07/03/2012 Newsnight


07/03/2012

As six British soldiers are killed in Afghanistan, Mark Urban assesses the toll of Britain's operations in the country over a decade since they began. Presented by Jeremy Paxman.


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Transcript


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Six healthy young men cut off in the prime of their lives, executing

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a task which would any way have been terminated on the orders of

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politicians in a couple of years time. In death they are rightly

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honoured, how can belief be maintained in a mission, that seems

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as hazardous as it ever was. We will discuss it all with

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politicians, a soldier and a relative.

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At last some economic news, which isn't gloomy, out in the Wols,

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something is stirring, and yes, it looks like something distinctly

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like green shoots. A couple of years ago we were making 35 of

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these gas turbines, next year it is 81, and next year 100. He has made

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himself immensely rich, why can't Mitt Romney make himself appealing

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to the people he needs if he's ever to make good on his bomb bast.

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Tonight we are counting up the delegates for the convention, it

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looks good, and we are counting down the days to November, that

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looks even better. It is a very Mel collie milestone,

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over 400 young people have been killed in Afghanistan, for what.

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The six soldiers of the Yorkshire and Duke of Lancaster regiments

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were on what is described as a routine patrol in an armoured

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personnel carrier when they were blown up. British troops have been

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in the country for over a decade, we are told the last combat

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soldiers will return at the end of the year after next. Before we talk

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about the mission, our defence editor has his assessment. At times

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like this, people ask what is this for. More than 400 have died, and

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thousands have had their lives irrevokably changed through injury.

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The years become intangible, and it is hard to maintain public support

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for the mission. Dan Jarvis commanded a group of paratroopers

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in Afghanistan, and is now an MP. think it is hard, the events of the

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last 24 hours, will inevitably contribute towards a fatigue for

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our mission in Afghanistan. My constituents continue to question

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why it is we are still involved in Afghanistan, ten years after we

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first went there. A Government of whatever colour has a job to

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articulate that stragically it is in this country's interest to

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continue with the mission, to work towards a point at which we can

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develop the capabilities of the Afghanistan force, to withdraw in

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good order. The latest loss was caused by a

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destruction of a Warrior infantry fighting vehicle. It is a heavily

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armoured machine, which suggests a huge improvised bomb. The image of

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destroyed hardware is one of great sensitivity in the war of

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perceptions. The wreck was surrounded with other vehicles to

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conceal it, and recovered at night to a British base. Commanders

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insisted the loss wouldn't affect their day-to-day mission.

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You feel it in your gut, it is a sickening blow. But one thing I

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have learned over the years that these young soldiers are incred

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plea tough and resilient. They -- incredibly tough and resilient.

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They grieve and it is right they do, but it makes their resolve even

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stronger. Today's incident was a shock, but runs counter to the

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trend. The number of British troops lost in combat has actually fallen

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steeply. Going from 108 in 2009, or 109 in 2010, to 46 last year, and

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ten so far this year, including today's loss. That is due to new

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tactics, the concentration of force in a smaller part of Helmand, as

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well as handing over some of the most difficult districts, like

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Sangin in the north, to the Americans. The problem for Britain

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is British forces are making real progress where they are operating.

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They are winning all the tactical battles and the battle for hearts

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and minds where they are. As a country and alliance we are letting

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the war slip away. We can't control what happens in Pakistan and the

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way the Americans think about the war. The whole Afghanistan

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enterprise is out of our control. All we can do is the best we can in

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the areas we operate. They are doing a good job, but ultimately we

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are win the battles in probably a war we will find difficult to come

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away with anything other than a score draw. For the Prime Minister,

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who has sought to extricate Britain from Afghanistan, as quickly as is

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decently possible, today's loss required a statement of why young

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men and women are still risking their lives there. Our mission in

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Afghanistan does remain an issue of national security. We are

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preventing a safe haven for Al- Qaeda where they might plan attacks

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on allies. Our job is to equip the forces of Afghanistan with the

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capacity and equipment to take care of their own capacity without the

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need for foreign troops on the soil. But it is precisely in this area

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that the last few weeks have raised renewed concerns in NATO.

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Demonstrations triggered by the burning of Korans have shown the

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mutual incomprehension between westerners and Afghans. They have

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also cost the lives of NATO soldiers, who were trying to

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prepare Afghan forces to take over. It is the failure of the Afghan

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side in governance, general competence, or those incidents

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where Afghan troops have murdered western soldiers who were trying to

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help them, that have caused the greatest concern among those

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planning Britain's exit. As for the record of this country's forces,

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the military view tends to be, that after a shaky and costly start,

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they have mastered operating in Helmand, and are doing their best

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to move gracefully into the background. The reality is, we have

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to have a incredibly close and carefully managed relationship with

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the Afghan authorities. Let's be honest, that comes with a degree of

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risk. Because the main enemy of the people of Afghanistan is not the

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Taliban or Al-Qaeda, it is corruption. We need to do

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everything we can to root out corruption where it exists in

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Afghanistan. That is much easier to say than do. Increasingly the

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weight of the western mission in Afghanistan is in the hands of

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Afghans. NATO accepts that, but senior people are nervous about how

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they will perform, hoping the sacrifices, like Britains today,

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might -- Britain's today, might not have been in vain.

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Our political editor and our diplomatic editor are both here now.

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Does the Government sense the public mood is shifting?

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Government has known for a while that the public mood is hostile,

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that is why we have the deadline of 2015. They are moving towards that

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next week, next week we have Cameron and Obama meeting and

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timetables will be on the agenda. When it was last a big issue, David

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Cameron had a slight fight with the generals and they talked about

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wanting two fighting seasons. They got last summer, a fighting season

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in Afghanistan. They get the next summer, this is this coming summer,

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from the autumn we will begin to see the beginning of the drawdown.

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What is fixed is they have to be out by 2014/15. What is less fixed

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is the speed. There has been some discussion that by late 2013, this

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was suggested by the US Defence Secretary, it is the American

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leadership, or the faltering of it that is so critical here. With Iraq

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America stayed to the end, Britain wanted out, two-and-a-half years

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sooner, with Afghanistan we have seen other countries fall by the

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way side. Canada going into a non- combat role, the Netherlands

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withdrawing, France announcing, after four men were killed training

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the Afghans that they are going sooner. Britain does seem to be

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hanging on until the end. What is the strategy? The strategy is

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Karzai was meeting Cameron in the UK in January, the strategy is as

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much support as possible. They think the military strategy, the

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sad six deaths, withstanding, is actually going OK. I was in

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Afghanistan with the Prime Minister in the last summer, and at the time

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they felt that the local troops were really not good enough. Those

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same people are now saying they are getting better. The thing they are

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very worried about is the political process and Hamid Karzai. Indeed,

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the other great thing, that is making this so hard, this final

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period, is the attitude of Pakistan. The civilian Government barely in

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control, elements of the ISI seemingly want to make NATO's exit

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as bloody and as unpleasant as possible, and doing things to

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destablise the situation. It is a very difficult strategic picture.

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To discuss the British experience in Afghanistan and what it is all

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for, we are joined by Diane Dernie, whose son was severely injured in

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Afghanistan, which Stuart Tootal who command add battalion in

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Helmand, Menzies Campbell from the Liberal Democrats, and Labour's Jim

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Murphy, the Shadow Defence Secretary. Your son is not one of

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these 400 people who have lost their lives, but he was, he lost

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his legs, he was severely brain- damageed. Your family have paid a

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high price for this engagment, when you hear the news today what do you

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think? We think we are the lucky ones. No matter what, we have got

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our loved ones back. When we talk about the end of the mission, what

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people have to understand is for these boys and girls coming back,

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their war is only just starting. They will come back to a country,

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particularly if they are wounded, physically and mentally, that is

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not prepared for their return. An NHS that is not prepared, an MoD

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that is not prepared. Employment, housing, these boys have got a

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fight when they come home, make no mistake. Do you think troops should

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still be in Afghanistan? I don't want to see one more boy injured,

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one more family suffer. I don't want to see their sacrifice being

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in vain. This is one instance where I'm very, very glad it is not on my

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conscience, this decision. If you were still a commander in

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Afghanistan, Stuart Tootal, what would you tell your men about why

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they were there and why this was a sacrifice that was worth making?

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First of all, they would understand the mission from the get-go. We

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would be really clear on that. When a unit takes this level of

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casualties. Remember the loss of one life is tragic and has an

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impact. There is a shock, but actually there is also a very clear

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determination to see a mission through, that is what professional

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soldiers and servicemen and women do. While I take away nothing from

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the tragedy of what happened today, our troops will be committee and as

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focused. While a commanding officer will say all those things, his

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soldiers will naturally respond to that. What is the mission? To leave

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Afghanistan in a stable enough condition, where it can maintain

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and sustain its own security, without the need for the direct

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contribution of NATO troops. Murphy, it was your Government that

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initially committed British troops there, I dare say you didn't

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imagine them there ten years on. Do you understand what the mission is

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now? I think Stuart has summarised it fairly well. As someone who has

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served in Afghanistan. It is to make sure the country has a degree

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of stability, so it has its own defence and police force, so itself

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can't become an ungoverned space to allow terrorists and others to

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attack our country. On a day like today, and other days, where we

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have heard about Ben being so horrifically injured, I accept

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entirely it is so much more difficult to make an argument, that

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is so much more complicated than previous conflicts, the Falklands

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and the Second World War. It is more complicated and more nuanced

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as an argument. If we weren't there, that country would be jeopardising

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the safety of citizens here and elsewhere. It is a difficult

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argument to make and one we have to make very carefully. Do you is

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sense that if there were a free vote tomorrow in the House of

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Commons, do you think most MPs would think this is still a war

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worth committing troops to? I think what they would think is what they

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would vote for, and that would be to announce David Cameron's

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announcement that combat troops will be all taken out by 2014. I

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think we do that, of course because we are subordinate to the United

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States. Their decision making, as we have heard, is based upon a

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withdrawal then, and of course, other countries like France,

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beginning to say they want to go early. Also, the whole thing was

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endorsed by NATO at the Lisbon conference. 2014 is a post in the

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sand. We are saying the decision is made in Washington. The decision

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about how long British troops are there is Notre Dame I don't know?

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decision is made thatness -- Is not David Cameron? A decision is made.

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For a soldier, is it any easier to conduct a mission if you have some

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abitary end time? You have to have something to go for, and an end

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state. What I would say, this is the argument about blood and

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Treasury. If incidents like today lead to an untimely exit, then we

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are into the arguments that the sacrifice made will be in vain. A

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former professional soldier, and I speak for most serving soldiers

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today, I'm very conscious of someone like Diane who has suffered

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a great loss and all those other people, my view is we have to see

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this through, or give it our best effort, but it is understandable

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that there has to be politically a line in the sand. Keith thing is we

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will never tell where we will be until we get there. You say you

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don't want the sacrifice to be in vain, you, doubtless, share the

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view about seeing it through. Is that made any easier by having a

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withdrawal date? No, no. Ben was deployed in 2006, we have seen the

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mission change to many times, from the original statement, never to be

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a shot fired, a rebuilding mission, to controlling the drugs trade, to

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supporting the Afghan army. To support in education, for women in

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Afghanistan. We have seen the mission change so many times to

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support whoever, or whatever was being discussed at the time. It is

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very difficult to see that a given date, and this will end. What we

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are very interested in is what will be the state of Afghanistan a year

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after that end date, will it be any different. If you take the argument

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that you have to see it through, sometimes on the conditions based

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exit strategy. You have to accept if conditions aren't right you will

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stay. You can't do that if you have said you are going? Precisely. That

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is why the fact that 2014 and that date has now been set pretty well

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in political concrete, meaning that seeing it through, which

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necessarily implies staying on beyond 2014, simply isn't an option.

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I don't think there is a chance now to revisit the 2014 date, we are

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working towards that. The first question you were asking is why are

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we there. It is not enough to explain why we are there, tough

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explain why we leave. That is a bigger question. We need, with

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respect to Newsnight, Newsnight covers this subject very well, but

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there is need for a public conversation with the British

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public about what state we will leave that country in, what type of

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political deal will there be with elements of the Taliban. How many

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force also stay in a training role. We have to have a cross-party

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programme involving charities with a proper grown-up conversation

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about an acceptable state to leave Afghanistan. There needs to be a

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political settlement. It is clear there is not a Nelson Mandela-type

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character in Afghanistan, or even a Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness-

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type character. How do you imagine history will judge this

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entangledment in Afghanistan, Stuart Tootal? I think they will

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look back and say the intent was right, I have always believed in

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that. The initial concept was wrong, the rebalancing to the right

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direction, with all the complexties and risks and no guarantees, is

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something that we have landed on, arrived at, the right track and

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right direction. It has taken a long time to get there, that is the

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biggest risk. How do you think history will judge this? This

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country has got a very nasty experience coming, when instances

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of mental illness and PTS D come through. I think we will have a

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small portion of a generation who are traumatised, and who are ill

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equipped to deal with the aftermath of this war. That is in this

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country, not in Afghanistan. I think there is a conflaigs in the

:18:33.:18:43.
:18:43.:18:43.

minds of many members of the public between Iraq and Afghanistan. There

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was United Nations support and approval, and support and all that

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in Afghanistan. Iraq is a very controversial subject, there was a

:18:52.:18:56.

feeling it was illegal, and it involved staying too close to the

:18:56.:18:59.

United States and not exercising sufficient independent judgment

:18:59.:19:05.

about where our interests lay. As a result I think Afghanistan has been

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drawn into the general public disillusionment with Iraq. That is

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why any effort to depart from the 2014 date would have enormous

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reprecussions so far as public opinion is concerned. What is your

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verdict about the history? It is too early to say. It is depending

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on the state we leave the country is. Stuart is right about the

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intent and the right purpose of why we got involved, post-9/11 and the

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worries about Al-Qaeda. Unless we leave at 2014 in a stable state,

:19:41.:19:46.

and not threatening our security, and people see the progress been

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made, unless that is irreversible the public will say what is it for.

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There is a wider weapon that says let's not do anything again beyond

:19:55.:20:01.

our shores. Some people might conclude we might stay longer?

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don't think that is feasible, the worry after this, for some people,

:20:05.:20:10.

a conflict arises, something beyond our shores again, such as Libya.

:20:10.:20:16.

There could be an ambivalence of not getting involved again. It is

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not just Afghanistan that will condition decisions in the future,

:20:19.:20:21.

we are going through a reduction in the defence capability of the

:20:22.:20:27.

country. It may well be in the future there may be occasions when

:20:27.:20:31.

people might feel motivated to intervene and engage, we won't have

:20:31.:20:35.

the military resources to do so. Oxford the other day, I was

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approached by three attractive young women, who said the only

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reason they switched on Newsnight was to watch Paul Mason, he's so

:20:43.:20:49.

exy, they said. In all respects they seemed perfectly normal. Feast

:20:49.:20:55.

your eyes girls, here he is, the thinking woman's Brad Pitt. In

:20:55.:20:59.

contrast to his usual fare of graphs and gloom, wondering whether

:20:59.:21:03.

there are reasons to be cheerful? hope you told them to get a better

:21:03.:21:10.

television or pair of spectacles. think they were serious, Brad?

:21:10.:21:15.

that note, keeping the moral tone of the propbl high, as it always is,

:21:15.:21:18.

the recovery. Let's talk about it, tomorrow, in the European Union, we

:21:18.:21:25.

are about to see, hopefully, some kind of closure on the Greek crisis.

:21:26.:21:30.

We hope the Greeks get their debt swapped and that goes well. That

:21:30.:21:34.

Greece no longer looks like a ticking timebomb that blows up the

:21:34.:21:38.

rest of the European economy. If that is so, attention turns to what

:21:38.:21:42.

is happening in America. Let's have a look at the graph. This is never

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a bad sign, never a bad index of what is happening in the US, the

:21:47.:21:50.

stock market, the Dow Jones, as you can see the back end of last year

:21:51.:21:54.

and beginning of this year, it has really recovered. This is another

:21:55.:22:03.

graph, this is new job claims in the United States, and it is looks

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pretty good having looked pretty awful. Early 2012 we are seeing the

:22:08.:22:14.

new unemployed people falling. The US has created nearly two million

:22:14.:22:17.

jobs since the US Federal Reserve intervened. If Europe goes quiet

:22:17.:22:21.

and cold for a bit, there is a chance that the USA and the soft

:22:21.:22:25.

land anything China, could draw the rest of the world into something

:22:25.:22:28.

like a recovery. The question is whether which can be part of it,

:22:28.:22:33.

and whether our role in it can be sustainable. That is why I went to

:22:33.:22:43.
:22:43.:22:43.

Lincoln yesterday to have a look at it. It doesn't look like the

:22:43.:22:48.

throbbing heart of industrial revival, Lincoln can look a lot

:22:48.:22:52.

like gift shop Britain. But the city is home to the people and

:22:52.:22:57.

places that are driving something precious, spectacular economic

:22:57.:23:03.

growth. At this factory they make high-tech bits of metal, bearings

:23:03.:23:10.

to go in aircraft landing gear, helicopter rotars and trams. The

:23:10.:23:15.

machines are operated 2446 hours a day, because the world -- 24-hours

:23:15.:23:20.

a day because the world can't get enough. Globally people have

:23:21.:23:25.

started spending money again, and aircraft are being purchased.

:23:25.:23:29.

is happening now that wasn't before? There is a confidence and

:23:29.:23:33.

availability of money. We have had significant growth in the last 12

:23:33.:23:39.

months where we have increased output of the order of 30%. From

:23:39.:23:43.

regular running levels of the year previous.

:23:43.:23:47.

In fact, the firm can't grow fast enough, there is a waiting list for

:23:47.:23:54.

the stuff they make. If we had the human capacity to do it, we could

:23:54.:23:57.

grow by 25% immediately. Manufacturing is not the only thing

:23:57.:24:02.

growing, consumer spending edged up again last month, prompting the

:24:02.:24:06.

idea that the worst may be over. Certainly, on the streets of

:24:06.:24:10.

Lincoln, it looks very unlike a recession, that is because the town

:24:10.:24:14.

has things that insulate you against a downturn. Foreign

:24:14.:24:17.

students, farming, tourism, and there is a lot of relatively high-

:24:18.:24:27.
:24:28.:24:28.

paid work. Lincoln is where the German engineering giant, Seimens,

:24:28.:24:33.

makes gas turbines. The company has poured money into this factory,

:24:33.:24:37.

they export nearly everything they make. It is the global recovery

:24:37.:24:41.

driving things. A couple of years ago we were making 35 of these gas

:24:41.:24:46.

turbines a year, this year we will make 81, next year we are looking

:24:46.:24:49.

at whether we can make 100. We are seeing a doubling in the amount of

:24:49.:24:56.

work we are doing, that is going worldwide, exporting to Middle East,

:24:56.:25:01.

Australia, and we are seeing everywhere customers are coming to

:25:01.:25:04.

Lincoln. Because Seimens is global, it can raise finance without

:25:04.:25:08.

worrying about British banks, it has also invested heavily, German-

:25:08.:25:14.

style, in training, it is not held back by a skills shortage. It is

:25:14.:25:18.

driven by a combination of the global economy and the

:25:18.:25:23.

competitiveness of the staff. It is not a UK market, we don't work in

:25:23.:25:32.

the UK predominantly, we export 85% of what we are doing. At the

:25:32.:25:36.

university, where they have just opened a whole near engineering

:25:36.:25:41.

school, paid for, you guessed it, Seimens. They are all too oh aye

:25:41.:25:45.

what's that then ware of the flip side, what what -- aware of what is

:25:45.:25:49.

happening to the flip side. What is happening to the small businesses.

:25:49.:25:55.

The banks are not as interested in small ventures as perhaps they

:25:55.:26:04.

could be, as was agreed through project Merlin. We do get reports

:26:04.:26:08.

by most businesses about constraints in formal finance from

:26:08.:26:12.

banks. We also have a place in places like Lincoln is a

:26:12.:26:15.

significant number of family businesses, generating growth

:26:15.:26:19.

through retained profits, year on year, and do have resources and

:26:19.:26:24.

savings. For the butcher, the baker and cappuccino maker, the recovery

:26:24.:26:29.

is a bit two speed, the question is raises once you get beyond one firm

:26:29.:26:36.

and one city, can it be saend? shows the number of hours worked in

:26:36.:26:41.

manufacturing, it is at the highest levels. Graham Turner was one of

:26:41.:26:46.

the first economists last year to declare the US recovery under way.

:26:46.:26:52.

He thinks the UK data is nowhere near as promising. Despite the

:26:52.:26:56.

stellar performance of some manufacturing firms, there is still

:26:56.:27:05.

a mountain to climb. We have a strong recovery in manufacturing

:27:05.:27:10.

output. We have only recovered half the losses sustained during the

:27:10.:27:17.

downturn of 2008/09. Other countries like Germany have clawed

:27:17.:27:21.

a larger share of the lost output back. We have to focus on that if

:27:21.:27:26.

we want serious rebalancing. We need a much quicker reduction in

:27:26.:27:31.

the trade deficit. We devalue the pound, and yet our trade deficit

:27:31.:27:35.

carried on going up for a good couple of years, it is only now

:27:35.:27:42.

starting to improvment those are the indicators we are looking at,

:27:42.:27:49.

to see if there is a serious restructuring to make the recovery

:27:49.:27:53.

sustainable, like we are seeing in the US. It is this statement that

:27:53.:27:56.

led Vince Cable to say the Government lack as compelling

:27:56.:28:01.

vision of where the industrial strategy is heading. The idea that

:28:01.:28:07.

ignore the shoots are there, but that they are so isolate. If these

:28:07.:28:14.

are the early signs of recovery, the downsides are that the economy

:28:14.:28:17.

shrank during the recession and the Treasury will command money out of

:28:17.:28:22.

it for the next five years. I think it shows where the British economy

:28:22.:28:28.

is exposed to global traditions and new technology, it does better than

:28:28.:28:32.

we expect. But that is no consolation to the pie shop and the

:28:32.:28:37.

school leaver. What non-global, low tech Britain needs, is simply for

:28:37.:28:44.

the credit crunch to be over. Should the Chancellor be singing in

:28:44.:28:50.

the balt and giving us all the stuff about the - bath and giving

:28:50.:28:54.

all the stuff about green shoots of recovery. My guests are here. What

:28:54.:28:58.

does it seem like for you? I feel for some months there is a return

:28:58.:29:02.

of what is called animal spirits amongst entrepeneurs, I think there

:29:02.:29:08.

are signs of confidence. Partly, as Paul says, America is definitely

:29:08.:29:12.

recovering, and generally speaking, Britain follows what they. Do but

:29:12.:29:19.

also because after four years of tough times I think there is

:29:19.:29:26.

inevitable cyclicality about it. How does it feel to you? As it did

:29:26.:29:31.

last year and 2009. That good! we have been getting, Jeremy, are

:29:31.:29:36.

these little spurts of growth, and little spurts of confidence that

:29:36.:29:40.

come up against the buffers of the financial system, which is still

:29:40.:29:48.

broken. We have little spurts of growth and then we go back again.

:29:48.:29:53.

If if you look at the chart about the economy plunging, what happens

:29:53.:29:58.

in the past is it recovers quickly, now it is going up a bit, sideways

:29:58.:30:02.

a bit, and then there. It won't go back up to where it was before, as

:30:02.:30:10.

Graham Turner clearly said. Paul Mason produced several witnesses in

:30:10.:30:13.

the film saying the banks are the problem. Does it feel like that to

:30:13.:30:18.

you as a businessman? I think lack of credit is an issue and will

:30:18.:30:22.

continue to be. They are gradually repairing their balance sheets.

:30:22.:30:29.

There are new banks appearing, I'm on the board of one. There is new

:30:29.:30:32.

capital flowing into the system. Over time it will feed through into

:30:32.:30:36.

industry and help create jobs. is overly optimistic, the fact is

:30:36.:30:40.

the banks are effectively insolvent. We are finding the European Central

:30:40.:30:46.

Bank, for example, is printing money to pump into the banks. They

:30:46.:30:52.

have had a trillion euros since December of cheap money. I'm a

:30:52.:30:56.

small business woman, my bank said to me if I deposit any money with

:30:56.:31:03.

them, I would be lucky to get 0.3%. But if I were to go into an

:31:03.:31:11.

overdraft it would be 28%, on average overdraftings are 20%. How

:31:11.:31:17.

can small businesses cope with that if their overdraft is 28%. The bank

:31:17.:31:20.

is borrowing at 1% from the publicly-backed central banks of

:31:20.:31:30.
:31:30.:31:31.

Europe and Britain. If you are one of the three million without a job

:31:31.:31:34.

it doesn't feel that good. I don't get the sense talking to people on

:31:34.:31:39.

the street that they do sense things are getting better and the

:31:39.:31:43.

clouds are lifting. Do you feel something different? I do, I talk

:31:43.:31:47.

all the time to entrepeneurs and investors. There is, I feel, a

:31:47.:31:53.

sense that costs have been cut and restructuring is done in business,

:31:53.:31:58.

and industry as a whole, has many hundreds of millions to invest, it

:31:58.:32:03.

has an all-time high levels of cash. Gradually companies will deploy

:32:03.:32:07.

that money into new investments, and that, in itself, will drive

:32:07.:32:12.

demand and growth. We can't run the economy on the

:32:12.:32:19.

basis of anecdotes, the fact is, there is a lack of demand out there,

:32:19.:32:23.

these companies are hoarding their cash because they are afraid,

:32:23.:32:26.

because customers are not through the door. They are deeply worried,

:32:26.:32:31.

about the banking system not being fixed yet, the Government insisting

:32:31.:32:35.

on austerity, we have savage austerity in Europe, that is our

:32:35.:32:39.

big market for the exports we saw in Lincoln, for example.

:32:39.:32:45.

Businessmen, rightly, are hoarding that cash, really afraid. So we may

:32:45.:32:49.

hear and story here and there, Paul is right to identify those. That

:32:49.:32:56.

doesn't make up for the fact that the whole economy lacks demand.

:32:56.:33:00.

We will see how it develops, in the short-term we have a budget coming

:33:00.:33:04.

up in a couple of weeks time. What do you think George Osborne ought

:33:04.:33:13.

to do, give us one measure each, or one rhetorical statement he should

:33:13.:33:23.
:33:23.:33:24.

make, or some action he should make. I would have him sharply deregulate

:33:24.:33:28.

for smaller companies. Those that can't afford a professional HR

:33:28.:33:36.

person. I think if it were made easier to hire and fire staff, I

:33:36.:33:39.

think entrepeneurs would be more willing to take on people and that

:33:39.:33:45.

would cut unemployment. I think small businesses should be helped

:33:45.:33:49.

as well, we tax employment and that is good, and make it hard for small

:33:49.:33:53.

businesses to employ. I think we face a bigger problem, I think the

:33:53.:33:59.

Government should be investing in one of the biggest security threats

:33:59.:34:03.

we faced, energy security. Oil prices are rising, it is going up,

:34:03.:34:08.

we will have to rely on the Russians for others for gas in the

:34:08.:34:12.

future. We need to insulate our homes to make them more energy

:34:12.:34:17.

efficient so we can cope with with what will be deep energy insecurity

:34:17.:34:20.

in the future. The Government should lead this, at the moment

:34:21.:34:25.

they are not taking that seriously in the Department of Energy. That

:34:25.:34:28.

would generate jobs for small businesses and construction

:34:28.:34:37.

companies, here and not in China. If you were in America today you

:34:37.:34:43.

wouldn't have been able to hear youself think to young men

:34:43.:34:48.

contesting they will boot Barack Obama out of the White House come

:34:48.:34:55.

November. Super Tuesday,'s bumper crop of Republican speeches failed

:34:55.:34:59.

to rouse anyone. It is only March and plenty of people are sick of

:34:59.:35:08.

the whole thing. Super Tuesday is designed to be

:35:08.:35:12.

super-decisive, we are supposed to, by now, have a pretty firm idea of

:35:12.:35:17.

who will face Barack Obama in November's election. But, at the

:35:17.:35:20.

moment, the safest prediction we can make is, the Republican

:35:20.:35:26.

candidate will have a four-letter, one-syllabel first name, still in

:35:26.:35:34.

the hunt are Mitt, Rick and Newt. Each has attractions to the

:35:34.:35:38.

Republican voters, but each with a downside. The big winner from last

:35:38.:35:44.

night was Mitt Romney, of the ten states up for grabs, he took six,

:35:44.:35:51.

but a narrow win in Ohio, has led to a sense from the pundits that he

:35:52.:35:56.

hasn't done enough to make the job his. He, of course, doesn't agree.

:35:56.:36:01.

We will take your vote, a huge vote in Massachusetts s and take the

:36:01.:36:09.

victory all the way to the whout White House.

:36:09.:36:12.

As front-runner, Mitt Romney gets the most heat, for being a

:36:12.:36:19.

calculating flip-floper. Noi he tells us, trust me, mime he -- now

:36:19.:36:24.

he tells us, trust him he's a conservative. From being a

:36:24.:36:31.

linguist? He speaks French too. it gets worse, being mean to dogs.

:36:31.:36:39.

You took your Irish setter on a 12- hour road trip, tied to the roof of

:36:39.:36:44.

your car, question, what were you thinking. Jo this is completely air

:36:44.:36:49.

tight kennel, mounted on the top of the car, he climbed up there

:36:49.:36:54.

regularly and enjoyed himself. has led to a campaign using

:36:54.:37:01.

pictures of dogs, with the slogan, "I ride inside". He doesn't come

:37:02.:37:07.

across as a regular guy. Pockets of the Midwest don't like Mitt Romney

:37:07.:37:14.

and other areas. He might be able to win the nomination without

:37:14.:37:17.

fixing the problem. Barack Obama had a skim later problem he never

:37:17.:37:23.

fixed. It would be hard to say he would drop out, unless they tell

:37:23.:37:28.

you they have Achilles heels but five open spots in the armour to

:37:28.:37:32.

attack. For the top three this is how it looked before Super Tuesday.

:37:32.:37:37.

Mitt Romney out in the lead. After Super Tuesday, not much has changed,

:37:37.:37:42.

except Mitt Romney is a little further down the road. He is,

:37:42.:37:48.

though, well short of the delegates he will need if he wants to be the

:37:48.:37:52.

nominee. In second place is Rick Santorum, a former Pennsylvania

:37:52.:37:57.

senator who has a neat line in tank tops, and Conservative Christian

:37:57.:38:02.

politics. His would be a crowded White House, seven children, and if

:38:02.:38:10.

he gets there, he will have proved the perceived wisdom wrong, that a

:38:10.:38:14.

social Conservative can't win a majority in America. Newt Gingrich

:38:14.:38:21.

is not running on family values, that is just as well, as he's on

:38:21.:38:25.

thinks third marriage. He was accused with charges of democracy,

:38:25.:38:33.

because at the time he was leading the moral charge against blilt over

:38:33.:38:38.

the Lewinsky affair, he was having an affair of his own. It has never

:38:38.:38:42.

got past him that he would alienate people with his personal story.

:38:42.:38:48.

may not know who will be in the driving seat, and who will be

:38:48.:38:52.

strapped to the roof rack for a month.

:38:52.:38:58.

The big question, has this Republican contest been so fra,, so

:38:58.:39:02.

damaging, that whoever wins is destend to be the loser come

:39:02.:39:07.

November. The current opinion polls all put the Republican hopefuls

:39:07.:39:15.

well behind President Obama. White working-class voters, across the

:39:15.:39:19.

industrial Rust Belt across America, may decide the election. To discuss

:39:19.:39:27.

how it might go are Thomas Frank, author of What's The Matter With

:39:27.:39:31.

Kansas, and Pity The Poor Billionaire. And the writer of The

:39:31.:39:40.

Grand New Party. Gentlemen, Thomas Frank, first off,

:39:40.:39:47.

he is now Mitt Romney the candidate, is he? Pretty much, he will be the

:39:47.:39:56.

Republican nominee. That is my view. Do you think that too? I think he's

:39:56.:40:01.

the most likely winner, yes. Do you think it is possible, either of you,

:40:01.:40:05.

that he can actually get the support of the white working-class,

:40:05.:40:11.

seems to have a lot of trouble doing it? He really doesn't do the

:40:11.:40:17.

populus thing very well. Also, you no -- you know, we have seen Mitt

:40:17.:40:22.

Romney for a number of months, we know his strengths and weaknesses.

:40:22.:40:28.

His biggest weakness by far is that, well, first of all, he loves to

:40:28.:40:32.

boast about how rich he is, and second of all, he had the career

:40:32.:40:42.
:40:42.:40:42.

where he made all the money was at a vepture capital outfit. --

:40:43.:40:47.

venture capital outfit. None will play well with the demographic you

:40:47.:40:50.

mentioned. You are shaking your head? I don't think he likes to

:40:50.:40:54.

boast about it, but it is one of the central parts of his life to

:40:54.:40:58.

being a turn around artist in private equity, he would take

:40:58.:41:02.

failing business enterprises and try to make them viable, in some

:41:02.:41:05.

cases he didn't succeed. That has always been a central proposition

:41:05.:41:10.

in public life, when he ran the Olympics in 2002, and ran for

:41:10.:41:15.

Governor of Massachusetts, later that year. He was advancing himself

:41:15.:41:20.

as one who could fix these very, very thorny problems, because he

:41:20.:41:24.

has done it in his private life. Because he is successful, it is

:41:24.:41:28.

hard for him to talk away from because it is deeply in his

:41:28.:41:32.

biography, I don't think he's boasting, but acknowledging it is a

:41:32.:41:38.

central part of his life. It will be a lightning rod and

:41:38.:41:43.

controversial. It is not obvious that he will fail,'s turning it

:41:43.:41:50.

into strength. We have many weeks to the American election.

:41:50.:41:56.

What about the jibe, that said he looks like the man who fired you?

:41:56.:42:01.

Exactly, that was four years ago when he said that. It sticks, and

:42:01.:42:06.

what I said about Romney boasting about his wealth. It is amusing. It

:42:06.:42:10.

just slips out, the other day he was talking about what kind of car

:42:10.:42:17.

he drove, he mentioned his wife drove not just one Cadillac but two.

:42:17.:42:20.

Somebody asked him about stock car racing, a popular sport in America,

:42:20.:42:26.

he doesn't follow it. He knows several guys who own stock car

:42:26.:42:33.

racing teams. This kind of talk. He wanted to bet one of the other

:42:33.:42:39.

candidates 10,000 -- $10,000 of all other things. This kind of talk

:42:39.:42:43.

slips out, it is who he is and he can't help it, this will be his

:42:43.:42:49.

great witness. You accept he has to appeal to a broader constituency he

:42:49.:42:53.

currently appeals to? That is absolutely right. That is

:42:53.:42:57.

inevitably a process of the way the presidential elections work. You

:42:57.:43:04.

have this long drown out primary process during which core member of

:43:04.:43:07.

the two respective parties are making the determination, they have

:43:07.:43:10.

their maximum leverage at this point. When you think about the

:43:10.:43:13.

folks turning out to party conferences, in Blackpool or

:43:13.:43:16.

Brighton, these are not the people that David Cameron or Ed Milliband

:43:16.:43:20.

are going to be competing for in a general election. Rather, they are,

:43:21.:43:26.

shall we say, the eccentrics, the true believers and those who turn

:43:26.:43:30.

out. In the United States we have a month-long process during which

:43:30.:43:35.

these people, this relatively small universe of primary voters are

:43:35.:43:38.

pressing their advantage and talking about their issues. They

:43:38.:43:42.

want to make sure any presidential candidate will be a true believer,

:43:42.:43:47.

so they can be relied on to not deBrae them, while in office. That

:43:48.:43:52.

is the job for political activists on the left or right in this

:43:52.:43:57.

country. That is why they are pushed in one day or another. It is

:43:57.:44:00.

a liability, but you pith it once you get to the general election,

:44:00.:44:05.

and that is where we are likely to see it as well. Something has

:44:05.:44:12.

happened to the Republican Party since the last election? Absolutely.

:44:12.:44:16.

Look at Mitt Romney himself, four years ago he was at least trying to

:44:16.:44:22.

sell himself as the Conservative alternative to John McCain. Now

:44:22.:44:27.

he's the guy everyone wants the tie to Conservative is. He's not even a

:44:27.:44:31.

Conservative. What I would describe what is going on in America, this

:44:31.:44:35.

is especially the case for the Conservative movement. The search

:44:36.:44:41.

for awe then sis at the, this is a group of voters in a political

:44:41.:44:45.

movement that has attached its idea to the idea of authenticity for

:44:45.:44:53.

years and years. Now they have got this going on, you have Newt

:44:53.:44:56.

Gingrich saying he's the real candidate. And Mitt Romney who just

:44:56.:45:04.

can't seem to make the sale. understand the way the Republican

:45:04.:45:07.

Party's shifts have been perceived to much of the blik, certainly to

:45:07.:45:10.

much of the public -- public, certainly to much of the public in

:45:10.:45:14.

the UK. On the substance of policy issues, the Republican Party has

:45:14.:45:19.

moved to the centre, on tax, health policies. There is a new consensus

:45:19.:45:26.

about the set of ideas that are very Praguementic. In health there

:45:27.:45:33.

is a set of ideas endorsed by Democrats during the late 1990s,

:45:33.:45:38.

yet the Democratic party has moved away from had a and the others have

:45:38.:45:41.

moved towards. When you look at the substance of issues there is a

:45:41.:45:46.

shift to the centre. In terms of rhetoric, there is a sharper,

:45:46.:45:51.

harder edged rhetoric, that is because it is something you see on

:45:51.:45:57.

both sides of the political divides in. United States. That is all from

:45:57.:46:01.

Newsnight tonight. Kirsty will be in the chair tomorrow night. Lucky

:46:01.:46:06.

old you. old you.

:46:06.:46:16.
:46:16.:46:34.

A colder night tonight, last night bringing a chillyo start to

:46:35.:46:38.

Thursday. Most of us, -- chilly start to Thursday. Most of us

:46:38.:46:42.

starting off with sunshine. Showers to the North West, wet weather

:46:42.:46:45.

throughout the day across Scotland. A dry and bright day, the cloud

:46:45.:46:51.

will increase a little bit to the east of the Pennines. In the weak

:46:52.:46:55.

sunshine temperatures reaching double figures. After that chilly

:46:55.:46:58.

start, because of the winds being lighter and they have been through

:46:58.:47:04.

the day today, it will feel warmer. South-West England in the same boat,

:47:04.:47:09.

a sunny start, but dry and bright, as it it is across most of Wales. A

:47:09.:47:13.

grey afternoon on the west coast. Breezy, in Northern Ireland, but

:47:13.:47:20.

overall it is dry, if rather cloudy, a hint of brightness in hilly

:47:20.:47:25.

places. Northern Ireland keeps the thick cloud and outbreaks of rain,

:47:25.:47:30.

it should stay dry. Haen of us will be dry on Friday, a weather -- many

:47:30.:47:34.

of us will be dry on Friday. A weather front will bring rain.

:47:34.:47:38.

Temperatures could be higher, despite it being cloudy. Central

:47:38.:47:41.

and oorn parts of England, most likely to see sunshine during

:47:41.:47:47.

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Jeremy Paxman.

As six British soldiers are killed in Afghanistan, Mark Urban assesses the continuing toll of Britain's operations in the country over a decade since they began.


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