14/03/2012 Newsnight


The UK is put on negative watch by a top ratings agency - the shadow chancellor responds. And the head of Ofsted on school literacy. With Emily Maitlis.

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Britain's put on negative watch by a leading ratings agency. With


unemployment up, years of austerity ahead, and a budget round the


corner, what is the adrenaline jab the country needs. FITCH, the


ratings agency, is worried about the shocks we can't predict, and


the growth we can't seem able to generate.


So can the do anything to get big business to spend some of the


billions they are sitting on. We will hear from the Shadow


Chancellor, Ed Balls. Are too many children failing to


reach literacy standards, are the standards too lax. The new head of


the schools inspectorate, Ofsted, is here in the studio.


The uprising in Syria has been going in for a year, we ask is the


opposition too fractured. David, we are chuffed to bits you


are here. Cameron and Obama cosy up in the


White House. Are the Tories more pally with the American right.


Why one banker has given Goldman Sachs the blues.


(plays the blues) Good evening, in the last two hours


the ratings agency, FITCH, has announced it has revised the UK's


economic outlook to negative. They point to the risk and uncertainty


to the possibility of reducing risk and debt by the middlele of the


decade, and the eurozone crisis which it says could intensify. The


UK could find itself losing the coveted triple-A rating. We will


speak to Ed Balls in a moment. Paul Mason is here, what does it mean?


We still have our triple-A rating, that means British debt is among


the safest in the world. Peg put on negative watch by a second of the


three being -- being put on a negative watch by a second of the


three big agencies, the other one last was -- was last month. FITCH


is concerned about three things. The first is the eurozone crisis,


what they are seeing is that the eurozone credit crunch has narrowed


the shock absorption of the UK economy. If anything more bad


happens we may have to hike borrowing. That is problem number


one. The second is the pressures on the Government to try to rein in on


the austerity. FITCH says there is a danger the Government will cut


less fast, or raise, maybe even cut om taxes, under pressure. Given the


-- some taxes, under pressure. Given the Government is clear it is


not going to do. That read between the lines of what FITCH is really


worried about over the next few years the coalition fails, and


replaced by another Government committed to a slower pace of


austerity. The final thing they are worried about and that is what


Vince Cable is worried about, where is the growth coming. They are


worried when the Government statisticians look again later this


year at the UK economy, we might find we have shrunk even more than


we thought. If we have, it is a whole bigger hill to climb. These


guys are paid to put fine detail on to risk analysis, they just


slightly notched up the risk of lending to the UK.


A week today the budget will be on the table, as we have been hearing,


there in Westminster and over the phone from Washington, they are


still arguing about what should be done. One of the big curiosities in


our economy is what can be done to get big business spending. We have


been told there is no money, that is not true. The corporate City is


spending on several hundred billion pounds, that doesn't get out to the


real economy. Why not? And how can that change?


This is bank, and here are people in suits doing bank-a-like things,


like lending people money, or not lending people money. But are


things about to change? This doesn't look like a bank, and


it doesn't look like a hole in the wall, but why, in future, couldn't


it be a bank, that is the question one of the Prime Minister's own


advisers asked me recently. They point today Travis Perkin, every


day lending plilding equipment to builders up and down the country.


If you are lending other things why not lend money, lasering the


economy in the bits that needed it. As the Government presses ahead


with public spending, they are expecting the private sector to


meet half way with investment, driving the economic recovery. It


is not really happening. corporates are sitting on around


about �730 billion in cash. That is very high by historic standards.


The reason they have the cash is they have been very good at cutting


cost, building profits through the downturn. The future for all the


corporates is one certain, we live in a volatile world. I don't think


it is by any means certain these corporates will want to run down


cash in a big way. It may be high cash balances are here to stay.


There are, of course, policies in play to get money into the real


economy. The Government will soon announce how it will underwrite


loans from banks to small business, credit easing. This week will also


bring a report on non-bank financing. But the sluice gates to


the �730 billion will probably remain shut.


One new Tory MP, working closely with the leadership on this, says


they know they need to do more? debate has so far focused on the


fiscal measures who will we tax, and where will we spend money. This


is an area that is not non-fiscal, it doesn't relate to tax and spend.


But getting money into the real economy is really going to oil the


recovery. So this should be a big part of it. What Governments should


be doing is trying to accelerate this process, because if companies


invest, that is how we get jobs and that is how we get growth.


The problem for the Chancellor is so acute, solutions might have to


include ideas that were once ruled out of bounds for Conservatives.


The most important thing is confidence, a credible strategy for


how we will grow the industries, the businesses of tomorrow. I think


that does mean that all of us, Conservatives who believe in


industry, need to embrace it and set out a Conservative industrial


policy for the next generation, backing the industries of tomorrow,


the sectors of tomorrow, so we have a sustainable recovery. There is


attention within the coalition on exactly how to rebuild confidence


in the economy. The current strategy rests on getting banks and


other actors to start lending again, but there are some Lib Dems who


think this is not enough, you need a more muscular approach, set up


your own state bank and take control. In his letter to the Prime


Minister, leaked recently, Business Secretary, Vince Cable, called for


the Royal Bank of Scotland to be turned into a state infrastructure


bank, able to get money flowing direct to industry, great and small.


But RBS becoming a state bank is a no-no for Conservatives, for the


Liberal Democrats the idea has its attractions. One possible solution,


and I think we will see whether or not it is a solution by the success


or otherwise of the Green Investment Bank, is the possibility


of some sort of state infrastructure bank. We have RBS


that we own 86% of already, maybe that would be the vehicle for


creating a state infrastructure bank. But I think we need to see


how successful the Green Investment Bank to see whether or not it will


make a positive difference. Whatever the mechanism, they need


to get a move on. Forecast by the Government's own office of budget


responsibility, insists companies will get stuck in, a 10% increase


this year, that is double the rate we have seen before, so possibly


wishful thinking. I think the Government needs to see corporate


spend. We know that the Government, which has been a big engine of


growth in this economy, before the recession, is not going to be


present. So we are going to have to see more activity from the


corporate sector. The challenge for Government is to create the


conditions in which corporates think they can make good money by


spending those cash balances. This is a builders' merchants,


these are builders. Oh, and there's a dummy. How odd! But then again,


this could be a bank soon. Ahead of the budget what we have focused on


so far ahead of the debate is tax and spend. But it will be as much


about getting companies to relax and lend. The increased threat from


a downgrade from another ratings agency this evening, makes the dash


for growth even more urgent. I spoke to the Shadow Chancellor,


just before we came on air. The credit ratings agency, FITCH, has


warned the UK is on a negative outlook, your response to that?


credit ratings agencies are a weather vane, they tell you the way


things are moving. There is a growing worry our economy is not


growing, unemployment is rising, and our borrowing is not coming


down, as George Osborne planned. I said to George Osborne always,


don't set your policy by the credit ratings agency, they are a weather


vane and they say the weather is going in a difficult direction for


the economy. FITCH is not saying spend more, they are saying not


reducing debt quickly enough, your policy would make that even worse?


FITCH were the people who said four years ago, sub-prime mortgages,


keep them on triple-A. So they are wrong, then? The credit ratings


aegsz have consistently got the financial crisis wrong, they said


Lehman Brothers was a safe bet. My point to George Osborne was you


should never make your policy by the credit ratings agency.


George Osborne shouldn't really worry about it, broadly, it is not


a worry? If it wasn't for the fact that George Osborne set this as his


test. Go back a year-and-a-half ago, he said he would have stronger


growth, unemployment down, borrowing down, all that has


disappeared, because the economy has flatlined, unemployment is


rising. The only thing he has been saying for the last six months is


he can't change course because he will lose the support of the credit


ratings agencies, even now, this is the second ratings agency in a


month-and-a-half who have moved things to negative. George Osborne


made the wrong call to let the ratings agencies dictate the policy.


It is the wrong policy, too far, and too fast and it is not working.


A week away from the budget, and the Chancellor is looking at


convoluted schemes to sort things out. Does it take you back to the


good old days of Brown and Balls? Is unemployment going to come down


and growth happen. If the economy isn't growing you can't say keep


going. The clever tricks policies, do you think we have all done a bit


of that? The thing about George Osborne at the moment is he wants


you to focus on the tricks policy, the 100-year bond. Like Gordon


Brown did? The thing was. You say no, but, yes he did? Every


Chancellor now and then has gimmicks, the question is, are the


fundamentals going in the right or wrong direction. George's problem


is the economy is not growing. He's doing nothing about it. He's saying


steady as she goes, he wants to say he can't change course whatever,


the problem is, it is deeply complacent in this situation. I


want the budget to be fair, but I want a budget for growth and jobs,


without that we can't get the deficit down. Let's lock at


policies, the 50p rate, -- look at policies, the 50p rate, much talked


about, if that goes, would you reintroduce it? I would be


surprised if David Cameron allows this to happen. We have had


speculation in the last few weeks from the Liberal Democrats saying


we will let you get rid of the 50p rate, if you replace it with a


mansion tax. That is not a worry, it will stay? I think it will stay


next week. Who could possibly think, when fuel bills are going up, when


child benefit is being cut, when Working Tax Credits are cut, who


thinks the priority is not people on �30,000, but only people above


�150,000. You think they have that policy right? I would be amazed if


they take it away. George Osborne clearly wants to, that would be so


out-of-touch. If took it away you would -- if he took it away, you


would reinstate it? I have said no tax rate is set in stone, but is it


a priority to get rid of the 50p rate, no. You said it would be


absurd to get rid of it, logically you would reinstate it if they did?


If there was a general election right now, our manifesto would not


say get rid of the 50p rate. off the fence for a minute, mansion


tax, you said you support the mansion tax, would you introduce it


and it become a Labour policy? mansion tax needs careful thought


and done properly it can't be done in a way for fish low income widows


with lots of wealth -- for low income widows with lots of wealth.


I will say I will make it work. don't want to make it your idea?


was originally a Vince Cable idea, originally something David Miliband


supported in the leadership election. I support it too.


child benefit, you are actually supporting a lot of new tax for


rich people, you would still retain for rich people? Some things we


would do is bring back the bow bank tax for youth jobs. Don't cut


pension tax relief for the highest income earners, use that to


reinstate the tax credit cuts. Use stamp duty avoidance to stop the


terrible cut in Working Tax Credit. Child benefit, you would keep that


for everyone, even the rich? believe in universal child benefit,


I always have. Ed Balls thank you. In today's unemployment figures we


learned 1.15 million young people are out of work. Do they have the


skills they need. The new Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael


Wilshaw, will warn tomorrow that too many primary school pupils in


England leave without being able to read properly. We are falling


behind international competitors, he will pledge to raise the bar,


and warn teachers they have to get specialist training in teaching


phonics, a system of sounding out letter combinations. We were given


an exclusive preview. Hammer, hammer, shake, shake, shake.


One essential skill, not in the job advert for Her Majesty's Chief


Inspector of Schools is, the ability to sit for long periods on


a tiny classroom chair. Sir Michael Wilshaw, who took the job in


January, has clearly mastered this, now he wants to revolutionise the


teaching of English. This lesson is teaching synthetic


phonics, virtually all primary schools teach children to read like


this now. Sir Michael is a big fan. This teacher would have been


trained in the use of phonics, that is putting letters and sounds


together and merging that in what is called a systemic and synthetic


way. But the kids seem to think it is fun? It is fun. But not all


English teaching is going so well. In his short time as Chief


Inspector, Sir Michael has started something of a debate within the


teaching profession about whether existing standards are actually


high enough. Consider this, out of all the children who get the


satisfactory grade aged 11 in literacy, half of them don't go on


to get five good GCSEs. So what is going on?


Sir Michael's report is called Moving English Forward, it is very


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 45 seconds


In the lest learning was hampered The school Sir Michael is advising


today is St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School in Battersea south


London. It was judged satisfactory in its last Ofsted inspection, but


as we know, Sir Michael does not regard that as good enough. Since


then it has been working hard to improve health by a good school


nearby, with which is now shares a head. To encourage reading it has a


library with books donated by Selfridges. They can come with


reading volunteers which we have. The class teachers can use the


library to support the curriculum in the work they are doing, it is


fantastic, lovely. For Sir Michael instilling a love of reading for


its own sake is vital if we are to address the problem with literacy.


Do you enjoy reading? Yeah. reading at home, do you read at


home? Every night. Michael Wilshaw has long held the attention of


politicians. He was head of one of the earliest and most successful of


the Blair Government's new academy schools. Gordon Brown too visited,


but he was less keen than his predecessor of setting schools free


from local authority control. Now, under David Cameron, the academy


programme is accelerating, with the addition of free schools set up by


parents or other groups, this puts more power in the hands of Ofsted.


Michael Wilshaw was seen as so critical to this new schools


revolution, that the rumour was he was really picked for the job of


Chief Inspector from a shortlist of one.


There is a rumour that you were not really given a lot of choice about


taking this job or not? No, I'm a believer in free will, I took on


this job because I want to replicate what I did with the


school I was leading across the country, and I want to see children


doing well across the different phases.


Another school day comes to an end, critics say there is a tension at


the heart of the Government's education reform, on the one hand,


schools are supposedly being set free from central control, yet on


the other, there is a powerful Chief Inspector telling them how to


achieve success. Sir Michael Wilshaw is here, and we


will speak to Mary Bousted from the Association of Teachers and


lectures, in a secretary. Are literacy standards for pupils in


England too low? Standards in literacy and reading went up over a


ten-year period between 1995 and 2005. But since then, standards


have stalled. What we are seeing is that other nations are doing much


better than us. We have fall in what is the interNational League


stables from 7th to 23rd. Other countries, as I have said. So our


standards should be higher? That that, in effect, means, is


something like one in five children in primary schools, at the age of


11, are leaving Primary School without the national average. What


that really means is that they can't access the curriculum, in


secondary school. They find it difficult to pass examinations,


they find it difficult to proceed to the next stage of their


education and training, and of course, they find it difficult to


get jobs. Let's get to the root of that, what are teachers doing, that


make standards so low? We have to make sure that phonics teaching,


you saw in the clip how important phonics is, is taught well. To do


that properly, we need to make sure the trainers, the training


providers, the universities that train teachers teach it well.


percentage of teachers are not doing that now? In talking to quite


a few teachers in the primary sector, they will say they have


been inadequately trained in the training institutions, and that


they need a lot more professional development in the teaching of


phonics, which is not an easy thing to do, in their primary schools. We


have to make sure that the training provideers train teachers, and the


teaching of phonics, also schools and leaders in schools car yie on


the professional development in the -- carry on that professional


development in the schools. There is this tension, you talk about


setting them free, but the rhetoric you are using now is about needing


to keep them to the guidelines of what you want to happen. If they


want to teach X, Y and Z, are they allowed to do that? Came from an


academy background, an autonomous institution, I believe very firmly


that is what works, giving power, resources and freedom to people on


the ground, the head teachers and teachers in the school to make a


difference is the right approach. There is an irony now that you have


become this chief? But, it is a big but, but we have to make sure this


freedom works and standards are rising and people working in those


free institutions are held to account. What would you promise


then. You are now going to be in this place, for five years, you are


replacing LEAs, essentially, with a different kind of bureaucracy,


people have got to be able to measure your success, right?


Remember there are only 1500 academys and a few more free


schools, the great majority of provision isn't in academys yet,


they will be increasing over the next few years. We have to make


sure accountability matches freedom. In answer to your question, what do


I expect, I expect better results from primary school children at the


ages of seven, a vital age, and 11 as well. What with would that mean


better results? At the moment 70% have between A-C in their grades?


Many leave without the national average. If one in four did?


they hit the national average that is no guarantee either of success


at GCSE. One of the things I will be urging the Government to do is


look at standards at the age of 11 to see if that level 4, which is


the national average, is sufficient as a predictor for success five


years later. But it should go higher? As soon as possible. When


would we start looking for a change now? As soon as we put the


necessary changes in. Thanks very much.


To you Mary Bousted, literacy standards are too low, and your


teachers have accepted that? don't think Sir Michael's read his


own report very well. The report says, for example, about phonics


that in most schools, all schools teach phonics, and the strengths in


teaching phonics far outweigh the weaknesses, that is what his own


inspectors have written in the report produced today. In key stage


one 80% reached the standard, standards have plateaued at key


stage II, that is entirely predictable in the testing regime


we have got. In key age IV. Is that about the way they are tested?


is, in the report it says that, national tests, and an preparation


for national tests nar rogue the English curriculum. It may be one


of the major causes that children at Primary School with an


overemphasis on test items can't access the National curriculum.


know you don't want to debate directly? I'm happy. He has said


literacy standards are too low, you would agree with that? I would say


there are always improvements to be made. There are real problems


outlined in the report, the difference in standards between


boys and girls, the fact that the standards of writing are lower than


reading, although writing is a harder skill. I would also say that


in this report it details some myths about English teaching, which


your correspondent brought out. It says, for example, that lessons are


too pacey and action-packed, there is a focus on lesson activities


rather than outcomes, and teachers are writing far too detailed lesson


plans. All those activities are not what teachers have to do, they are


a direct result of Government interference. Do you see this as a


chance for teachers to have more freedom, or do you think Ofsted


will be more domineering? I think you have the answer very clearly.


Ofsted has got a very clear agenda, it is not an agenda around teacher


empowerment. It is interesting Sir Michael talking about initial


teaching training providers and phonics, his own inspectorate come


in and give these providers very good results for the teaching of


phonics. What we have to do, and the question you asked Sir Michael


is absolutely right. How is it you say you set schools free, and then


you all have to teach like this. In your report it said the report is


very critical, I have read it very carefully, actually it is very


balanced and said there is an awful lot of very good work being done in


terms of literacy and reading in schools.


Two points to you, just to come back. One, your words don't match


what your report says, and two, that you are not really for teacher


empowerment at all, you are poacher turned game keeper? Of course I'm


for teachers, teachers make the difference. That is at the heart of


the academy programme, it is the heart of the changes that are being


made by the Government. We want to give more power, more resources to


teachers on the ground to make the difference. But we need children to


be able to read so that they can access the curriculum, they can


read and write extensively, both in Primary School and secondary school,


we are falling behind our inter-- primary school and secondary school,


we are falling behind our international competitors, if we


are going to grow economically and with a cohesive society, we need


all children to read and write well. Tomorrow Michael Wilshaw will face


the much trickier task of being interviewed by the BBC's School


Report, you can catch them there. One year ago tomorrow marks the


official beginning of the Syrian uprising, a war where the violence


is rising and solutions are shrinking. In Washington President


Obama and David Cameron made clear any direct intervention remains off


the agenda and restated the need for a diplomatic conclusion. All


this in the allegations of a widespread attack on the population.


First, we ask why the regime is proving so resistant.


A year on, the images of anger and grief in Syria have barely changed.


Today in Idlib, there were funerals for those killed in a Government


assault. While according to unverified YouTube footage, troops


were again gathering outside Deraa. The same town where the longest of


the Arab uprisings took off in ernest, 12 months and perhaps


10,000 deaths ago. The spark was a demonstration


demanding the release of young people arrested for scribbling


anti-regime graffiti. Soon they were burying fellow


protestors, shot by Government troops.


It was the first taste of the state-sponsored brutality that


would target even children. This is evidence of how 15-year-old Tamra


from Deraa was tortured in detention, his arm broken, teeth


knocked out, before his dead body was finally returned to his parents.


TRANSLATION: He had two drill holes in his hand, and a fracture. His


pelvis had five bullets, a total of 11 bullets, not including the drill


holes. When I brought him home to his mother, she couldn't have


identified him, were it not for a childhood injury.


Deaths like this have fuelled the uprising. As thousands have turned


out to demand, not just freedom, but justice, and increasingly


vengence. From Deraa the uprising sproud to


Douma, and other towns, including Homs. Last summer troops besieged


Jisr ash-Shugur, skilled scores in Hama, and attacked other cities.


Fighters were in Damascus and Douma, they were driven out of there, and


Homs, scene of the worst violence in the last few weeks. A year on,


how come President Assad is still in power. The rebellion has spread,


showing remarkable resilience and bravery. It is acquiring arms from


defecting soldiers, much of the Arab world, as well as the west


backs it politically, and sanctionss have helped half the


value of the Syrian currency. But it is not enough. Because the


regime, as far as we can see, remains united and ruthless, while


its enemies, the opposition leaders, and their foreign backers, are


often divided or uncertain. Most protestors I met recently in


Syria were desperate for any form of foreign assistance.


Arms supplies, a no-fly zone, a protected humanitarian corridor.


But with the outside world unwilling to intervene, they are


hopelessly outgunned by Government forces. And President Assad has


played on the country's religious divide. Christians form a large


minority in largely Sunni Muslim Syria, as do the all Wight


community the President belongs to t -- all law Wight community the


President loings to. And some -- belongs to, and some believe they


would be targeted. You heard shouts calling for the deaths of the


Alawites and the Christians, forcing them outside the country


into Beirut. You had some shouts against the Jews, for example.


Someone in Deraa actual accused them of spreading infidelly --


infidelity and other things. Here life look normal, it is hard to


know if people fear the opposition or the regime. For whatever reason,


most still aren't joining the revolution.


The central Government is pretty much coherent, it is pretty much


intact, they are still doing everything that any state would do.


A lot of Syrians believe this level of violence is temporary. That the


Government will go out of this and the whole country will go out of


this. Even though they will be bruised, but intact. President


Assad thinks the violence is temporary, e-mails downloaded from


his account, shows a leader un touch -- out-of-touch with the


crisis with his luxury lifestyle. Meanwhile the parents of the


murdered schoolboy, live in two rented rooms in the Jordanian


desert, God is with them, they tell me, as for the world, they believe


is against Syria. I'm joined by two Syrian opposition


activists who come from rather different aspectives, one holding


dual Syrian and British nationality, and spent much time in Homs, and a


member of the opposition group building the Syrian state.


Welcome to you both. Danny, do you want the outside world to be arming


the opposition now? Of course, that is the only way for us to defend


ourselves. You can see, I'm seeing what is going on in my home town.


We have only two areas which aren't protected by the Free Syrian Army.


The army, the Assad forces actually went in there, stabbed the


civilians, raped the women and killed the children. These are two


areas that aren't protected by the Free Syrian Army, all the other


areas are protected. Where should those arms come from, you have


taken moves to ask for them? These arms should be coming from outside,


from Europe, America, the US, UN, Turkey, Lebanon. I'm not a


politician, or a journalist, I'm a guy from Syria living there since


the revolution. You meet Joe Liberman? They said they wouldn't


give us arms but there will be an intervention soon. This is all talk,


we have been hearing that for eight months, we have seen no action


whatsoever. At some point, you have got to say this has been going on a


year. Whatever arguments you were mooting about not arming the


opposition, has got to reach a turning point, hasn't it? Actually


not. To the contrary, because since arming the opposition started, the


death toll increased dramatically, it is particularly the area where


the Free Syrian Army was based crushed by the regime is where we


have seen significant death tolls. It is where the area where the Free


Syrian Army claims to be protecting civilians, where it failed to


protect them. It withdrew from the areas and left the civilians to be


massacred by the regime. I understand why Danny and people


like him carry arms to protect themselves. I didn't carry arms. I


would like to answer this quickly. If anyone is going to say we don't


want arms in Syria, let them live in Syria for two months, let them


see families die and women rape and let them say that. If we can't


protect ourselves from the army, how will we stop the army stabbing,


kidnapping women, and kidnapping and raping children, without an


army to protect them. We have two areas in Homs not protected by the


Free Syrian Army, they went in there and raped women, ten-year-old


girls, cutting them to pieces. have family there. My parents live


in Homs not protected by the Free Syrian Army, they are still safe,


relatively, nobody is safe. The military is strong, we are


concerned about people like you, we want you to live to build the


country. We don't want the young people to die in front of such a


brutal regime. We need them. This is a battle for democracy, the road


to democracy doesn't go through arming. Don't you worry about that,


the point is you are on the cusp, or you have already entered civil


war in some place, don't you worry you will lose even more members of


your family through that? You do not understand something, we are


already losing members of our families. We are being picked up,


we are being tortured by the army. The women are being raped and


kidnapped from the street. How are we going to protect ourselves. This


area I was sitting in was protected by the free Syrian arm year, they


were bombarding the whole area. Isn't -- army, they were bombarding


the whole area. Isn't that better than them coming in and torturing


us, I would rather be shot by a gun than tortured. Most of the members


of my group are all inside Syria, they are against the army. The


majority of Syrians are against the army, they know. I'm sorry about


that, no. They know the regime and how brutal it is, they know how it


is to confront them with arms. They are concerned about their safety.


Syria has all that it takes to enter full scale civil war.


extraordinary thing is s you can debate the question of arms, but


the regime does not look unstable, it does not look divided, the


opposition, does? The regime is divided. The divisions in the


opposition are not weakening, or making the regime stronger, we


shouldn't overestimate the opposition, there is no opposition


in Syria, we don't have institutions like here, they are


only famous writers and university professors, people openly citsiegs


the regimes. We shouldn't -- criticising the regimes. If the


international community come to international consensus for one


political solution for Syria, the Syrian opposition will unite around


it. Russia is starting to change its rhetoric do you think? Russia


won't change their opinion. There is one more thing to put on the


stable. Anyone who says we do not want intervention or arms in Syria,


go and live there for one whole month, see the massacres in front


of your eyes, pick up pieces of bodies from the street, then say


that. See women being raped by 12 men a day and then say we don't


want arms. We are being killed and massacred there, nobody is doing


anything about it, where is the humanity in the world. It is the


regime killing in Damascus and areas not controlled by the Free


Syrian Army. The regime is still brutal this is not the way to


confront it. I have the sound out from inside, everyone wants arms,


that is what they want inside. A basketball game, with photo


opportunities galore, a rose garden in full bloom, and a much heralds


trip on Air Force One, a privilege for a foreign leader. The anglo-


American relationship has never looked so "special" but cosy. Not a


single meeting has been organised between David Cameron and the


Republican candidates, one of whom may end up leading the free world


in eight months time. Was this a clever official, or a refusal to


get mixed up in a sometimes ugly race at the moment, or an oversight


that could have serious reprecussions down the line. We in


Britain think you are a wonderful President. Gone are the days of


Thatcher and Regan, and the inacceptable ties between


Conservatives and rup Republicans. The sight of a story -- Republicans,


the sight of a Tory Prime Minister standing side-by-side with a


Democratic president is hard low a new one.


What of taking in a basketball game with his Democratic counterpart in


a swing state in a presidential election year. Last night's vit --


visit to Ohio hardly amounted to David Cameron riding Democratic


donkey right out. He feels most at home with a party America considers


to be its left, this was fuel for their fire what if the Republican


elephant? That is not in the room. Couldn't even get five minutes in


his diary. The message from last night's big winner, Rick Santorum,


was pretty clear. The best chance of winning the election is to


nominate a conservative to go up against Barack Obama and take him


on, on any issues. Why have the British and American right fallen


owl of love, if the Republicans -- fallen out of love. If the


Republicans return to the White House, what for the Prime Minister


who may need to be reminded that an elephant never forgets. My guests


join me now. Why would he ruin the party, the relationship never


looked closer, they are pretty statesman-like. David Cameron has


had a good visit and good time in Washington. He has been very well


received. The special relationship remains strong. I do think this was


a lost opportunity for the Prime Minister, he could have met with


senior Conservative officials, the Republicans run the House of


Representatives on Capitol Hill, he could have met leading Republican


figures to talk about exchanges ideas on cutting debts, reducing


Government spending, advancing a pro-growth agenda. The rather chumy


relationship developed with Barack Obama will be viewed with disdain


by many Conservatives here on Washington. Let's not forget Barack


Obama is in deep trouble in the polls. Some polls suggested the


Republicans will win the presidential election in November.


This is a presidency in very deep trouble on the economic front, and


it is rather short-sighted, I think, of the Prime Minister's advisers,


not to set up any meetings with Conservatives in Washington. Don't


you think it is a bit short-sighted for David Cameron, we have


basketball in a swing date, he's in danger of looking like a prop?


have no doubt on election day he will be rooting for Barack Obama,


this is a man he wants to do business with for the next five


years, he wanted him to win last time and this time. There has never


been more distance between the British Conservatives and American


Conservatives. I don't think David Cameron think he has anything to


learn from what most Tories view as a political freak show in America.


This is very different from the Cameroon-style politics. They have


policies on cutting tax, but they are not policies the British


Government is very interested in. When you look at somebody like Rick


Santorum, it is hard to know where David Cameron would start, isn't


it? I think there is a lot of common ground, actually, between


the broader Conservative movement in Britain and America.


marriage? It is not a gay marriage issue. There is a lot of social


divide on matters. If you look at economic questions, cutting


spending and economic debt. They don't want Government? There is a


great deal of common ground there. I think it is rather foolish,


actually, of the Cameron advisory set to actually decline meetings


with American Conservatives. This is a very short-sighted approach,


they will regret that in the long run if there is a change of power


in Washington. Even now the dirty secret is there are a lot of


Conservative policies they probably share? Yes, of course, if there is


a change of Government David Cameron will swallow hard and do


his best to get along with his new friend Mitt Romney. But Presidents


and prime ministers have always managed to bridge these problems


when they emerge. When the Republicans have their convention I


would be surprised if there is any senior Conservative there.


would we put ourselves in a position of losing the special


relationship if it happens? Regan and Thatcher weren't close before


he became Prime Minister, it is just the way these politics work.


David Cameron wants to see people in America, he wants entrepeneurs,


west coast Silicon Valley figures, not the Conservatives, certainly.


This is the middle of a Conservative battle right now. If


you see one candidate you have to see them all, you risk getting


drawn into that. Why do that, when you could get your picture taken


with the guy. Nothing really matters in opposition, it only


matters when you are talking to the leader himself? I think it does


matter. Because President Obama's viewed here domestically by


Conservatives as a huge big Government disaster. This is a


political warzone here, there is no middle ground, and I think for


British Conservatives to be fawning over the most left-wing left in


modern American history, is a huge mistake. That's going to generate,


I think, a significant rift and divide between Conservatives on


both sides of the Atlantic. It is not going to help Cameron in the


long run at all. Does it worry you that there are elements of the


Conservative Party that in love with the Obama, that can't be great


for the right, can it? I think it is actually extremely short-sighted


afterall. I don't know there has always been a rather strange


Democrat tradition in the Conservative Party. The Cameroons


have always been for Obama, I would doubt if a Conservative candidate


in America has lost an moment's sleep over not meeting David


Cameron. We will not do the papers tonight. Paul, there was one story


in today's New York Times, we should say, caught your eye?


bosses of Goldman Sachs in Manhatten must have woken up with a


fit of the blues. In the New York Times they have one of those


letters we all dream of writing to our boss, basically telling them to


get lost. Greg Smith in London has accused the company of being toxic,


ripping off its clients, calling the clients Muppets, of not


reacting when the newspapers call them the vampire squib of Wall


Street. In the markets people have been sanguine about this, people


have said they know what Goldman sack are like, they trade with them.


Others -- Goldman Sachs are like, they trade with emthis. Nobody


surprise -- them. Nobody wants to sit around the table with them. So


we have a blues song dedicated to everyone who works for Goldman here


and across the world, dedicated for them. This is the Vampire Squib


Blues. # Well I woke up this morning


# I was told I was leaving today # And I woke this morning


# And I was told I was leaving today


# Well I told myself # Gonna finally have my say


# That's the toxic culture # Toxic to the core down inside


# It's the toxic culture # Toxic to the core inside


# When I go out recruiting # It seems I have lost all my pride


# Well you show your junk to the clients


# And big big trades # You deal in bad products


# That is how you make your money # I'm leaving that street


# And coming home no more # Leave the vampire squibs


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