17/04/2012 Newsnight


With Jeremy Paxman. Can arrested Abu Qatada be deported? More on the death of Neil Heywood. News of UKIP and the Tories. Plus Irvine Welsh on Scottish independence.

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The Home Secretary says the man once called the spiritual head of


the British mujahideen, is on his way out of the country. Is all


today's very public bustling into cars, a distraction, with the


European Court of Human Rights, still in the driving seat, yet


again. At least the Home Office can say he's now behind bars. But why


can't we just put him on a plane to Jordan?


The mysterious death of a British businessman in China gets no less


perplexing, will we ever learn what happened. And then...You Have the


charisma of a damp rag, and the appearance of a low-grade bank


clerk, the question I want to ask, is, who are you? As polls suggest,


this man's party is the new third party in British politics, how much


of a threat is UKIP to the Conservatives?


Doesn't it make you proud to be Scottish. It's shite being Scottish.


With we're the lowest of the low, we can't even find a decent culture


to be colonised by. Irvine Welsh, ask can the United


Kingdom be called off. This programme contains strong


language. He has made a monkey out of British


Governments for over a decade, finally Abu Qatada, the man who


thinks it is a holy duty to murder women and children, is to be


shipped out of the country. At least, he might be, if the European


Court of Human Rights gives its blessing. Ground hog day is here


again. He's in custody tonight, and the Home Secretary claims she's now


got assurances which will ensure his removal from Britain. But, it


will still take time, and it's still likely to hang on the


European Court, which Britain is unwilling to defy.


Tonight Abu Qatada is behind bars once more. Described by a judge as


Osama Bin Laden's righthand man in Europe it's regarded by


Intelligence Services as a significant threat to national


security. Over more than a decade, successive


Governments have tried to have him deported, but without success.


Today, as he was arrested at his house in west London, the Home


Secretary was preparing to tell the Commons that she was confident that


the next time he was released from prison, it would be to board a


plane from Jordan. We have obtained from the Jordanian Government the


material we need to comply with the ruling of the European Court. I


believe the assurances and the information we have gathered will


mean that we can soon put Qatada on the plane, and get him out of our


country for good. Abu Qatada's departure has been prevented by the


European Court of Human Rights. Its initial concern was that he would


be tortured if he faced trial in Jordan. When the Jordanian


authorities guaranteed he wouldn't, in January, the court found a new


concern, not that he would be tortured, but that evidence


obtained by torture would be used in his trial.


The court blocked deportation because it said that the court


found that torture was widespread in Jordan, as was the use of


torture evidence by the Jordanian courts. It marked the absence of


any assurance by Jordan that torture evidence would not be used.


Thus, it said, deportation to Jordan would give rise to a


flagrant denial of justice. The Home Secretary, then, travelled


to Jordan to try to secure the assurances that she hoped would


satisfy the European Court. Jordan has changed its constitution


to ban torture evidence, and given detailed assurances that the Home


Secretary says guarantee a fair trial.


The Home Secretary, though, has been repeatedly asked why not


simply ignore the European Court and deport Abu Qatada any way.


reality, we simply could not do this. As ministers we would not


just be breaking the law ourselves, but we would be asking Government


lawyers, officials, the police, law enforcement officers, and airline


companies, to break the law too. This approach has brought some


plaudits from unusual quarters. It is not often that you will hear


me, the director of Liberty, say this about a Home Secretary, any


Home Secretary, but I got have give Miss May some credit today. Because


I have waited quite a long time in my career for a Home Secretary to


stand up in the House of Commons, on a difficult, unpopular


immigration case, and say, the Government must obey the law.


Of course she was unhappy with the decision of the court of human


rights, that Mr Qatada couldn't be sent to be tried on the bay sifs


torture evidence, of course she's - - basis of torture evidence, of


course she's frustrated by the time it has taken, but she has said we


have to follow the rule of law and process. Whilst the former Home


Secretary, who began attempts to deport Abu Qatada, congratulated


Mrs May, the woman who wants to be Home Secretary, wasn't nearly so


impressed. The Home Office should have acted faster after the


European Court judgment in January, and had we not had that early drift


and delay, Abu Qatada might not have been released in the first


place. And Theresa May needs to watch her own side carefully, there


appears to be limited patience on the Conservative benches. It is


hard to think of another case which so clearly sums up what is wrong


with the logic of the European Court of Human Rights. British


courts should have the final say of who stays in our country, not a


foreign court in Strasbourg. What we need is that British Bill of


Rights, as others have mentioned, declared senior to Strasbourg, and


a Supreme Court over the road, that lives up to its name.


Government has a brief window of opportunity. At the moment we hold


the rotating presidency of the Council of Europe, and, tomorrow,


the Government begins its conference in Brighton, trying to


get reform. But to do so is a big ask, it needs to get the agreement


of all 47 countries in the Council of Europe, and that, as things


stand today looks a distant prospect in terms of the


fundamental reform the Government is looking for.


Conservative MPs will certainly be watching negotiations closely.


I certainly think that the credibility of human rights, and


the UK's position, regarding the convention, are dependant upon us


getting a decent result, which sees us fully signed up to the


convention, but reform of the Strasbourg court, which has led to


too much judicial legislation, and frankly too many novel rights,


which conflict with our tradition of law and liberty. If Abu Qatada


is deported, it will be seen by the Government as a big win. However,


there are at least 15 similar cases still pending, the Home Secretary


desperately needs the whole system reformed, if she's not to spend all


her time shuttling around the hotter parts of the globe, begging


assurances from foreign Governments. Let's explore this a little further,


with the Conservative MP, Nick Bowles and Diana Johnson, the


shadow minister. When is he off then? I don't think any of us know,


because there is a court process. Today is a step forward. It might


be months and months, maybe not even this year? It could be months.


The important thing is the law on which they can mount an I peel is


narro, the European Court only questioned -- appeal is narrow, the


European Court only questioned the use of torture evidence in the


trial. They may not be granted appeals at the various stages.


you want to congratulate the Home Secretary on doing something you


failed to do during nine years in office? I'm certainly very pleased


he's in custody this evening. I think the fact that he was given


bail was because actually the Government didn't act quickly


enough once the European Court. Hang on a minute, you had nine


years in Government, during which time he made an absolute monkey of


you? There were various appeals going through that period, and now,


on reflection. He was also granted bail at one point during the Labour


Government. It is a problem that is affected us all. We need the


domestic courts and the European Courts, the Government are


considering the reforms they want brought forward, we are keen to be


part of that discussion. You would like to congratulate the Home


Secretary on what she has done? very pleased he's in custody and


deportation is back on the agenda. Because you failed? I think that is


what the general public want to see happen. Let's get on with it.


must be so pleased to have the Head of liberty cheering you on --


Liberty cheering you on? It is nice, she has been the scourge of many


Labour home secretaries. And some Conservatives one? It is good to


see her congregate late us. It is a good point to make that the Home


Secretary and the Government can't ask a whole lot of people to break


the law, while we are part of the European convention. It is pretty


gutless. I thought he were elected to represent the interests of this


country, clearly you have decided not in the interests of the country


this man is wandering around, or even in a prison here, you want him


out of the country. Why don't you just put him on a plane? What would


be gutless, and also witless, would be, firstly, to get ourselves into


a position where we are forced to take him back, and forced to pay


him compensation, because we have not been through a process that


would stand up in court. We are doing both of the right things. We


are securing the guarantees from Jordan, that no previous Government


ever got, about how they will conduct their legal process, and we


are securing changes, we hope, through the Council of Europe, to


the way that the European Court operates in the future. That is the


right way to deal with it, to stop them doing it again in future,


change their method of behaviour, and this won't happen again. We are


at the start of this process, this could take many months, if not


years to go through the process. are back at more or less square


one? I'm worried we are, I'm worried, with the Home Secretary


deciding not to go to appeal with the Grand Chamber of the European


Court of Human Rights, but we could end up back in there in years to


come if the appeals process follows all the way through. The Labour


Government spent nine years not deporting Abu Qatada, I'm rather


hopeful that we will have reported him before there is a Labour Home


Secretary in office again. You are just back from Jordan? I went to


Jordan. Are you satisfied with the assurances given there that the


Jordanians will not introduce torture take -- evidence taken


under torture? Of course they have amended their constitution now.


are satisfied are you? There are probably steps to be taken. Do you


know, are you satisfied? I think overall the Jordanian authorities


have given the guarantees we all want to see in this case. You are


satisfied with their assurances? think they are in good faith, yes,


I'm satisfied with what they have said to the Home Secretary, now we


have to see whether the courts take the same view. And if the courts


don't take the same view, you think the court was wrong, presume below?


Obviously Mr Qatada will have his lawyers advising him. I'm asking


you your view? Already his lawyers have said they will be appealing


the deportation and want to go through the various stages. I feel


having gone to Jordan, having spoken to ministers there, that


they are act anything good faith, and hopefully the assurances will


stand up. What would you have done if you were in Government for the


last two years? Hopefully we would have acted quicker, as soon as the


decision was made by the European Court, we would have acted, so Mr


Qatada didn't end up getting bail. That was of grave concern that he


was out there in the community. I'm pleased he as back on custody.


was under more stringent conditions than the Labour Government put him


under. That was only introduced because the court was not satisfied


that the Government was acting quickly enough in deportation.


Jeeves out on bail during the time of the Labour -- He was out on bail


during the time of the Labour Government. The orders now you have


available are much weaker than control orders. What is frustrate


beg it, there are many difficult problems -- frustrating about it,


is there are many difficult issues, we are wrestling with it, and the


Labour Government did too, it would be nice to say, well done for


progress, and let's see what happens? We have said that we want


to identify concerns outstanding. The frustration for the ordinary


citizen is we listen time after time to members of your party and


your leader telling us it was outrageous that Governments of this


country were not allowed to decide who should be free to be in this


country, and when it comes to it, when the Civil Service and the


Civil Service lawyers say, Home Secretary, you might be in defiance


of the European Court, you all bend the knee? That is not true, Keneth


Clarke the Justice Secretary, tomorrow, is going to Brighton,


where all the members, let me finish. 47 states to agree with


him? That is how you change things, you don't change things by wave ago


wand, I know it works in television, but in Government you have to


negotiate with your treaty parties. David Cameron said precisely that?


He said we will have to change the way the European Court operates F


it doesn't change, if we don't get that agreement, then we have other


possiblities we could look at. They are not possiblities anyone would


welcome, to withdraw from the Convention on Human rights, we are


quite right to try to change the way the court operates, by getting


the agreement of member states, all in a conference centre in Brighton


for Keneth Clarke for a negotiation. We have been in it for 30 years?


They will be there for two days, let's hope they sort it out.


think they will sort it out? Lots of people are frustrated by the


same things, we are all maddened by it, we need to persuade them all to


come to our way of thinking. Let's see if you can do it in a couple of


days? Let's see, we are going about it in right way.


We want a full investigation, and we want it free of political


interference, of the burden of the demand from the Prime Minister to


the man in charge of China's propaganda today. It is over five


months since the mysterious death of a British businessman in the chi


of Chongqing, the delay and private protestations from the Foreign


Office, are small parts of what is becoming a tangled tale.


The plot is so elaborate it is all but impet traibl, but the death of


the British business man is real enough, as is the sudden end of the


career of the Chinese politician. And the murder charge now facing


the Chinese politician's wife. She's accused of having the


Englishman murdered. All the rest, method, motive, indeed whether


there really was a murder, remains a matter of conjecture.


Neil Heywood was found dead in November, supposedly from drink, he


was cremated, months later, Chinese officials suggested he was murdered,


for threatening to expose the financial dealings of a


politician's wife. The upshot, she as charged with murder, and her


husband, one of China's most controversial leaders, xielxielxiel,


is ousted, and impli -- Zhang Xiaojun, is ousted and implicated.


Either is possible t would appear that Mr Heywood's death was some


what suspicious, the two things might not have been originally


related to begin with, and they become related as a result of


political need by the top leadership to remove Bo Xilai from


power. David Cameron met Alexa Chung, who


assured him the case was -- Abdullah Ahmed Ali assured him the


We have demanded an investigation, and the Chinese authorities have


agreed to discuss that, there is a further discussion this afternoon


between my rightenable friend and the visiting member from the bureau,


Mr Chung, and I will follow up on this extremely carefully and


vigorously. In his statement today, Could the Foreign Secretary have


done more? He knew back in February that something badly wrong had


happened, he called an investigation, he should have


announced that there and then. But you have got this philosophical,


ideolgical approach, that says don't raise difficult questions


with difficult regimes. All that matters is trade and business. That


is important, vital for Britain, but we can't give up our broader


responsibility, whether it is human rights, or in this case, something


very bad that has happened to a British citizen. In Britain, the


focus is on the mysterious death of a British subject, but in China


it's all about the demise of a political maverick. Bo Xilai was


one of the Princelings, promoting rapid growth, while also declaring


faith in social equality, he was the coming man. He is somebody


willing to use any method possible, he's a man of extraordinary


charisma. He wanted to use that charisma to generate public support


to further his career. Once he gets to the very, very top, as a member


of the standing committee of the politic bureau, what he would do we


don't know, now we will never find out. In China, and among comien


niece exiles abroad, there is bound -- Chinese exiles abroad there is


speculation. Bo's son is at Harvard and is attracting traffic. There is


stories about his luxuries and lavish, and luxurious party


lifestyle. So there is interest in China, in what is going on? People


are very interested, especially that there is so many rumour about


it. This is alleging that another senior official is involved in this


whole thing, and he's going to be the next person to be investigated.


He's under suspicion, this is a big deal, because he is one of the most


senior politicians in the poll lit bureau. The main line of inquiry is


that Neil Heywood fell out with Bo's wife, a friend and business


partner, over money. There a lot of speculation that he was involved in


helping the family to deal with over's assets. Is that a common


occurrance with anglo-Chinese relations? It is common for a


significant number of senior Chinese Government officials to


have very expensive, large offices, assets, that are not commensurate


with their official income. They certainly require help to


manage those overseas investments and properties.


Whether it was a row over money laundering, and whether Neil


Heywood was really murdered, is unknown. Bo's former police chief


appears to have the answers, he's incommune kaid dough in custody.


Two men maybe able to share light on this are my guests. Cameron has


asked for a full and unpolitical inquiry, will that happen? I don't


think it is, there is no body, the body was cremated within days of Mr


Heywood dying. The decision has been made at the highest level in


Beijing that Bo Xilai will be demoted, and therefore, his wife


has been arrested, and it is a massive political issue in China.


So, the decision has already been made.


The Chinese officially announced a reinvestigation into the case, but


it seems they have already pretty much drawn the conclusion. There is,


in the meantime, tremendous speculation, we don't know if it


was a death from natural causes, or if it was a murder, as some people


allege, we just don't know. Are we ever likely to know, do you think?


It is very difficult, but the fact that they made the announcement in


conjunction with the police chief, who tried to seek asylum from the


United States, who, as was said, was so close to Bo Xilai. That


could be interpreted as a move, a political move, but many people in


China do believe that something suspicious happened, in this case,


I think, even though Bo Xilai HIVself wasn't, and hasn't been


accused of anything, except as a member of the family.


Interesting as we saw in that piece of tape there. The way in which the


Chinese websites are dealing with all of this. Presumably there is


lots of people tweeting to one another about it too. This is a


very, very interesting predicament for the Chinese Government isn't


it? Absolute game changer, I would say. On the day that Wang Lijun,


Bo's righthandman, drove 300 miles to the British consulate, the web


erupted on the microblogs, there are many people on there, Twitter


is blocked, but they have their own variance of Twitter. And everyone


is talking to everyone else. In the past there was one voice, and


everyone listened to it, it was the voice of the Communist Party, and


that is changing, the whole dynamic of this. A lot of this information


is not untainted, a lot of it is put out there, in a proper gand da


offensive, by the -- propaganda offensive, this is a very God way


of dealing with political problems -- good way of dealing with


political problems and opponents? It is difficult to say which bit is


propaganda, and which bit is rumour or the truth. I think we will have


to wait until a proper procedure, proper investigation has been


carried out, before we draw our own conclusions. We need to look at the


evidence. I thought we agreed a proper investigation was extremely


unlikely? We will have to go through the process, or the motion,


they will only have to wait for any announcement of any new findings.


There is a saying in Chinese, there is no war without a crack, that the


wind can -- no wall without a crack that the wind can flow through.


it a new way of dealing with political opponents? In many ways


it is a time honoured way of dealing with political opponents,


go after their relatives, use their second in commands in all sorts of


ways. The difference is the environment in which it is played


out. In the innuendo, the putting out there of stories of one kind of


another, spreading not through the official media, this is very


interesting? It is interesting, it could come back and bite them. That


is why it is so interesting. They are feeding, the Government feeds


stuff into the semi-free media, the semi-free microblogs, of course it


is sensored, there are thousands of censor, but there are millions on


the micro blogs. At the same time there is allegations of corruption,


millions of dollars being spirited abroad, coming out, and Chinese


people are having to have the lid lifted on the politics.


Where do you think it goes next? think when the announcements are


made, or anything, people can predict, it will be a justification


for the central party commity to -- central party committee to trip Bo


Xilai of power. It is an evidence, anecdote or foot note for that.


Those who are going to take over the baton in October, or even later,


some people are saying probably the progress will have to be post pond,


we will see more -- postponed, we will see more things coming out.


Thank you very much. We will have more on China tomorrow night when


sue Lloyd Roberts will be speaking to the Dalai Lama about the self-


immollations in Tibet about the protests of Chinese rule.


These leaders are very foolish, narrow-minded authoritarian people,


only their mouth, no ears. Never ready to listen to others' views.


There is a spring in the step of the leaders of the UK Independence


Party, they still have no Members of Parliament, but the latest


opinion poll today suggest they have replaced the Liberal Democrats


as the third party in British politics. You can tell they are


doing well, because Conservative ministers are using expressions


like "swivel-eyed" about them, there are dark unsubstantiated


rumours about a couple of Tory MPs thinking of defecting to them.


Could the people once described as "fruitcakes" by David Cameron,


cause serious damage to his party. When the North Sea has a wild day,


this town is prone to flooding, it was at its worst when once a


European wind storm sent a vicious squall to Thurrock. 50 years on


political wind storms come fairly frequently from the continent, the


sitting Tory MP won it by 93 votes, but 3,000 votes went to UKIP. Today


U kil kip polled third in the opinion polls -- UKIP polled third


in the opinion polls, causing concern for the Liberal Democrats


but also for the Conservatives. The problem for some is so deep that


they could use a majority in the next election. One worrying fact


for the Conservatives is that in the 2010 election, when UKIP won 3%


of the vote, one third of what they polled today, there were 2 sit sis


where their vote was larger than the -- 22 sit sis, where their


society -- constituencies, where their vote was larger than others


other parties. I don't think that the Conservative


Party can take its own supporters for granted. Clearly the polls are


showing that there has been some movement from the Conservative


Party to UKIP, possibly from Labour to UKIP as well. I think that if a


Conservative Party has a robust euro-sceptic policy in the future,


hope leefl in the near future, that we will be -- hopefully in the near


future, we can attract those gone to UKIP, and hopefully those who


have found a home there over the past few years. Nigel Farage, the


leader of UKIP, has made it his name to replace the Liberal


Democrats as the third party. There is policies on national rail


alongside Europe. One political operation working out of the back


of a local pub has a different perspective. If you were consulting


on this, people would feel more respect for the politicians and


think they have listened to what I have to say. The people's pledge


are campaigning for a referendum on the relationship with Europe, they


think as it stands populations are ignoring popular opinion. UKIP is


successfully capitalising on this. The people's pledge, it is a pro-


referendum majority at the next election. You need MPs to get the


referendum out. We are starting that process, you need Members of


Parliament in order to progress there. The threats to Cameron are


by UKIP, could be half-a-dozen seats the next general election,


but a much bigger threat...What your proof of that? On the ground


here, UKIP polled 3,500, we polled 13 though, nearly four-times as


much. Any -- 13,000, nearly four- times as much. Any UKIP threat to


Cameron is a temporary one. It might cost half-a-dozen seats in


the next election. The real threat to Cameron is if the Labour Party


comes out in favour of a referendum, he will lose another general


election, not in coalition but going into opposition. This


experience in Thurrock suggests not all seats with bulky UKIP votes


would necessarily go to the Tories, but as likely to any other


political party. But the clamour in the Conservatives is strong, and


they want the fightback to go-to- start now. Sooner or later the


Conservative Party will have to address the European question, most


people alive today haven't had a say on the European question. We


will have to have that referendum. When that commitment comes forward,


I think we will be able to attract back those Conservative members


that have gone to UKIP, and those UKIP members not part of the


Conservative family for many years. There is real anxiety among


Conservative MPs over this issue. They say in the forth coming


boundary reviews, if MPs lose their seats, then they may as well defect


to UKIP, go down in a ball of flames in the words of one MP we


spoke to. Downing Street, however, does not sympathise, they point out


two things. Firstly, they say often people who vote UKIP, vote UKIP for


incoherent reasons, if they chase those voters, they too would look


incoherent, and secondly, they reiterate, the key to them for the


majority of 2015, lies in winning over Lib Dem and Labour swing


voters, not UKIP. UKIP is not to be dismissed lightly,


last year they came second, although distant, to Labour's win


in Barnsley's by-election. We have a problem convincing people that we


are the most euro-sceptic Government ever. Because Europe is


not a particularly important national issue. If you look at


recent polling, only 5% of people said our relationship with the EU


was the most important thing on their mind. The most important


things are jobs, the economy, the health service and immigration. So


I think we are having almost too much of a focus on the European


issue, and not enough focus on some of the big picture issues.


gaining 100 votes the Tories could be denied by UKIP Thurrock at the


next election. Their ambitions of replaces the Liberal Democrats as


the third party, they need to gain their own seats, not depriving


others of their's. Let's discuss this with two people


with opposite political journeys, Lord Hesketh served with Margaret


Thatcher and John Major. He defected to UKIP in October last


year. Frf Westminster we are joined by George Eustice, the Conservative


MP, once David Cameron's press secretary. He was previously a UKIP


candidate in the 1999 European elections. What does I kip offer


you that the Conservatives couldn't? I don't think -- UKIP


offer you in with what the Conservatives couldn't? I don't


think it is in terms of offer, I first canvased, aged seven, for


Harold Macmillan in 1959, I think I was nine to be accurate. I think


for me, the defining moment was when the, Mr Cameron reneged on the


referendum. It is all very well to call us "swivel-eyed" and


"fruitcakes", but I have been Government Chief Whip and Treasury


of the Tory Party. It doesn't stop you being a fruitcake? If that is


the case, it says a lot of the Tory Party and the future to come.


have made the opposite journey, you accept these guys are a real threat


to you? UKIP has been around for ten years. I remember when I was a


candidate for them in 1999, there was a poll that showed UKIP had 15%


of the vote. They had done particularly well in the last three


euro elections, I don't doubt they will do quit well in the next one.


They are a protest vote. -- quite well in the next one. The real


thing for me, is I am someone who wants repatriated powers from


Europe, and the immigration process reversed. We can only do that with


a Conservative Government, we have a euro-sceptic Conservative Party,


and Prime Minister. What people have to stop doing is ending this


game of arguing about referendums, that is what you do when you try to


stop something happening, and argue to take powers back, that doesn't


require a referendum. Lord Hesketh? A simple answer is UKIP is part of


a bigger issue, within all of modern politics in the west. If we


are in Marseille last weekend, for example, you will have seen the new


French left rallies in unprecedented number. You will see


Tea Party in the United States. You will see political groupings, which


are novel and growing. Growing for a simple reason. In your case,


single issue? Not at all. My job in UKIP is to be the defence spokesman,


because I think the Government has done an appalling job, basically


because they believe what they are told by the Ministry of Defence.


That is what my main occupation is at UKIP, when I'm not actually


working. The reality is, people are deeply


disillusioned by being lied to, by many stream political parties


across the spectrum. We didn't have to go to North Africa and see what


happened in the Arab bring. It is all part of something bigger.


George Eustice, you do accept there is widespread disillusion both with


you and the other mainstream parties? There is always


disillusion with mainstream political parties. We are in a


democracy, I'm somebody who believes small parties should have


a right to stand, and stand and make their case. I don't have a


problem with that. As somebody who has stood for UKIP and has worked


with them, I have no doubt there is well meaning people there who think


they are doing the right thing for the country. They are a counter-


productive reliability. Lord Hesketh is snorting here? I think


it is extremely generous that we are being told that small parties


should be allowed to stand. We are only a few yards away from getting


back to the kind of extremism that existed in Europe before 1939, it


is the most lid cus statement, to be perfectly frank, the reality is


the Conservative Party are suffering because, firstly, you do


not have a euro-sceptic Prime Minister. You have a Prime Minister


who was advised by the Foreign Office, produced the document, that


no-one could believe wouldn't be signed, because Sarkozy lost his


temper it was signed. He was the first Prime Minister to wield a


veto? A veto on what. You have to remember that this Government has


brought in the EU Act, which now has a referendum lock. So it is


impossible now, we are in the same situation as Ireland now, it would


be impossible for a Government to pass further powers to the European


Union without there being a referendum. That is the right time


to use a referendum, to stop powers going away, not if you want to try


to bring powers back. UKIP had a role to play 15 years ago to get


this up the agenda. It is a redundant, counter-productive


organisation. In terms of whether it damages the Conservative Party.


There is no doubt most of its activistsics like Lord Hesketh, are


Conservatives. They draw support from across the spectrum, they need


to do the serious work of renegotiating our relationship with


the European Union. Let me ask you one simple question. If support for


UKIP were to cost the Conservatives an overall majority at the next


election, would that be a good thing? They would only have


themselves to blame. I'm asking whether you think it would be a


good thing? It is not my position to make that judgment. Yes it is?


You would rather see a Labour and Lib Dem coalition than a


Conservative Government? Politics are about the art of the impossible.


Then it would be impossible for the Conservatives to form a Government.


I'm sorry, there is a large body of opinion in this country, not just


confined to the Conservative Party Tont make a mistake about it.


asking a question you seemed to decline to answer. The question is


what is the realistic outcome, and the outcome of behaving in the way


Mr Eustice and his colleagues are behaving, could result in that.


They would have only themselves to blame. If you happen to be watching


mainstream BBC north of the border, you won't be seeing this, Free


Newsnight, or whatever it is called in that part of the country, is


evidence of the extent to which Britain, as a whole, is joined


together still by an active union, but an active union increasingly


frayed around the edges. The year after next, the people of Scotland,


but not the people of England l get the opportunity to decide whether


they want to end the union all together and become independent. In


a moment we will see if one of Scotland's best known writers,


Irvine Welsh, can persuade the historian, Tristram Hunt, that the


union has had its day. Here is how some of his characters addressed


their national identity, in the film of his book, Trainer, with


some -- Trainspotting, with some typically strong large Doesn't it


make you proud to be Scottish? is shite being Scottish, we are the


lowest of the low, the scum of the fucking earth, the most wretched,


servile thrash ever shat into civilisation. Some people hate the


English, I don't, they are just wankers, we, on the other hand, are


colonised by wankers, we can't even find a decent culture to be conised


by. We are ruled by a few arseholes, it is a shite state of affairs to


be in, Tommy, and all the fresh air in the world won't make fucking


difference. With us now is Irvine Welsh, and


with us also Tristram Hunt. Now, are you surprised to find yourself


a nationalist? Yeah, I don't really see myself as a nationalist, I see


much more of the union being in a secular decline. I see the union as


very much conceived to facilitate British imperial expansion and


British industrial expansion, sustained by a kind of welfare


state, and the two world wars, and all these things no longer exist,


they have gone. I don't see what is driving the union, what is holding


it together. What is driving the union now? I think that is a very


compelling point. What was so interesting about the Trainspotting


piece there was to suggest that the Scottish had been colonised, but


the Scottish themselves were colonisers as part of the imperial


project, when we look back at the creation of Britishness, whether it


is Protestantantism, or imperialism, many of those driving influences in


the 20th century have frayed. Just because that kind of construction


of it is not there, it would be wrong to suggest that the


attributes of nationhood have some how all together lost. I personally,


very strongly believe, that Scotland, England, Wales, Northern


Ireland, gains more from the cohesive whole, than it would do if


it split up into ethnic sensablities of nationhood? I don't


think that cohesive hole is that sense of Britishness, I don't think


it is served by a political union any more, though. I think that's


the thing that people will think, people feel in Scotland now, that


it's not so much Britishness that they are against, it is the concept


of the UK, and the usual union. I think that the two political


cultures have become very divergant. He's right there, they have become


very different? They have, but I think that is the strength almost


of the settlement at the moment, that you can have those elements of


devolution, within the architecture of the UK. I think what works at


the moment is, contrary to what you think, is the political settlement,


I think the cultural settlement has fallen away. That is why Gordon


Brown, for all his determination to build British values and a sense of


Britishness, was actually going against the cultural currents of


feeling of Englishness, and Welshness. Why should people in


England not be allowed to express their Englishness for fear of


offending Scots or Welsh, and fear of their position, they are put in


the union, of oppressing Scots and Welsh. Have you a fear of


expressing your Englishness? I have never felt it. I have a lot of


constituents who feel their Englishness is not allowed to be


expressed on the same level as Scottishness. England is a


multicultural post-imperial nation trying to work out its identity.


Scotland is a different society developing and a different


political culture. I don't see any connection now. I think that


certainly the generation, the younger generation from the


Trainspotting generations, every one of them seems to be much less


vested in the union. Supposing the Scots decide not to go for


independence though, that self- loathing that we saw in that clip


from Trainspotting, that is going to get really acute, isn't it?


think it will. People realise that it is not really an option now. I


think if, it is like when David Cameron said to the SNP, which I


think was a very Craven thing to say, look we will give you the tax-


raising powers, not on my watch, you know. He was almost saying the


game is over, and it is all about legacy with politicians. Tony Blair


staying in office to become a longer serving Prime Minister than


Margaret Thatcher. It is the same with David Cameron, he's conceded


the point and saying not on my watch, just buy me ten years of


being de facto members of the union. I certainly think he's doing great


political damage to the union, but I think we also have to think about


the strengths of Britain, on a global stage. Whether it is the


army, whether it is the UN, whether it is our diplomacy, all of those


elements actually give much greater riches and influence to Britain as


a whole. Not in the case, when you look at some of the decisions made


in foreign policy, if you look at Afghanistan, so many people were


against that war, and I don't think you can pick these kinds of things


as being pluses. Do you think post people really care about the world


stage? I think people do, I think people like the fact that Britain


is a leader on the world stage. We are good at diplomacy, we are an


influential power for a small island stuck in the North Sea. We


still have that. But, that doesn't alleviate the part of what we think


about our post-imperial identity. He's right, we need space for


English people to talk about their English identity more actively. I


don't think they can do that in the construct of the political union of


the UK. I think paradoxically the way to enhance Britishness is to


get rid of the political union and enhance the cultural union, even


bring Ireland back into the British fold. They may have a view on that,


of course. But once you have taken this kind of imperial thing out of


Britishness, and it is, and you get back to being this value-free idea


of people living in these islands and sharing some kind of cultural


heritage, but having the different free individual political


expressions, to put their own systems together and work out their


own issues. That is the strength of what we can have today, which is


multiple identity, whether you can be West Indian-British, Pakistani-


British, ethnic-British, you can have a identity there, and a


federal British identity, which gives all sorts of broader


advantages, I think, to the UK. People have moved on from that in


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