks's investigation report. Are


you worried now? I was worried from the winning, now I'm even more


worried and concerned. All my family members have now been


dragged into it. This week, following Newsnight's inquiries,


the development secretary changed his position. Offering an


unreserved apology. He confirmed his department, DFID, had an


advertantly passed on Oloko's original doss yes, unaware his name


could be found in the electronic properties. He said there will be a


full review of procedures. CDC say the same and apologise for the


Harris rasment to him and his family. -- harassment to him and


his family. They shudder raise the name, the first thing you do when


you have a sensitive document. You don't send on original versions of


sensitive documents. You should always get rid of the name. If you


and I went to DFID, through a freedom of information request, and


asked for e-mail correspondents, most of the names would be blacked


out. They are well used to doing this. The question is, why, in this


instance did they not go through that simple scrubbing procedure.


When we were in Nigeria, just a few weeks ago, we found the kind of


poverty the UK's aid is supposed to alleviate. What of that private


equity firm, boatsing billions invested in nigh -- boasting


billions invested into Nigeria, the people who set their investigators


They needed to understand his underlying motivations, they said.


In their words, they refute entirely his allegations about


their investments. They add that while they know of no reason why Mr


Oloko's life should be in danger, the company expresses its sincere


concern for him, that he should feel that it is the case.


I don't think DFID deserve to be called a development finance


institution, or somebody that is helping the emerging countries.


They are making the situation worse. Do you feel vulnerable? Very much


so. I don't know how else to put it, at some point or the other I will


have to pay the price for what I have done. What do you mean? Maybe


some form of retribution. Dotun Oloko, the whistle-blower, whose


cover was blown, says he's now fearful of going back to Nigeria.


In his absence his businesses have collapsed, all he has left is his


reputation. Established beyond doubt, by the private investigators


who turned over his life. Poor Fred Goodwin, that is Fred


"The Shred", the man awarded a Knighthood from the last Government,


pour services to banking, faces having -- for services to banking,


faces having it taken away or not. The Prime Minister has left it in


the hands of civil servants, many of whom might have a going in the


great British Hon Norse' system. For critics the extravagant title


says it all, the grand cross of the order of the bath, the Knight


commander of the order of St Michael and St George. The most


noble order of the gart ter. JG Ballard put it, a system of


antiquated medal that is belong on a Christmas tree. Whether you agree


with the assessment or not, the Knighthood awarded to the former


RBS chief, Fred Goodwin, for services to banking, has done


little for the system's credibility. Today David Cameron welcomed news


that MPs will consider stripping Sir Fred of his Knighthood, though


he passed the buck on who should do it. There is a committee in terms


of honours that exists, and will examine this issue. Obviously it


will want to take into account the Financial Services Authority report,


which I think is material, and important. Because of what it says


about the failures at RBS and what went wrong, and who was responsible


and all the rest of it. There was a committee, they should do the work,


rather than the Prime Minister. it may not be that simple. The for


theure committee normally only considers -- for fitture committee


normally -- foregeture committee normally only considers those who


have been jailed. The boxer, Nasim Hamed, lost his


MBE after a driving conviction. Yet Jeff free Archer is still in the


House of Lords -- Jeffrey Archer is still in the House of Lords despite


serving two years in jail for perjury. There have been many


attempts to reform the honours over the years. Changing OBE from


"empire" to "excellence" is as far as it goes. And clarity on when


somebody should be striped of an honour should have to wait too. We


are joined from Cambridge by Matthew Hancock, who has called for


Sir Fred to lose his Knighthood. Here in the studio is the poet,


Benjamin Zephaniah, who publicly turned down an OBE in 2003.


Mr Han, incompetence, it -- Mr Hancock, incompetence isn't a crime,


why should he lose his Knighthood? Sir Fred Goodwin was guilty of more


than incompetence, it was recklessness at the helm of an


institution, whose failure not only damaged it, but the entire economy.


Recklessness also isn't a crime, is it? No, but if there is something


that somebody has done, who has been bestowed one of these great


honours, that have huge respect across the country by most people.


That brings into it, as you said, into the package, into disrepute,


the whole system. Of course it should be revoked. This has been


done. It is not quite true what was in the package. It has been done on


a number of occasions, for people who haven't been convicted of


things, but who have obviously been inappropriate holders of such


honours. Anthony Blunt, for instance, he was never convicted of


being a spy, when he admitted to it. It was clear he wasn't the sort of


person. Andrew Blunt a spy spy, Jeffrey Archer went to prison and


still a peer? Whether someone has to leave the House of Lords, that


is a seat in parliament. It is an honour? MPs who go to prison for


more than 12 months automatically get kicked out, maybe the Lords


should look at a similar sort of system. That is a question of a


seat in parliament, we are talking about honours? That is exactly it,


we are talking about Hon Norse, and Hon Norse, for the -- honours, for


the system to work, honours need to reflect that someone is of high


standing, has done excellent work, and has put something into society.


This last discussion that you just had with Danny Finkelstein and


Hobsbawm and others, it was all about the fact that as well as


making money there is more to life, there is duty. As a society we


recognise that in this honours system. Benjamin Zephaniah what do


you think about Fred Goodwin's Knighthood? It should be taken away.


Why? I think the whole honours system should be scrapped. It is


not just poor old Fred. He got a Knighthood for services to banking.


So some people recognise that he was doing great services to banking,


they were all wrong too. If Fred should be punished, the people that


nominated him and gave him references are also wrong. There is


not much more we can take away from Gordon Brown, having taken away the


Prime Ministership? I neen the system is flawed and -- I think the


system is flawed and it reeks of corruption. Corruption is a strong


word to use, every society hasg ongs it gives to people, doesn't


it? Yes it does. I rejected mine openly, I'm amazed at the amount of


people who rejected their's quietly. There is lots of people in the


country who don't give it the respect. Perhaps they are more


discreet or better mannered than you? I'm being honest. I'm a poet,


that throughout my life has been writing about slavery and empire


and how empire impacted upon my people. It is a dam right cheek to


have somebody then offer me a medal that is called "Order of the


British empire". They have renamed it since, you were instrumental in


getting it renamed, it is Order of the British excellence now?


point is we have to acknowledge the great work people do in our country.


Some fascinating people do really great things in our country. I


think that the way we honour them should be divorced from state and


monarchy. I have no problem with the monarchy or politician giving


out an award, if they exist. But the award coming from the monarchy


or state, that is where I have my problem. Mr Hancock, is there some


other mechanism that could be devised, then, if Fred "The Shred"


has made such a monkey out of it. Is there other mechanism -- #Isms


there? I think there is, a group of -- mechanism there? I think there


is. It is people like me and most in the country who think an


honours' system to publicly thank people who have done good things


for society, it is people like me who defend an honours system and


promote it and think it is a good idea, who should also be keenest on


taking away honours where they are obviously deeply inappropriate.


That is why I think it is important that in the case of somebody like


Fred Goodwin, who is a symbol of everything that went wrong in the


financial crisis, that his should be taken away, because nobody likes


the idea that he's still got a Knighthood, and there is lots of


criticism that he was given one by the Labour Government. It is a


classic political point that is made very often. It doesn't help


the honours system, and other people, like certificate Henry


Sasoon who just got an award. last word? I would like to ask you


what you think of Jeffrey Archer's position, shouldn't he be derobeed?


Because it's a seat in parliament, as well as. We're only talking


about the title. The title goes with the seat in parliament. I said


maybe that should be looked at it in the same way MPs get kicked out.


We have to find a new modern way of biging up our people when they do


great things. We have a great system. It turns the year 4 709,


marking the Chinese new year, it is the Year of the Dragon w a series


-- We hit the buffers on my Of the enormous number of things


made in the workshop of the world, this relationship between


Government and citizen is surely one of the very, very oddest.


A communist regime that feeds its citizens by satisfying western


consumerist capitalism. But maybe, if you have enough to eat, not


having a vote doesn't really matter. That's it, we will be back tomorrow.


The film pioneer, cod dak, the company that invent -- Kodak, the


company that invented the hand held camera have applied to take shelter


from bankruptcy. It may be that Kodak became associated with happy


memories, it was a well liked brand. This is one of their first


advertisments. Good night.


# Where are you going # My little one


# Little one # Where are you going


# My baby # My own


# Turn around # You are one


Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman asks what are the initiatives and rules that would form David Cameron's vision of "popular capitalism"? We examine the proposals and speak to the noted Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm.

Also on the programme, we have an exclusive report from Peter Marshall involving a whistle-blower and the Department for International Development.

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