17/05/2012 Newsnight


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

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Is the world preparing for a Greek exit, pursued by a bear market? In


Athens the rain is flooding in, the money is flooding out. Tonight an


agency lowers Greece's credit rating even further.


Here in the birth place of democracy, more and more people are


rejecting mainstream democratic parties. I will be finding out what


that tells us about Greek society. The G8, the big industrial powers


are about to meet in America, all say they want a solution to the


euro crisis, but can any of them actually produce an answer?


Should this controversial trial of GM wheat in Hertfordshire go ahead,


or be torn up. For the first time we bring


together scientists and GM opponents to debate whether this


plea should be heeded. We know we cannot stop you taking the action


you are planning to take, but please reconsider, before it is too


late, and before several years worth of work, to which we have


been devoting our lives, will be destroyed forever.


And just when you thought it was safe to go back into the financial


waters, the losses incurred by the trader nicknamed the London Whale,


are mounting out. We will ask Nassim Nicholas Taleb,


why these events seem to keep taking us by surprise.


Good evening, today one journalist wrote that the Greek crisis was


reducing our leaders to the figure in Edvard Munch's Scream, howling


in despair, with little ability to affect events. As the most powerful


people on our planet make their way to America for tomorrow's G8, the


eyes of the world rest on an election in a small country whose


results may affect all our tomorrows.


First we report from Athens. Handing over the Olympic Flame for


Princess Anne. It is a torch of unity and peace, but the Olympic


Flame was entrusted to its latest temporary keepers today. By a


nation that itself is deeply divided, on the edge, some fear, of


more social strive. Everyone knows Greece is the birth place of some


of Europe's most cherished values, including the idea of


representative Government. Why then, here of all places, are so many


people now rejecting mainstream politics, even questioning the


democratic system. Is it simply a protest at falling living standards,


or does it tell us something more fundamental about Greece itself.


Among the newly-elected MPs sworn in today, were members of extreme


right-wing party, Golden Dawn, regarded by many as Neo-Nazis. They


are entering parliament for the first time, with 7% of the vote.


Today, gay activists were marking the international day of action


against homophobia, in an Athens bookshop. They are worried that


discrimination, and even violence against minorities of all kinds may


now increase. We fear a rise of the far right, especially now that we


are having a far right party within parliament. The gay community is


afraid about the challenges these people will impose on the


legislative protection of the rights of gay people, especially


the gay youth. We have come to think of ancient


Greece as a stronghold of enlightenment. But attitudes here


are as complex as the country's multilayered history. A society so


confident and outward looking in antiquity, was forced to turn in on


itself during the long centuries of otman ox passion, that ended only


in the 19th century. Greece was liberated partly by its own


patriots, but only by the help of foreign powers. Greece has always


depended on the kindness, or lack of it, of strangers. That has made


the Greeks susceptible to humiliation, that has occurred and


recurred in Greece's history on many occasions. Nevertheless, I


would say that Greek political leaders and politicians, in general,


were made of very good stuff. That's what saved Greece from many


a difficult decision in the past. Not so today. Today our politicians


are not up to it. That's perhaps why, in a city district of Athens,


they voted against the main parties, accusing them of caving into the


European Union over the bail out terms. This is a stronghold of the


radical left. Inside the district, these graphic designers have left


their jobs in the mainstream media, and set up an independent co-


operative, it is one of many ventures across Greece, designed to


create alternative economic and social networks, forming islands of


freedom, as they put it, outside the despised state. Their aim,


above all, is to help those impoverished by the crisis.


Everybody gets together and brings food and cooks together, for a


minimum, a small price, or most of the time for free. But there can be


entertainment, like through free cinemas, or theatrical plays. So


people need real solutions to their every-day problems. That comes


through collectives or through self-organised projects. They are


growing and spreading all over Greece, like a virus in a way.


The rot in the system set in soon after the collapse of the military


junta, that ruled Greece for seven years up to 1974. The hopes that


came with the return of democracy, couldn't all be fulfilled. The man


who dominated Greek politics in the 1980s, the socialist, Lucas


Papademos, delighted many -- Papandreaou, delighted by railing


against America and others. undercurrent of somebody is out to


get you, the conspiracy theory, the friend-foe division, has been


fighting the fires of Golden Dawn, Syriza and the far left. It is the


frame of mind, the way of thinking that our ills are not our own, and


brought upon us by others. Long before the flame reaches London,


after its journey around Britain, Greece will have yet another


parliament. But few expect it will be one that can restore the Greek's


confidence in their political system.


We can join Tim now. Give us a sense of what it feels like there


tonight what are people preparing for in the next couple of days?


are preparing for the new elections on June 17th. The opinion polls


certainly suggest that the left- wing grouping, Syriza, the party


grouping that rejects the terms of Greece's pail out, will do even


better in these coming elections. Although, some people think


actually the polls may change, the final vote will be different, and


perhaps Greeks, if you like, will draw back from the brink and return,


perhaps, out of fear of the consequences, to the mainstream


party. While we are in this limbo, we have further news of the


developing liquidity crisis here. What we have heard today is now


Greek patients in pharmacies will have to pay for the first time up


front for their medicines, that is because of the enormous arrears,


the enormous amounts of money that pharmacies are owed and haven't


been paid by the state-backed health insurer.


World leaders are heading to America for a G8 meeting tomorrow.


Here is our diplomatic editor. Fresh fears you assume of contagion


tonight? Absolutely. Some strong elements of deJay have you last


night over Greece. FITCH has downgraded Greece to triple C, and


France was worried about losing triple-A. People are talking about


a slow motion run on the banks in some parts of Spain. I don't know


if that is some talk. There is disagreement over how tough we


should be with Greece, on whether the package put forward by Nicolas


Sarkozy and Angela Merkel last year, should be stuck to. Or whether the


new formula of Francois Hollande, more of a growth-based approach


should be adopted. How are the key eurozone leaders reacting then, we


see it as Germany versus the rest of southern Europe? Increasingly it


is looking like Germany versus almost everybody. Strong hints


being given out today by Downing Street that David Cameron also


favours a solution of looking more at growth, of trying to help Greece.


In that sense he could make a very favourable first impression with


Monsieur Hollande tomorrow in America, as a possible ally. They


have a huge number of things to talk about. The really key issue


that still divides people in the EU, is the funding of the called


firewall, or the big bazuka, the funds that could be needed to


protect the banks, and where exactly the money is coming from


growth. Some suggestion that is there could be compromises over


structural funds, and structural redevelopment, Hollande says the


European bank should issue its own bond, and Britain has said things


in the past. The gerplgs are adamant they don't want to do that,


because they will end up paying for it. We talk about the eyes of the


world, is America immune to this, we are looking ahead to the G8 at


Camp David? They are absolutely not immune from it. There seem to go


signals that President Obama may be joining that gang in putting


pressure on Angela Merkel. Because he too is worried that if things go


wrong over the next few weeks with a possible Greek exit, that could


impact the US economy, carrying them back to a double-dip, while


many of the economic indicators at the moment are OK. And the


Europeans are heading over to reassure him that they will come up


with something. There is a very important meeting in Europe next


week. Meanwhile, we have a message of reassurance from the President


of the European council. I believe that in spite of all the


difficulties, and we are not complicit in had the challenges, we


are on the right track. I bring you a message of confidence. We are


doing a root and rang reform. have Mario Baldassarri, an Italian


senator who sits on the budget committee, David McWilliams, an


Irish economist, our guest from Skype, and Chrystia Freeland from


the USA will be joining us a little later.


David McWilliams, if I can start with you, we know Ireland has taken


the bitter pill, how do people there see the drama in Athens?


look Atkinson thens, people are nervous -- at Athens, people are


nervous and see it moving towards an end game in Athens. We also


realise, having gone through four years of this ourselves, that the


three big issues aren't solved, there is too much debt, no growth


and no political leadership. As a consequence of that, and


particularly the legacy of debt, the economies continue to weaken.


We in Ireland can understand exactly what is going on in Greece,


not least because we are clearly not in a situation quite as bad as


Greece, but in a broadly similar situation when people have too much


debt, they don't want to spend. When the banks, as you heard from


your correspondents have too much bad debt, they don't have the


ability to lend. And consequently, imposing austerity on a country


where the people don't want to borrow, and the banks don't want to


lend, is almost like putting an anorexic on the diet, and expecting


that person to put on weight and get stronger. Ultimately from the


Irish perspective, we have seen the legacy of debt, and the fact there


is no political leadership, leading to the growth rate falling, this


increasing the level of unemployment, and increasing the


agitation of people. Let me ask, with your anorexic on a tkwriet, do


you see that as a -- diet, do you see that as a fiscal referendum on


the pact, will you say no to that? Many Irish people will looking at


what is happening in Greece and Spain at the moment. They realise


that the game is in play. In that sense, as your correspondent was


saying, Germany has to shift. We are moving towards probably a grand


bargain in Europe. Therefore, the fiscal treaty in Ireland may well


be seen by many Irish people as an opportunity to express our


dissatisfaction, which is what is going on. This has changed over the


last couple of days really. Because of what's happening in Greece, and


because of what's happening in Spain. Briefly you think there will


be a no-vote there? I think the polls will narrow very dramatically


over the course of the next ten days. Interesting to watch that.


Let's go to Spain and pick up the story there. There was a rumour of


a run on a major bank there. Do you think your own Government can bail


out the banking system? I don't think it can, I don't think it can


find the funds needed to bail out the entire banking system, in Spain


we have a two-tier banking system, there are solvent banks, large


institution, and we have what is left over, left behind from the old


system, being transformed into banks, while this is happening they


still have governance problems, and we have these big, big problems


with Bankia, whose balance sheet is about 38% of Spanish GDP.


Essentially it is worth nothing. That was the bank that was not


really run, but which was having a large flee of deposits. A lot of


people, frankly, are saying Spain is next in line. How big a bail out


do you think you would need? know the way we see it from here


today, at this point in time, May 17th, it is not that we need a 50%


of GDP bail out like the ones that have been served for Greece and


Ireland and Portugal, but it is rather something more to the tune


of maybe 50 billion euros, to bail out the banking sector, the damaged


part of the Spanish banking sector. I don't think right now anybody in


Spain is thinking a major bail out with a major intervention from the


IMF, the ECB and the European group institutions. Mario Baldassarri,


the Italians, Italy would love to see Germany bail out Greece, right?


Well, you know, the key point is that we are playing some kind of


sado-masochistic end game since the beginning of the Greek crisis. The


key point is we have to cheer up what we are talking about. We are


facing a crisis of a small country, 11 million inhabitants, over 320


million Europeans. It is like a crisis in a council asking to go


with the dollars and the United States and the Federal Reserve. We


don't yet have the United States of Europe. And actually we need to


behave as we would have already have the United States of Europe.


Which is asking French for financial equilibrium, but giving


them some kind of Marshall Plan to readjust not in ten months, but ten


years. This should be a United States of Europe. This is something


that Germany has to understand. think that Germany has been unfair


on Greece so far? Well, the point is this, two years ago, if you had


given Greece 40 billion euros support, and then ask it the day


after, asking Greece to take under controlled administration the


accountant with Greece, with 40 million euros two years ago, the


situation could be faced at that time. Now it might be that it will


cost 150 billion euro, and maybe Greece will go out of the euro.


point is it is very politically sensitive, you listen to Ireland,


to Spain, to Italy, if you were a German taxpayer now, you would be


saying why is this burden just falling on us? Because it would be


a disaster for Germany. Germany cannot behave a single country,


without facing the globalisation. Europe needs to have the United


States of Europe. Germany may lead this process, but take the


responsibility, not only to save Greece, Spain or Italy, whatever.


But to save the future of Germany. Can you say, David McWilliams why


the Germans would feel they have got shafted, they got a pretty bad


deal here? You have to look at it from the German point of view. The


German point of view realises there is three reasons they want the euro


to stay in place. The first is, they do a huge amount of trade, the


lion's share of their trades with the rest of the eurozone. This


gives them stability. The second idea, a new damp mark, if it came


around, would dram -- Deutschmark, if it if it came around would


dramatically decrease trade. The Germans like all the capital


leaving the periphery, Italy, Spain and Ireland, is going to Germany.


They are getting a free lunch in terms of their own interest rates,


they are falling dramatically. They have three big reasons to stay in.


The way I see it, it always seems that Germany is a bit like a very,


very good, house proud neighbour n a bad estate, in a bad


neighbourhood. Increasingly what is happening is the neighbours are


behaving more delinquently, than the Germans need to deal W they


need to the fix the thing. Therefore, they have a price. The


price is, what price is Germany willing to pay for their neighbours


to clean up their act. That is really where we are going right now.


Chrystia Freeland is nodding as you speak. I want a US perspective. It


was interesting to hear from Mark, that Obama is also pushing for more


support from Angela Merkel. Why does America have to care, it's on


the road to recovery now isn't it? Traditionally America doesn't care


that much about Europe, particularly this year with an


election season. Europe has been pretty far off the political and


economic agenda. But, with the crisis intensifing in Europe, a lot


of people, particularly in the White House, close to the President,


are really starting to worry that what happens in Athens and Berlin,


could play a bigger role in deciding the US election in


November, than anything that happens in the United States. So


Barack Obama in particular, is desperate for Angela Merkel to fix


this. So the suggestion is the other side would be quite happy to


see everything going belly-up? think no political leader will ever


say he wishes ill on the world, but certainly, I think it is true that


if the global economy gets a lot weaker, and with it the US recovery


gets knocked off worse, that certainly is good for Vladimir


Romanov and bad for Barack Obama. The -- Mitt Romney, and bad for


Barack Obama. The other interesting thing is playing into the American


debate, is whether you should be focusing on austerity and cutting


budgets, or stimuli. Both sides claim Europe as vindication of


their views. We are running out of time.? In a couple of words, will


Greece stay in Europe? I think not. Mario Baldassarri? I hope question


-- yes, because the alternative would be very costly for everybody,


including the United States. David McWilliams where do you sit on


this? I don't think the Greek also stay in the euro, I don't think


they can possibly do that, their economy is too weak, they will move


in the next few weeks away from the euro. That is what the politics are


telling us. Javier Diaz Gimenez? I'm hoping the Greeks will find a


way to keep the euro-area together. Thank you for joining us. Could


destroying a field of plants be the same as burning books. That is what


scientists are claiming in the face of action by protestors being


threatened in ten days time in Hertfordshire. Scientists there


admit they can't prevent the plants being destroyed, but are pleading


for it to continue. We have the head of the project and a leading


activist Take The Flower scam back -- Back.


This is GM wheat, the first of its kind in the world. It is being


modified to repel aphid pest, which cost farmers millions in lost yield


and damage to crops. Researchers want to test it in open air, the


opponents say the trial is a risk, some plan to destroy it. Prompting


an unusual YouTube plea from the team that created it. We know we


cannot stop you taking the action you are planning to take, but


please reconsider, before it is too late, and before several years


worth of work, to which we have been devoting our lives, will be


destroyed forever. We appeal to you as


environmentalists...Toby Bruce is one of the researchers. The wheat


has an added gene, that makes it release a chemical signal, similar


to one aphids produce naturally, to alert one another to danger.


idea of these plants is to rebel the aphids, but attract their


natural enemies. In this demo, if a drob of the alarm signal is dropped


here the aphid, they crawl away, at quite a pace. With what are


spectacular lab results, the next test is to see if the modified


wheat works outside. The head of their serial transformation lab


told us they are having to take extraordinary measures. The fence


is there for two reasons, to protect the trial from foxes and


rabbits that might want to eat the plants. But also to prevent access


to unauthorised humans. That includes the protestors, they have


installed CCTV, and an infrared beam around the edge of the field.


It is not easy to get close to these plants. But security is


expensive. A quarter of the project's total cost, so far.


Opponents say the work should stay in the lab, because out in the open


there is a risk that GM pollen will travel beyond the test field. But


the scientist say the risk of that happening is tiny. Wheat is self-


pollinated. It is not pollinated by wind or insects, excess pollen will


fall to the ground, it is heavy and has a short life span. Once outside


the flower it will last an hour or less. The experimental plants sit


inside a buffer zone, designed to lower the risk of any GM pollen


escaping. Peter is a conventional farmer in Lincolnshire, and a vocal


critic of this trial. He grows wheat and rears gloser All Spot pig


-- Gloucester All Spot Pigs, he questions why the scientists are


testing a wheat that is rarely grown in the UK. Spring wheat, a


variety used for the trial, is only 1% of the UK wheat crop. This is


winter wheat, that is the 99% we depend on to feed the animals and


the people. The test may moven to winter wheat, but Peter is not


convinced this is something he needs at all. If aphids become a


problem in spring wheat, and they don't always. I have access to


selective insecticide that is are reasonably safe to use with bees


and ladybirds and others, and only cost �2 an acre. He wouldn't go so


far as destroying the GM wheat, but is he concerned that such crops


pose a threat to farmers' livelihoods. In America a small


trial in rice ended up contaminating the whole United


States rice harvest. There is potential for enormous damage.


incident with GM rice, not an isolated example of contamination,


prompted temporary bans in 2006 in Japan and Russia, on rice imports


from the US. After trace amounts of a non-authorised GM rice was found


in commercial supplies. Protestors objected to research


trials, partly because of that leakiness in the food chain, when


GM crops was first planted out in the UK some ten years ago. They saw


this as a technology being forced on consumers, who didn't want it,


and which put multinatural co- operations in charge, not farmers.


Europe entered a decade of stalemate over GM agriculture.


Elsewhere the planting of GM crops has increased steadily. The latest


figures from the industry indicate that some 160 million hectares of


GM crops, such as soya bean and maize was grown across the globe.


The top growers were the US, Canada, India, China, China growing four


million hectares, little was grown in the African continent, apart


from three million hectares, Europe is banging back, with one million


of hectares grown last year. Many scientists take the view that since


such a volume of GM crops has now been grown, and eaten around the


world, any serious problem would be apparent by now. Where the harm to


human health, or widespread impact on the environment.


The National Farmers' Union says we will need every tool in our tool


box to meet future food demands, including GM crops, that can cope


in dry conditions, need fewer pesticides, or offer nutritional


benefits. We see a lot of it as being public good. One of the


things we can do is offer something that maybe industry would never


come up with, the reduction of the use of chemicals. We need to prime


the pump with new ideas to give alternatives. First of all, it is


giving choice in the overall system, so that we can actually do some


public good, by reducing pesticide use. I think the general public are


certainly interested in that. But campaigners argue there has not


yet been the systematic data collection, to be certain of the


effects of GM. We're not saying stop doing research on GM, but we


won't be in the lab until we fully understand how genes work, how they


relate to the environment and each other, and what makes them tick. We


don't know all that yet, and we shouldn't introduce things into the


environment and food chain until we have a pretty good understanding of


it. Way beyond what we have at the moment.


Some campaigners say there is a third way. Scientists have decoded


entire genetic maps for staple crops. Here you see a model of the


way rice genes interact. This means they can select plants that carry


desirable genetic traits, and breed from those, rather than adding in


extra genes. Meanwhile the scientists concede they don't have


all the answers, which is why they want to conduct the GM experiment,


the protestors argue that the trial represents a threat to British


farming. And if the scientists won't stop it, they say, they will.


Here in what is a completely GM- free studio, our guests are with us.


It is great to have you all here. Thank you for coming in.


We heard from a speaker who said he certainly didn't want to stop the


research, even though he was against GM. Are you going to let


this trial go ahead? I certainly believe in the power of non-violent


direct action, in illustrating something that is a really


important principle, that is this is the sort of science we don't


want progress to move in the direction of, because it is really


dangerous. I appeal very strong -- I feel very strongly it is


important to look at the wider cultural and social implications of


GM ago tulure, I think it is a very dangerous stamp of validity when


you look at the trial. Would you stop it, you will uproot the plant?


I will stop it. I would like to decide on the day if it is a valid


action. I believe it is important to state you will do that sort of


thing, in order to get on Newsnight and talk about it, and say can we


enter into a debate about this. People have been writing lots of


letters, people have been entering into consultations, all the GM


protestors have been saying for over a decade, we don't want


Government research to be focused on GM technology when there are


other things available. We need direct action to stop that. We have


a mandate by achieving the research grant for doing this work. It is


top science, and it is in the direction of producing food in a


more sustainable way. We are using GM only experimentally at the


moment, it is not going into the food chain. It is not part of a


commercial development. What do you mean by sustainability. What I mean


by sustainability, is if you can deliver crop protection through the


seed F you can have in the plant its own way of dealing with pests,


then you don't need to drive a tractor over the crop with a spray


on it, and the carbon footprint. There is holistic ecosystem


management. As you know, we work in Africa in just that way, because,


in fact, there, people are not buying fertilisers, and not buying


seed, so you can't deliver it in that way. We use companion cropping,


as you may in organic farming. me ask you something, you said this


was purely for science. But you said in the past that companies are


keeping a watching brief, and you are wined and dined heavily by


academic groups in the UK. There is money to be made for you out of


this? Not for us, we do our work to get grants for research, elite


research, which we get during the process of competitive tendering,


as it were, with due regard to our peers and what they consider it.


There is no way this is science for science sake? No, I said it was in


the direction of sustainability. I have explained why it is leading to


a sustainable approach to agriculture. In your terms, in your


terms, we have other terms of sustainability. If you want to go


out and companion plant, in a wheat crop in Britain, you will have to


put a lot more labour in. I'm a full-time farmer, I know farmers


all around me who do companion planting, they plant banks of wild


flowers along the edges of the field, and mounds for wild flowers,


they do it here. I'm going to bring in Lawrence, you have spoken and


thought a lot about organic farming, this, in a way, sounds like it is


the grown-up version, the green version of GM, a decade on, isn't


it? Not at all. My background is organic farming, I'm involved now


with a group of citizens concerned about GM, not necessarily opposed


to GM, but concerned about GM. Our concerns about this trial. First of


all, we don't believe it is necessary secondly, we don't


believe that the process of -- necessary, secondly, we don't


believe the vetting process has been adequate. And thirdly, if we


are talking about grown-up ecology, this group and other research


groups, reported 2005, a three-year trial, a million pound of tax-


payers' money spent, looking at ecological actions, dealing with


aphids, without as youing GM and chemicals, looking at the farming


systems, the hedgerows, the surround of the fields, this hasn't


been taken into account in the trial. Are you saying, stop that


science now, we have had enough? I'm saying this trial is


unnecessary, on a crop that really doesn't suffer from aphid problems.


You don't like this kind of science at all, right? As was said in the


film, I think the GM research really needs to be done in


controlled environments, when you take it out into the field, it


raises bigger problems, bigger risks, and those need to be


assessed properly. Our regulatory system doesn't do. That we need a


question about need. We need to be clear here that we are talking


about a controlled environment. In a sense this research is going on


in a experimental setting. It is not a controlled environment.


let her speak. The thing they are looking for researchers to find out,


are the very answers to the questions that you are posing. If


we cut off that research lion, we aren't going to answer it. It is


foolish, I agree...Does It matter that the public has consistently


shown itself to be against this kind of testing? I think there is a


change in climate at the moment. We are getting a tremendous amount of


support. I'm very sad that some people are not supporting us, I'm


very keen to engage in further dialogue on this, to explain our


point of view. We are certainly looking at an experiment, we have


chosen wheat, because it is our most important crop, and aphids are


the most important pests on it. We can work on winter wheat, as you


know we have it in cond, -- condenza. Aphids are not a problem


in winter wheat. Last year we had a big problem in aphids in spring-


sown wheat. Our out of the last six sea ons there is no aphid problems


in the UK. Four out of the last six seasons. Aphid transmit a virus to


wheat, that is transmitted by aphids in the autumn. That becomes


a problem because of early drilling, you can deal with that problem.


Let's step back, because the point of the winter and the summer, is


that summer wheat tends to be a crop that is grown more in the USA.


It is something that they use more, which suggests that what you are


planning long-term. There is no conspiracy here, we are very keen


to see how this kind of approach works. Winter wheat would be a very


nice model, it would be a lot more expensive to be the experiments


initially on it. We are doinging it in spring-sown wheat, in a variety


that can be grown as a winter wheat. If you are looking at this properly,


and talking about serious ecological interactions to deal


with aphids, this trial should look more at the margins of the field,


the hedgerows. What gives you, wait a second, what gives you the right


to say this kind of trial, this kind of science should not go


ahead? Because I have a lot of experience and I feel very


passionately about it. I'm a farmer myself. My family has a farm in


Iowa, and I have directly seen the impact of GM agriculture, and the


intensive affect on our family farm in Iowa. It is very much about the


land in one sense, and now farmers are being pushed and pushed and


pushed to cultivate huge margins, and go to the edge of the fields to


get the maximum amount about fields. You are making moral decisions the


whole time? We can sit and "cherrypick" all kind of stories,


there are mixed stories. Just let Tracey talk? Which is is actually


why it is that it would be much more valuable for you guys to be


involved in a debate, rather than come in and rip up the experiment.


There is an awful lot of information. You don't seem to be


wanting to go on the debate with us, we have offered a debate on Tuesday.


We would like a more thorough debate. We think the debate should


precede you destroying the experiment, if that is what you are


doing. If we didn't threaten it, you wouldn't have asked us.


least see the results of the debate before attacking the crop. That


sounds positive, it soupbtdz like you won't go ahead with ripping up


the crop, but would rather debate. I'm not going in either direction.


Do you think it will succeed? think there are many problems with


doing experiments in the field. We have to do the experiment, we have


done a lot of work in the lab. Experiments don't work the first


time. We have to see how it stands up to the rigours of the outside he


can kolg. I think it would be a very good -- Ecology. Farmers have


beenest iting this sort of thing for centuries, they have been work


-- this sort of thing for -- testing this sort of thing for


centuries. What do you make of the National Farmers' Union who say we


have to use every tool in the tool box to fight growth in population


and starvation, they don't count, the National Farmers' Union don't


count? They are working on a lower level. You have to look in the


farming press, many conventional farmers have come out and said this


trial is irrelevant. We had one farmer on the video earlier. This


trial is irrelevant, this work is irrelevant. This is not true.


asked whether people are for origins, I think we need to stop


asking people that question. What GM does is opens up a very exciting


and interesting area of research, that may provide answers to some of


the most pressing questions. We can't blank it. Has your mind been


change bid this discussion? I would like to discuss it further, and I


would like to encourage you to look at the wider social implications.


We have done, and we will discuss it with you as much as you like.


Thank you very much indeed. If you understand the complexties


of how the trader they call the London Whale, lost his bank JP


motoring began three billion dollars and counting, you are doing


better than us. Has the world got wiser with the risks and rewards


that dominate highens if, or are we still in danger of the -- dom


dominate, are we still in danger. The portfolio has proved to be more


risky and volatile to the economic edge than we thought.


Today JP Morgan admitted their losses amount to at least $3


billion and could be more. They were caused by the trader, Bruno


Iksil, who earned the Monday Kerr "the London Whale," because of the


size of the transactions he did. Ina Drew quit the bank this week as


it fought to contain the losses. It is hardly the first financial


scandal to hit the markets. Earlier this year there was a collapse of


MF Global, after billions of pounds of disastrous bets went wrong.


There have been sweeping changes to bank regular gaigs, but critics


argue big bonuses, big risks and big losses seem as common as ever.


Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Professor of Risk and Engineering and author of


The Black Swan is in New York and talking to us this evening. It


feels time and time again we have seen this happen. Why do the banks


let it happen, do they not know about it, turn their back on it or


do they not understand it? I think all three. Primarily I think


incompetence, they don't seem to know what they are talking about


when talking about risk. We have known since 1998 that two of the


tools used to manage risk don't work. We have had the tragedy of


LTCM, Long-term Capital Management, a firm that got the wrong name,


that went bust relying on these tools. We kept using the same


methods. In 2007 we discovered these methods of risk don't work,


they were relying on the risk metrics. So it is nonsense, they


are using the wrong tool, it is part of a system, it would happen


else where building bridges, and telling us these bridges can landle


500 trucks and they break at the third truck. Visibly we are -- can


handle 500 trucks and they break at the third truck. Visibly we are


using tax-payers' money as a back stop. They don't want to learn.


I want to get on to that in a second, that is key. Looking at


this example, it is a very complicated derivative system, but


broadly, this man, the London Whale, was trying to balance the risks. He


was trying to make it impossible to lose. Why would that go wrong?


Number one, it is based on a big illusion, the fact that we


understand the risk of rare events. It is a business they shouldn't be


in, it is too complicated for them. We have known the business is too


complicated for Wall Street, for the banks, or all banks, we have


known it is very complicated. They should get out of that business. JP


Morgan should concentrate on lending money to farmers, or


whatever, car loans, that is the business they should be in. They


shouldn't be using my money to play in a way that is too dangerous and


complicated for them. JP Morgan has ten-times the risk of the original


hedge fund. Do you say they should be more regulated or they should be


allowed to go bust when it goes wrong? Both of them. When the event


happens, I'm against you know nationalisation, and I'm against


centralised Government. I'm against regulation. I was a derivatives


trader for 20 years, and it gained regulation. I wanted a following, a


skin in the game, people who make money, if they have the upside,


they should get a bonus, and people should be down with the down side.


Hedge funds had that. The risks that are pure risk, gambling, if


you like, these risks should be borne by hedge funds with up sides


and down sides. Banks, if we are bailing them out, they are ustill


fees, why not treat them -- utilities, why are you treating


them like utilities. You know you will never convince the banks to


leave that side of stuff alone. If it didn't happen as a result of


Liam mans, it is never going to happen --ly mans, it is never going


-- Lehmans, it is never going to happen? There is a saying, you will


never convince a general that the war isn't happening. You can never


ask an industry, you have to force it on them. We should never have


bailed out the banks so easily in 2008 without explaining them, de


facto, you are civil servants. If you are bailing them out, they are


civil servants. They went to pay themselves the highest level of


bonuses in 2010, it is an insult to our intelligence ,ing these metrics


is an insult to our intelligence. Do you think the banks should not


have been failed out at all at that point, knowing what you know about


the way banks operate and behave? Two things should have been done,


the first thing is, we didn't bail out Lehmans, we saw the effect,


then came Citibank, we should have then bailed out Citibank on the


very stiff condition, explaining them that you know, you are de


facto, we don't want to nationalise you. But de facto, you are owned by


the taxpayer, you are no longer a free entity. I don't mind risks


being taken. You are an idealist? I'm not. I'm not an idealist, I'm


someone who doesn't want to be paying $14 million for this lady,


Ina Drew, more than the Mafia, I don't want to keep paying her that


money for taking risks. Could you convince a politician into saying


that? Politicians, visibly, don't have the courage to face lobbies.


But the public is convinced that they don't have the information.


Thank you very much. That's all from Newsnight tonight. This summer


Donna Summer died in Florida. She was called the Queen of Disco by


some, and just to get you in the right mood for bed. We will leave


you with one of her biggest hits. # Oh I feel love


# I feel love # I feel lovele


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