14/05/2012 Newsnight


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


euro work? Ats politicians continue to talk in


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


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


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


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


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


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


The Government talks about rebalancing the economy, I have


learned even their own experts doubt more money in manufacturing


means more jobs. We will ask a Government minister


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


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


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


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


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


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


tomorrow morning the Greek President will make a last-ditch


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


seem likely. Across Europe Central Bankers and politicians have


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the menu privately, as eurozone finance ministers meet this evening


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


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


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


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


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


solution that would certainly have problems. It would allow the


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


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


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


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


to the markets to raise money again or obtain debt support


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


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


manage. Of course, there is a recent


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


crisis is unclear. While talks continue in Greece, the


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


Britain and Europe wait for a smaller eurozone.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


produced a very fragmented result. Traditionally Greece, the first


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Which could happen only because our European partners agreed to


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


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


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


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


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


Greece could finally return to sustainable growth if it were to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


a troika side, there is a willingness to renegotiate the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


interest in Greece defaulting and leaving the eurozone now, when


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


difference is now that we have this kind of permanent financial


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


President Hollande? I think the eurozone leaders will talk more


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


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


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


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


likely to do anything to alleviate the gloom generated by the


eurocrisis, and the failure to generate growth in the British


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


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


Allegra Stratton has more on the debate inside and outside the


Government. A factory, some where, anywhere in


the United Kingdom. Honest work for honest folk, not


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


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


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


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


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


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


manufacturing, proper industry, based on the fact that Government


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


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


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


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


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


balanced afterall. Two academics have written this paper for the


Cabinet Office, leak today Newsnight. In it they say


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


soon. Clearly what is the right way to


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


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


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


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


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


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


point the debate within the machinery of Government is a bit


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


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


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


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


get together for a grand push on growth.


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


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


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


to use the historically low rates of borrowing the Government


currently enjoys, to guarantee spending h this time on


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


good for the economy. William Hague once said the euro


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


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


I spoke to Mark Prisk earlier, the Business Minister.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


billion of investment coming into the automotive sector alone. Very


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


are seeing some businesses that went to China to manufacture coming


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


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


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


manufacturing. Whilst natural leer we are all concerned for the


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


support for apprenticeships. very thing that you are saying,


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


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


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


wrong target and you have bet on the wrong horse?


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


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


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


were right to build up the apprenticeship numbers. The last


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


record numbers of apprenticeships. You talked at the beginning about


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Government is training its sights on construction, are you doing


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


infrastructure, put anything half a billion for the Building Britain


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Today the violence continued in Syria.


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


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


A human rights group says 23 Government soldiers were also


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


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


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


being drowned out by the escalation in violence.


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


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


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


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


makes the current violence so shocking.


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


Welcome to Damascus. Those voices are still there. Last


month this woman stood alone outside parliament, holding a


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


The authorities detained her. Her act of bravery became something


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


again. Everywhere I go, regime supporters


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


unleashed a new campaign of arresting intellectuals and


activists, as if everyone is a threat.


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


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


recently released from detention, and still believes only peaceful


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


more peaceful than not. There are moderates on the other


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


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


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


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


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


are definitely against foreign intervention in Syrian affairs, we


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reform, the political space just isn't opening.


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


invited him to take part in a political dialogue.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


peaceful protest, are getting drowned out, getting smaller?


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


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


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


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


people who take up arms, only angels would refrain.


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


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


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


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


everyone stands to lose. The latest batch of Olympic tickets


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


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


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


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


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


been investigating claims from senior doctors that members of the


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


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


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


be landing in London. On board with them, sporting


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


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


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


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


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


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


Olympic Family, they will get special dedicated lanes through


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


of rushing consultants to Olympic Family patients within 30 minutes


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


designated to handle Olympic NHS London, given extra money to


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


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


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


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


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


that guarantee. UCLH, the hospital where those


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


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


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


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


worries that Olympic VIPs could be getting special treatment this


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


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


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


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


International Olympic Committee. But all this was only made public


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


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


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


just that. They will travel in special traffic


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


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


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


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


contract. In any sport you have to say that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


positions of authority in the Olympic movement, and across world


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


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


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


then, frankly, the bid would have failed.


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


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


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


where future world and European Championshipss are held. But did


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


legacy, it should leave some impressive infrastructure, it could


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


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


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


prestigious party. We haven't received a response from


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


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


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


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


for the entire Olympic Family, including operational groups like


the BBC, to provide emergency meddle ka, not preferential


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


coming over at the same time requiring emergency treatment on


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


from sitting sue pine in their fantastically leisurely seats in


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


perspective. What is more interesting about the contract


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


home for seven weeks during the Olympics? That is presumably


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


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


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


lanes out to Stratford and everywhere else. We are the


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


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


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


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


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


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