11/04/2012 Newsnight


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

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On tonight's programme, will Spain be the straw that breaks the back


of the euro? Titanic power struggles at the very


top in China. We talk to senator John McCain on


how to stop Bashar al-Assad murdering his citizens. And our


political editor learns that David Cameron has been asked by the


United Nationss to rewrite the Millennium Development Goals.


As elections loom, the President of France fights for his political


life, what can he honestly claim as a core conviction?


He is one of the most amazing friends you may have in life. But I


must say the core belief is not his cup of tea.


In all the hoo ha about pasties and petrol, and how good it is for the


rich in Britain, we have taken our eye off the crisis in Euroland, it


hasn't gone away. It rather resembles Jesus' description of the


poor, always with us. Spain is far bigger deal than Greece and the


financial markets are plainly unconvinced by what the Government


says it will do to sort out its massive debts. We will speak with


the Spanish Ambassador, but first, we have this report.


Greece may have monopolised the headlines in the crisis so far, but


Spain is now a genuine concern. Its economy is huge and it is in free


fall. Unemployment is the highest in the developed world, industrial


output is fall, and austerity almost as draconian as Greece, is


on its way. And the Prime Minister, jog jog jog,


after admitting Spain -- -- today lashed out at his EU neighbours,


particularly Italy, for stoking up market fears. TRANSLATION: I wish


to say the following with regard to some statements made in the EU,


more explicitly last night by some EU leaders. We hope they assume


their responsibilities and are much more cautious in their statements.


We don't talk about other countries, we wish other EU and eurozone


countries the best. What is good for Spain is good for the eurozone.


He and his centre right party were elected over four months ago with a


resounding majority, much of that was due to the intense dislike of


the outgoing socialist, that a ground dwell in favour of the


slightly dour Rajoy. None of them will accuse him of sugar coating


the austerity pill. Is he burning through his political capital as he


tries to right the Spanish ship? He's coming short of delivering the


goods by what we have seen so far. It is clear with the market


turbulence in the last few days, that the markets think it is not


enough. Spain has serious problems, both in the banking sector and the


public sector finances. Both balance sheets of the banking


sector and the public sector are hard to disentangle, as a result we


have a crisis of confidence in the ability of Spain to restore growth,


and so we are in trouble. Like Ireland, Spain's problem was a


massive property bubble that burst, that collapse has dragged the


national Government down with it. Unlike Ireland, Spain has yet to


bite the bullet on wholesale reform of its banks. Especially its


regional savings banks. The problem with the Spanish debt


mountain is it is more akin to the iceberg, what you see on the


surface is the money owed by the national Government, and doesn't


include the money borrowed, from places like the City of London, by


regional parliaments and Governments. The debt to GDP ratio


for the federal Government is GDP, the figure for Catalonia is closer


to 120%, that is a problem that needs solving soon. Recognition of


the indebtedness of the regions in Spain is a major problem that


probably hasn't been fully discounted into the financial


markets at this stage. I think the market is going to come to an


estimate for all of Spain bailout on a regional level. That could be


the straw that breaks the camel's back in terms of the need for


European public financing. Spain disappeared off our eurozone


radars for a few months, because the market were stewfied by cheap


EC money. The benchmark cost of borrowing for Spain had been rising


steadily until last November, before falling dramatically when


the first wave of cheap loans were offered. The process was repeated


at the end of February, that pushed down yields. Now it looks like the


drug is wearing off, and Spain might soon be doing very cold


turkey, making the possibility of a bailout very real. Does the


eurozone even have the money to bail out its fourth-largest member.


If it happens in the next few months, I think the Europeans will


be approaching it on a piecemeal level. They will be addressing the


specifics of say the Cajas, or the regions, as long as it is done on a


step-by-step basis, there is ample funding now. If you were look, say,


and had a time machine, and were to look backwards at the all-inclusive


costs of the bailout, what it ultimately might cost for the


Europeans, you probably wouldn't have that amount of funding


available at this stage. But while Brussels and Berlin check


their wallets, they will, no doubt, be asking whether the Spanish


populus has the stomach for the drop in living standards demanded.


It will be difficult in Spain, especially because any cuts in


health and education will hit with the regional Governments and that


will create a lot of anger and intense sentiment. We are already


seeing the regions claiming their territory, and saying they will not


take those cuts. It is going to be much harder than in a smaller and


more centralised country like Greece or Portugal.


If you were to take a glass half full attitude, you might say that


Mr Rajoy's comments of late are a political ruse to soften up the


Spanish public. If your glass is half empty, you could view the


recent events in Spain as a restarting of the European crisis


and one that could have far worse impact for the rest of us. Here to


talk about Spain's financial turmoil is the spannic ambassador


to the UK. This assurance that your economics minutes -- Spanish


Ambassador to the UK. This assurance that your economics


minister has given, that there is no need for a rescue at this time,


how long is that valid for? I hope forever. But there is no guarantee,


is there? There is no guarantee of anything. We know that the eurozone


is undergoing a difficult situation, we know that Spain has a fragile


economy, but Spain is doing all it takes, and is prepared to do all it


takes to avoid a rescue and bailout. There has been a pattern of finance


ministers, or prime ministers, saying we do not envisage any need


for a rescue, and then the rest cue, of course, happens. It happened --


rescue, of course, happens. It happened in Portugal and Greece,


and in Ireland, two days after the Prime Minister said there was no


need for it. The Finance Minister has to deny. But in our case, let's


see, we have no big auction, no big bond auctions coming up now. More


or less we have the impression it will be fully subscribed, and then


the next time is in July. Our situation is difficult, we are


struggling, it is not, the Spanish economy is not the only one in


Europe that is struggling. But, the Government is taking all the


measures that we think are needed to ensure first that no bailout is


necessary, and second, to pave the way for economic growth in the near


future. We know that we are going to contract, our economy is going


to contract. We will come to growth in a minute


or two, there is a really big problem here, isn't there? How much


of public spending is actually controlled by central Government?


Much more than is thought here, central Government controls about


70 %. That means there is 30% or more that is not under the control


of central Government, and is...Well, But regional Governments


are under the control of some of the big parties, and both of them


are committed. No, there is no doubt, there is full commitment by


all, both the central Government, and the regional Government. Is it


not the case when Catalonia, for example, was asked to reduce its


budget deficit to 1.3%, it said it can't do that and it will go to


2.6%, and came in at 3.7%? Perhaps not that much. But Catalonia has


taken huge measure, and will continue to take huge measures. In


Catalonia the Government has taken measures concerning the health


system, public servants' pay, and they are prepared to take those


measures. Let's look at the question of growth, then, you say


that will be the solution, half of young people in Spain under the age


of 25 are unemployed, aren't they, how do you get growth when you have


that sort of problem? A huge problem we have. Unemployment.


Perhaps our biggest problem. Depending on the way you look at it,


the problem is not as big as it looks. Yes, if you take, for


instance, a number of hours actually worked in the economy, if


you take the percentage of the total possible hours worked, in


Germany, for instance, you will see that out of the total number of


hours that all people between 15-65 could work, they work 52% of the


hours. In France 46%, in Spain 48%. So we have a huge problem, because


our labour laws don't allow for part-time jobs, things like this.


But the Government has taken both measures to correct this.


Thank you very much. Now, as mysteries go, it takes some


beating, a charismatic political lead e tipped as a future leader of


the most populus nation on earth is sacked, his wife accused of


involvement in the mysterious death of an Englishman. The Chinese state


media did what they were told and justified the removal of the rising


star, Mr. Something very unusual has happened, it is not easy to


find out the details of what and why. In this ancient Chinese game,


the object is to surround your opponent, to make his next move


impossible and eliminate him. Now, amid allegations of murder, it


looks like China's leaders are playing the game for real.


Chongqing, a city of 30 million, ruled until now, by one man.


Capitol Hill Capitol Hill Capitol Hill, rose through - Bo Xilai rose


through the ranks and taught people to sing revolutionary songs. He's


an unusual politician in China. If China were a democracy, Bo Xilai


would probably stand a very good chance of being elected. He can


connect with people. He cracked down hard on organised crime, he


appealed in a sort of populist way to Maoist traditional feelings in


China. This year, with an imminent change


in the party leadership, Bo looked set to win a place within the inner


core of the Politburo. Now he would be lucky to avoid criminal charges.


China's leaders are halved between the Communist Party and those who


are rhetorical, left-wing, hardliners, a game actually played


out. Bo threatened to play it out in public, and with mass


participation. But somebody, somewhere, made a fatal false move.


Last November, Neil Heywood, a British businessman and friend of


Bo Xilai, was found dead in a hotel in Chongqing, the authorities


claimed it was alcohol poisoning, his body was cremated without


autopsy. Then, in February, this man, Wang


Lijun, Bo security chief, entered a US kol sul late building to claim


political asylum. He claimed he was investigating the death and had


discovered evidence that angered Bo and feared for his life. After the


Chinese premier criticised Bo, he was striped of his title, and his


wife named as the chief suspect in the murder. Others are convinced


there is a bigger story. This is not a murder case, even though


somebody might or might not have been murdered, we don't know if Mr


Heywood was murdered. The whole thing is largely political, it


started with Mr Bo's top Lieutenant going to the US consulate to seek


political asylum, which would then make him a traitor, and therefore


provide the opportunity for Mr Bo's enemies in the top leadership to


strike him down. When Mr Bo lost his job, as the party secretary in


Chongqing. The British Government, which has been pressing for an


investigation into Neil Heywood's death, welcomed the move. On the


case of Neil Heywood, we did ask the Chinese to hold an


investigation, and we are pleased that they are now doing that. And


we stand ready to co-operate in any way we can. I think it is important


we get to the truth about what happened in this very disturbing


case, very tragic case. But where does this leave the west's wider


relationship with China. This man spend 30 years at the Foreign


Office covering the country. Do you think the west gives credence to


the essential story? In a sense you have to. Because the mind boggles


at anything else. But there are huge gaps in that story, quite why


people acted as they did, quite what the falling out was over. Why


someone as powerful as Bo Xilai's wife, let alone himself, should


feel it necessary to have this really unfortunate businessman,


Neil Heywood, murdered, it is extraordinary, what can drive


someone to do that. And to expect that they can get away with it,


that is the sort of arrogance of power, that is one of the worries I


think that the Chinese Communist Party have. If these people can


behave like that to a foreigner, how on earth are they behave to go


the people of China. When you meet Chinese officials, they will


sometimes speak quietly about this division within the party. They


assume the power blocks could co- exist together, and all


transsignificants of power at the top would be orderly and negotiate


-- transitions of power at the top would be orderly and negotiated.


The strange case of Bo Xilai, to put it mildly, complicates things.


What we are, in fact, seeing, is the kind of old fashioned court


politics, that would one perhaps have seen in the European court,


400 or 500 years ago. We are not seeing China moving in the


direction of institutionalisation of its politics, that everybody


would like to see. The events in Chongqing remain like


the city, shrouded in fog. What is clear is for the first time since


1989, there is a split in the leadership. And how the game ends


is unpredictable. With us to discuss the many


mysteries of the story are Martin Jakes, author of When China Rules


the world, Dr Linda Lui, and the professor of international politics


at the University of Bristol. How significant an event is this?


very important, because ever since Tiananmen Square, and when the


general secretary was turfed out by Xaoping, there hasn't been anything


like this at the highest level, nearly the highest level of Chinese


politics. Bo Xilai is clearly meeting his political demise, but,


the backdrop to all of this is a major struggle taking place in the


Chinese leadership, over the leadership emerging from the party


conference in autumn, and secondly, over the policies to be pursued by


the new leadership. Do you see it in much the same terms as a power


stringle? It definitely reflects the fact that the Communist Party


within itself has had a number of factions. It is just the glimpse we


are getting, that is interesting. Is it ideolgical, or just about


naked power? Well, if I had to venture a punt on that, I would say


naked power. Bo Xilai was associated with a lot more moves


towards a state-led, investment model. He was popular, in the sense


that he was talking about a -- an era of equality which a lot of


Chinese people like because of the inequality. If you strip it back,


he was clearly somebody who was a rising star. But the last time I


was in China, that most policy makers knew who the next generation


of leaders would be, he was josling for position. Do you think we will


see -- Josling for position. Do you think we will see more? This is not


the end of the scandal of this event that we are looking at now.


What is interesting, of course, is this drama, attached today this,


partly because of this murder case, and also the defection of the


police chief, again and also involving a murder of a foreign


national, which is a British businessman. All we see when we see


the Chinese leadership s late middleaged men, in identical suits,


using identical hair dye. It opens up something fascinating. They are


not middleaged, they are all in their 60s. This is part of the


political transition we are looking at. It is certainly not, as has


been comment, this is not what we have anticipated. We all thought at


some stage that the political axe sgs in China was happening, and --


accession in China was happening, and this fourth or fifth generation


transition would be smooth, now we don't know what is next. It is


taking place in a completely changed world, which people are


tweeting and communicating, social media and all the rest. It is


fascinating. One thing that is very interesting, is the extent to which


this has become public, and it is being discussed and known about in


real time, as opposed to way after the event, which used to be much


more the case. What is this a result of? It is the result of the


opening up of Chinese society, internet, microblogs, a less


sensored media, and so on. Now -- censored media, and so on. Now the


Chinese have more access to the key debates. This is a big problem for


the leadership, if people know about it? Yes, I think one of the


issues here is they are going to have to get used to T increasing


transparency is -- to it, increasing transparency is


something they can't return the clock back on. It is such high


publicity, involving a foreigner, and there will be more instances


where China will have to become more open about the kinds of issues


that this case poses, corruption, succession, responsiveness,


ideology, development, these are all things, as they become more


globally integrated, foreign investors, foreigners dealing with


China, will want to see more and they will have to respond to that.


We will come to that in a minute or two. Do you know anything about how


it is being seen seen within China? You have a whole spectrum of


different opinions, obviously. You have some kind of supporters of Bo


Xilai's policies, the policies for equal and social justice, that


Linda has just commented on. Also you have the other spectrum, which


obviously looks at his manoeuvring for leadership position. So you


have a spectrum of, which is reflected in the microblock, and


the comments. You have billions of people using, 250 people -- 250


million people using that. Everybody is talking about Bo Xilai,


and what led to his downfall, and what this tells them about Chinese


politics. Then we have this intriguing element of this


unfortunate man who died in China, the circumstances are very opaque.,


given that the economy so much depends, upon, or has depended on


western involvement, not perhaps the primary challenge now, what


will it do to the way western businesses regard China? How they


handle it will be crucially important. This does come on the


back of the executive of Mr Hu, imprisoned in China a few years ago.


The ability of the Chinese Government to continue to show,


even if they are not an and democracy, but have increasingly


improved rule of law and transparency of that process, will


be crucial. If you look at what China needs now, I would say they


need global integration, beau the reason they have grown so quickly


is because they integrated and caught up on manufacturing, the


next phase of growth requires doing the same thing on services. That


means for moreeners, more engagment with the global market. I think one


of the things that China has lagged behind on is reforming rule of law


to catch up with the economic reforms. The fact that his wife has


been arrested, is she going to get a fair trial. Is the arrest an


indication of guilt, how does it work? Obviously they have very


strong evidence, we could see from the report, even by the Chinese


media, and from the police chief, you know, we don't really know what


he has talked with the American consulate. From the reports from


the Chinese media they already have some kind of evidence. This case


will be cut niceed, not only by chine -- scrutinised, not only by


the Chinese media, but globally. I would expect a rather fair trial of


this particular case, at least. the outcome in doubt, the outcome


of the trial? Why should it be in doubt. So the judiciary is


independent? Well, I think they will present this as independent,


as they possibly can. This has a lot to do with the image of China.


How do you think the trial will go? I wouldn't be too optimistic,


myself. But I think that if they have already arrested her, they


have said she is being held by the judicial authorities, that is the


phrase. I think that they have already, and what they have already


put out about it, for the murder of Neil Heywood and so on. I think


that it is going, she will be found guilty. And she may well be guilty,


I think she will be found guilty. The Syrian Government, if you can


believe them. Says its guns will fall silent at dawn tomorrow. The


time specified for a ceasefire by the United Nations' representative


in the region. The regime reserved the right, though, to resume


killing its own citizens, if it faced any opposition. It didn't


undertake to one of the requests to withdraw troops from built-up areas.


Western countries wring their hands, unable to agree what to do, and


knowing the Syrian regime has the support of Russia on the UN


Security Council. Speaking tonight, Hillary Clinton, expressed unease


about whether the ceasefire in Syria would hold. We are alarmed


for the on going violence in Syria, we are concerned about the problems


facing special envoy, Kofi Annan, as he attempts to bring about a


ceasefire. Senator John McCain has just visited the Syrian border, he


can talk to us from Arizona. Let me play devil's advocate, Syria is a


sovereign country, there are serious problems of unrest on the


streets there. Why is the regime there not to be allowed to deploy


its own forces to restore law and order? Because according to


international law, and all norms of behaviour, is Governments are not


allowed to massacre their own citizens, especially in the wanton


way that the Bashar al-Assad's regime is conducting itself. It is


a violation of UN charters, other provisions of international law.


What help do you propose that the rest of the world gives the rebels?


Well, first of all, we have to understand it's not a fair fight.


Russian arms are pouring in to Syria. Iranians are not only


providing them with assistance in a material way, there are Iranians on


the ground, they are helping them with the terrible obscene murder,


rape, torture that is going on. And so, it is not a fair fight. It is a


fight. What we need to do is give them weaponry, and by the way, we


can find ways to get the weapons to them, I met with two military


leaders of the Free Syrian Army, right across the border from Syria


in tuarky. We can get them that -- Turkey, we can get them the


equipment and can help with medical care. The Turkish are talking about


a sanctuary for the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National


Council, so they can organise, so they can come together, and they


can resist in a co-ordinated fashion. That would be a sanctuary


within Syria? Not necessarily. I think it could be a sanctuary


across the borders of one of the neighbouring countries.


Would you be in favour of western forces protecting that sanctuary?


Yes I would. I know that many people are watching now saying we


don't know who they are, we don't know how to do it, that this is a


very difficult situation, Americans are war-weary, I have heard all of


those arguments, I heard them with Libya and Bosnia, and Kosovo. But


the fundamental belief that we share is that Governments should


not be allowed to massacre their own people. If we can do something


about it. There is plenty to do about it. As I said, it is an


unfair fight. How long do you expect the ceasefire to last,


briefly? Maybe 15-minutes. Because the people will take to the streets


again, and peacefully demonstrate, and Bashar al-Assad cannot tolerate


that. Already they have imposed conditions which are clearly


unacceptable. Mr Annan, I think, is dwelling in a different parallel


universe, when he says that he's worried about the militarisation of


the conflict. Thank you very much indeed, thank


you. They were the boast of the United


Nations, enthusiastically embraced as a mission for Governments the


world over, and providing the Department of Development in this


country a reason to exist. They are the Millennium Development Goals,


the agreement of 200 countries, that they would mark the end of the


century by ending extreme poverty, and improving women's rights.


Nobody questioned the noblity of the aim. But Newsnight has learned


that David Cameron has been asked to redraft those goals.


What's going on? He will redraft them. It will be nonsensical if the


UK did it on its own, given the nature of the goals. I have been


told it is highly likely a country like Brazil will co-chair it, there


may be others, it is certainly the UK at the moment. It will be


announced next week, it is within the gift of the UN, and we can't


just take it ourselves. In the words of the cabinet minister for


international development, the UK is a development superpower, it is


what we do. We do a lot of these around. We don't always get it


right, we are trusted with technical projects, it is seen that


we understand what we are doing, that is why we are being given a


role in drafting new versions. is going to happen to the goals?


the moment, if you look at them, there is one to reduce infant


mortality, an aim for primary education, but not secondary.


Decrease malaria within countries. People say these are sword of


secondary issues, incredibly important -- sort of secondary


issues, incredibly important, but not the way to improve the


situation of a country. As an NGO you go into a country and sort that


out, but not as a national leader within that country do that sort of


things necessarily on your own. What they are trying to do is push


for economic development to be at the heart of these new goals. For


instance, it is long argued that you should have property rights as


one of the ambitions, so you actually have people with assets


who can develop on their own within a country, and things like primary


and secondary education flowing from it. That is what the


Government thinks. What do you think it will look like if the


Government gets their way? Some of them we see today will go, some are


meaningless. There will be the property rights, an emphasis on


reducing trade barriers within continents like Africa. There might


be an assertion of job creation and wealth creation, this is much more


in terms it of all those boats being lifted by rising tides, that


old proverb. That is not liked by many people. Also, really critical,


there will be, and bear in mind this is the beginning of a


consultation process, that everyone will kick off on. There might be


some emphasis on conditionality. The idea at the moment these goals


are meaningless, because people have to do them rather than aid


being linked to it, maybe that should change in the future, as


what People of Freedom in Government do think. The shadow of


the -- People in Government do think.


In France each of those want to go win the presidency, darkly warned


the French people of what might happen if they return the wrong


conclusion to return the men in built-up heels. President Sarkozy


has rained over the loss of the trip all A rating, his opposition


say they can return that. How will Sarkozy try to save his presidency?


A few hours east of Paris, deep in rural France, there is a shrine, to


a man and his ideology. General Charles de Gaulle lived and


died here, leaving behind a powerful idea of France.


His views on how the country should be run are still so influential


that, apparently, his heir as leader of the Gaullist movement,


comes here to commune with his spirit. TRANSLATION: President


Sarkozy often comes alone to this place, it is for him, as it was for


General de Gaulle, an ideal place for reflection. Learning about de


Gaulle is part of the syllabus for French schools. To these children,


he was a war leader, who embodied national unity.


Later, they learn about how he put France on the European and world


stage, as well as fostering a welfare state. Today, Nicolas


Sarkozy, cites de Gaulle often, but is that anything more than here


lip-service. At the start of his foof-year term, he seemed determine


to -- five-year term, he seemed determine a new politics,


determined to shake up the state in his presidency. The way he started


as President was childish, he gave the impression was playing with


power, and Nicolas Sarkozy almost never envokes the greatness of


France. La grandeur, like de Gaulle says,


it is not in his project. Nevertheless, he certainly


considers Germany and France as the leaders, the legitimate leaders of


Europe. President de Gaulle had a very


well-defined idea of what France should represent, and of its place


at the head of the nations of Europe. But today, as the country


heads for presidential elections, its national self-confidence has


been bat bird the economic crisis. And the standard bearer of Gaullism,


President Sarkozy, is accused of losing his way, and not knowing


what on earth he stands for. Sarkozy Askam pain styles are a


world away from -- Sarkozy's campaign styles are a world away


from the country ways, and General de Gaulle. Most French people want


to protect their own lifestyle, the President is behind in the polls.


His position is hardly helped by the message that gaining economic


vitally will require them to adopt foreign models. In Europe there is


two models. The Swedish model and German model, cutting spending and


reforming our economy, so it will be more competitive. That is, of


course, a German or Sweden model. There is another model, it has


become the Greek model, it is a model where you choose to make even


more spending during the following years, and making more spending,


you raise taxes to, I don't know, rocketing level. And this is not


the good model. President Sarkozy started this


contest far behind in the polls. So he unleashed a series of messages


about security, immigration, and identity, that were designed to


bring him support from the far right. But in the process he has


alienated many in the centre and on the left, who say he's ignoring the


real issues people say they care about in polls, as well as


discarding the Gaullist tradition of national unity.


We are social and democratic people. Gaullist and communist agree about


that, de Gaulle says, at this time, we don't discriminate people from


origin, race and religion. Sarkozy, it is the end of Gaullism. It is


the death of all this tradition in the right in France.


Even so, Socialist Party leader, Francois Hollande, is still set to


beat Sarkozy in any run-off. He's a sort of Ed Milliband, in wonkiness,


only the polls suggest Hollande is a winner. He promises to keep the


French model welfare state alive, even if it means renegotiating the


European austerity deal that Sarkozy signed up to in December.


Monsieur Hollande's supporters suggest that would not bring


disaster. If he's elected, far from being certain, I'm sure the first


thing he will do is ask for a report on the real situation of the


French finances. And act accordingly. I will advice him to


do it so, the only -- advise him to do it so, the only way not to bear


the burden of the cuts will be to do it immediately, just after the


election. I'm sure he will do it. I'm sure, by the way, that Sarkozy


will do it also. Further to the left of Hollande, this man seeks to


protect the French social model with the same steely determination,


at which he coraled the press at his policy launch.


Jean-Luc Melenchon represents the left front. He's against the


Americans, NATO, the markets and the EU. TRANSLATION: Of course it


is complicated, and I don't hide from you that when it was present


today me, I felt it contains a vision I like to call Jacobean, it


is not an insult but honour to be called that. It is extraordinary


after two hours of listening to Mr Melenchon how extensively his ideas


about what France should stand for, are informed by ideas of


exceptionalism. France's unique place in the world, that really go


back to General de Gaulle, and a certain type of nationalism, which


I don't think many of us would expect to see on what formally


would have been -- formerly would have been called the far left. His


rejection of austerity, has contributed to a steady rise in the


polls. TRANSLATION: Austerity is a


strategy of international finance that is shared by French liberals,


we say the Anglo-Saxons like facts. The fact is austerity will release


a recession in all of Europe, which will lead us into a disaster, by


keeping down the salaries of the working-class and maximising


profits. The critque of President Sarkozy extends to his probity too.


At Mediapart, an on-line newspaper, they have accused the President of


taking contributions from Libya and big business during his 2007


campaign. At the morning meeting, they follow


this contest, arguing that Sarkozy has to win to stay ahead of the


investigators. You know, in France, the President


has traditional immunity, if he loses, all of it must come, the


cabinet and I must ask some questions. Because all the figures


are very surprising. It is not small money. It is millions. Many


millions of euros. The murders in Toulouse were seen


by some as a game changer. In his role as President, he attended


memorial events, and articulated the nation's outrage. He also


played -- it also played into Sarkozy's security agenda, allowed


him to rise above the funding allegations, he denies them any way,


and final low demonstrate the maturity of his years in the top


job. Everybody was standing still behind the President to say, we are


all French, and this is the French people, and we will resist violence,


we will resist hatred, that was the message of the President, and he


was really the President of all the French people. You can observe an


important change. The first year of his presidency was very agitated,


and he was exposing his personal life and in fact, this agitation


has largely stopped. At his campaign rallies, this one


for the party youth movement, President Sarkozy emphasises


experience, and competence. If these people loved it, the


public is more skept quell. So the negative -- sceptical, so the


negative campaign tactics extend to suggesting the front runner,


Francois Hollande, could destroy international economic confidence


in France. Francois Hollande has a problem, for me, of credibility. On


financial issues, deficit issues, and international issues.


But what of Sarkozy himself? And his many presidential significant


zags on policy? REPORTER: A moment for the BBC?


The critics argue that he's an opportunist who lacks an ideolgical


core, goalist or otherwise. Nicolas Sarkozy is a very close friend of


mine for 30 years, and I like him very much as a friend. He's one of


the most amazing friends you may have in life. But I must say the


core belief is not his cup of tea. That's all I can say. If I may add


something, I would say he's a lawyer. What is a lawyer? Someone


who can...Argue Any position? In this election the public seems


to be rallying behind those who say they will protect the Gaullist idea


of France. Nicolas Sarkozy, on the other hand, has used the language


of austerity, and that's made him distinctly suspect to many voters.


That's quite enough excitement for Sun yie for some, wet for others,


it -- sunny for some, wet for others, it depend where you live.


Huge variations in the weather on Thursday as for Wednesday. It looks


as if the more central and eastern parts of England in particular will


catch the heaviest of the downpours, thunder, lightning and hail. Slow


moving too, one or two places will avoid the worst of those showers,


if I was to stick my neck out, parts of western England will fare


better. Parts of sunny Devon and Cornwall seeing a largely bright


afternoon. Not helping the temperatures, 10-11 at best. When


the showers come along, they will be distinctly cold. For Northern


Ireland avoiding showers, cool in the breeze, that will be the


message for Scotland as well. Sunshine for the western Highlands,


cold, and breezy across the far north-east. Things getting colder.


Day by day, again, a mixture of sunshine and showers, difficult to


pinpoint who will fare best. Cater for a shower or two, and you won't


be desapoifrpbted. Showers -- disappointed. Showers turning


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