17/05/2012 Newsnight


17/05/2012

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

:00:13.:00:18.

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

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agency lowers Greece's credit rating even further.

:00:21.:00:26.

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

:00:26.:00:30.

rejecting mainstream democratic parties. I will be finding out what

:00:30.:00:34.

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

:00:34.:00:38.

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

:00:38.:00:43.

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

:00:44.:00:48.

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

:00:48.:00:51.

or be torn up. For the first time we bring

:00:51.:00:54.

together scientists and GM opponents to debate whether this

:00:54.:00:58.

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

:00:58.:01:03.

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

:01:03.:01:06.

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

:01:06.:01:11.

been devoting our lives, will be destroyed forever.

:01:11.:01:15.

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

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

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are mounting out. We will ask Nassim Nicholas Taleb,

:01:25.:01:33.

why these events seem to keep taking us by surprise.

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

:01:36.:01:42.

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

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

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

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

:01:59.:02:02.

results may affect all our tomorrows.

:02:02.:02:08.

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

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

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

:02:17.:02:21.

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

:02:21.:02:25.

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

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

:02:30.:02:34.

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

:02:34.:02:38.

people now rejecting mainstream politics, even questioning the

:02:38.:02:42.

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

:02:42.:02:48.

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

:02:48.:02:54.

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

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

:02:59.:03:03.

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

:03:03.:03:08.

Today, gay activists were marking the international day of action

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

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discrimination, and even violence against minorities of all kinds may

:03:16.:03:21.

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

:03:21.:03:26.

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

:03:26.:03:34.

afraid about the challenges these people will impose on the

:03:34.:03:37.

legislative protection of the rights of gay people, especially

:03:37.:03:42.

the gay youth. We have come to think of ancient

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Greece as a stronghold of enlightenment. But attitudes here

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

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

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

:04:03.:04:09.

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

:04:09.:04:13.

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

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

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the Greeks susceptible to humiliation, that has occurred and

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

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

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

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

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

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

:04:54.:04:59.

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

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

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

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

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create alternative economic and social networks, forming islands of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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through collectives or through self-organised projects. They are

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

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

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

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

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

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Papademos, delighted many -- Papandreaou, delighted by railing

:06:27.:06:37.
:06:37.:06:38.

against America and others. undercurrent of somebody is out to

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

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

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

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

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after its journey around Britain, Greece will have yet another

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

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confidence in their political system.

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

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

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

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

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

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better in these coming elections. Although, some people think

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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been paid by the state-backed health insurer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:09:04.:09:08.

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

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

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

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

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

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is looking like Germany versus almost everybody. Strong hints

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being given out today by Downing Street that David Cameron also

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

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

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

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

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

:09:56.:10:01.

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

:10:01.:10:04.

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

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growth. Some suggestion that is there could be compromises over

:10:09.:10:12.

structural funds, and structural redevelopment, Hollande says the

:10:12.:10:15.

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

:10:15.:10:19.

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

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

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

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

:10:31.:10:34.

signals that President Obama may be joining that gang in putting

:10:34.:10:43.

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

:10:43.:10:48.

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

:10:48.:10:52.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:11:18.:11:28.
:11:28.:11:30.

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

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

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

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

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the USA will be joining us a little later.

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

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

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

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

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

:12:11.:12:14.

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

:12:14.:12:17.

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

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

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

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

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

:12:33.:12:37.

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

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

:12:39.:12:44.

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

:12:44.:12:48.

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

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

:12:54.:12:58.

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

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

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

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increasing the level of unemployment, and increasing the

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

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

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

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

:13:25.:13:28.

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

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

:13:33.:13:37.

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

:13:37.:13:41.

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

:13:41.:13:45.

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

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

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

:13:51.:13:56.

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

:13:56.:14:00.

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

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

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

:14:10.:14:13.

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

:14:13.:14:18.

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

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

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

:14:28.:14:31.

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

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

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

:14:42.:14:47.

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

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

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

:14:57.:15:02.

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

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

:15:08.:15:13.

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

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

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

:15:25.:15:30.

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

:15:30.:15:34.

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

:15:34.:15:41.

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

:15:41.:15:46.

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

:15:46.:15:55.

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

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

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

:16:03.:16:10.

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

:16:10.:16:17.

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

:16:17.:16:22.

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

:16:22.:16:27.

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

:16:27.:16:34.

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

:16:34.:16:39.

Which is asking French for financial equilibrium, but giving

:16:39.:16:45.

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

:16:45.:16:48.

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

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

:16:52.:17:01.

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

:17:01.:17:07.

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

:17:07.:17:12.

after, asking Greece to take under controlled administration the

:17:12.:17:16.

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

:17:16.:17:22.

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

:17:22.:17:28.

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

:17:28.:17:32.

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

:17:32.:17:36.

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

:17:36.:17:42.

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

:17:42.:17:50.

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

:17:50.:17:54.

without facing the globalisation. Europe needs to have the United

:17:54.:18:01.

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

:18:01.:18:04.

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

:18:04.:18:10.

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

:18:10.:18:13.

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

:18:13.:18:16.

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

:18:16.:18:20.

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

:18:20.:18:24.

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

:18:24.:18:28.

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

:18:28.:18:33.

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

:18:33.:18:43.

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

:18:43.:18:45.

dramatically decrease trade. The Germans like all the capital

:18:45.:18:49.

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

:18:49.:18:52.

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

:18:52.:18:55.

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

:18:55.:19:00.

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

:19:00.:19:05.

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

:19:05.:19:08.

neighbourhood. Increasingly what is happening is the neighbours are

:19:08.:19:11.

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

:19:11.:19:15.

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

:19:15.:19:20.

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

:19:20.:19:25.

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

:19:26.:19:30.

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

:19:30.:19:34.

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

:19:34.:19:38.

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

:19:38.:19:44.

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

:19:44.:19:47.

that much about Europe, particularly this year with an

:19:47.:19:50.

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

:19:50.:19:55.

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

:19:55.:19:58.

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

:19:58.:20:04.

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

:20:04.:20:07.

could play a bigger role in deciding the US election in

:20:07.:20:10.

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

:20:10.:20:14.

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

:20:14.:20:24.
:20:24.:20:24.

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

:20:24.:20:29.

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

:20:29.:20:33.

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

:20:33.:20:38.

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

:20:38.:20:42.

gets knocked off worse, that certainly is good for Vladimir

:20:42.:20:49.

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

:20:49.:20:52.

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

:20:52.:20:58.

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

:20:58.:21:02.

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

:21:02.:21:12.
:21:12.:21:12.

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

:21:12.:21:20.

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

:21:20.:21:23.

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

:21:23.:21:27.

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

:21:27.:21:30.

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

:21:30.:21:34.

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

:21:34.:21:40.

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

:21:40.:21:44.

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

:21:44.:21:51.

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

:21:51.:21:55.

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

:21:55.:22:01.

scientists are claiming in the face of action by protestors being

:22:01.:22:07.

threatened in ten days time in Hertfordshire. Scientists there

:22:07.:22:12.

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

:22:12.:22:18.

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

:22:18.:22:27.

activist Take The Flower scam back -- Back.

:22:27.:22:34.

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

:22:34.:22:39.

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

:22:39.:22:44.

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

:22:44.:22:49.

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

:22:49.:22:53.

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

:22:53.:22:57.

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

:22:58.:23:00.

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

:23:00.:23:05.

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

:23:05.:23:11.

destroyed forever. We appeal to you as

:23:11.:23:15.

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

:23:15.:23:20.

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

:23:20.:23:25.

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

:23:25.:23:29.

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

:23:29.:23:35.

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

:23:35.:23:41.

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

:23:41.:23:46.

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

:23:46.:23:51.

wheat works outside. The head of their serial transformation lab

:23:51.:23:56.

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

:23:56.:24:00.

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

:24:00.:24:05.

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

:24:05.:24:11.

to unauthorised humans. That includes the protestors, they have

:24:11.:24:14.

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

:24:14.:24:18.

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

:24:18.:24:22.

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

:24:23.:24:26.

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

:24:26.:24:30.

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

:24:30.:24:37.

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

:24:37.:24:41.

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

:24:41.:24:45.

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

:24:45.:24:50.

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

:24:50.:24:55.

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

:24:55.:25:03.

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

:25:03.:25:11.

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

:25:11.:25:16.

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

:25:16.:25:19.

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

:25:19.:25:24.

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

:25:24.:25:34.
:25:34.:25:36.

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

:25:36.:25:40.

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

:25:40.:25:45.

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

:25:45.:25:51.

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

:25:51.:25:55.

selective insecticide that is are reasonably safe to use with bees

:25:55.:26:01.

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

:26:01.:26:07.

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

:26:07.:26:12.

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

:26:12.:26:16.

trial in rice ended up contaminating the whole United

:26:16.:26:20.

States rice harvest. There is potential for enormous damage.

:26:20.:26:26.

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

:26:26.:26:30.

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

:26:30.:26:34.

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

:26:34.:26:39.

in commercial supplies. Protestors objected to research

:26:39.:26:45.

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

:26:45.:26:49.

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

:26:49.:26:54.

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

:26:54.:27:02.

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

:27:02.:27:07.

Europe entered a decade of stalemate over GM agriculture.

:27:07.:27:11.

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

:27:11.:27:17.

figures from the industry indicate that some 160 million hectares of

:27:17.:27:24.

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

:27:24.:27:33.

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

:27:33.:27:39.

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

:27:39.:27:42.

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

:27:42.:27:46.

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

:27:46.:27:51.

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

:27:51.:27:55.

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

:27:55.:28:00.

human health, or widespread impact on the environment.

:28:01.:28:04.

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

:28:04.:28:08.

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

:28:08.:28:13.

in dry conditions, need fewer pesticides, or offer nutritional

:28:13.:28:17.

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

:28:17.:28:21.

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

:28:21.:28:26.

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

:28:26.:28:29.

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

:28:29.:28:34.

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

:28:34.:28:39.

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

:28:39.:28:44.

certainly interested in that. But campaigners argue there has not

:28:44.:28:48.

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

:28:48.:28:53.

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

:28:53.:28:58.

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

:28:58.:29:03.

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

:29:03.:29:06.

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

:29:06.:29:10.

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

:29:10.:29:13.

it. Way beyond what we have at the moment.

:29:13.:29:18.

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

:29:18.:29:21.

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

:29:21.:29:29.

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

:29:29.:29:33.

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

:29:33.:29:36.

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

:29:36.:29:41.

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

:29:41.:29:44.

the protestors argue that the trial represents a threat to British

:29:44.:29:53.

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

:29:53.:30:03.
:30:03.:30:08.

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

:30:08.:30:11.

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

:30:11.:30:16.

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

:30:16.:30:19.

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

:30:19.:30:25.

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

:30:25.:30:29.

direct action, in illustrating something that is a really

:30:29.:30:32.

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

:30:32.:30:35.

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

:30:35.:30:39.

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

:30:39.:30:42.

important to look at the wider cultural and social implications of

:30:42.:30:47.

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

:30:47.:30:52.

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

:30:52.:30:57.

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

:30:57.:31:00.

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

:31:00.:31:04.

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

:31:04.:31:08.

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

:31:08.:31:12.

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

:31:12.:31:17.

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

:31:17.:31:22.

Government research to be focused on GM technology when there are

:31:23.:31:27.

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

:31:27.:31:29.

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

:31:30.:31:34.

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

:31:34.:31:39.

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

:31:39.:31:43.

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

:31:43.:31:47.

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

:31:47.:31:50.

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

:31:50.:31:55.

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

:31:55.:31:59.

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

:31:59.:32:05.

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

:32:05.:32:10.

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

:32:10.:32:14.

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

:32:14.:32:20.

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

:32:20.:32:24.

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

:32:24.:32:29.

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

:32:29.:32:33.

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

:32:33.:32:38.

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

:32:39.:32:44.

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

:32:44.:32:49.

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

:32:49.:32:53.

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

:32:53.:32:59.

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

:32:59.:33:02.

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

:33:02.:33:06.

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

:33:06.:33:10.

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

:33:10.:33:13.

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

:33:13.:33:17.

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

:33:17.:33:23.

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

:33:23.:33:26.

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

:33:26.:33:34.

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

:33:34.:33:38.

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

:33:38.:33:42.

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

:33:42.:33:46.

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

:33:46.:33:51.

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

:33:51.:33:55.

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

:33:55.:33:59.

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

:33:59.:34:02.

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

:34:02.:34:06.

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

:34:06.:34:13.

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

:34:13.:34:18.

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

:34:18.:34:24.

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

:34:24.:34:28.

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

:34:28.:34:33.

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

:34:33.:34:36.

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

:34:36.:34:39.

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

:34:39.:34:44.

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

:34:44.:34:49.

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

:34:49.:34:52.

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

:34:52.:34:56.

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

:34:56.:35:01.

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

:35:01.:35:05.

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

:35:05.:35:08.

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

:35:08.:35:12.

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

:35:12.:35:17.

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

:35:17.:35:20.

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

:35:20.:35:24.

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

:35:24.:35:27.

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

:35:27.:35:31.

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

:35:31.:35:35.

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

:35:35.:35:38.

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

:35:38.:35:42.

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

:35:42.:35:45.

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

:35:45.:35:49.

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

:35:49.:35:53.

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

:35:53.:35:57.

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

:35:57.:36:07.
:36:07.:36:07.

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

:36:07.:36:13.

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

:36:13.:36:17.

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

:36:17.:36:24.

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

:36:24.:36:31.

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

:36:31.:36:34.

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

:36:34.:36:38.

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

:36:38.:36:42.

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

:36:42.:36:49.

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

:36:50.:36:52.

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

:36:52.:36:56.

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

:36:56.:37:00.

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

:37:00.:37:05.

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

:37:05.:37:09.

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

:37:09.:37:13.

and talking about serious ecological interactions to deal

:37:13.:37:19.

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

:37:19.:37:23.

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

:37:23.:37:27.

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

:37:27.:37:31.

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

:37:31.:37:35.

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

:37:35.:37:41.

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

:37:41.:37:45.

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

:37:45.:37:49.

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

:37:49.:37:56.

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

:37:56.:38:02.

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

:38:02.:38:05.

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

:38:05.:38:09.

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

:38:09.:38:12.

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

:38:12.:38:18.

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

:38:18.:38:21.

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

:38:21.:38:28.

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

:38:28.:38:34.

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

:38:34.:38:37.

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

:38:37.:38:40.

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

:38:40.:38:44.

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

:38:45.:38:49.

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

:38:49.:38:53.

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

:38:53.:38:57.

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

:38:57.:39:00.

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

:39:00.:39:03.

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

:39:03.:39:07.

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

:39:07.:39:12.

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

:39:12.:39:16.

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

:39:16.:39:20.

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

:39:20.:39:24.

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

:39:24.:39:28.

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

:39:28.:39:33.

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

:39:33.:39:37.

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

:39:37.:39:40.

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

:39:40.:39:44.

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

:39:44.:39:50.

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

:39:50.:39:53.

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

:39:53.:39:57.

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

:39:57.:40:00.

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

:40:00.:40:04.

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

:40:04.:40:08.

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

:40:08.:40:12.

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

:40:12.:40:16.

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

:40:16.:40:21.

Thank you very much indeed. If you understand the complexties

:40:21.:40:30.

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

:40:30.:40:34.

motoring began three billion dollars and counting, you are doing

:40:34.:40:39.

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

:40:39.:40:49.

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

:40:49.:40:54.

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

:40:54.:40:59.

risky and volatile to the economic edge than we thought.

:40:59.:41:03.

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

:41:03.:41:06.

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

:41:06.:41:12.

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

:41:12.:41:18.

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

:41:18.:41:21.

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

:41:21.:41:26.

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

:41:26.:41:33.

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

:41:33.:41:37.

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

:41:37.:41:43.

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

:41:43.:41:50.

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

:41:50.:41:54.

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

:41:54.:41:58.

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

:41:58.:42:03.

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

:42:03.:42:08.

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

:42:08.:42:11.

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

:42:11.:42:16.

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

:42:16.:42:20.

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

:42:20.:42:27.

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

:42:27.:42:34.

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

:42:34.:42:39.

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

:42:40.:42:45.

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

:42:45.:42:49.

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

:42:49.:42:56.

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

:42:56.:43:01.

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

:43:01.:43:06.

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

:43:06.:43:11.

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

:43:11.:43:15.

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

:43:15.:43:20.

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

:43:20.:43:23.

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

:43:23.:43:32.

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

:43:32.:43:36.

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

:43:36.:43:40.

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

:43:40.:43:43.

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

:43:43.:43:46.

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

:43:46.:43:51.

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

:43:51.:43:55.

Morgan should concentrate on lending money to farmers, or

:43:55.:43:58.

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

:43:58.:44:05.

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

:44:05.:44:11.

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

:44:11.:44:15.

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

:44:16.:44:20.

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

:44:20.:44:25.

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

:44:25.:44:29.

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

:44:29.:44:34.

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

:44:34.:44:38.

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

:44:38.:44:44.

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

:44:44.:44:51.

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

:44:51.:44:57.

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

:44:57.:45:02.

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

:45:02.:45:08.

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

:45:08.:45:13.

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

:45:13.:45:18.

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

:45:18.:45:25.

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

:45:26.:45:31.

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

:45:31.:45:34.

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

:45:34.:45:38.

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

:45:38.:45:43.

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

:45:43.:45:47.

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

:45:47.:45:52.

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

:45:52.:45:59.

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

:45:59.:46:04.

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

:46:04.:46:08.

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

:46:08.:46:11.

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

:46:11.:46:17.

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

:46:17.:46:22.

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

:46:22.:46:26.

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

:46:26.:46:31.

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

:46:31.:46:38.

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

:46:38.:46:44.

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

:46:44.:46:49.

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

:46:49.:46:54.

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

:46:54.:46:59.

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

:46:59.:47:04.

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

:47:04.:47:11.

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

:47:11.:47:16.

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

:47:16.:47:19.

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

:47:19.:47:23.

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

:47:23.:47:27.

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

:47:27.:47:36.

# I feel love # I feel lovele

:47:36.:47:41.

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