26/03/2012 Newsnight


Jeremy Paxman looks at the day's news, including cash for access, RBS on sale to Abu Dhabi, and Hugh Grant on press self-regulation. Plus an interview with Angela Merkel.

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All those protestations that we are all in this together, and it turns


out that the going rate for dinner with the Prime Minister is a


quarter of a million pounds. �100,000 is not Premier League, it


is not bad, it is probably bottom of the Premier League. �200,


�250,000 is Premier League. It must be some meal. Can the


Conservatives' deputy chairman is buys donors nothing more than food


and wine. The Government plans to sell part


of Royal Bank of Scotland to Abu Dhabi, is the taxpayer being short


changed. We talk to the world's most powerful woman about being


Chancellor of Germany, her love of Martin Luther, and being called a


Nazi by the Greeks. TRANSLATION: I come from a federal


country, where sometimes northern Germans make remarks about the


Bavarians, or the Bavarians make comments about the north Germans, I


am tolerant. More of the same anyone, the Press Complaints


Commission pleads for its life, claiming self-regulation can keep


the newspapers honest. At least one Going out to dinner this week? Why


not go somewhere really special, like Number 11 Downing Street, it


will only set you back a quarter of a million or so. Today the


Conservative Party was forced to disclose the names of a number of


wealthy men, who sat at the Prime Minister's dining table after


giving a shed load of money. There is nothing illegal about it, but in


current circumstances the Government is embarrassed. Nothing


a political editor enjoys more, Not so much "bring a bottle" as


"bring a chequebook". Pay to dine with the Prime Minister, that was


the boast of the former treasurer, Peter Cruddas, the Cameron team


deny emphatically that it bought policy. I live in a nice flat above


Number 11 Downing Street up there, what I get up to in there is


private. Today, to close down the story, Downing Street had to bare


all. They clearly decided contrition is a dish best served


hot. There is much speculation about dinners in my flat in Number


Ten Downing Street. The position is this, in the two years I have been


Prime Minister, there have been three occasions on which


significant donors have come to a dinner in my flat. In addition


there was a further post-election dinner, including donors, in


Downing Street itself, shortly after the general election. We will


be publishing full details of all of these today. None of these


dinners were fundraising dinners, and none of these dinners were paid


for by the taxpayer. I have known most of those attending for many


yearsment The three dinners included more


than a dozen wealthy attendees, Labour were left asking what first


attracted the Prime Minister to these millionaires. They wasted no


time in seeking to extract political gain. Why wasn't the


Prime Minister turned up to answer questions? Is it because there is


not enough money on offer? The Labour leader was insensed that


it is a Conservative peer that has been charged with investigating


donations. Ed Milliband called for an independent inquiry. An inquiry


into the Conservative Party, by the Conservative Party, for the


Conservative Party. Is a whitewash and everyone knows T


We need a proper, independent inquiry, appropriate to the gravity


of what is at stake. For some in David Cameron's own party, the


story points to a deeper discomfort. We have a series of good policy


that help working-class people, that are designed to help the most


vulnerable. The problem is not enough people know about it. We


have the pupil premium, we have council tax discounts and freezes,


we are allowing people to buy their own homes with over �5,000, and we


have apprenticeships. At the moment they are a series of clothes pegs


without a washing line linking them together. We need to do a lot more


to communicate people that we are the party of the vulnerable, and


for the hard working-classs, and or aspiration and opportunity. David


Cameron has long been sensitive to the idea that he's seen as too


close to the rich. Recently he wanted to talk about the rise in


the cost of living for families, but he was warned off it by


internal polling showing it just isn't credible coming from his lips


W this new �18 million dining club, the problem becomes more acute,


especially after last week's budget when they cut the 50p rate of tax.


The Liberal Democrats think he may be in need of a game-changer,


something to change the terms of debate, that may be party finances.


Party funding is the bad dish of British politics, uneaten for a


decade. A fresh set of talks is scheduled to begin this week. The


last recommendations called for state funding of political parties.


Sources ruled this out, but believe other recommendations made then,


such as a cap on donation, to be pretty much right. In his statement


today, the Prime Minister set out the Conservative Party's opening


gambit. It would be a cap at �50,000. But according to the most


recent report, by Sir Ian McKellen, if there were such a cap, the


Tories would lose 48% annually, and Labour would lose 81%, you could


see why that was David Cameron's starting position. Alternatively,


if the Tories accept a �10,000 cap, the level recommended by Kelly,


that goes up to 76%, less attractive. It is also very


unattractive for Labour too, their figure goes up to 91%.


This week, the negotiations will turn on whether union also allow


Labour to accept trade union members, deciding for themselves


which party their money goes to. There is pressure from the other


side too, one former Tory donor doesn't want to see a cap at all.


It is for this reason, there is a low turnout in elections, that is


partly because the parties can't get their message across. To get it


across, they need money. They won't get enough money in other ways. The


voters don't want to give them any more money, that is clear enough.


In any case, getting money from Governments, other countries show,


leads to corruption. There is one gap for many Conservatives scanning


the seating plan at David Cameron's dinners, the well-off have their


place at the table, but the fear is, at the next election, the less


well-off won't feel invited. Michael Fallon is both deputy


chairman of the Conservative Party, and no changer to the studio, thank


you for coming back. Will you now investigate every one of the


donations that happened on Peter Cruddas's watch? Peter Cruddas


recommended nobody to have dinner, he didn't get anybody through to


the Downing Street flat. This is one of the first big donations that


he was trying to negotiate. Yes, we will. We have got Lord Gold, he's


now a senior lawyer in charge of the disciplinary matters, he will


investigate what happened. He's also a Tory peer? It is a Tory


disciplinary matter, he will look at exactly what happened. Any


evidence the Sunday Times has got, that there are issues here,


regarding our compliance. I can assure you, the whole thing will be


fully investigated. I'm worried he might have misled people? Who?


Peter Cruddas? Yes, he did. Of course he did, that is why he


resigned. When he said it would be awesome for your business if you


were to donate? He absolutely misled, he said access to Downing


Street, influence on policy, all that was wrong, that is


unacceptable. If you were one of these unfortunate donors who had


given your party money in the hope it would be awesome for your


business, or you might have some influence over policy s you should


really have your money back? ought to have an apology. We make


it clear to all our donors. Why not money back? We made it clear to all


donor that is you don't have influence over the party. When


Bernie Ecclestone gave the Labour Party he had policy changed.


are talking about Bernie Ecclestone, but that isn't the matter of the


moment, the matter of the moment is donations to your party. Will you


give the money back? No. You won't? We made it very clear that what


Peter Cruddas did was not right. He has resigned, apologised and


accepted it wasn't right. No money was accepted from him. He has been


working for you for a year? He was the principal treasurer since last


month. Let's be clear about that. year? The donation under


investigation by the Sunday Times wasn't offered, and it wasn't


accepted. It is the only one that we know about though, isn't it?


wasn't accepted. It was the only one that the Sunday Times has


evidence. Have you accepted plenty of others? We have accepted


donations in the past, they go through very strict compliance


rules, for example, on where they come from, and donors are told,


look, this does not get you special access, it does not give you


influence over policy. He was wrong about that, that is why he resigned.


The Prime Minister says that if there were a cap of a mere �50,000


a year in donations, a year, in donations, to political parties,


that would, as he puts it, take the big money out of politics. Do you


share that view? Yes, because I think all political parties...You


Don't think �50,000 a year is big money? All political parties would


like to have smaller and medium- sized donation, we made that offer


to the Labour Party. We would lose by it. The alternative is taxpayer


funding. �50,000 a year, �250,000 per person in the course of a


parliament is not big money? There are different types of donations.


Let's be clear about this, the alternative to all of this is


taxpayer funding. I'm not talking about the alternative. If you don't


want tax-payers to fund the party. I'm talking specifically about how


you believe individual donations should be organised. I'm trying to


get it clear, the sort of world in which you move. �50,000 a year,


�250,000 in the course of the parliament, is not considered to be


big money? If you want your politics to be free of state


funding, the politics cost money you need to be free. We are not


based on the trade unions like the Labour Party. We accept donations


from �20 all the way up. Christopher Kelly said it could be


capped at �10,000? We have made an offer to the Labour Party, who take


�4 million from one union. We have made an offer to the Labour Party,


let's stop this. Isn't that important. You are the party that


keeps on saying "we are all in this together". If you honestly think


�250,000 in political donations in the course of a parliament, is not


big money, then we are not all in this together? �50,000 a year, of


course it is a large sum of money. We take lots of donations, small,


medium and large. The question you should be asking tonight. Don't


tell me, it is about the Labour Party? It is not three meals over


two years. What this country faces tonight is a potential tanker


drivers' strike by the trade union Unite, which gives 30% of the


Labour Party's money, elects the Labour Party leader, and you


haven't yet asked a single question about that. That is for the Labour


Party. Thank you very much. The taxpayer is about to see


something for their money. Newsnight has learned that the


Government is talks with Abu Dhabi in order to sell them a share of


RBS, the institution that Sir Fred Good win wrecked. They hope to


conclude a deal by the end of the year. The shares will probably be


sold at a fraction of the cost to the taxpayer. Not a brilliant


investment. There might soon be a touch of the


Middle East about Britain and Scotland's most famous bank.


Especially if part of it is sold to Abu dab bee, it is the richest part


-- Abu Dhabi, it is the richest part of the Arab Emirates. It has


gone on to become one of the richest statelets of the world, on


the back of an abind dance of oil. At Park Lane, one of the most


expensive places in the world, a home to the Abu Dhabi bank and


wealth fund, with a war chest of billions. More than enough to buy a


portion other all of RBS, worth a more modest �17 billion. The


political fall-out of selling at a loss could be massive for the


Government. Having bought shares on average at 50p a share, selling at


today's 28p a share, won't be great, especially at a time of Austerty.


Add in that Northern Rock was sold at a loss to Virgin Money, and the


critics are sharpening their tongues. We need to make sure we


get the full amount of money back the taxpayer invested in the first


place. If we have a hastey approach by the Chancellor, there is a risk


to lose millions of taxpayer money. That would be very, very wrong. And


it would be better if we waited for the economy to recover for the


shares price to recover, so we got better value for money.


But there are also notable advantages in selling a chunk of


RBS. It will send a strong signal to the markets that the Government


does not want to be in the bank- owning business for the long-term.


It might allow the Government to deflect political pressure for the


annual bonus row coming around. Having another large and not so


democratically accountable shareholder has its advantages.


market reaction would be positive to this move. I think it


demonstrates some clever thinking on behalf of the Government. That


rather than just selling out, and possibly not getting full value for


its stake, it is working stragically with some very rich,


very wealthy, very powerful funds, such as Abu Dhabi, in crystalising


this value. Unlike Norway or other sovereign


wealth funds, Abu Dhabi doesn't make its investments through a


single entity or fund, but rather uses a number of vehicles to do so.


The highest-profile is the be ady dab bee Investment Authority, owned


by the ruling -- Abu Dhabi Investment Fund, owned by the


ruling family. IPIC is another one, owning shares


in a company in Spain. And then Daimler and Galactic with AAbar.


The shaik has bought Manchester City, we has he bank rolled to


almost topple mapblt. I think Abu Dhabi will be in the bank for the


long-term. That is what kind of investment these sovereign wealth


funds make. It is the right policy from their point of view. They can


afford to buy something that looks like it will turn around. And wait


for it to do so. But so can the UK Government. And it is surprising


that we are not waiting for the results of the restructuring to


have this the effect. The chair of the select committee


thinks the sell-off process shouldn't be delayed. We will want


to look very closely at the terms of the sale, to make sure it holds


good value for money for the taxpayer. Just as we have looked at


every other aspect of these enforced nationalisations. It does


stpriek me as -- strike me as sensible to take an opportunity if


it is there, to reduce the shareholding at some point. At 80%,


the itch to intervene by the Government is always there. The


best prospect for the taxpayer, and in the end, for the retail bank


user, lie in RBS being run as a fully commercial company. Even


though it is the subject of talks between the Government and Abu


Dhabi, RBS has no direct say in the outcome. That is strange because


the people who benefit most will be the bankers that work there. The


most senior guys are paid mostly in shares, that could recover strongly


that all depends on RBS, Britain and Abu Dhabi avoiding the kind of


economic shocks in the next few years, we have already seen in the


past few years. To try to make sense of some of


this are the coalition's answer to the two -- Two Ronnies. This is �4-


�5 billion of tax-payers' money being thrown away? I don't think it


is, we haven't heard anything concrete, but the most important


thing and there should be strong agreement on this, is we get as


much money back for this bank as possible. But there will be a


significant loss? Well, who knows. Billions of pounds? When the money


was put into this bank, everybody knows that it was put in, not to


try to get a good investment, it was put in to keep the bank upright.


So, we heard the Labour character on the film saying that if it was a


loss it would be a disaster. It is true to say the nationalisation of


RBS was a disaster, the point is from here how to get the best value


deal. But it will be sold at a loss? We don't know that, we know


that the shares are trading below the price they were bought at.


Remind us of the price they were bought at? 50p, on average, around


60p. And they are now trading at about 28p? Every penny on the share


price is a billion pound of taxpayer money. Getting have a


value for money out of it is really important. Every penny on the share


price is a billion pound adrift. billion of your money and my money


and every viewers' money. argument being, I suppose, on the


other side, that it is no business of a Government to run a bank?


we have got to run that bank, and we have to go on running it for


some time to come. We have to make sure it runs in the national


interest. Now, the issue is not about getting our money back quick,


as Matthew said. We put the money in at 50p, the reason was, to stop


the economy collapsing, and make that bank lend. It is still not


doing it. It failed its lending targets under Project Merlin, the


economy is flat, partly because the banks, and RBS is the biggest small


business lender, is not lending as it should to create jobs and


businesses. That is absolutely the vital. That is what matters. There


is no rush at all. Selling it is the wrong thing to do? Certainly at


the moment. To crystal yois a loss when you put the money in at --


crystalise a loss, when you put the money in at 50p and selling it at


less than 30p. What it is meant to do is tie bonuses to proper lending


performance. At the moment we are lurching from month to month, and


year to year, without a proper plan. What will be the effect of the


price on the remaining shareholder the taxpayer has on this bank, of


selling something now? It may be good. We have to have a more


sophisticated analysis than the one put forward. It may be that if you


sell a small chunk now it has a positive impact. Investors can see


this is on its way back to private ownership, and obviously we know


from the past, that if the Government tries to run a bank


directly, or run businesses directly, it gets into all sorts of


trouble. You don't want politicians making decisions about whether RBS


should lend. We could hardly do worse than the decisions RBS made


itself? In terms of the lending targets, RBS actually did hit its


Merlin target. It did not. That is rubbish. On small business that was


the only one it didn't hit, where it lent �74 billion since a �75


billion target. The small businesses matter. They should be


lending much more. We said in our coalition agreement, that you


signed as well, that we should consider net lending targets for


the nationalised banks, and frankly, that is exactly what we have to do.


I didn't personally sign the coalition agreement, but I


certainly standby it. In small businesses it matters, big business


can borrow from s they are not -- anybody, they are not the problem.


In your constituencies they are coming and telling all the time


soon, that perfectly viable businesses are being squeezed, and


cannot get a loan. Very often it is RBS still the big problem. This is


what is holding back the economy, in a very big way, it is not about


whether we get 30p or 40p back when they sell the shares, or 50p, it is


about making the banks lend, and Royal Bank of Scotland in


particular supports business and jobs, that is still vital. Each of


the pennys is a billion pound, that matters. If we can sell off the


business now and it has a positive advantage on the share price, that


is good. On small businesses 74 out of 75 isn't quite hitting the


target but close to it. Don't lecture me about small business, I


grew up in a small business. not lecturing, I'm telling you what


happens. It nearly went under. Because of issues with banks, the


importance of lend to go small business can't be overestimated.


You doesn't improve the performance. You can't improve a performance of


a bank by getting politicians directing where the money goes.


are not directing where the money goes, but we own the bank, and we


should be setting overall lending targets, and making them perform,


that is what the Swedes do, the Swedish Finance Minister is very


good at it, we are being very weak. The men and women who determine the


fate of nations by how they gamble on currencies, smile their smiles,


on the Chancellor of Germany today, she said Germany is willing to make


yet more money available to the bailout fund to protect the euro.


No other European figure can wield the power or command the attention


in the way Angela Merkel does. It is perhaps because of that, that


she gives interviews extremely rarely. But she has spoken to


Newsnight. She's the daughter of a pastor, and first, we have been


wondering whether the great religious divide in Europe may yet


determine its future. Exactly 500 yiers ago, in Wittenberg, a --


years ago, in Wittenberg, one of Europe's leading thinkers was


growing increasingly alarmed. Hard working German tax-payers were


being fleeceed of their cash. It went to pay for a vain, glorious


European project in southern Europe, run by foreigners far away. And


many Germans decided, probably being wasted. That man was Martin


Luther, who 500 years ago, famously nailed his 95 thesis, rebelling


against the Pope, on that door in the church in Wittenberg. He


brought about the reformation, which not only shrook Germany to


its foundations, but the whole -- shook Germany to its foundations


but the whole of Europe. Luther in his heart wanted to remain a good


Catholic, but in his heart he thought the money was being wasted.


When it came to an argument about economics or politic, economics won.


So, does that remind you of anyone? The most powerful woman in the


world, the first woman Chancellor of Germany is the daughter of a


Lutheran paster, steeped in the Protestant values of thrift, hard


work and behaving responsibly. One of the reasons why Angela Merkel


remains personally popular in Germany, is for all her power, she


remains like a housewife in Germany. That puts her economics at odds


with her political desire to be a good European, like Luther.


Nowadays, even if modern Germany is decided by Catholics, Lutheran, and


others, even some atheists are Lutheran aitists, they don't


believe in that form of God. The rooms beside Luthur's own house,


his followers are the backbone of the economy. Hard working business


people, teachers, professionals, sharing a similar east German


background with Angela Merkel. Tonight rehearsing Luther's


favourite hymn, A Strong Fortress Is Our God. Just like Chancellor


Merkel, they believe in Christian charity towards others in need. But


perhaps they can say what their Luthurian Chancellor cannot, that


their patience with the financial mess in Europe is wearing thin.


think they should have checked upon those countries before they joined


the European community, of course we are a bit fed up at the moment.


We have to watch the Greeks and the Spanish and other countries very


closely. If somebody pays a bill, he should also set the rules. And


others should follow. Which isn't happening now? No, but


we should never give up hope. That's a very Luthurian thing to


say! The core of Luthurianism was to question authority, then of the


Pope, now, also, the German Government, and the management of


the European currency. This is the living room, the only


room originally preserved. Modern Wittenberg is so proud of its most


famous rebel, they called themselves "Luthur's Town" and


preserved his home as a museum. was one of the very few theologians


deeply connected with every day life. With the question of a


transfer of money to others, who can't help themselves, this only


can happen if those people who get the gift really make efforts to


change their own situation. So it is help to self-help, this is the


core of Luther's social ethics. still today, it is something people


would understand today in German right now? Exactly. The pianist and


conductor, Daniel Barenboim, has lived and worked in German for the


past 20 years, he's also one of the sharpest observers of German


culture. One of the main pillars of German education, the families,


they teach their children, I'm going to say it bluntly and


insulting, I'm sorry, I don't mean it like this, it is not the value


of generosity, but the value of saving. But it is not in their


culture to teach the children that when they grow up and they are


invited somewhere for dinner, that would be nice to bring flowers or


chocolates as a gesture of being a good guest. I believe very much


that political attitudes are result of the personal that people educate


themselves, and their children. The modern German dilemma is this,


Angela Merkel was born into a country destroyed by Hitler and


divided by Stalin. The core of her politic is to be a good European


and not make the same mistakes again. The core of her economics is


pure Luther, it is Conservative and thrifty. That means her dilemma is


when will ordinary Germans tire of throwing good German money into a


European pit, for someone else to spend. Chancellor Merkel always


reminds us, that for Germans, the European project is a political


choice, therefore, it must not fail. Devout Catholics, including Martin


Luther thought the same about the church of Rome, until the


Reformation became unstoppable. The unthinkable is unthinkable until it


happens. I caught up with Europe's most


powerful politician in the German Chancellor in the centre of Berlin,


a few minutes from the historic Reichstag. It was a very rare


interview. Merkel's Christian Democrats are not very popular


right now, but she herself is very much admired. She's seen as honest,


low-key and pragmatic. She told me, in perfect English,


that she would enjoy our small gift of British tea and biscuits, but


she chose to be interviewed in German. I have been talking to many


German people, including in lut -- Luther Town in Wittenberg. The one


thing they all say is they are becoming more and more irritated,


like Luther, raising money that is going far away and being spent by


people they don't really trust. Do you share their irritation?


TRANSLATION: No, I'm not irritated. We have to think carefully about


how and where we spend money, how we shape our future. We are not


making politics for the past, but for the way people live today, and


how we wish them to live in future. We have to be very careful not to


live beyond our means. Democracies all over the world have grown used


to often spending more than they have in revenue. That is something


no private household or family can afford to do long-term. In politics


you must used the same principles that you employ at home. One of the


things people also say, is they fear another bailout, and another


bailout, and it won't just be Greece who wants a third bailout,


but it will be another country, perhaps, it is endless. Can you say


enough is enough, this is the end? TRANSLATION: That's not how it is


going to happen. Because there has been a re-think going on in Europe


for some time. Some countries accepted the rescue package, but


they don't particularly relish it. They must follow conditions set out


by the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission. What


democratic Government wants to be in that situation for the duration.


Over the past two years in Europe, particularly in the eurozone, we


have learned a lot. We must reflect time and again why


we are together in Europe. Why are we a community that displays


solidarity and bears responsibility for the others.


I look at the world as a whole. The world is different from the 1950s,


we no longer have 2.5 billion people on this planet, with �500


million Europeans, we have �7 billion and -- 7 seven billion


people, and 5 -- five billion Europeans. The 7% share values of


democracy, freedom of opinion, freedom of the press, freedom to


travel, and freedom of faith and religion. Preserving freedom


against those who think differently, is a good reason to get together


and say, we want to stand up for these principles, this is what


guides us in Europe. You are clear about your hopes for the future,


yet some repeat the same old cliche of the past. I noticed recently


some in Greece, the newspapers and so on, have been saying this is the


German boot on our head, and going back to the stereotypes of the Nazi


past. Is that not offensive to you and the German tax-payers who are


paying for this? TRANSLATION: a very sense situation right now.


Europe in particular, the euroarea is in crisis, it shritered into


crisis as a consequence of the European financial crisis s and it


has brought about very difficult discussions in many countries. The


European discussion over the euro has become almost domestic policies.


We debate harshly in our politic, and use tough words, that has


character yoised Europe-wide debates too -- characterised


Europe-wide debates, maybe it is something at the back of people's


minds, luckily we have been able to solve our arguments peaceful low


and turn each argument into an opportunity.


I come from a federal country, where times northern Germans make


remark about the Bavarians, or the Bavarians make remarks about the


northern Germans. I'm tolerant, I think one ought to find solution


about these problems, to talk about them and try to convince people.


That is also our European task. When you use words like thriftyness,


and savings measures, these are exactly what many people in Britain


think is the right thing to do. But they tend to be euro-sceptics, they


tend to think because of that, because they think you are right on,


that the euro itself will, in the end, have to fall apart, because so


many other countries don't believe it, including, perhaps, France in


the future. TRANSLATION: Maybe some people in


Britain have a few prejudices leftover, about which country can


do what. The UK has a strict austerity drive, I think David


Cameron was right to do that. It is something that each country in


Europe can do, we will learn no country can live beyond its means.


We have learned this from the global financial markets. Otherwise


global investors decide not to have confidence. Once the markets lose


confidence, we pay a heavy price. All European countries have


understood this lesson, and have to pave the way for political


decisions. In Britain there have been protests. Protests have


started in other countries. But we in the eurozone are convinced that


together we are much stronger. We get so much benefit from the


common currency, that we want to respect the common rules set out in


the fiscal pact, for example. you have a German vision for the


future of Europe, in which Britain will play a bigger role than it is


now, given it is almost politically impossible for Britain to envisage


being part of the eurozone, that isn't going to happen. Where can


Britain fit in better? Britain plays a very important role


in Europe. The UK is part of the single market, and the common


climate policy. Britain has a lot of common ground with Germany, on


how we see the future of free global trade. We all benefit from T


at the end of the day, the British have to decide for themselves to


what extent they wish to be part of Europe.


It is a discussion that we have seen, unfortunately, taking a


painful turn on the fiscal pact. But Britain needs to know that we


in Germany, want a strong Britain in the EU. We always have, and we


always will. In Germany we try to see there is


less red tape, more political decisions and more transparency. I


think that we are at one on this with Britain.


There are those who think, including some in Greece, that it


would be almost kinder to let Greece go. Europe would sur rife


and Greece would do better, and the prospect of pain in Greece and


elsewhere can't be ruled out? Greece has to imand again explained


it wants to remain in the euro. It has major weaknesses, but it is


trying to overcome them, be they in the administration, or the


competitiveness in their business community. It is going to be a long


and arduous road. We have taken the decision to be in a currency union.


This is not only a monetary decision, it is a political one.


It would be catastrophic if we were to say to one of those who have


decided to be with us, we no longer want you. Incidently, the treaties


don't allow for that any way. People all over the world will ask


who will be next. The euroarea would be incredibly weakened. The


export nation, Germany in particularly, benefits from the


euro, it would be a huge political mistake to allow Greece to leave.


That is why we will be clear with groz, we will say, if you want to


be -- Greece, we will say, if you want to be part of a common


currency, you have to do your homework, but at the same time, we


will always support you. Many British viewers see you as the most


powerful politician in Europe, the most powerful woman perhaps in the


world. They wonder are male leaders still sexist towards you and others


women? No, I don't have that impression at all. It it is


becoming more and more of a normal thing. We used to have many fewer


women, but now we have a Danish Prime Minister, a Lithuanian


President, and you in had Britain have had your own very good


experience with a female Prime Minister in the past. Women in the


past forged ahead and paveed the way for us. Should there be


prejudices, many male colleagues don't feel those pred siss any more.


-- prejudices any more. Chancellor, thank you very much.


Bitte schoen. Bitte schoen. More from ganch in Germany later in


the week, and -- Gavin in Germany later in the week.


You can hardly move these days for people waving sheets of


prescriptions for what is wrong with the press. Tomorrow the joint


parliamentary inquiry delivers its diagnosis, how seriously anyone


will take a committee, whose members range from the queen's


worker and the MP who head butted someone in the Westminster's bar.


Many people, including Hugh Grant, are worried self-regulation is here


to say. Lord Hunt couldn't make it tonight,


he does have some ideas. Recognise it? It is Fleet Street. For decades


voluntary press orgss have existed, they claim, to maintain standards


of ethics in Germany. Still the scandals come, can Fleet Street in


2012 be trusted today carry out its Undeterred, Lord Hunt has unveiled


his new system of self-regulation, for a revamped Press Complaints


Commission. No statutory underpinning, in other words, no


new law to enable judges to find papers for any deemed breaches.


Instead, a new called enforcement compliance arm would be activated,


if there was evidence of a serious breakdown in standards. The


toughest measure would have a panel of experts investigate, and make


any paper found guilty cover the cost of the investigator's time.


Hunt wants to emphasise the importance of individual


responsibility. With a named individual responsible for


maintaining ethical standards in the paper. Hugh Grant is an


international film star, best known for his appearances on Newsnight!


And you are a Newsnight presenter best known for your performance in


Bridget Jones Diary. You have spoken to Lord Hunt today about his


wheeze, what do you think of it? think that Lord Hunt's heart is in


the right place. It is the place where every heart should be. In his


chest? He's a great defender of freedom of the press, rightly so.


But I and my fellow campaigners, and I suppose, the victims that we


represent, have grave problems with his notion of how you enforce this


new regulatory system. He has with a system that would be done through


contract law, rather than the dreaded statute. My legal friend


friends, who know much more about this than -- my legal friends who


know much more about this than me, are worried about doing that. It


doesn't take care of the Desmond problem, why would they sign up to


the contracts if they didn't want to. This is Richard Desmond, who


owns the Daily Express, and doesn't belong to the PCC? He turned his


back on it, and said he didn't care. I don't see how this system so was


that problems. Equally, the legal friend don't really see what the


big penalty is, for breach of contract. Hunt draws parallels


between the clubs' relationship with the Premier League. If you


breach your contract with the Premier League football team, you


are out of the Premier League. It is a huge penalty. If you breach


your contract under the Hunt system, you can't be thrown off. Nothing


can really happen. If people are members of the PCC, and the PCC can


decree that apologise are issued, where it deems them necessary.


Where they are displayed, the prominence they are given, that


restitution is given, it doesn't cost people to go and see it, what


is wrong with that? Nothing, so long as the newspaper being


admonished can't just stick its finger up and say OK. There is no


real penalty for me. You are for the Government taking over control


of the newspapers? I knew you were going to put it like that.S That


the alternative? It is such an oversimplification, thinking it is


Zimbabwe at one end and free-for- all at the other. You do want


statutory regulation? The answer lies somewhere in the middle of the


two screens. There is examples all over the world. The Irish have a


mid-system that works quite well, it is statutory regulation with a


light touch. Otherwise there really is no way you can enforce your


system of regulation and code of ethics, that is proved over and


over again. For 60 years self- regulation has failed five times.


Supposing a newspaper acted in what was judged to be an improper


fashion, what sanctionss can be applied under your ideal stratry


information. Fines, but significant ones. Fines levied by whom? By the


regulator. If there was a problem with the newspaper saying who are


you. They could apply to a statutory backstop behind them,


Ofcom or something similar, and say, no, this is now the law. You do


have to comply with this. In an ideal world the press should


be self-regulating. It is only looking at history and the


continued failure of it, it has come to this. You wo regulate


newspapers? It is light regulation. Magazines? Yep. Newspapers on-line,


blogs, I don't think you get as far as blogs but newspapers on-line.


What is the difference? There is an area to go what exactly is, I think


when you look at a newspaper on- line, you know you are reading a


newspaper. If you go to Huffington Post, you know you are reading a


newspaper. If you go to a massive, well publicised blog that maybe


needs regulating, but when it is small and can't influence people


too much, it probably falls outside that line. I suppose you have


millions following a Twitter stream? I think Twitter does now,


as it does, fall within the civil law of libel, et cetera. I don't


see there is any reason why that should fall outside that. But,


liable of course, like all civil law is expensive. That is why you


need a regulator. The same applies to Swithenbanker? Maybe you do


regulate Twitter rb these are the problems that Levein is wrestling


with now. I think he, much more importantly than the privacy


committee that reports now is the one to listen to.


The Darts legend Jackie willson -- jockey willson died this weekend.


# I'm in heaven After some record-breaking March


After some record-breaking March warmth across Scotland, the chill


sets in tonight, cold start to the morning.


That will clear by mid-morning, once again, barely a cloud in the


sky for many of you. Temperatures rising accordingly, 22 across much


of England. Compared to the chilly weekend it will feel warmer. Same


across East Anglia, temperatures struggling to the low teens. 21-23.


Warmth in South-West England, tempered by the fact there is a


fresh, south-east breeze off the English Channel. The wind light


through Wales. Another warm sunny one. The north kofs Northern


Ireland best favoured for the highest temp -- coast of Northern


Ireland, best favoured for the high Mist and fog, maybe parts of


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