15/02/2012 Newsnight


Could Greece be cut loose from the eurozone despite new austerity measures in Athens? Plus the procedure that blights the lives of Egyptian women. Presented by Gavin Esler.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 15/02/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Eurozone can bail out Greece, but will it. There are doubts whether a


second bail out will go ahead. Some in Europe think it is time to cut


Greece loose, and a default wouldn't be devastating, just


merely irritating. It is becoming clear Europe's leaders don't want


to hand 130 billion to politicians who look incapable of delivering


what they just signed up to. And, behind the veneer of a modern state


the more risk procedure that blights the lives of women. Mothers


come knocking on my door, asking me to circumcise their daughters, I


don't need to come looking for them. Britain has been boozey, but can


anything be done what the Prime Minister calls "the scandal of our


society". Drunkenness. The dilemma of politicians is how can they hit


the big time bingeers, rather than Good evening the Governor of the


Bank of England, Mervyn King confirmed today in his judgment the


biggest risk to the British economy is the failure to solve the


eurozone crisis. Publicly all the major players, so-called troika,


yuefpb Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European


Commission, agrees Greece needs a bail out. But behind the scenes


there are cracks, the German Finance Minister, referred to it as


a bottomless pit. The paperwork was not in order, and the Greece


President clearly angry said he could not accept insults to his


country from Germany, Finland or Netherlands.


We report on the mess that no-one seems to clear up. Europe is


experiencing one of the most cold naps in decades, minus 30 degrees.


Europe is cold in the winter, is not unusual, that it is freezing in


the Mediterranean is irregular. That chill from north to south


seems to be replekaited in this eurozone crisis W Germany and


others, hint that Greece's days in the single currency are numbered.


The getting the hint in and theen, where the Finance Minister,


Evangelos Venizelos, told his countrymen today there were self-


eurozone nations who no longer wanted Greece as a member.


TRANSLATION: There are visible powers internally in Europe that


are playing with fire. Because they believe the October 26th European


council agreement might not be itchmented and the specifications


will not be kept to. And whoings possibly may want Greece out of the


eurozone? It is not just northern politicians


actively considering a Greek exit. Even German royalty, Chief


Executive of Bosch, seen here drinking with Angela Merkel


demanded that Greece not only leave the Euro, but EU. The business is


more and more very, if not hostile, toward Greece, because they realise


this will be very, very difficult, financiallyings economically, and


they're more and more people on the business side who are not too sure


this will last, this will be possible to go on. Two years ago


when the Greek crisis first erupted the mood in Germany was one of


solidarity with the cousins, but two bail out and multiple promises


broken later, the mood has changed, somewhat. That means German


politicians buoyed with popular support back home can play hard


ball with Athens. The hard ball that could push Greece over the


edge. Today, MEPs, in the Tory dominated European Conservatives


and reformists group, urged the EU to get on with booting the Greeks


out of the eurozone. It is no surprise that Germans are


unhappy about keeping Greece in the Euro, because getting to boilout


more governments that are prorlisk gate than Greece. In fact the main


beneficiaries, will be the Greek people who can end the misery of


permanent depopulation and post-and begin to claw their way back to


export-led recovery. So, Greece leaving the Euro, as well as being


a great relief to the people who otherwise would have to bail them


out is huge benefit to Greek people themselves who can devalue, price


their way in the market and grow again. If he and many others get


their way, how exactly would a Greek exit or Grexit work? Before


it quits, it would impose capital controls so all savings in current


accounts would be effectively locked in Greek banks, which


themselves would have to be fully nationalised. Then the parallel or


electronic new currency would have to be created to create debts in a


new drachma, which would replace euros,. The ECB and Germany would


have to give more than a gold carriage clock to Greece as leaving


present. To prevent contagion, Berlin and Frankfurt would have to


introduce Euro bonds to help the rest of the single currency for


implosion. But is this dangerous? don't think anybody should hide.


This has been going on for a while. There are contingency plans


prepared all over the world, not just in Europe. The Greek people


are watching closely and they are scared, because possible default,


exit of the single currency, exit of the European currency, would be


catastrophic for Greece, and would send the signal of the process of


integration, it is important we keep the Euro intact and do it


necessary to make it successful within the first few years in


existence. As diplomats at the Greek Embassy in London no doubt


know, there are two ways for an economy to restore its


competitiveness, after an economic shock. You can have an internal


devaluation, where you clamp down on wages and deflate the economy,


or you can have an external devaluation, where the currency is


allowed to float downwards. That is out for Greece, because it is a


member of the eurozone, which means it is putting all the eggs in the


internal devaluation basket. The problem is the alternative to that


is an outright default. With or without a messing default Greece


will be rack with the a lot more of this street anger, because the


leader of the largest opposition party, and probably the next Prime


Minister, signed a letter to honour the austerity pledges, if the


April's elections goes ahead. There's little doubt now Greece


stands on a precipice with the European partners, relations have


never been as frosty. And anti- German sentiment is ram pont and so


too is Greece could be a few months away from being frozen out of the


Euro entirely. Joe Lynam reporting, our economics editor arrived back


from Athens, what is the EU trying to do The EU is always known as


soon as you give 130 billion euros to the Greek Government and write


of 100 billion of debt, the reflection shows to people to get


closure. So what they've always up to now done is design the bail out


in a way there's strong surveillance, so you can keep doing


what you're supposed to do. This is based on the idea it would be a


stable coalition Government. Or a stable single party Government


after an election, once you realise that's not going to happen, things


get wobblely. And what is clear, from document leaked to the


Financial Times overnight was that the at some point in the last day,


they started to think, maybe what we do is give them a bit of money,


bit of the bail out, and then make them have an election, a Government


that signs up to doing it, and keep the money here, ready to as it


where give it like the right thing and hold. A bail out could be


designed to save the banks, to save Europe, but almost to say take or


leave saving Greece. We've seen the trouble in the streets. But what


are they worried about in terms of Greek politics in the month or two


ahead? They're worried the two main party are fragmented, the PASOK was


down to 8%, it was a Government six months ago. A New Democracy lost


some MPs and its plans are about, maybe they want innovative,


Conservative idea, plait tax or want to do more massively more


privatisation than planned, 50 billion. When you listens to them,


and think are they able to do it, and are they able to form a


majority, and the answer is pretty clearly no. You have two choices,


once the elections start, these party, big traditional party, who


will be pulled toward their base, it will be hard for them to form a


coherent Government, and the European Union thought if they


can't form a coherent Government to negotiate after the election, they


said they net a technocratic Government, the Prime Minister has


been accused of a Goldman Sachs, the present politicians would not


get an interview with the Goldman Sachs and that's what the European


Union is worried, the competence issue. That's the background, I'm


joined by the Conservative MEP, and leader in the European Parliament,


Martin Callahan, Ralph Brinkhaus who sits on the finance committee,


and Athens, by the Greek Prime Minister's adviser, George


Pagoulatos. George Pagoulatos, listening to all that, do you fear


that the mood is absolutely changing, and that some people want


to edge Greece out of the eurozone? Well, I can understand that the


mood may be changing, in some circles, but let's not forget


Greece is undergoing the most painful adjustment programme that


has been applied in the eurozone. It is a programme that is causing a


lot of pain in Greek society, but it is delivering results. The


primary budget deficit has been cut down by 18 billion. This is down,


reduction by 19 billion, reduction of nearly, above 8% of GDP.


Competitiveness is catching up. Many of the adjustment target are


being met. And a few days ago, an extremely painful reform,


adjustment reform programme was passed from the Parliament, with


two-thirds majority, as a solid majority in Greek society, backing


the country's commitment to the Euro. That's what it is all about.


Well, Ralph Brinkhaus, do you believe, as the German Finance


Minister, suggested that Greece still, despite all that, is a


bottomless pit. Because many of your German colleagues seem to do


so? Yes, that's right. But it depends on the people in Greece, if


it is a pit or not. Because, the Greek people, and the Greek


politicians have to help us now. They have to help us, to build up


credibility, because we need this credibility to argue with our


people in Germany, that we can spend or better we can invest money


in Greece. Do you sense, Ralph Brinkhaus the mood has changed in


Germany? The rhetoric has changed the opinion poll, suggesting that


many Germans feel the Euro would stpaif if Greece would be pushed


out? That's a good question. If the mood has changed so far. I think we


are now, at the brink, in a discussion, and there is a certain


line, and we should not pass this line. We will pass this line, if we


continue in negotiating with Greek Government, until the very end of


the night, until the very end of the day, and in the last minute,


getting a solution. This is not good, because politicians and also


markets do not like surprises, so what we need is credibility. We


have to build up this credibility, and if not, we would certainly pass


this line. Yes. Well Mr Callahan from where


you sit, the mood is clearly changing a bit in Germany. Do you


think it changing in other places too, Finland, the Netherlands, in


other words some of the northern European countries getting rather


fed up? I think the evidence is they're getting very fed up with it.


They're imposing conditions after conditions on Greece, and when we


meet or say they're going to meet the latest conditions, the new ones


are dreamed up. And it is obvious the finance ministers, or some of


them have an agenda, now they've put the fire walls in place, that


Greece is only 2% of the eurozone, they could actually ask Greece to


leave. Actually it is now becoming increasingly obvious, this is in


Greece's interest as well. They're going to be faced with years, and


years, not just a few months, of grinding austerity to itchment 30%


of devaluation in cut in wages and welfare benefit and pensions, and


after all of that, by 2020, if they meet all the targets and they


haven't met any target yet, they would be back to approximately that


Italy is now. It is unsustainable in the long-term. It is


destabilising the whole of Europe, we need to get on and ask them to


leave. George Pagoulatos, we need to get


on and ask them to leave, you are 2% of GDP, it is looking grim isn't


it is this I'm not sure that being fed up is a good guide for sound


policy decisions. Ask for credibility, Greece's Government


now led by Christos Papoutsis, Governor exECB vice-chairman, he


has never been with Goldman Sachs by the way, he has always been a


civil servant. This is a Government backed by the two main party. It is


behind, solidly behind it is a majority of Greek society, which


stands for a Greece's commitment to the Euro, and is ready to take


whatever is necessary in order to consolidate our position. Why,


sorry to interrupt. May I ask you, why was your President so


irritateed today by what he saw as an insult from Germany. Was it the


bottomless pit remark, what is it that got at him? Well I think,


European countries and European political leaders, should bemay


have with a degree of solidarity and respect with each other that


comes with being members of the European Union. Let me say that...


Are you not getting that respect? This is a specific programme. I


think, it is beside the main point, the main point we are following an


adjustment programme, and the main thing that is driving this painful


adjustment programme is the understanding that any alternative


would be far more disastrous. It is broadly understood in Greek society,


including... Disasters for Greece. With the


exception of the Communist Party:. Perhaps not disastrous for the


eurozone. Let me come to that. It has been


said it is less disastrous today than it was a year ago. I can abide


by that. But it is still extremely destabilising for any member state


to depart the eurozone. That would be the beginning of the unravelling


of the eurozone. It would be the beginning of a slippery slope. It


would create a panic of the depositers of the banking system.


Speculatetors and market would speculate who would be next, it


would create enormous instability and that is why the same decision


made by the European council has been to keep the per I have rif


within the eurozone at any cost, because any cost would be any cost


if any country would be wanting to exit. Ralph Brinkhaus that is the


view of the Olli Rehn, The Commissioner. It would be


disastrous for the eurozone if Greece left do you agree? Partly.


Let me say that we have to take care for Greece anyway, within the


eurozone, within the European Union or outside the European Union. So


we have to pay the bill, and at the very end of the day, Germany that


is to pay the highest amount of this bill. So, we have to seven for


a good solution. And we are not sure whether it is better solution,


to get an uncontrolled default, and taking care to take care of Greece


of wards or organise it in a way that everybody can stand. It is


true the banking system is better prepared for default of Greece than


it was 12 months ago. I guess, even the governments are better prepared


for this. Sorry to interrupt, you said something interesting there.


Are you saying it would be possible, for Greece to leave the eurozone,


but Germany and other countries would still make arrangements to


look after Greece, so that is a possibility? It would not be the


better way. Because, I guess it will be a much harder for the


people in Greece take thg way. But, it could be a way, if they leave.


This is very important because there are some rumours, these days,


Germany never would demand from the Greek people to get out. Germany is


not in the position to demand it, and we will nef do it. So, it is


their own decision. Let me bring in Mr Callahan. We understand, that


Germany, we're all prisoners of our histories. Germany has been polite


publicly about this, but it may be, people are taking a similar view in


Germany, to the one you expressed which the Greeks should get out?


have spoken to a lot of German politicians who say exactly that.


Germany is in a difficult position, I sympathise greatly, they feel


they've acted honourablely but now face with the a fundamental choice.


Are they prepared to spend large amounts of their taxpayers' money


on proping up Greece. I'm not talking about lops, but direct


fiscal transfers, because that's what is required to make monetary


union between two different economies to make it work correctly.


It seems to me F the Germans are not prepared to do that, and all


the evidence is they aren't, let's take on the difficult decisions.


The uncertainty is destabilising the rest of Europe, and faecking


the UK, even though we are not part of the Euro. But, it is unsettling


everybody, I think my view is the finance ministers have decided


they're going to ask Greece to leave. Let's get on with this, and


end the uncertainty of bail out of bailouts. Thank you all very much.


Now, when we think of Egypt we think of the pyramids, a modern


functioning state and a people who risked their lives to get rid of a


tyrant. It is a shock to discover the latest figures show more than


90% of Egyptian people suffered female genital mutilation, highest


rate anywhere in the world. So it is an official ban on the mission


five years ago, there has been a campaign not to mutilate their


daughters. But the political upheavals, it is felt, could set


them back. You may find the report It is scarcely believeable as you


mingle among the evening shoppers in Cairo, with the appearance of


any other cosmopolitan city anywhere in the world, that nearly


all the women here have been deliberately mutilateed. New


figures due out later this year are expect today show a decline on a


number of at the malmutilations, four years after the ban was


introduced. But they'll still indicate a majority of women in


this country, suffer huge, physical, psychological and unjustified pain.


And are denied what most women would regard as a normal sex life.


Upper Egypt, where the landscape along the Nile hasn't changed in


centuries. Nor have the tradition which


believes that a family of honour is dependent on the removal of those


parts of a girl's body that might arouse sexual desire. To challenge


such a blaef in an environment in which sex is nef spoken about in


public, campaigner, Nivine Rasmi goes from house-to-house. Talking


to people is what we do. We have to know how to reach out to people and


discuss this issue with them. a village where Muslims live side


by side with Christians, and both communities practice FGM.


TransI've had problems in my sexual relationship with my husband


because of it it. So when it was explained about the health come


employee cases and not part of religious faith, I'm convinced I


don't want my daughter circumcised. But the Muslim mother next door is


not. The The two older girl cousins have been mutilate and her 11-year-


old daughter will be next. TRANSLATION: I will remove this


part of her body instead of letting her play with herself, or she might


ask a boy to touch this part and might enjoy it. It might be a


stranger or one of her male cousins, so this will protect her, and when


she'll feel the pain of it, she'll be more careful about this part.


Oven it is the husband's family who demand it. Mothers say they can't


get their daughters, married without it.


TRANSLATION: No-one comes and checks, these days the midwife


arrives secretly, does it and leaves in a hurry, so no-one sees


her, because it is illegal. But we found nothing secretive about the


village midwife. TRANSLATION: Circumcision is


healthy for girls, I know this. Pure fiedgirls grow taller and get


marriage proposals, but unpure fiedstay short and stuby. Some


mothers say they don't want her daughters pure fied, they humour


her, but once she's gone they ask me to circum size their girls.


I have her mother, her aunt or neighbour, hold her while I cut her.


It doesn't take a minute. I cut three parts. I cut the lower part


first, so the blood doesn't run down from the upper part. And after,


I show the two cut part to the mother, I cut the upper part.


you enjoy your work? TRANSLATION: I love it. Like my own


eyes, because I need the money. Take me to prison if you want to,


take me anywhere, but I will keep circumcising girls, I want the


money. And so why doesn't a girl who works


for a local NGO take the woman to a police station?


TRANSLATION: Who are we gck to report to, in police stations we


report to an officer who believes in the custom and is probably doing


it to his own daughters. Without support from the authority,


campaigners take the message into the classroom. They engage children


at a young age to gain their confidence and when they're older


they talk about FGM. Salma says she saved more than a hundred girls


this way. She's motivated by what happened to her.


TRANSLATION: They did my elder sister first. I was the middle and


the youngest was after me. The midwife came with two accomplices


and bound me by my hands and feet so she could hold me down. I tried


to hit one of them but couldn't. I was only ten.


I screamed, but they gaged me, so my little sister would not hear the


pain. Afterwards I screamed all day. I spent two days recovering, it was


terrible. To this day I shudder from the memory. She invited 13-


year-old Zaba whose older sister had been mutilated to her teaching.


TRANSLATION: I spoke to my mum and told her everything I learned from


Salma. I spoke to her politely to convince her. Luckily it worked.


There are no benefits to circumcision, people think that way.


Once I explained the harm it causes she was convinced. Because people


believe it is part of their faith, campaigners appeal to local


religious leaders for help. They try, they say, but, it is difficult


to change people. TRANSLATION: The main challenge is


tradition. In the Old Testament when God ordered Abraham to


circumcise, it was only for boys, there was no mention of female


circumcision, but in our tradition, it is performed on girls as well.


We pray that God will help us in reaching people with the truth.


local 78 man splaipd that Muslim leaders are trying hard to get the


message heard. TRANSLATION: We are now spreading


the word against FGM because it is against our faith for this part of


a woman to be seen by anybody else. Which are' telling people not to do


it. It appeared the local religious leaders were in agreement, this


will the arrival of a more senior cleric. Refusing to look at me, he


gave me his view. TRANSLATION: The prophet did it,


peace be with him. So this thing is legalised by Islamic law. Egypt's


most senior religious figure, issueed a fatwa, against FGM a few


years ago, and yet those below him contradict one another. No wonder


Whatever stand religious leaders might take, female genital


mutilation is a milla old tradition here. It was said it was practised


the age of the Pharaohs, well before Christianity arrived in


Egypt. It is built into the national psyche and those trying


admits it will be very hard to remove.


It is like a needle. With this, they can bring the clit Ross


outside to cut it. And the other two needles, they put one on the


Libya and the other Libya, and stretch it out, so they can cut it.


Dr Randa Fakhr El Din runs a MGO in Cairo. They says half the cases


they comes across are type one, removal of the clitoris and the


rest is the removal of the clitoris and labia, both procedures, carry


risks. TRANSLATION: Some of the immediate


come employee cases include bleeding, infections from insterile


tools. Severe pain, that can lead to body shock, all these can cause


the girl to die. We witness come employee cases later on, female


circumcision, means these women next reach organism, this means


withdrawing from sex from the husband, which means problems in


the marriage: Paradoxically, deaths have increased since the practice


was banned. TRANSLATION: In some cases, parents


don't seek medical care, even if their daughter suffers severe come


employee cases, in which case it becomes too late to save their


lives. Girls die because their parents are afraid of prosecution.


But how much longer will parents be afraid of the law? We were told a


crowd gathered outside a house where we'd been filming, after we


left, and yelled abuse at the women, saying "they shouldn't talk to


foreigners about such traditional matters". A wave of xenophobia and


traditionalism, engulfed Egypt since the fall of Mubarak regime.


TRANSLATION: It appears new Parliament will oppose laws against


FGM because some extremists disagree with laws that protect


women and children. We are sure we will see a decline in women and


children's right. I asked the spokesman for the sal faffy party,


the most extreme of the party, whether they would be supporting


the campaign against FGM? This is not a priority. There are more


urgent issues involving women. No- one will force women to do


something they wouldn't do anything to do. You wouldn't deter a woman


to get her daughter mutilated? have nothing to say on this matter.


This girl will be mutilate. Well the International Development


Minitster, Stephen O'Brien is in our Salford stueed studio. What do


you think the British Government's role can help to stop this? This is


critical but neglected issue, which deserves global attention. I salute


Sue Lloyd-Roberts for that, in bringing attention to the wider


public, a very serious issue, on which we have been very focused and


the UK people, through the various things we support, be that UNICEF


or the UN population fund are working in many countries, where


this is still practised. And, to find out Egypt has apparently 90%


of their women who have been cut, equally we have similar figures in


Somalia. I have myself seen to see a wonderful charity in Senegal


which manage today secure,00 villages, now to be female genital


mutilation-free. This is all to do with working very hard through the


communities themselves, very much led in Africa, by community leaders,


oven men, but above all this is getting into the traditions and


embedded cultures, particularly of women. There's less evidence this


is demanded by men, this is more to do with women's perceptions of


daughters being stigmatised. Do you see an obvious ironic, Suzanne


Mubarak was one that campaigned against this, they brought this in,


and things might get worse, despite the benefit of Arab springs bring


to Egypt? You are right, the first ladies of many of the countries,


are one of the largest of role models, that we need to make sure


are well on with this campaign to recognise in the interest of girls


and womens health and rights, this is a practice which needs to come


to an end. It is the abandonment through action, clearly the laws


have been passed but it is getting the culture and tradition to be


banned within the culture themselves. It could actually get


worse? It could be more conservative and people could


return to the traditional routes. That was part of the what Sue


suggested there. This won't be a negative sequence of the Arab


Spring and revolution in Egypt. It is clearly being going on both


within Muslim and Christian communities, it's been going on for


over 2,000 years. It doesn't appeared to be allied to a


religious issue, it is a cult tuerl embedded suggest with women. The


stigma with marriage, it isn't the husband or husband tobacco


demanding that girls, women should be cut, the the morm who inspects


who has been to let her son consummate the marriage. It is


within the female communities, from their point of view,not an act of


violence, but it is in the girl's best interest as they see it. We


have to stand up to the right for the choices available and the right


advice is working. The charity I saw in Senegal, which we support


through the anti-slavery charity, is one which is showing us the way


it can strongly encourage us, just as 20 years it took to get rid of


Chinese foot binding, 20 years ago. Our Arab Spring watch continues


tomorrow where Mark reports on the anniversary of the first uprising


there. If the Westminster Government insisted minimum price


on a unit of alcohol, say 45 pence or so, in Scotland T could prevent


a thousand premature deaths, and prevent some of the social ills, to


boozey Britain. But it could mean a big jump in cheap sizeer, begin and


voted karks and problems with yuefpbkochtigs law. With David


Cameron talking of the scandal of alcohol abuse, is the Government


fixing prices a good idea? We investigate. Politicians know


exactly what a tragic impact, low or no price booze can have. They've


been to the party conferences. Free bar there can turn the driest


think-tank fest into the last days of Rome. Prime Minister today,


visiting a hospital in the north- east of England, saying he's


worried about what he calls the "scandal of increasing public


drunkenness". I have been impressed where there's a police officer on


duty on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. I want local powers


can close down bars, it is against the law to sell to people who are


drunk, or underage, you can close down bars. But we need to look at


the issues of pricing and how we handle alcohol in hospital as well.


We're going to take action across the board, this is a national


problem. The Government put the cost of dealing with alcohol


problems, for the Department of Health at �2.7 billion. A billion


of that, on zept and emergency services.


The wider cost to society, which take in everything from days missed


at work, to extra policing, are, says the Government between �17


billion and �22 billion a year. Last year, there were almost


200,000 hospital admissions with what is called a primary alcohol


related diagnosis, up 40% since 200. In prewar Britain, public


drunkenness was unheard of. There was the occasional bar fight, but


that was met with what modern crime fighters, explained as a "zero


tolerance" approach. Licensing has in fact got more relaxed. With the


Labour Party, ending standard licensing hours in 2005. A move


designed to bring in the cafe culture. My view is that the law


abiding majority, who want the ability, after going, say to the


cinema or theatre to have a drink at the time they want, should not


be inconvenienced, we should not have no restrictions that no other


city has. Britain has gone through whole boughted drunkenness before,


in the 1851 work, Begin skarks lane. What hasn't changed is the


political how do you stop those who take an otherwise popular activity


to excess without annoying the majority who don't. Nick worked for


Tony Blair whilst I was trying to tackle baing drinking. I remember a


day in Downing Street, when you go around these issues, you have to


impose extra cost, and I have advisers, saying what does that


mean a person brinking home cheap beer for BBQ, and the wine club,


those are the pressures. current Government is supposed to


be considering introducing a minimum price for a unit of alcohol.


It would suggest, some, tackle one aspect of modern drinking, that's


the people who preload on cheap booze at home before going out.


date yea is students are spending less money on going in the town and


socialising, however what they are doing is managing to spend more


time at home bf they go out for a night out. Roughly, students are


spending �7.50 on drinking before they go out for a night out. So


students will find other ways, which is why the minimum pricing


can be important. Minimum pricing for alcohol is already being


introduced in Scotland. But, ending cheap supermarket booze, won't


necessarily be politically popular, particularly now when so many


household budget are stretched. I'm joined by Professor Mark Bellis in


favour of minimum pricing of alcohol, and Helen Lederer who


likes the occasional drink. One thing that strikes me, whatever you


may say in favour of this, isn't it going to work out a tax on the poor.


It tends the poorer people will pay, because they will drink some of


those drinks? It is actually the poor that stand the best benefits


from this. They're the ones, suffering from alcohol relate


problems at the moment. If we reduce the levels of consumption,


some of the communities, we might see less crime, we'll see better


health, they can benefit a lot. If we worey about the poor, some of


the taxes we make on the �22 billion that costs society, we can


put that back in the inequality and that will doo more good than


worrying when they can get drunk. What do you think about this, we're


aware of any city at night, you see drunkenness? I can't disagree on


most facts, in the sense excessive dripging causes a lot of disease,


that one would wish to be available. But is there that much evidence


that people have drinking that much more than how they used to? This is


a bit of a data bury bad news, and it is alarming that David Cameron


is talking about cells to put drink people in. We're sensationalising


young drunk people with television programmes and pack yaiblging, as


we do with the gypsy wedding, we're talking about the culture. And I


don't understand all the money that's gone into research,


campaigns, that really aren't impactful at all. Like drinking for


two days. Not drinking for two days? Not drinking, the point is we


all drink. Most people drink, if you don't want to, that's fine.


However horrible it may be at the edges, it is part of our culture


and has been for hundreds of years? Yes. In the early 870s, we were


drinking 50% less than we're drinking now. And people weren't


saying we're drinking enough. We've seen an increase, we're drinking


more, decades more, seen increaseness consumption, we're


paying the price for those, not just in health, but the pressures


on the health services and amount of money people are paying in taxes


to help health and criminal justice services. I don't buy this. Why is


all the statistics, I don't have the backing that you have, and the


jb you have, and I'm not sheer to fiscally sort out the fiscal cost


to the NHS. The human cost is there should be more employment and today


the headlines is about massive youth unemployment. And young


people drink. When I was a student, well I drink now. I dripg when I


want to drink. And sometimes too much? Yes but that's normal, and


you can wake up the next morning, when you say "oh goodness what did


I say" that's part of society. Abusive problems, which is your job


to be concerned about, I respect that, but the headlines have gone


mad today. Do you think, I wonder whether, people don't say this, but


whether as a society this, is the price we're prepared to pay for the


way that we are? It is terrible, we could save money, lives and all


kinds of human misery, but we are apparently, prepared to pay this


price? I don't think people know the price they're paying, it is


over �0 billion in the cost to our society in terms of alcohol. If


people want to pay that price that, should be reflected on the price


they pay for alcohol. A child's pocket money, is not enough to get


drunk in a week. So, let's make sure people can enjoy alcohol in


moderation, a night outs certainly, but they don't have to suffer from


the problems, that city centres are full of drunk people. Is this the


best way? There are all other kinds of things that have been suggested?


Is this the best option? fairest option is put in a minimum


price in. That will bring down the consumption of the most vulnerable


groups joox if you want to drink or want to smoke or eat a doughnut,


which I want to do all three, accept I don't smoke, I will find a


way to find a doughnut. We've gone, I just, this is the wrong focus. I


think we should be looking at emphasising, that stress can be


relieved by drinking, plus, we should put positive images on the


television, about people who are not drunk. Why don't we look at the


broader way of examining social messages, that just putting up


vodka, and increasing the profit margin of supermarket that don't


need it. We have plenty of positive messages on television, the alcohol


industry make sure we look at that. But we don't see the cancers,


domestic violence, and illness and criminal justice system.


Now, there's a new line in the story Newsnight broke S public


servants paid through companies, likely to reduce the amount they


would tai. The student loan company was using this tech teak technique,


and 5 people working at the Department of Health is looking at


this story. The problem for the Department of Health is in a


written answer to a parliamentary question, said no members of staff


were being paid in this way to a limited company, tax efficient


likely for the person involved. The Guardian have the e-mails that are


allegeed to show, 25 people in the department, mainly senior people,


are being paid in this way, and while they may not be technically


be staff of the department, they've been there for many years. They've


e-mails showing the departmental civil servants having a somewhat


thick of it style discussion about how to avoid revealing this, so


they've apologised tonight and the review is under way. That's we have


time for. From all of us here good Body body hello there. It looks


like turning colder this weekend. A reasonable day across the


southern half of the UK. We will have a weather front edging down to


northern England. But for the Midlands, and East Anglia, I won't


rule out a shower, but mostly stay fine. A bit of a breeze, but not as


strong as it has been today. Brightness hanging on across the


south-east of Wales. Further north and west, it will cloud up. For


Northern Ireland, rain now and again, particularly further west


you'll go. After a wet start across Scotland, it will head southwards


and clear up. So, looking further ahead across northern areas, more


rain to come, before things will change brighter and colder before


Could Greece be cut loose from the eurozone despite new austerity measures in Athens? Plus the horrific procedure that blights the lives of Egyptian women. And what Prime Minister David Cameron calls the "scandal of our society" - drunkenness. Presented by Gavin Esler.

Download Subtitles