14/05/2012 Newsnight


14/05/2012

In-depth analysis of the news. Kirsty Wark asks what the government can do to spur growth as the eurozone crisis deepens. Plus, an exclusive investigation into the 2012 Olympics.


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Was this the biggest Greek myth of all, that they would ever make the

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euro work? Ats politicians continue to talk in

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Athens, across the channels of Europe, there is talk of exit. How

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will they depart, and will they receive chaos this their wake for

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the rest of us. We speak to a Greek cabinet minister, still waiting to

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see if his services are required. And debate what the consequences

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and calculation might be. As they look in Whitehall if the best

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defence against contagion is growth, where will it come from.

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The Government talks about rebalancing the economy, I have

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learned even their own experts doubt more money in manufacturing

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means more jobs. We will ask a Government minister

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what the plan is. Another bloody day in Syria, we

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report on how moderates on both sides are increasingly squeezed out.

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And Olympic VIPs, it gets better all the time, we know about the

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free tickets, the fancy hotels and the chauffeur drives, Newsnight

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goes in search of the truth about healthcare on offer for tens of

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:01:24.:01:25.

thousands in the Olympic family. The markets plunged today, and

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tomorrow morning the Greek President will make a last-ditch

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attempt to form a Government of National Unity, but fresh elections

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seem likely. Across Europe Central Bankers and politicians have

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started to talk openly of a Greek exit from the euro. What are the

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options on the table, and the calculation the players are making.

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Will it be chaos, more muddle through, or could it actually work

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for both Greece and Europe. There is nothing we journalists like for

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more stirring the creative juice, than a whacky metaphor. You are not

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alone if you think the woes of the single currency are a bit like a

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maze, from which there appears to be no exit. Three months ago after

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Greece got its second bail-out, many people, like the deposed

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President Sarkozy believed the crisis was solved. Now we're back

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in it, now the only way out seems like a Greek exit. There were

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further talks in Athens, as the country separates into pro- and

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anti-bail-out factions. The Greeks are leaving their home land into

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the safe lands of Surrey or Knightsbridge. Many will still have

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assets based in Greece. It points to confidence ebbing away, if it

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does, Grex will come sooner than we think. -- grex it will come sooner

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than we think. There is an acceptance that the Greeks will run

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out of money, that the Government won't have enough to pay pensioners

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and public sector workers. When it happens, there will be a run on the

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system, and very quickly Greece will have to leave the euro.

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policy maker is talking openly of that yet, you can bet it will be on

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the menu privately, as eurozone finance ministers meet this evening

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in Brussels. Some of their Central Bankers, notably those from Belgium

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and Ireland, are already whispering aloud, what a eurozone minus Greece

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might look like. One option is to create two parallel currencies, a

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softer one used domestically for day-to-day things, and a harder one,

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which would repay Greece's debts, denominated in euros. This is a

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solution that would certainly have problems. It would allow the

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economy to start to grow again. More to the point, allow it to be

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able to operate still within the EU and the eurozone itself. Its

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obligations aren't torn up immediately. If you tear up you

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will the overseas obligations, the opportunity for Greece to go back

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to the markets to raise money again or obtain debt support

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internationally, is close to zero. This is a mechanism which provides

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the best of both worlds, but still with very difficult mechanisms to

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manage. Of course, there is a recent

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example of a small country which decided not to repay its enormous

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bank debts, despite heavy pressure to do so from the EU. Iceland's

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banks collapsed under their own weight in 2008, Rick Vic said it

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would allow them to go -- Reykjavik said they would allow them to go to

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the wall. The Government decided to prioritise the domestic economy. It

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refused to bail-out foreign bankers and creditors, and used the money

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to support the domestic banking system and economy. It let banks go

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to the wall? It let banks go to the wall, and let foreign creditors

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take all the losses. Up until now the eurozone thinking has been

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monochromatic, take your medicine or get thrown to the money market

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dogs. Voters in France, Greece and recently Germany, have said that an

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alternative third, or fourth way is required. Whether politicians have

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the creativity or nouse to find those routes out of the latest

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crisis is unclear. While talks continue in Greece, the

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markets are very much in ris- -- risk-off morbgsd which means

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Britain and Europe wait for a smaller eurozone.

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The elections may have been over a week ago, but Giorgios

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Papaconstantinou is still a Greek cabinet minister, for PASOK. We can

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talk to him now about the efforts to cobble together a Government in

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Athens. We have a Greek specialist from the your racialia group, and a

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specialist in the debt -- your racialia group, and a specialist in

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the -- The Greeks have to deliver millions of euros tomorrow, no

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authorisation from the Greek Government to come, will it happen?

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We will have to wait until tomorrow to see whether it will happen. It

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is one of the hold-out bonds that did not participate in the exchange

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offer. A decision needs to be made, and it will be announced tomorrow

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whether that obligation is honoured or not. That is one of, only in a

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sense, a side bar to the main event, as to whether or not you can

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actually form a Government. All the talk today I gather, there has been

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talk of a technocrat Government. What is what are the chances of

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being able to pull that off? Well, as you know, these elections

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produced a very fragmented result. Traditionally Greece, the first

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party would get around 45% of the vote, the second one would get

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around 40%. In this case none of the parties got over 20%. The

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largest party got 19%. So, this is a very different result from what

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we are used to. Discussions are on going at the moment, between the

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leaders of the party, and the President of the Republic, to see

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whether we can form a coalition. Because it is clear that it is time

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for coalition politics in Greece. It is obviously in your interest to

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make sure you don't have another election. Because the anti-bail-out

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parties are growing their own votes. A latest opinion poll puts them at

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20%. That makes them a considerable force, they won't do a deal with

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you, will they? I think the interests of not holding another

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election is perhaps not so much whether the anti-bail out parties

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would go. It is because Greece is running out of time. We are running

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out of money, and We need a Government as soon as possible. The

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discussions today didn't produce a result. Hopefully they will be

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resuming tomorrow, and hopefully we will manage to get a coalition. The

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latest proposal on the table is that of a technocratic Government,

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that would have the support of at least three parties, possibly four.

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The conundrum here, look anything on Greece, is Greek people say over

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and over that they want to stay in the euro, but they actual low want

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to renegotiate the terms of the bail out again and again. These two

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things are incompatible, it is a dream, it is a nightmare? Well,

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indeed, in eight out of ten Greek people want to stay in the euro,

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consistently, all the polls show that. But they are not prepared to

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take a hit. They are not prepared to take the austerity measures they

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need to talk. It doesn't make any sense? That is right. This is right.

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This is the fifth year of a recession, people are hurting,

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people are seeing their salaries cut by up to 40%, taxes have gone

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up. One in two young people is unemployed, unemployment rates

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overall is over 20%. So this is a vote of anger, it is a vote of

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disillusionment, it is a vote of protest. It is not necessarily a

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vote of rejection. It certainly isn't a vote that believes that the

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programmes of these praerts will ever be implemented -- parties will

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ever be implemented. The programmes of some of the leftist parties are

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right out of the eurozone. Is the Iceland model of default hold any

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attractions for Greece? No. We have had the biggest debt restructuring

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in world history. We behaved 50 percentage points off our national

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debt. But this was a debt restructuring, together with our

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European partners and the IMF. It was a voluntary debt restructuring.

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Which could happen only because our European partners agreed to

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recapitalise the Greek banks, and help us in this sequence. We cannot

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compare a country of 350,000 people, which is what Iceland is, with a

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eurozone member of 11 million people. That has the same currency

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as other countries. Megan, do you think that an exit, however chaotic,

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muddled, whatever, is inevitable? do think an exit is inevitable, and

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Greece could finally return to sustainable growth if it were to

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exit the eurozone. Choreography is key. It is no in nobody's best

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interests to have a disorderly exit. From your point of view, you keep

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kicking the idea of austerity into the long grass, longer and longer,

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and that in itself becomes a strategy? It has been a strategy

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for the last two years. The reality is that Greece, with the second

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bail out has managed to get more funding than the first bail out.

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The axe page needs to be renegotiated, and I think that from

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a troika side, there is a willingness to renegotiate the

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package on the margin. For that we need a workable Government. And now

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in Greece we don't have one. What chance of finding one? PASOK, they

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are not going to make it without the marginal parties, and the

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marginal parties are gaining ground and they are anti-bail out? You are

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right. The chances of creating a Government during these rounds of

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talks is fairly slim, most likely we are heading for a second

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election. There is a risk it could be equally inconclusive. If it is,

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then you head towards the end of June, where you are to be prepared

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to put the austerity measures in place to get the bail out that the

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country needs to pay pensions and workers? That is right. The take-

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home message is it almost doesn't matter if Greece puts a Government

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together in the next two days, or the next election, whatever happens

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the coalition won't be sustainable. And Greece will head to elections

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again by the end of the year. the talk is of contagion, where do

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you think the worst hit will be? have already seen t the worst hit

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will go straight to Spain. That is why the troika will be willing to

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play ball with whatever Government arises in Greece. The troika has no

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interest in Greece defaulting and leaving the eurozone now, when

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Spain is right in the centre of this crisis is. We have seen as

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drama has arisen out of Greece, bond yields in Spain has gone up.

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We have seen direct contagion from Greece to Spain. Greece is one

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question, but Spain is much bigger and more systemically important for

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the eurozone. What is your analysis on Spain? I totally agree, the

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circumstances and time play in favour of Greece, for the time

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being. The moment in which you go for a euro exit, you break one of

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the biggest taboos, that the euro is unbreakable. Once you create

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that kind of precedent, you don't know what will be next.

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difference is now that we have this kind of permanent financial

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firewall, that will stop the spread, no? We don't have it yet. The EU

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bail out funds have to raise the money. The IMF countries have

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pledged the money but it isn't there yet. Spain is heading

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straight for a bail out, it isn't quite there yet F Greece defaulted

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and exited now, Spain would need a bail out now, and they don't have

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the money in place. For all these reasons there is no question that

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Greece will be allowed to go, there will be a negotiation between

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Brussels and Berlin? As long as we see them still committed to the

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core of the programme, and there is a willingness to negotiate on the

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side, that is a key condition coming are from Brussels, and

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specifically from Berlin. What do you think the view looks like from

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Athens of the new French President Hollande, will that change the

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atmosphere, do you think, in Europe? Giorgios Papaconstantinou,

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do you think the election of President Hollande, who will meet

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Angela Merkel tomorrow night, will change the atmosphere in Europe?

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Yes, I think it will. Although I'm not expecting any miracles here. I

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think it will shift the debate in Europe, and it will be much more

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pro-growth, and realising the limits of austerity. But I don't

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expect this to happen overnight. At the end of the day we still need to

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implement the programme. We have gone a very long way. Remember at

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the beginning of this drama, we were at a deficit of 16%, it is now

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down to 9%. Our competitiveness had eroded over 12 years, we have

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clawed back half of what we lost entering the eurozone. A lot of

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structural reforms have been put in place. It is not as if Greece has

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been doing the work, it is clearly we need more time and a Government

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committed to doing this. I hope this is what will emerge. Either in

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the talks tomorrow or right after the next election, through some

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kind of coalition. Just before we go, difference in atmosphere, with

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President Hollande? I think the eurozone leaders will talk more

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about a growth strategy, that will help on the margins, it takes time

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for a growth strategy to be implemented and feed into the real

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economy, we don't have that time. Wednesday's unemployment figures

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expected to hit a 13-year high at a whopping 2.75 million, are hardly

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likely to do anything to alleviate the gloom generated by the

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eurocrisis, and the failure to generate growth in the British

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economy. Is there anything more to be done to help get the British

:15:18.:15:22.

economy moving, and are we looking for growth in all the wrong places.

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Allegra Stratton has more on the debate inside and outside the

:15:26.:15:36.
:15:36.:15:36.

Government. A factory, some where, anywhere in

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the United Kingdom. Honest work for honest folk, not

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for horny-handed sons of toil, but financial engineering that toppled

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economies, real engineering, to engineer real growth. They call it

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"rebalancing the economy". It is really tough, hard, Spain taking

:15:55.:15:59.

work, getting our economy to grow - - painstaking work to get our

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economy to grow, but it must be the right thing to try to deliver

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growth based on real hard work and effort, proper jobs, proper

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manufacturing, proper industry, based on the fact that Government

:16:10.:16:14.

can't go on spending and borrowing beyond its means. This is our plan

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for growth, we want the words "made in Britain", "created in Britain",

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"designed in brain", to drive our nation forward. A Britain carried

:16:27.:16:31.

aloft by the mark of the makers, that is how we will support jobs

:16:31.:16:34.

and families. The rebalancing of the economy may not be that

:16:34.:16:37.

balanced afterall. Two academics have written this paper for the

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Cabinet Office, leak today Newsnight. In it they say

:16:40.:16:43.

manufacturing is a very poor source of employment, it yields very few

:16:43.:16:48.

jobs, they warn them off that as an emphasis for the rebalanced economy.

:16:48.:16:51.

This is for the Foresight Office, looking at trends in the British

:16:51.:16:57.

economy for the next 20-80 years, the March of the makers may have

:16:57.:17:07.
:17:07.:17:22.

few -- march of the makers may have The march of the makers won't

:17:22.:17:26.

happen in employment terms. It is important for some manufacturing,

:17:26.:17:30.

exports, manufacturing is still useful for that. We won't see large

:17:30.:17:35.

numbers of people turning up at the factory gates at 9.00am, any time

:17:35.:17:38.

soon. Clearly what is the right way to

:17:39.:17:42.

rebalance the economy is a debate people are just turning up to, but

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that debate is much further along the production line in the state of

:17:46.:17:49.

the UK's economy right now. On the backbenches, Tory MPs hope that

:17:49.:17:53.

George Osbourne uses any meltdown in the euro as cover for radical

:17:53.:17:58.

change, tax cuts and a concerted push for deregulation, getting the

:17:58.:18:01.

pissen tos working in the factory of the British economy. Until that

:18:01.:18:04.

point the debate within the machinery of Government is a bit

:18:04.:18:07.

more nuanced. There are those in Government that think not much can

:18:07.:18:10.

be done apart from sit back and watch events on the continent

:18:10.:18:15.

unfold, then there are others who vehemently disagree with, that they

:18:15.:18:20.

think there are things senior Lib Dems and Tories can do and they can

:18:20.:18:22.

get together for a grand push on growth.

:18:22.:18:27.

There will be quad meetings on the economy, where most of the big

:18:27.:18:31.

decisions on the economy are taken, the first push is in construction.

:18:31.:18:35.

As Newsnight reported last week, there is expected to be a new push

:18:35.:18:39.

to use the historically low rates of borrowing the Government

:18:39.:18:44.

currently enjoys, to guarantee spending h this time on

:18:44.:18:49.

construction. Whenever �1 pound spent on housing creates �1.9 in

:18:49.:18:57.

income and economies. People spend the money and wages go up. The most

:18:57.:19:01.

important thing is money stays in the economy. Construction, unlike

:19:01.:19:06.

other things, is actually done on the spot, if you like. There are

:19:06.:19:11.

longer term imfact pacts to it. It allows -- impacts to it, it allows

:19:11.:19:14.

people to have access to skills. And it doesn't create any inflation

:19:14.:19:18.

either, because there is a lot of spare capacity around to build

:19:18.:19:21.

those houses. There are people unemployed with all those skills,

:19:21.:19:25.

that could be made available very easely all this is actually very

:19:25.:19:29.

good for the economy. William Hague once said the euro

:19:29.:19:33.

was like a burning building with no doors. This Government will hope

:19:33.:19:43.
:19:43.:19:43.

any new generation of hours -- hours will fire proof the economy.

:19:44.:19:47.

I spoke to Mark Prisk earlier, the Business Minister.

:19:47.:19:51.

The Office of Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England are quite

:19:51.:19:57.

clear that the biggest threat here is the crisis in the eurozone to

:19:57.:20:00.

the economy. Is this Government doing enough? I think we are

:20:00.:20:04.

convinced that, first of all, the eurozone countries themselves need

:20:04.:20:08.

to make sure they resolve some of that urn certainty. Here in the UK

:20:08.:20:13.

we are -- uncertainty, here in the UK we are making sure we are a more

:20:13.:20:16.

competitive place to grow business. Are we doing enough? I think we are

:20:16.:20:20.

taking the right steps, do I think we could do more, absolutely, I

:20:20.:20:24.

used to be in business, that is my ethos. The Government has pursued a

:20:24.:20:28.

vision that manufacturing would be the engine of recovery and growth,

:20:28.:20:32.

it hasn't happened? That is a negative view. We have seen over �4

:20:33.:20:37.

billion of investment coming into the automotive sector alone. Very

:20:37.:20:41.

important investments, good for jobs and productivity, exports up.

:20:41.:20:46.

That's all good signs. It is the same with Aerospace, we represent a

:20:46.:20:51.

fifth of all aircraft that leave Toulouse, as Digby Jones likes to

:20:51.:20:55.

point out, a fifth of all that value comes from the UK. We have a

:20:55.:20:58.

good manufacturing base, and we need to grow it further. Are you

:20:58.:21:04.

happy with it so far, a document written for the Cabinet Office says

:21:04.:21:09.

manufacturing doesn't deliver jobs. Look at the autoation in the

:21:09.:21:16.

factories, is not jobs it delivers, it is not jobs? First of all, you

:21:16.:21:18.

are seeing some businesses that went to China to manufacture coming

:21:19.:21:27.

back to the UK. You showed the textile businesses come back to the

:21:27.:21:31.

UK. Just as importantly, of those large business, that is the area we

:21:31.:21:36.

have worked hard. One of the big problems is a skills shortage in

:21:36.:21:38.

manufacturing. Whilst natural leer we are all concerned for the

:21:38.:21:42.

unemployed. We have been working hard to increase training and the

:21:42.:21:46.

support for apprenticeships. very thing that you are saying,

:21:46.:21:50.

there is a skills shortage. This very same paper said actually

:21:50.:21:58.

manufacturers is a very harsh industry for low-skilled work --

:21:58.:22:01.

workers, and it is hard to maintain employment? Manufacturing is the

:22:02.:22:07.

wrong target and you have bet on the wrong horse?

:22:07.:22:10.

I don't believe manufacturing has changed and it is about wider

:22:10.:22:14.

skills and talents. The fact that manufacturers are saying they need

:22:14.:22:17.

more skilled people coming into the work force. Is isn't that why we

:22:17.:22:21.

were right to build up the apprenticeship numbers. The last

:22:21.:22:24.

Government have ignored that, we have been making sure we have

:22:24.:22:28.

record numbers of apprenticeships. You talked at the beginning about

:22:28.:22:31.

the eurozone crises, the eurozone is the main export market, they

:22:31.:22:38.

won't anybody a position to buy anything? They are struggling in

:22:38.:22:41.

main -- They won't be in a position to buy anything? They are

:22:41.:22:44.

struggling and the Governments are struggling. But we shouldn't be

:22:44.:22:48.

wholly negative that nobody will export to Europe. We need to look

:22:48.:22:52.

at the position outside Europe, the position is encouraging. We have

:22:52.:22:57.

seen an increase of 23% in exports to countries outside the eurozone

:22:57.:23:00.

against 2010, it shows we are reaching new markets. Now the

:23:00.:23:03.

Government is training its sights on construction, are you doing

:23:03.:23:06.

enough in construction? We are doing a lot. Is it enough? I think

:23:06.:23:11.

the last three or four years, I'm a chartered surveyor, I know this

:23:11.:23:15.

industry well. This has been a tough three or four years in

:23:15.:23:18.

construction. Is it recession? have to recognise that many parts

:23:18.:23:22.

of that sector have been receding, not all. You look at the latest

:23:22.:23:26.

figures on the new part of private sector housing, that did improve in

:23:26.:23:29.

the last set of statistics. The question you asked is are we doing

:23:29.:23:33.

enough, can we do more. What I would say to you is the National

:23:34.:23:37.

Infrastructure Plan, a �200 billion plan, very important for

:23:37.:23:43.

infrastructure, put anything half a billion for the Building Britain

:23:43.:23:45.

Campaign, very important, just starting at the beginning of the

:23:45.:23:48.

year, showing its colours later in the year. The work I was doing

:23:48.:23:51.

today, at the Building Research Establishment, a really good centre

:23:51.:23:55.

of excellence, remember leading wait. Are we going to see more,

:23:55.:23:59.

minister, for construction in the next few weeks, or not. Will we see

:23:59.:24:04.

more initiatives or not? Let me tell you what I have done today.

:24:04.:24:08.

Are we seeing more things? We have announced today a million pounds

:24:08.:24:13.

extra to keep the UK's competitive advantage in green construction.

:24:13.:24:17.

million? That is to develop the programme so the market can be

:24:17.:24:22.

created. It is �100, �1 billion programme in terms of the market.

:24:22.:24:27.

We are making sure we are putting in the seed corn to make it happen.

:24:27.:24:34.

Today the violence continued in Syria.

:24:34.:24:44.
:24:44.:24:46.

All lack Akbar, Allah hu Akbar. Unver vied fighting showed --

:24:46.:24:50.

verified fighting in Al-Rastan. There are reports of 30 lives lost.

:24:50.:24:54.

A human rights group says 23 Government soldiers were also

:24:54.:24:58.

killed in what appears to be an attempt to retake the town. It is

:24:58.:25:02.

easy to forget this uprising began as a peaceful protest. As we have

:25:02.:25:06.

found on the most recent trip to Syria, voices of moderation are

:25:06.:25:13.

being drowned out by the escalation in violence.

:25:13.:25:17.

The old city of Damascus. Syria has always been famed for the kindness

:25:17.:25:25.

of its people. It is what I have seen in the many

:25:25.:25:34.

years since I have been coming here. The Syrians are so beautiful, the

:25:34.:25:42.

juice seller things, like the rose in Jasmine. Stkpwhrs it is what

:25:42.:25:45.

makes the current violence so shocking.

:25:45.:25:53.

It is easy to forget it began as a peaceful protest.

:25:53.:25:59.

Welcome to Damascus. Those voices are still there. Last

:25:59.:26:04.

month this woman stood alone outside parliament, holding a

:26:04.:26:10.

banner "Stop the killing". Passers by stopped to applaud her message.

:26:10.:26:15.

The authorities detained her. Her act of bravery became something

:26:15.:26:23.

much bigger. They now call her the Woman in the Red Dress.

:26:23.:26:27.

TRANSLATION: The main thing is it sent a message to everyone that

:26:27.:26:31.

they can make a change, no matter how small. It start off as a scream

:26:31.:26:34.

of anger, it spread widely. Even gathering people who support the

:26:34.:26:42.

regime. We all want to stop the killing, and build a Syria for call

:26:42.:26:48.

Syrians. How much hope do you have this will be resolved peacefully?

:26:48.:26:51.

TRANSLATION: Hope is not something abstract for us. When we help each

:26:51.:26:55.

other there is hope. When we try to open dialogue, to build bridges

:26:55.:26:58.

with people who have different views, we have hope. We look for

:26:58.:27:04.

hope, day in, day out. Shortly after we met her, she was detained

:27:04.:27:08.

again. Everywhere I go, regime supporters

:27:08.:27:14.

talk to me about the need to save Syria. But the Government has now

:27:14.:27:18.

unleashed a new campaign of arresting intellectuals and

:27:18.:27:25.

activists, as if everyone is a threat.

:27:25.:27:29.

Footage sent by citizen activists are an effort to show what they say

:27:29.:27:36.

is still a one-sided war. Leyla is one of them. She was

:27:36.:27:41.

recently released from detention, and still believes only peaceful

:27:41.:27:45.

solutions will work. There are some people now who say Syria is in the

:27:45.:27:54.

midst of a civil war? No, no it is not. It is still regime-versus -

:27:54.:28:04.

people. If it is regime-versus-the people, what percentage are

:28:04.:28:07.

peaceful protestors? A very large percentage. The estimates of the

:28:07.:28:11.

Free Syrian Army is thousands, maybe tens of thousands, there are

:28:11.:28:15.

hundreds of thousands of activists and people on the ground. Far, far

:28:15.:28:19.

more. I know weapons seem louder, and they are more attractive for

:28:19.:28:24.

news, and so on. But it is definitely, definitely still much

:28:24.:28:34.

more peaceful than not. There are moderates on the other

:28:34.:28:40.

side too. They speak of gradual, peaceful change. But with every

:28:40.:28:44.

explosion, their fear grows, that Syria stands to lose more than it

:28:44.:28:53.

gains, as the country is remade. have three news correspondents in

:28:53.:28:57.

the bureau. This man has Government approval to set up a bureau for a

:28:57.:29:03.

new TV channel. He says they will try to tell a different story.

:29:03.:29:06.

are definitely against foreign intervention in Syrian affairs, we

:29:06.:29:13.

are against a military solution in both ways. Coming from either side.

:29:13.:29:18.

We want a political solution that is based on the right of every

:29:18.:29:22.

civilian to be able to express his views. But his own worry now is

:29:22.:29:25.

security. It is making people feel Syria is not the same any more.

:29:25.:29:29.

Tasting coffee in the morning is not the same any more. I think this

:29:29.:29:34.

is, to us, the main concern. Our own security, the security of the

:29:34.:29:41.

country, the future of the state. But to preserve itself, the state

:29:41.:29:44.

doesn't want to disturb the present order, it want to keep things the

:29:44.:29:49.

way they are. Changing as little as possible. For all the talk of

:29:49.:29:58.

reform, the political space just isn't opening.

:29:58.:30:01.

This man tried to play by the rules. Last year President Al-Assad

:30:01.:30:07.

invited him to take part in a political dialogue.

:30:07.:30:12.

Today he showed me pictures of his two sons, arrested last week. He

:30:12.:30:16.

said no news, except others detained with them told him they

:30:16.:30:24.

had been tortured. TRANSLATION: It's not easy to lose

:30:24.:30:27.

two members of your family. And it's not just my children. The

:30:27.:30:33.

whole country is in agony, my personal pain is the country's pain.

:30:33.:30:40.

Do you worry, it has been 14 months, and every month that passes, there

:30:40.:30:45.

is more guns, more explosions and the voices like your's, calling for

:30:46.:30:50.

peaceful protest, are getting drowned out, getting smaller?

:30:50.:30:55.

TRANSLATION: Violence only leads to violence. Blood only leads to blood.

:30:55.:31:00.

But when you see the amount of violence by the regime so far, we

:31:00.:31:03.

haven't seen a proportionate reaction by protestors. When your

:31:04.:31:08.

sons and brothers and interests sisters are killed, you can't blame

:31:08.:31:13.

people who take up arms, only angels would refrain.

:31:13.:31:17.

No-one wants to lose what is good about this country, so many still

:31:18.:31:22.

hope it can be done. But after so much violence, views

:31:22.:31:29.

are hardening. The maximum of one side still isn't

:31:29.:31:37.

even the minimum of the other. If they don't reach a middle ground,

:31:37.:31:47.

everyone stands to lose. The latest batch of Olympic tickets

:31:47.:31:50.

goes on sale this week, but there is one group who won't be sweating

:31:51.:31:54.

it out on the telephone booking line, there will be a record number

:31:54.:31:57.

of Olympic VIPs in London this summer. We already know about the

:31:58.:32:01.

free tickets, the transport, the accommodation perks they will get,

:32:01.:32:05.

but priority access to healthcare, that is a new one. Newsnight has

:32:05.:32:10.

been investigating claims from senior doctors that members of the

:32:10.:32:14.

called "Olympic Family", will receive special access to the most

:32:14.:32:21.

experienced NHS staff, if they fall seriously ill during the games.

:32:21.:32:31.

The greatest show on earth is on the way. 10,000 athletes will soon

:32:31.:32:35.

be landing in London. On board with them, sporting

:32:35.:32:42.

officials, team members, and sponsors. Anden extra 25,000 VIPs,

:32:42.:32:47.

-- an extra 25,000 VIPs, a record number. While the public can expect

:32:47.:32:53.

queues and crowds this summer, that elite group, the called "Olympic

:32:53.:33:00.

Family", will get to see a very different side to the games.

:33:00.:33:04.

The full red carpet treatment, from booking out the best London hotel,

:33:04.:33:09.

to skipping the queue at Heathrow Airport. None of this for the

:33:09.:33:13.

Olympic Family, they will get special dedicated lanes through

:33:13.:33:20.

passport control. And, if an accident happens, or they fall ill,

:33:20.:33:24.

well the VIP treatment doesn't stop there, thousands of dignitaries and

:33:24.:33:27.

sponsors will get free healthcare this summer. But it is the deal

:33:27.:33:31.

they will get at hospitals like this one in central London, that

:33:31.:33:37.

has some doctors ringing their alarm bells. Most of those Olympic

:33:37.:33:41.

VIPs will get free private treatment, at their hotels and the

:33:41.:33:45.

stadium site. But, if they need extra emergency care, they will be

:33:45.:33:52.

sent on to one of three NHS hospitals. Newsnight has seen e-

:33:52.:33:57.

mails between doctors at the largest of those hospitals, UCLH in

:33:57.:34:01.

central London. It is clear, as far as they are concerned, all of those

:34:01.:34:05.

Olympic VIPs are to be given the kind of attention, the kind of 24-

:34:05.:34:15.
:34:15.:34:26.

carat service, that most of us can There are worries about the impact

:34:26.:34:31.

of rushing consultants to Olympic Family patients within 30 minutes

:34:31.:34:41.
:34:41.:34:48.

All this at a hospital where the typical wait for treatment is

:34:48.:34:53.

almost an hour-and-a-half. I think it is completely

:34:53.:34:58.

unacceptable, and it is morally wrong. The idea of they will being

:34:58.:35:03.

able to see a senior consultant, rather than whoever happens to be

:35:03.:35:08.

on duty in the A&E department is completely unjustifiable. It is so

:35:08.:35:15.

wrong, I cannot even imagine it is happening. In fact, neither could

:35:15.:35:21.

LOCOG, the organisers of London 2012, when we put the doctors' e-

:35:21.:35:25.

mails to them this morning. They dismissed them and the 30-minute

:35:25.:35:29.

arrangement, as an urban myth. That is despite another Olympic hospital,

:35:29.:35:39.
:35:39.:35:43.

designated to handle Olympic NHS London, given extra money to

:35:43.:35:48.

meet healthcare during the games, told us the same thing, that was at

:35:48.:35:54.

2.00pm this afternoon. By 5.00pm, three hours later, that message had

:35:54.:35:58.

mysteriously changed. NHS London called to say the 30-minute promise

:35:58.:36:01.

was actually just part of an early draft. They are now, tonight, in

:36:01.:36:05.

the process of issuing new final guidance, which will not include

:36:05.:36:11.

that guarantee. UCLH, the hospital where those

:36:11.:36:16.

concerns were raised, said they are putting aside four beds, especially

:36:16.:36:21.

for Olympic Family members, they claim no VIP will get preferential

:36:21.:36:26.

treatment. This evening they stressed there is no 30-minute

:36:26.:36:29.

fast-track deal. But healthcare is only one area where there are

:36:29.:36:33.

worries that Olympic VIPs could be getting special treatment this

:36:33.:36:37.

summer. Just minutes after the capital was awarded the games, Seb

:36:37.:36:42.

Coe was handed the copy of the host city contract to sign. This, though,

:36:42.:36:48.

is the short version. The full thing runs to more than

:36:48.:36:53.

3,000-pages. A list of terms and conditions, drawn up by the

:36:53.:36:58.

International Olympic Committee. But all this was only made public

:36:58.:37:06.

after a two-year fight by Freedom of information campaigners. We know

:37:06.:37:11.

that Olympic VIPs and top sponsors will get free, chaufer driven

:37:11.:37:16.

transport this summer. More than 3,000 BMWs are being provided to do

:37:16.:37:20.

just that. They will travel in special traffic

:37:20.:37:25.

lanes to and from the Olympic site in the East End of London. So s

:37:25.:37:31.

after speeding through immigration at eet throw, VIP -- Heathrow,

:37:31.:37:35.

those VIPs will be able to shuttle from the hotels to the games and

:37:35.:37:39.

back, all to a standard set out in 2005, as part of that massive

:37:39.:37:44.

contract. In any sport you have to say that

:37:44.:37:48.

anybody coming over, at that level, has to be treated like honoured

:37:48.:37:58.
:37:58.:37:59.

guests, but they don't have to be treated like gods. It might all

:37:59.:38:03.

feel some way from the Olympic ideal, to play sport at the service

:38:03.:38:08.

of human kind. The International Olympic Committee...But One of the

:38:08.:38:13.

key figures behind London's winning bid, says that, taken as a whole,

:38:13.:38:17.

cities have to agree to the IOC's terms and conditions, if they want

:38:17.:38:22.

to be taken seriously. The City of London! There will be some people,

:38:22.:38:28.

I have no doubt, who will look at this and say that the people in

:38:28.:38:33.

positions of authority in the Olympic movement, and across world

:38:33.:38:37.

sport are getting treated quite royally. That is the level of he

:38:37.:38:41.

can specktation in world sport. If we hadn't committed to delivering

:38:41.:38:46.

that, as part of the bid process, which is a requirement of the IOC,

:38:46.:38:51.

then, frankly, the bid would have failed.

:38:51.:38:56.

�9 billion of tax-payers' money has been spent, building the venues for

:38:56.:39:00.

this summer's games, so the argument goes, it make sense to

:39:00.:39:05.

treat those 20,000 VIPs well this summer. Afterall, they will decide

:39:05.:39:09.

where future world and European Championshipss are held. But did

:39:09.:39:14.

London promise too much, did we go too far, and spend too much.

:39:14.:39:19.

It is a kind of moral obligation of a host city to reveal the excesses

:39:20.:39:24.

of these demands from the likes of the IOC. To make a bit of a fuss

:39:24.:39:30.

about it, to push back and to try to improve the game for the next

:39:30.:39:34.

round of bidding cities. Is London and the bid organisers, are they

:39:34.:39:37.

pushing back hard enough at the moment? I don't think so. I think

:39:37.:39:41.

there has been too much timidity, to be honest, amongst the

:39:41.:39:46.

organisers of the London Olympics. This summer might leave a sporting

:39:46.:39:51.

legacy, it should leave some impressive infrastructure, it could

:39:51.:39:56.

be even on budget, but it won't shine much light on the special

:39:56.:40:00.

treatment reserved for 25,000 members of the Olympic scam family,

:40:00.:40:04.

or the hoops cities have to jump through to host the world's most

:40:04.:40:07.

prestigious party. We haven't received a response from

:40:07.:40:12.

the Department of Health, but NHS London have stressed to us tonight,

:40:12.:40:15.

that treatment in A&E is always a clinical priority first, this

:40:15.:40:21.

applies to everyone. And LOCOG, the London organising commity of the

:40:21.:40:26.

games, says this -- committee of the games, says this is in place

:40:26.:40:32.

for the entire Olympic Family, including operational groups like

:40:32.:40:36.

the BBC, to provide emergency meddle ka, not preferential

:40:36.:40:43.

treatment for our clients. Frank Dobson is with us, and Jim White a

:40:43.:40:47.

sports writer is joining us. Frank Dobson, this seems to be a

:40:47.:40:51.

complete mess, of course athletes who are in trouble and need urgent

:40:51.:40:55.

medical attention should have it, of course they should. 25,000

:40:55.:40:59.

members of the Olympic Family, we are not sure what has happened, we

:40:59.:41:05.

are told the homen to hospital is talking about having this --

:41:05.:41:10.

hommerton hospital is talking about having this 30-minute tart. I have

:41:10.:41:15.

heard of an extended family, but 25,000 people is rather a lot. We

:41:15.:41:20.

need to look after the athletes and make sure the athletes can get to

:41:20.:41:24.

every venue on time, not like the mess in Atlanta. I think most

:41:24.:41:29.

people would agree we need to provide for the at lots if any of

:41:29.:41:35.

them do get -- athletes, if any of them do get injured. The idea of

:41:35.:41:44.

providing privileges access to healthcare, for 25,000, most of

:41:44.:41:48.

whom ought to be staying in their own country any way. We saw these

:41:49.:41:52.

e-mails from clinicians, who were saying there is a conflict of

:41:52.:41:55.

interest, if they are designated senior consultant in A&E, and they

:41:55.:42:01.

have to hit somebody at 30 minutes. What happens to an NHS spate they

:42:01.:42:07.

may be waiting to see with a big problem, afterall it is A&E? I know

:42:07.:42:11.

some of the A&E consultants at University College Hospital, one of

:42:11.:42:16.

the finest hospitals in the world. I don't think they will say, I'm

:42:16.:42:19.

sorry, Sepp Blatter, we will look after your broken finger, when

:42:19.:42:25.

somebody has a serious injury from Camden Town. It is a bit of a mess?

:42:25.:42:29.

Let's put it into perspective. There is not 25,000 people, all

:42:29.:42:33.

coming over at the same time requiring emergency treatment on

:42:33.:42:39.

their hernias. Not even if you con sume the sponsor's product are you

:42:39.:42:43.

likely to get that. They are denying preferential treatment, but

:42:43.:42:47.

the point is the principle? It may be a principle, but it is not

:42:48.:42:50.

likely to happen. Let's actually get this straight. They will

:42:50.:42:54.

probably have to deal with maybe two or three people who have

:42:54.:42:58.

overdosed on Coca-Cola, that is about it. Just imagine something

:42:58.:43:06.

else, UCHL are putting four beds aside, the NHS provide a �1.8

:43:06.:43:11.

million. Why not BUPA and one of the other companies sponsor

:43:11.:43:17.

healthcare. Why should the NHS have to do anything? Indeed. They have

:43:17.:43:21.

said it will be at hotels and chances there, this is the final

:43:21.:43:28.

back up, if they supped too much champagne, or their spine has gone

:43:28.:43:33.

from sitting sue pine in their fantastically leisurely seats in

:43:33.:43:38.

the stadiums, they will have to be put back upright. Let's put it into

:43:38.:43:41.

perspective. What is more interesting about the contract

:43:41.:43:50.

signed on behalf of the British people, is the amount of stuff

:43:50.:43:54.

coming on to the statutes. If you try to get some coverage for the

:43:54.:43:58.

wrong kind of people. The people who aren't sponsoring you,

:43:58.:44:03.

commercial, it is not a commercial thing, it becomes part against the

:44:03.:44:07.

state's law. That is much more worrying than having Sepp Blatter's

:44:07.:44:14.

broken toe being fixed. Are we bending over backwards by producing

:44:14.:44:19.

all this free stuff, not for the athletes but the family? But it is

:44:19.:44:25.

all, like the special lanes, so that Sepp Blatter can get

:44:25.:44:28.

from...Poor Sepp Blatter he's getting it? There is nothing poor

:44:28.:44:34.

about plait Blatter, most football fans think he should be offered

:44:34.:44:36.

euthanasia at University College Hospital! The idea, all these ideas,

:44:36.:44:46.
:44:46.:44:48.

just show what a set of pufd up, self-important people they are. It

:44:48.:44:52.

is the same as people running football as the Olympic Games, they

:44:52.:44:57.

take the sport, which is wonderful, it brings it into some disrepute,

:44:57.:45:01.

really. According to the Times, the Civil Service getting in on the act.

:45:01.:45:07.

This is denied by the Government, Whitehall hall tell staff, stay at

:45:07.:45:12.

home for the summer. Civil servants have been told they can work from

:45:12.:45:16.

home for seven weeks during the Olympics? That is presumably

:45:16.:45:20.

because of the traffic chaos in London. In my constituency, round

:45:20.:45:24.

Russell Square, there will be coaching, it will be the pick-up

:45:24.:45:28.

point for the journalists to get in the coaches, to go on the special

:45:28.:45:32.

lanes out to Stratford and everywhere else. We are the

:45:32.:45:35.

important people, we have got to be there. I would agree with Jim on

:45:35.:45:39.

that. I would remember they got to the thing they are commentating on,

:45:39.:45:43.

rather than just speculating from a distance. Thank you both very much

:45:43.:45:49.

indeed. Tomorrow morning's front pages now. The Financial Times,

:45:49.:45:59.
:45:59.:46:29.

faith fading it eurofirewall is the That's all from Newsnight tonight,

:46:29.:46:34.

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